Lois McMaster Bujold scored the 1995 Hugo Award for Mirror Dance, one of the many books in her “Vorkosigan Adventures”. I enjoyed this one so much that I’m tempted to explore the rest of the series, but I want to keep my literary train moving.
Mirror Dance centers around the physically stunted Miles Vorkosigan and his psychologically tormented clone, Mark Vorkosigan. The two fight and charm their way through an aggressive stage of political powers using their shared genius and endless ambition. I feel like I’m not doing the plot much justice here… it really is fantastic.
But the real brilliance behind this book is the character construction of Mark, the clone raised from birth to assassinate his “father”. Mark’s internal monologue – the struggle against his demons – is incredible. Being able to create that character and build those thought processes takes quite a lot of skill. My hat is off to Ms. Bujold.
In terms of science fiction, what you’re mainly dealing with is cloning and advanced medicine. There is some FTL travel and futuristic weapons, but scifi technology is not the focus of this book. Maybe you’d consider this a “space opera”, but a great story is a great story no matter how you classify it.