Dreamwaver’s Dilemma (1996)

A neat collection of stories and essays by Lois McMaster Bujold that shows that she’s even good at the short form. There’s an excellent Sherlock Holmes pastiche, an excellent Miles Vorkosigan story and some other good pieces. There’s a unobtrusive, but warm humor in many of them, a kindness that pervades most of Bujold’s fiction. Even her non-fiction pieces give you the image of someone who enjoys life, enjoys writing and communicating with other people. She’s a writer who makes reading easy and fun.

This collection is also an image of Bujold’s growth as a writer. If you compare the last fiction piece in the collection, The Mountains of Mourning to the other stories, you can see how she has retained all the enjoyable elements of her earlier stories and yet has gained a depth previously unseen. Most writers seem to lose a certain lightness in their fiction when they try themselves on heavier topics. Bujold hasn’t, which might explain her great success.