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Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
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1,710384,157 (3.66)1 / 144
Title:Ethan of Athos
Authors:Lois McMaster Bujold
Info:Baen (1986), Edition: First Thus, Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Reviewed, Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, novel, Science Fiction, military science fiction, Romance, homosexuality, gender, space opera

Work details

Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)

  1. 00
    Glory Season by David Brin (jorvaor)
    jorvaor: Los argumentos son muy diferentes, pero en ambas novelas se describen sociedades el método de reproducción ha sido diseñado por científicos y es diferente del nuestro.
  2. 00
    Commitment Hour by James Alan Gardner (PhoenixFalls)
  3. 01
    A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer (infiniteletters)

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When a shipment of necessary genetic material does not arrive on Athos, a planet inhabited only by males, Dr. Ethan Urquhart goes in search of a new source of biologics necessary for his planet's existence. On Kline Station Ethan lands in the middle of intrigue, espionage, and violence, all areas of humanity's characteristics with which he has no experience. Good story, with plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing until the end. ( )
  fuzzi | Sep 10, 2016 |
Although this is "#3 in the Vorkosigan saga," it's really a stand-alone novel featuring the titular Ethan as the protagonist. Ethan is a medical doctor born & raised on Athos, a gender-separatist colony planet inhabited solely by men. The planet's out-of-the-way location and reputation as a cultural backwater means it doesn't get much traffic, and the men of Athos are isolated and fearful of the outside world - especially women.
However, Athos is in need of fresh ovarian tissue for their artificial replicators. After a mail-order delivery turns out to be unusable garbage, the colony decides to send Dr. Ethan on a business trip off-planet to personally select the medical supplies needed... a trip on which he will have to personally interact with (shock! horror!) females!
What's fun, of course, is that one of the women in question turns out to be Elli Quinn, and the mild-mannered Ethan is unwittingly drawn into a web of spies, assassins and unethical bioengineers.

A well-plotted, entertaining adventure, but I did find some of the bits about the whole men-only society to be a bit cliched... Still, enjoyed both the humor and the action. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
The planet of Athos is a one-gender planet. The colony was begun by a group of religious brethren who believed that women were the root of all evil. They brought ovarian cultures with them when they began and have been using them for over 200 years to reproduce. The geneticists remove the X gene so that all babies are born male from replicator machines. The problem is, the original ovaries are running down, dying out and there are no more to use because the planet is extremely isolated from the rest of the galaxy. Hence, Ethan's mission. Go buy some more ovaries.

As a story, it was a lot of good fun. I did get a bit tired of "sparking" eyes. One thing I love about Bujold, is that she stretches your mind about medical ethics and "what ifs." This was certainly such a read. What if we had the capability to make a one gender race of people? Should we do it? Would it be healthy? Would it be wise?

The author subtly gets you to think about these questions when she takes Ethan off of Athos and exposes him to women and the rest of the world. This was a pretty great read on several levels. ( )
1 vote MrsLee | Sep 22, 2014 |
Oh Ethan. You naive young man you.

This was a really refreshing take on a single gender culture, neither utopia nor dystopia. But I was mostly focused on how much I enjoyed Elli and Ethan's interactions throughout all the shenanigans, and later Terrence.

Basically a nice little story in this series canon. ( )
1 vote cendri | May 30, 2014 |
3.5 stars

Originally posted at Fantasy Literature: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/ethan-of-athos/

Athos is a planet of men. No women are allowed — they are evil and they ruin good men. Since there isn’t a lot of immigration to Athos (their advertising campaigns just don’t seem to be very effective), they need to create baby boys to keep the population from dying out. Dr Ethan Urquhart is one of the men who’s responsible for using stock ovarian cultures to create and incubate male babies in uterine replicators. When the ovarian cultures begin to give out, Ethan orders new stock, but when it arrives it is full of the wrong kind of material. Something has gone wrong. Now Ethan must be sent off-planet to find new ovaries. Ethan is pretty nervous about his quest — he knows that there are women out there and that they are all out to capture and degrade men. He plans to stay well away from them, get his job done, and return to the safety of Athos as fast as he can.

But Ethan gets tangled up in interplanetary politics — someone has some dastardly plans for Athos and it has something to do with the wrong ovarian cultures Ethan received. Now he’s in mortal danger. Fortunately, he’s not alone because the beautiful mercenary Elli Quinn, who we know (and love) from most of the other VORKOSIGAN books, has been investigating this plot from the other end. If Ethan wants to stay alive, he must work with Elli (a woman!) to solve the mystery.

If you can get past the silly premise (an all-male planet) which, of course, is meant to be silly, you’ll find that Lois McMaster Bujold has not only provided us with a fun story (how can this not be fun?) with all the usual Bujold elements (genetic engineering plots, shooting, hiding, torture, escapes, rescues, etc.) but has also provided us with a little more substance than this type of unisex planet story has received by pulp writers in the past. Bujold lets us see an all-male culture at work.

Unlike the better VORKOSIGAN books, Ethan of Athos is somewhat predictable and has a naively incompetent protagonist, but it’s still a worthy read. Here we get to know Elli Quinn better and we learn how she feels about Miles Vorkosigan (the main protagonist of the series) and why she admires him so much. Miles never actually appears in Ethan of Athos, though Elli talks about him a lot.
Ethan of Athos is the third book that Lois McMaster Bujold published, but the events related in this story occur much later in the VORKOSIGAN SAGA, between Cetaganda and The Borders of Infinity. It doesn’t really matter when you read

Ethan of Athos, though, because it’s more of a side story. New readers could even start here, if they like, or it could be skipped all together. It’s not important to the rest of the series, but it gives us more insight into Bujold’s world and allows us to get to know Elli Quinn better. Plus, it’s amusing. I read Blackstone Audio’s version narrated by the excellent Grover Gardner. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gutierrez, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jainschigg, NicholasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruddell, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067165604X, Mass Market Paperback)

Our hero is a quiet, upstanding citizen of Athos, an obstetrician in a world in which reproduction is carried out entirely via uterine replicator, without the aid of living women. Problem: the 200-year-old cultures are not providing eggs the way they used to, and attempts to order replacements by mail have failed catastrophically. But when Ethan is sent to find out what happened and acquire more eggs, he finds himself in a morass of Cetagandan covert ops and Jackson Whole politics--and the only person who's around to rescue him is the inimitable--and, disturbingly, female--Elli Quinn, Dendarii rent-a-spy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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 200 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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