Title: Ethan of Athos
Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Genre: Science Fiction
The familiar old SF “planet of women: chestnut is reversed in the planet of Athos— an all-male planet made possible by the invention of the uterine replicator. Ethan, drawn out of his beloved Athos by a quest, finds himself an alien in more mainstream human society, and cannot help but find women disturbing aliens as well, especially the ultra-competent, ultra-beautiful Elli.
A Vorkosigan Saga book that has nothing to do with the Vorkosigan family (except that Quinn mentions Miles quite a few times).
This book is about a doctor Ethan Urquhart from planet Athos. The very religious founders of Athos were convinced that women are the root of all evil and because of that, Athos is an all-male planet. The majority of men on the planet have never even seen a picture of a woman and they all seem to be convinced that women are some horrible monsters that control the world outside of Athos. So they’re not exactly willing to leave.
They use uterine replicator technology to reproduce, but after 200 years they need new ovarian cultures. After receiving a delivery of completely unusable cultures (that weren’t even all human), Ethan is sent off his home planet to get new cultures. And there’s a possibility that somewhere out there, he might meet a woman. It’s actually funny how much the thought freaks him out.
It turns out that the first woman he meets is Commander Elli Quinn of Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet… and then the real trouble starts.
Ethan is not a bad character but it isn’t always easy to like him. Because of the way he grew up he sees women as a threat. During the book his attitude slowly changes (but not completely). When I first read the blurb I thought that there will be some kind of love story between him and Elli, but thankfully that didn’t happen. He does warm up to her and by the end of the book, actually respects her. Ethan also meets Terrence Cee (who has telepathic abilities and wants Ethan to take him to Athos) and some other people who keep attacking them. Every character seems to have plans that others don’t know about. There’s a lot of action in the book, but the plot isn’t as complicated some other Vorkosigan books.
I didn’t like the ending much because some of the choices didn’t make sense to me. Still, the writing is great and Bujold’s humor alone is enough reason to read this, but I wish Miles made an appearance.