Everyone knows and loves Miles Vorkosigan. The “little admiral”, who thanks to a chemical attack on his mother while she was pregnant suffers from a shortness of build, brittle bones, and an drive to prove himself against all comers. He is the heart and center of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan universe.
But what about Ivan? “Ivan, you Idiot”? The breezing through life cousin of Miles, who seems mostly engaged in trying to avoid the wrath of his mother, and any responsibility whatsoever? Wine, women, and having a good time as much as he can, without a care in the world or a thought in his brain. Is he really as stupid and shallow as Miles makes him out to be? Aral Vorkosigan, father of Miles, once mused that Ivan couldn’t possibly be faking his stupidity — or is Ivan better at this than even Aral realized? Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance gives us an entire novel to explore a story about Ivan and of Ivan, and a reconsideration of who and what he is, what he thinks he is, and what he wants to be. Continue reading