The Vorkosigan Saga Continues!

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The Vorkosigan Saga Continues!

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Dec 20, 2016, 9:14pm


We had a really successful Vorkosigan group read in 2014. It was so successful that we kept it going throughout 2015 ... and 2016. Lois McMaster Bujold helped by publishing a new novel in 2016 and we can only hope that more Vorkosigan stories are in the works.

There is interest in continuing the discussion, so I'm creating a shiny new thread for 2017, though I won't be listing this as an "official" 2017 Category Challenge group read.

I hope participants in the earlier threads will join again, and I extend a warm welcome to new readers of the wonderful Vorkosigan series!

Dec 20, 2016, 9:15pm

Here is information and links copied from the previous thread.

The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science-fiction novels, novellas and short stories by Lois McMaster Bujold.

I can rave about this series myself, but Jo Walton says it so much better.

The number of books in this series may seem daunting, but you don't have to start at the beginning and work through the books in strict order. See Bujold's own recommendations regarding reading order.

Whether you are a long-time Bujold fan who's read everything she's written or trying her work for the first time, please join us for this continuing group read!

Related Links:

The list of books in publication order

The list of books in chronological order

Wiki page for this group read

The 2014 group read thread

The 2016 group read thread

Tor's reread of the Vorkosigan saga

Edited: Dec 21, 2016, 12:37am

Here is a copy of the post with recommendations on the order to read that Joe (jnwelch) made for me on his 75 thread. Joe is awesome!

Joe's (jnwelch) recommendation

Cordelia Naismith

Shards of Honor (1986)
Barrayar (1991)—Hugo Award winner, Locus Award winner, 1992, Nebula Award nominee, 1991
(Cordelia's Honor (1996)—Combined edition of Shards of Honor and Barrayar with an afterword by the author).

Miles Vorkosigan

The Warrior's Apprentice (1986)
Borders of Infinity (1989)
Brothers in Arms (1989)
The Vor Game (1990)
Mirror Dance (1994)
Cetaganda (1995)
Memory (1996)
Komarr (1998)
A Civil Campaign (1999)
Diplomatic Immunity (2002)
Winterfair Gifts (2008) (novella)
Cryoburn (2010)
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (2012)


Ethan of Athos (1986)
Falling Free (1988)

Reading the series in this order would work out well. As I mentioned, I read Warrior's Apprentice first, and then went back to Shards of Honor and Barrayar. I liked that because it was an immediate intro to Miles and let me know I'd want to read the rest. I'm sure that's why the bookseller recommended I start with that.

But Shards and Barrayar lead up to Warrior's Apprentice, and Cordelia is a wonderful character (just wait!) A lot of people, and the author, would recommend you read them first.

You could read the two "Other" ones (Ethan of Athos and Falling Free) anywhere in there, after you're a ways into the series, as far as I'm concerned. They're set in the same universe, and feature non-Vorkosigan characters.

Some folks would have you start with Falling Free, as it is first in time.

Some folks also mention Dreamweaver's Dilemma, a collection of short stories, most non-Vorkosigan. I haven't read it. I think the one Vorkosigan story in it is Mountains of Mourning (great story), which also is in Borders of Infinity, up above.

So that is Joe's recommendation :)

Of course we have the new one out!

Dec 21, 2016, 7:51am

>3 luvamystery65: Thanks for posting this, Roberta!

Dec 21, 2016, 10:47am

I hope to read a couple Vorkosigan books this year! So far, I've read Cordelia's Honor (Shards of Honor and Barrayar) and Young Miles (The Warrior's Apprentice, The Mountains of Mourning, and The Vor Game). Next up for me would be the Miles, Mystery, and Mayhem omnibus, which includes Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, and Labyrinth.

Dec 21, 2016, 12:58pm

Woo! Thanks for making this thread. I'm not quite halfway through the series...

Dec 21, 2016, 3:38pm

Thanks for continuing the Vorkosigan Thread, Paulina. I am also still working my through the series. Next up for me will be Ethan of Athos or Memory.

Edited: Dec 21, 2016, 3:44pm

>7 DeltaQueen50: we're close, Memory is my second-next read. Mirror Dance is my next read.

Dec 21, 2016, 11:08pm

Dec 22, 2016, 3:09pm

I'm so tempted to try this series. A few years ago I would have said not as I always thought I wasn't much of a SF reader, but after doing the SFFF CAT in 2014, I'm more open than I used to be. You all write about how well it is written, etc that I might try one this year even though it won't help my TBR pile. I really don't need to get sucked into another series either.

