‘Weatherman’ by Lois McMaster Bujold
I have never read anything by Bojold before. This is worth mentioning because she is perhaps the single most popular American science fiction author of the last twenty years. H&C tell us that “She is the only writer in SF to have won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, as many as Robert A Heinlein, the previous record holder.” Unpack that sentence if you can. However, she has only been published erratically on this side of the Atlantic and her body of work, including the Miles Vorkosigan series, is commensurately less well known.
This is the enjoyable adventure of an exceptional individual. If I had one of those new-fangled Kindles I might well have downloaded another installment as it makes a good accompaniment to lying on one’s back in the south of France. I imagine Bujold could write this stuff for ever.
In their introduction, H&C come straight out with the unavoidable problem which dogs this section of the anthology: “’Weatherman’ is one of her few short stories. It is the planetary romance variety of space opera, a long episode within a larger space opera framework of interstellar war, with a hard SF attitude.” I guess the analogy is trying to put together an epic fantasy anthology and finding only a small sample of sword and sorcery tales available from the key figures.