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Summary

Dr. Ethan Urquhart is chief of biology at a District Reproduction Center. He delivers babies from uterine replicators. You see, on Athos there are no women. In fact, the planet is forbidden to them.

Isolated from the galactic community by distance and a lack of exploitable resources, the Athosians have peacefully lived their peculiar social experiment for two hundred years. But now, the ovarian cultures dating back to the original settlement of the planet are giving out.

With the future of Athos at stake, Ethan is chosen on behalf of his cloistered fellows for a unique mission: to brave the wider universe in quest of new ovarian tissue cultures to replenish Athos' dwindling stocks. Along the way, he must tangle with covert operatives, killers, telepathy, interplanetary politics, and - perhaps most disturbingly - an indomitable female mercenary named Elli Quinn.

©1986 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Ethan of Athos

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting!

I had my doubts about this book but decided to take the plunge and was very happy I did. More Sci-Fi than Fantasy the narators voice has a wonderful twilight zone feeling to it which after a few minutes I was hooked on. The story line is interesting though it does need half an hour to get going, and the characters well-rouded. It does have hints of M/M but on a world without women what do you expect really? And most surprising of all there is actually a female character I DONT want to hit over the head! How wonderful! Try it, you'll love it.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A novel without miles.

This is a spin off and, for those who follow Miles, maybe one you can afford to miss. A sweet story but lacking punch.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Don Gilbert
  • 31-03-11

No Miles- but still great!

I have read all of the Vorkosigan series and I almost let this one go becasue there was no Miles; that would have been a huge mistake. This story is great!

Set in Buold's universe, Ethan comes from the male only world of Athos where woman are stricly forbidden. Having no woman on the planet they must replensih the population by two methods: recruits and uterine replicators. Since not many males are willing to come to Athos they rely heavily on the former method. Ethan's job is to bring heathty new baby boys into the world and when the good supply of ovarian tissue becomes nearly depleted, it becomes his assignment to go out into the universe and procure more.

Once off world he comes face to face with the first woman he had ever seen; Elli Quinn.

Louis bujold writes with her usuall mastery and I can't imagine anyone reading her books other than Grover Garner.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-12-10

EXCELLENT Book

This is one of TWO books of Lois Bujold that I think are her very best work. The other being "Falling Free". (note that I really enjoy all of her books) I noted that one reviewer objected to the phrase "strange perversion" or something which pertained to the All Male Colony of Athos. this is like objecting to and wishing to eliminate the n-word from the works of Mark Twain in the theory that it is not politically correct. and like Twain, Ms. Bujold gives her characters life and meaning BEYOND the stereotypical. Making such stereotypes nonsensical. Ethan is a sympathetic character who is trying to help his home cope with serious problems. To do this, he travels into the unimaginable and terrifying Galaxy where not only is he a stranger in a strange land, but he has to deal with those difficult and dangerous FEMALES! Of whom he is terrified because of the militant evangelical fervor with which his home world denounces them as creatures with unimaginable powers and hidden abilities to destroy a man! they may be right! I would Be FASCINATED to hear the back story about Athos! Why are they so repulsed by Women? What happened to their founders to cause them to create a planet where women are forbidden? And how is this so very different from the world of Barrayar and it's nearly pathological anti Female military? And how much of our OWN prejudices does this reveal!

I want BACK STORY! I want MORE INFORMATION DAMMIT!

I really love this book. It is fascinating and fun. Bujold at her very best. Only Falling Free may be better!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrea
  • 17-06-09

Interesting concept, great series

The absence of Miles Vorkosigan in this installment of the Vorkosigan series was not as ruinous as I had at first feared. On the contrary, the story was just as intriguing and witty as the others in the series.

