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The Mountains of Mourning

Not how I pictured it, but whatever…

There’s never enough time. There always seem to be more books to read, more movies to watch, more songs to hear, more games to play, more things to learn, et cetera. We all do what we can with the time we have allotted to us, but some recommendations inevitably fall by the wayside for varying lengths of time.

For me, one such recommendation has been the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Sometimes recommendations get lost because of circumstances. I think that was the case here. The first person (who shall remain nameless) had been a little too clearly in love with his own opinion, had been a little too dismissive of some science fiction novels I had enjoyed for me to take him seriously when he said I should read those stories.

And the way you first hear about something tends to color your view of it. In this case, Vorkosigan had become, in my mind, associated with this particular blowhard and subsequent recommendations tended to glance off of me.

Until recently.

As homework reading for a class, I had been assigned The Mountains of Mourning. I’ve always been a good student. I do my homework, and read ahead as far as I am able at the time. So I buckled down and prepared to read something I expected to be as pompous as the original recommender.

Boy was I delightfully wrong.

The Mountains of Mourning was a mystery with solid, involving characters and smooth storytelling set in a subgenre I have always loved: space opera. I loved every page of the story and was pleased to learn that it had won a Hugo award. Best of all, I knew that there were more stories waiting for me, novels and short stories and more.

I think that’s the most fun in discovering something new that you love – finding out that there’s a lot more waiting for you. It’s like hiking in the mountains and tripping over a gold nugget, only to discover there’s a whole vein of gold behind it, waiting for you to grab a pick.

Alas, I cannot simply sit down and pour through all of those novels one by one until I’ve absorbed everything written in the saga. I have novels of my own to write, and other books to read as well. But half the joy of this sort of discovery is knowing that the stories are there and waiting for me.

What about you? What have you discovered that seemingly everyone else already knew about? How did you enjoy it when you found it?

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About Stefon

Stefon earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from N.I.L.A., and his B.A. in Religious Studies (double emphasis in Ritual and Mythology) from U.C. Berkeley. To date Stefon has published more than a score of short pieces and more than fifteen books. Look for him online at, StefonMearsAuthor on Facebook, on GooglePlus, or @stefonmears on Twitter.


The Joy of Discovery — 2 Comments

  1. I can certainly understand avoiding a drama that has Jimmy Fallon in it. I’ve never seen his appeal, even in comedies.

    Hmmm…I may finally have to check this series out. I’d heard about the critical praise, but never had any personal recommendations for it….

  2. I had this happen just this weekend. I had put off watching the Band of Brothers (2001) miniseries because I’d seen somewhere that Jimmy Fallon was in it. A stupid reason, really. Anyway, I ended up getting sucked into the best WWII story I’ve ever seen on TV or film.

    Fallon was in one brief scene, and he did a fine job. The rest of the cast was phenomenal and the storytelling riveting.

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