Dec 22, 2016, 3:28pm

>10 dudes22: I do hope you'll give the Vorkosigan series a try. I believe it's a good series for readers who are not necessarily huge fans of SF. While the SF ideas and settings are certainly present, I find that Bujold's strength is in character development. There's also a lot of humour in her books, as well as intricate plots.

Dec 22, 2016, 4:19pm

>10 dudes22: I started the series this year, and it's only added a couple omnibuses to my shelves, worth keeping!

Dec 22, 2016, 8:13pm

>7 DeltaQueen50: & >8 fuzzi: I'm super jealous that you have Memory ahead of you! It's my favorite of the series.

Judy I would read/listen to Ethan of Athos then give Memory a read/listen. It's a game changer in the series.

Dec 23, 2016, 6:23am

I've got a couple on my shelf - for once not some random middle of the series book, but rather Shards of Honor, Falling Free and Ethan of Athos. As I'm nearing the end of the Wheel of Time, I might give this one a try next year.

Dec 23, 2016, 7:28am

>14 sushicat: I really liked the first two you listed, though Ethan of Athos was entertaining as well. :)

Dec 23, 2016, 8:02am

>14 sushicat: >15 fuzzi: Ethan of Athos is actually one of my favourites, even though it doesn't feature Miles or Cordelia. I found the ideas related to medical ethics very thought-provoking.

Dec 23, 2016, 12:28pm

>13 luvamystery65: Ok, Ethan of Athos it is! Thanks, Ro!

Dec 23, 2016, 12:42pm

Ethan of Athos fits the Culture CAT for January.

Dec 23, 2016, 3:35pm

I reread Cryoburn this week as a change of pace from the non-fiction I've got going. It was just as interesting and good as the first time.

I'm thinking either Ivan's book or Ethan of Athos in January. Or both!

Dec 23, 2016, 5:23pm

>18 luvamystery65: I'm in for January, Ro!

Dec 26, 2016, 11:24am

While I own the whole series (minus the newest 2), I've been stalled in Shards of Honor since 2014. Shame on me! I loved the book, it just kept getting put aside. It's now sitting on my "stalled" shelf, facing me all the time, so it's a constant reminder that I need to get back to it, and this awesome series. And while I'm sure I'm the furthest behind, I'm glad to see this pop up again for 2017.

Dec 27, 2016, 3:37pm

Logging in. Thanks for continuing the thread!

Jan 23, 2017, 9:47pm

Just wanted to bump this thread up. I know a number of you have been reading Vorkosigan books for the CAT and KIT challenges. Please feel free to post your thoughts here as well. :)

Jan 24, 2017, 12:31am

I forgot to come here and say that I did read Ethan of Athos in January and I loved it. Different from the other Vorkosigans that I have read in that neither Miles nor his mother were in this one. Instead we treated to a compelling story and have the wonderful Elli Quinn along for the ride.

Next up for me will be Memory which I do hope to get to soon.

Jan 24, 2017, 5:49am

I also read Ethan of Athos in January and have have Barrayer up next possibly in February.

Jan 24, 2017, 1:24pm

You're all encouraging me to read Ethan of Athos. I hadn't gotten to it because it was outside the Vorkosigans. I will now.

Jan 24, 2017, 2:45pm

I've had Ethan and Cetaganda sitting on my TBR soon pile for a year. I'm a lost cause!

Jan 24, 2017, 3:27pm

Read Ethan of Athos again. Just as good the second time.

Jan 24, 2017, 4:23pm

>25 Kristelh: I loved LOVED Barrayer. I just recently found a used copy of Cordelia's Honor which contains that novel and Shards of Honor. I still love those two books the best, even though I'm enjoying Miles' adventures.

Sep 2, 2017, 12:02am

I have finally posted my review on Komarr - which I also re-read. I see the end of the series fast approaching, despite my desperate attempts to draw it out.

Edited: Jan 30, 2019, 12:41am

I'm still reading! I don't want it to end ...

(Read in November 2018 and finally posted my review now.)

55) Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

(Fourteenth of 17 (I suppose): Vorkosigan saga (chronological order). Science fiction, space opera)

Miles - Imperial Auditor and thus Voice of the Emperor when necessary - and his bride are returning home from their delayed honeymoon with the happy expectation of hatching their first two children from their incubators when he is diverted by the Emperor to resolve affairs on Graf Station in Quaddie-space on behalf of Barrayar and the Empress Laissa.

According to the Barrayaran military escort of a Komarran merchant fleet, they were trying to rescue one of their number from the space station. However, the quaddies, who have two pairs of arms instead of a pair each of arms and legs and are more comfortable in free-fall, dispute this version of events and have impounded the fleet as well as imprisoning the offending soldiers. Meanwhile, the merchants are anxious to be on their way especially as some of them are transporting time-sensitive cargo.

