Reviews of Ethan of Athos (1986)
Review by clong (2006-08-05)
Given its subject matter, I was a bit skeptical about this book coming in, but I'd have to say that Bujold did a very nice job with a potentially very tricky subject. Planet Athos is a planet inhabited only by men, but Ethan of Athos is not really about a homosexual world. It's more a funny and fun adventure story about a man who comes from a homosexual world.
It was interesting to read this book about a month after having read A Bertram Chandler's Spartan Planet, which is similarly about what happens when a traditional heterosexual society collides with a male only society. While the Chandler is teen male escapist fantasy, Bujold treats the subject in a much more mature, intelligent, and honest way.
The protagonist Urquhart and his foil Quinn (a female mercenary on a mission for Miles Vorkosigan's Admiral Naismith persona) are likable characters, while Cee and the Cetagandan bad guys are drawn in sufficiently fluctuating shades of gray that you are left wondering about their motivations. The plot is fairly thin and driven by lots of coincidences, but the denouement was surprising, intriguing, and even a little bit challenging.
I'd recommend this book to all but the most fervent homophobes.
Review by sqbr (2003-07-01)
I loved Athos, about the only plausible one-gender planet I have ever seen in science fiction.
The plot is a bit thin- it's sf "lite", but still enjoyable, and it is a literally thin book so it's ok. This is the book that got me into Vorkosigan books, and its stands alone as a nice piece of light sf.
Not reccomended for homophobes though!
Review by bkedryna (2003-03-07)
This book is a little too 'gay' for most people, and the plot, although complicated, isn't all that interesting. The action is pretty much limited to one small space station.
Only read this if you've read all other Vorkosigan-universe books.