Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Comparing Joey Maverick to Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, and Vice Versa

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Folks, a good friend recently asked me this question: “How would Joey Maverick compare to Lois McMaster Bujold’s hero Miles Naismith Vorkosigan?”

And it got me thinking.

You see, my late husband Michael wrote about space Navy Lieutenant Joey Maverick — something I’m doing my best to carry on — and my friend felt there were a number of similarities between Joey and Miles. And since the two stories haven’t found a wide audience as of yet (stories are available here and here), perhaps a comparison might prove useful . . . and at least it’s something new and different to write about, always a plus.

So here are some of the similarities and differences I saw with regards to Joey and Miles, with a side order of my own hero Bruno the Elfy from AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE thrown in for good measure:

Similarities:

Miles is a very smart young man who out-thinks others and has any number of adventures, most of which he can’t talk about on Barrayar itself due to security concerns. He’s steadfast, resolute, has morals and ethics and principles, and will stand by them to the death, if need be — though thank goodness for cryosuspension. He has an unusual sense of humor.

Joey is a very smart young man who thinks faster than others and has several adventures, most of which he can’t talk about on the planet of his birth due to security concerns. He, too, is steadfast, resolute, has morals and ethics and principles, and like Miles, has an unusual sense of humor.

And just for kicks, Bruno the Elfy is a very smart young being who is used to out-thinking others, but gives himself no credit for doing so because he’s been told he’s stupid his entire life. He figures talking about any adventures he has is pointless, because at the start of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, he has no friends worth mentioning . . . and afterward, well, his new friend Sarah has been with him the whole way through, so why bother talking about anything? (She already knows it.)

Bruno’s sense of humor is so odd, it’s downright bizarre . . . and while he has morals, ethics and principles, he comes at things from a sideways angle that may or may not always be fully understood by those around him.

Differences:

Miles is handicapped with brittle bones. He’s actually died and been revived, which left him with a seizure disorder. He’s retired from his main career as a commander of a mercenary unit (that did a great deal of spying for Barrayar on the side) due to his injuries, suffered in the line of duty. He’s a man who’s maximized the totality of his existence, and knows it, and is satisfied by it.

Joey, as yet, is still a healthy young man, though eventually he’s going to lose an eye (Michael’s story “A Dark and Stormy Night” references Joey’s cybernetic eye in the prequel section, where Joey’s an old man). Only one life for Joey . . . his military career is ongoing. He’s still in the process of coming to his full adult capabilities, and many adventures await as he comes to terms with the totality of himself. Eventually Joey will bond with an empathic, sentient creature . . . but that, too, is in his future.

Bruno the Elfy is a very young being — an adolescent, in our parlance. While Bruno has enormous magical gifts, he’s not fully aware of what to do with them, and because he was intentionally mistrained at the behest of the Elfy High Council, he’s having to throw off a whole lot of nonsense in addition to becoming the Elfy he was meant to be.

Mind, it’s not that easy to compare a fantasy world — even if it’s an urban fantasy like my own AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE — with either Bujold’s own Vorkoverse or my husband’s Joey Maverick universe. But it is fun, talking about three of my favorite heroes . . .  especially as I never once thought Joey Maverick had anything whatsoever in common with Miles Naismith Vorkosigan before my friend pointed it out as a possibility.

At any rate, what do you think of this comparison? Does it make any sense? Or is it just odd? Please let me know in the comments.

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