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: Lois McMaster Bujold has won a shelf full of awards--Hugos, Nebulas, and others--for both her science fiction and fantasy writing. She is one of the most respected names in the field, always delivering polished, thoughtful, and well-crafted writing. She consistently addresses great issues and problems on a human level, where they are faced by quirky, prickly, and very real characters, and her exploration of the theory of reader-response is an important critical contribution. Yet there has been a surprising dearth of serious critical writing about her output--in part because she resists neat and easy classification by genre, politics, or subject matter. This collection of fresh essays aims to correct that situation by presenting critical insights into many aspects of her writing. Attention is given to both her Miles Vorkosigan science fiction series and her Chalion and Sharing Knife fantasy series, as well as the books that fall outside these series.