In a previous review an audible listener seemed to take offense at the word "peculiar" being used to describe the lifestyle on the planet Athos, even going as far as to accuse the writer of being homophobic. Completely ridiculous - an entire planet of men that are scared to death of women (forcing them to have to procreate using 200 yr old uterine cultures) is a bit peculiar no matter what your view on homosexuality is. Being forced to be homosexual (like all the men of Athos) is quite peculiar indeed. Nevertheless, great concept and great writing. Bujold never fails to amaze me with her creativity and wit. The entire series is worth your next few month's worth of audible credits.

16 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 29-06-10

Miles-less but still wonderful

Ethan fits very nicely into the Vorkosigan series though not at the beginning, even though this was the first of the books to be published. If you delight in the wit, wisdom and tight plotting of Bujold's masterful Vorkosigan stories, you will be pleased with this piece despite the fact that Miles never appears directly in the narrative.

LMB is entirely original, consistently surprising the reader with her inventiveness while remaining unerringly consistent in her rendering of a very complex and fascinating world and a marvelous cast of characters. In addition, her stories are always deeply human, based on problems which rise naturally and honestly from the motivations, confusions, fears and aspirations which we all share. Happily she does this without wallowing in turgid inner monologues, maintaining instead a light and entertaining style which is never far from a smile or a chuckle. As a result, there is always a lot more wisdom present in her writing than we notice at first blush.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Holly
  • 17-08-13

Engaging comedy and unique storyline

I adore Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan space operas...but I put off reading this one since he doesn't appear and I just didn't think I would be as captivated. I have now listened to the Audible recording three times and find the exciting plotline completely enthralling. What charms me the most are the comedic elements. The unique storyline is equaling compelling. The narration is superb! Highly recommended...I look forward to my fourth listen in a few months time.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-12

A world (but not a book) without women

How would that work? Ethan of Athos, follows naturally on Cetaganda because both stories are a meditation on the nature of reproduction without sex, and the role that men, women, and sex could have in the process; what might happen if the unscrupulous get hold of the process, and so on. Of course, all Bujold's books are also liberally drenched in nail biting action, wicked plot twists, great humor, and excellent characters. We meet Ellie Quinn (sic?) again, for example. I think Bujold is incapable of producing a bad book or character, and Grover Gardner is incapable of interpreting her work with anything less than perfect pitch.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rebekkah
  • 27-08-20

Much less bigotry than I expected, very refreshing

I listened to this because I’m bored out of my mind social distancing, it was free, and I had seen Lois McMaster Bujold compared to Melissa Scott and Tanya Huff (both favorites of mine). I thought it would be fun, but I braced myself for some problematic nonsense—something like Ethan falling for a woman and everything getting “fixed” ala Vandread—that is not what I got.

What I got was some gay fun and while it is problematic in places, (why are future space people so actively homophobic? What is the point of that, some gay bashing, and some instances of homophobic slurs) it was written in the 80s and people were a little less open-minded then (my brain still catches on space homophobia though, like why have the culture at large be so homophobic?). There are also none of the pointless rape scenes that you usually find in LGBT fantasy written by cishets.

I loved Ethan’s innocence, his unconventional application of religion, and his occasional tendency to be a dishrag. He’s just adorable and, no spoilers, but he does have a male love interest and they adorable even though my brain was screaming “KISS HIM YOU DUMB BABY YOUR BOYFRIEND AT HOME IS A DEADBEAT!” through half the book. Anyways it’s just a fun romp through the implications of gender, religion, sexuality, and asexual reproduction.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 18-06-10

Nice surprise!

What a pleasant surprise this book was. I now wish I'd read it in order (before Brothers in Arms), but at the time I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy it or not since it didn't have Miles or any of the 'usual' characters involved. I liked Ethan and all the rest and found myself wishing the book were longer.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Korri
  • 04-04-21

love the series but....

I gave this book 2 hours and it didn't grab me. The main character irritated me.... the combination of naivety with his proactive nature made for a boring listen..... skipping to the next one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • verirh50
  • 25-01-21

great listen

Another great story. The humor is up to the norm for a Vorkosigan series book. Daring social structure given when it was written. However, the language tells you about when it was written. still makes for an interesting story.