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Biology and MannersEssays on the Worlds and Works of Lois McMaster Bujold$
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Regina Yung Lee and Una McCormack

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621730

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621730.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 11 May 2021

The Road and the River

The Road and the River

Genre-Neering a Future in The Sharing Knife Series

Chapter:
(p.113) The Road and the River
Source:
Biology and Manners
Author(s):

Sylvia Kelso

Publisher:
Discontinued
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789621730.003.0007

This chapter provides a close reading of Lois McMaster Bujold’s later fantasy series The Sharing Knife to explore how the project reworks traditional narrative motifs and crosses genres to blur or mutate expectations and storylines. The chapter argues that the series is neither science fiction nor fantasy, but a hybrid based in fantasy whose setting fits early industrial society and the contours of the post-apocalypse. It draws on motifs of Western women’s writing, with a main female character, Fawn, in flight, but with settings (the road and the river) more commonly associated with the picaresque and, in particular, American road trip literature. The non-realist elements and the secondary world situate the novels as speculative fantasy fiction, only to diverge immediately and repeatedly from the modern fantasy norm.

Keywords:   Lois McMaster Bujold, The Sharing Knife, Science fiction, Fantasy, Women’s writing, American literature, Road trip literature, Picaresque

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