Lieutenant Solian, a security officer with the fleet, is missing, presumed dead. A quantity of his blood has been found, but not his body. And the jump ship pilot, whom the Barrayarans were 'rescuing', wants to apply to Graf Station for asylum so he can stay with his new quaddie love, Garnet Five. Sealer Greenlaw, in charge of Graf Station, wants reparation. But, as always with Miles, things are not as easy as they first appear.

Fortunately, he runs into some old friends on Graf Station - Bel Thorne, ex of the Dendarii Mercenaries and Nicol, a beautiful quaddie who (... well, never mind) - who are willing to see his side of things. And he is also married to Ekaterin, a woman who not only understands his quirks but can keep a cool head in a crisis.

I found things a little slow going at first, but that could have been due to my reduced reading time during the week. On Saturday, though, I raced through the last half of the book as events started coming together and time started to run out for Miles and co. I think that's when we see Miles at his best.

I did appreciate the scene with the babies, and I had to empathise. Who in their right minds let Miles become a parent? Or me, either? But my two are now 9 and 14 (gosh, already? But I’m still trying to work out what to do); I don’t know how they survived. Or me, either.
He stared at the two bundles more than filling his lap in a kind of cosmic amazement.

"We did it," he muttered to Ekaterin, now perching on the chair arm. "Why didn't anybody stop us? Why aren't there more regulations about this sort of thing? What fool in their right mind would put me in charge of a baby? Two babies?"...

... He had been the end point of human evolution. At this moment he abruptly felt more like a missing link. I thought I knew everything. Surely I knew nothing. How had his own life become such a surprise to him, so utterly rearranged? His brain had whirled with a thousand plans for these tiny lives, visions of the future both hopeful and dire, funny and fearful. For a moment, it seemed to come to a full stop. I have no idea who these two people are going to be.

4.5 stars

Jan 30, 2019, 3:38pm

>31 humouress:, I hope to keep reading but no immediate plans.

Jan 30, 2019, 3:41pm

Nice to see this thread is still alive! I've finished reading the series but I still enjoy seeing the reviews and discussion.

Jan 30, 2019, 7:37pm

The next one for me is Mirror Dance, but I don't have a copy.

Jan 30, 2019, 11:07pm

Excellent review, Nina!

Jan 31, 2019, 3:47pm

Ha! Lovely review of Diplomatic Immunity, Nina. I'm glad you've continued with the series. I want to re-read them all at some point.

Edited: Jan 31, 2019, 5:33pm

>32 Kristelh: >33 mathgirl40: >34 fuzzi: I’m still reading! I’ll keep going to the end of the series but, as I said, I’m drawing it out to savour it.

>35 ronincats: Thanks Roni.

>36 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. They do bear re-reading and re-re-reading well.

ETA ... but that first discovery is the sweetest.

Feb 6, 2019, 9:33am

Notice: I just saw that there is a short story at the beginning of the saga called Aftermaths. It appears to be an old unpublished before story, now released in her new book Proto Zoa. I've just ordered it from the library on audio. The blurb there lists it as :

this collection features the short stories "Barter," "Garage Sale," "The Hole Truth," "Dreamweaver's Dilemma," and "Aftermaths."

Oct 30, 2019, 12:28am

LINK to link to unpublished prologue to Diplomatic Immunity here.

Nov 16, 2019, 4:01pm

I've been re-reading Mirror Dance for a few weeks. It's possibly the most painful of all the books. First the lead-in-the-belly feeling watching Mark's clumsy actions. Then, of course, the family trying to deal with its consequences.

But oh! Mark growing into his name and his heritage are just beautifully written. Bujold has a knack for distilling the essentials of character. I love her.

Nov 16, 2019, 6:37pm

>40 2wonderY: that's the book I stalled on, hoping to get back into the series at some point.

Nov 18, 2019, 7:43am

>41 fuzzi: I certainly understand the stall. It was difficult for me, and I knew the plot and had visited once before. It has essential history if you are going to continue the series. This is Mark's book, but it's also an important chapter for Miles.

Nov 24, 2019, 1:52pm

I'm going to give Labyrinth a try before long to restart myself in the series. I know I read it long long ago in Analog (along with The Weatherman which I remember slightly) but I don't recall it at all. Unfortunately I am in a reading slump with real life distracting me from the books waiting for me. big sigh

Glad to see continuing interest in this old thread. I stalled out on Ethan of Athos.

Dec 10, 2019, 1:06pm

Just a bit of news for those of you who enjoy Lois McMaster Bujold :

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has named Lois McMaster Bujold as the 36th Damon Knight Grand Master, one of science fiction’s highest honors.

Read about it here: