“Dreamweaver’s Dilemma” (short story) by Lois McMaster Bujold
“Dreamweaver’s Dilemma” is a short story set at the beginning of Earth’s age of space colonization and genetic manipulation. It is published in the book entitled Dreamweaver’s Dilemma, which is a collection of short stories and essays by Bujold that had been previously unpublished and that she gathered together in this volume prior to her appearance at a NESFA convention. “Dreamweaver’s Dilemma” contains the first mention of Beta Colony. It is also the only Vorkosigan Saga story not published or re-published by Baen Books. (from the wiki.)
The very first thing I’ve read by Bujold, and it starts so well. Immediately we start with the idea that a woman is there to be subtly threatened or made to feel uncomfortable (but in that passive-aggressive way that challenges the woman to speak up in the first place), and soon goes on to explore how the woman should be in some sort of shame for her job (romance related, like next level writing of mills & boon style novels). It is a little disappointing that she isn’t capable to handle herself and she does retreat to a male friend for assistance, but is ultimately able to handle things herself.
The way technology is cleverly weaved through this piece, and the way virtual dreams can be experienced in this dream are both fascinating, especially how this now fits as head-canon for any and all other futuristic tech novels that also explore similar ideas.
Surprisingly, most reviews of this short and the collection it’s found in are less than favourable. As I enjoyed this, I guess I only have even more to look forward to as we move on!