SwanCon Twenty3 – Con Book 02: Guests pp. 3-7 – Lois McMaster Bujold

SwanCon Twenty3 separated out the various common items of program books into several A5 saddle-stapled booklets. This is the information on the Guests of Swancon 23. The first entry is for our International Guest of Honour and was written by the author herself. Transcribed by Elaine Walker

There is a photo of Lois on the top left

Lois McMaster Bujold

International Guest of Honour

I was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1949. I graduated from Upper Arlington High School in 1967, and attended the Ohio State University from 1968 to 1972. I have two children, Anne, born in 1979, and Paul, born in 1981. We resided in Marion, Ohio, from 1980 to 1995, and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1995.

I’ve been a voracious reader all my life, beginning with a passion for horse stories in grade school. I began reading adult science fiction when I was nine, a taste picked up from my father. He was a professor of Welding Engineering at Ohio State and an old Cal Tech man (Ph.D.’s in physics and electrical engineering, magna cum laude, 1944), and used to buy the science fiction magazines and paperback books to read on the plane on consulting trips; these naturally fell to me. My reading tastes later expanded to include history, mysteries, romance, travel, war, poetry, etc.

My early writing efforts began in junior high school. By eighth grade I was putting out fragmentary imitations of my favourite writers – on my own time, of course, not for any class. My best friend Lillian Stewart and I collaborated on extended story lines throughout high school; again only a fragment of the total was written out. The high point of my high school years was a summer in Europe at age 15, hitchhiking with my older brother.

I dabbled with English as a major in college, but quickly fell away from it; my heart was in the creative, not the critical end of things. But an interest in wildlife and close-up photography led me on a six-week biology study tour of East Africa. Eight hundred slides of bugs; much later I also borrowed the landscape and ecology I had seen for background of my first novel. That’s one of the nicest things about writing, all of a sudden nothing is wasted. Even one’s failures are re-classified as raw material. Even one’s failures are re-classified as raw material.

After college I worked as a pharmacy technician at the Ohio State University Hospitals, until I quit to start my family. This was a fallow time for writing, except for a Sherlock Holmes pastiche that ran about 60 pages. It was however a very fruitful time for reading, as my Staff card admitted me to OSU’s 2 million volume main stacks, filled with wonders and obscurities.

Then my old friend Lillian, now Lillian Stewart Carl, began writing again, making her first sales. About this time it occurred to me that if she could do it, I could do it too. I was unemployed with two small children (note oxymoron) on a very straitened budget in Marion at this point, but the hobby required no initial monetary investment. I wrote a novelette for practice, then embarked on my first novel with help and encouragement from Lillian and Patricia C. Wrede, a fantasy writer from Minneapolis.

I quickly discovered that writing was far too demanding and draining to justify as a hobby, and that only serious professional recognition would satisfy me. Whatever had to be done, in terms of writing, re-writing, cutting, editorial analysis, and trying again, I was savagely determined to learn to do. This was an immensely fruitful period in my growth as a writer, all of it invisible to the outside observer.

My first novel, Shards of Honor, was completed in 1983: the second, The Warrior’s Apprentice in 1984; and the third, Ethan of Athos, in 1985. As each one came off the boards it began the painfully slow process of submission to the New York publishers. I also wrote a few short stories which I began circulating to the magazine markets. In late 1984 the third of these sold to Twilight Zone Magazine, my first professional sale. This thin proof of my professional status had to stretch until October of 1985, when all three completed novels were bought by Baen Books. They were published as original paperbacks in June, August, and December of 1986, leading the unitiated to imagine that I wrote a book every three months.

Analog Magazine serialised my fourth novel, Falling Free, in the winter of ’87-’88; it went on to win my first Nebula. I was particularly pleased to be featured in Analog, my late father’s favourite magazine – I still have the check stub from the gift subscription my father bought me when I was 13 (a year for $4.00). “The Mountains of Mourning”, also appearing in Analog, went on to win both Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novella of 1989, and The Vor Game and Barrayar won Hugos for best novel back to back in 1991 and 1992. My titles have been translated into fourteen languages (so far).

I broke into hardcover at last with The Spirit Ring in 1992, a historical fantasy, and returned to the universe and times of Miles Vorkosigan with Mirror Dance, published in March of 1994, paperback following in March 1995. Mirror Dance won the Hugo and Locus awards in 1995. My next novel was a lighter series prequel with the working title of “Miles and Ivan go to the Cetegandan State Funeral”; under the final title of Cetaganda it was serialised in Analog starting with the September ’95 issue, then released in hardcover in January ’96 by Baen Books. I had my first experience as an editor, along with Roland Green, putting together the anthology Women at War, published by Tor Books in 1995. Miles’s sequel to Mirror Dance, titled Memory, had hardcover publication in October 1996, and was a Hugo and Nebula Award nominee.

In November ’96 Baen published a trade paperback omnibus edition of Shards of Honor and Barrayar, under the combined title of Cordelia’s Honor. The Reader’s Chair, a small audio company out of Hollister, California, is now doing a superb job of publishing my entire series on audiocassette, unabridged.

Lois McMaster Bujold’s latest novel Komaar[sic] is scheduled for release this June from Baen Books. Memory was nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula Award.



“Allegories of Change”, in New Destinies, Vol. VIII, Sep 1989.
“The Unsung Collaborator”, in Lan’s Lantern, Issue # 31, 1989.
“My First Novel”, in The Bulletin of the SFWA, Vol. 24, No. 4, 1990.
“Free Associating About Falling Free”, in Nebula Awards 24, HBJ, 1990.
“Getting Started”, in Writers of the Future, Vol. VIII, 1992.
“Genre Barriers”, in Ohio Writer Magazine, Vol. VI, Issue # 3, May/June 1992.
“Mind Food: Writing Science Fiction”, in The Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, Vol. 10, No. 2, Winter 1997.

Short Fiction

“Barter”, in Twilight Zone Magazine, March/April, 1985.
“Aftermaths”, in Far Frontiers, Volume V, Spring 1986.
“The Whole Truth”, in Twilight Zone Magazine. December, 1986.
“Garage Sale”, in American Fantasy. Spring, 1987.
“The Borders Of Infinity”, in Freelancers. 1987.
“Falling Free”, in Analog. 1987-88.
“The Mountains Of Mourning”, in Analog. May 1989.
“Labyrinth”, in Analog. August 1989.
“The Weatherman”, in Analog. February 1990.
“Barrayar”, in Analog. July – October 1991.
“Cetaganda”, in Analog. October – December 1995.
“Labyrinth”, in Intergalactic Mercenaries (S. Williams, C. Manson, eds.) Roc, 1996.

Long Fiction

Shards of Honor, Baen Books, 1986.
The Warrior’s Apprentice, Baen Books, 1986.
Ethan of Athos, Baen Books, 1986.
Falling Free, Baen Books, 1988.
Brothers In Arms, Baen Books, 1989.
The Vor Game, Baen Books, 1990.
Barrayar, Baen Books, 1991.
The Spirit Ring, Baen Books, 1992.
Mirror Dance, Baen Books, 1994.
Cetaganda, Baen Books, 1996.
Memory, Baen Books, 1996.


Test Of Honor, Science Fiction Book Club, 1988.
Borders Of Infinity, Baen Books, 1989.
Vorkosigan’s Game, Science Fiction Book Club, 1990.
Women At War, Tor Books, 1995. (edited with Roland J Green.)
Dreamweaver’s Dilemma, NESFA, 1996.
Cordelia’s Honor, Baen Books, 1996.
Young Miles, Baen Books, 1997.


Komaar[sic], Baen Books, 1998.

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