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Miles Errant by Lois McMaster Bujold
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THE BORDERS OF INFINITY:

The Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold is a novella about Miles Vorkosigan and chronologically comes after Labyrinth, another novella. I first read it about five years ago and have now reread it as part of the ongoing Vorkosigan Saga reread you might have noticed if you're a regular reader of this blog.

This was one of the more memorable novellas in the Vorkosigan Saga, I thought. My memories of it turned out to not be entirely reliable — it's not set on an ice moon prison, just a normal crappy but almost habitable planet. What I remembered liking most about the story was Miles being clever, but of course I couldn't remember his actual plan when I was rereading. In any case, Miles being clever is hardly something new for readers familiar with the character.

The most notable aspect of this story is that it is not really funny like most of the Vorkosigan stories are. Miles is in a crappy PoW camp, surrounded by death and brutality, and outside of the camp watching Cetagandans have total control over their lives. Even Miles can't remain indefinitely upbeat in such a situation, even when he has faith that rescue is coming. Bujold uses the opportunity to show us another side of war, which has at most only been hinted at in previous books. We saw wartime prisoners of the Barrayarans in Shards of Honour, but what we saw there wasn't nearly as bleak as the situation in The Borders of Infinity (which is not to say it couldn't have been as bad in a Barrayaran rather than Cetagandan PoW camp, just that Cordelia and Aral didn't allow it to be so).

Overall, this is a solid instalment in the Vorkosigan Saga and one that works pretty well as a standalone story. You don't have to know anything much about Miles's past to make sense of this present and there are only a few oblique references to external events, the missing of which wouldn't diminish the story, in my opinion. I recommend it to fans of Bujold and the other Vorkosigan stories and suggest that it is a reasonable sample of the same with the caveat that they are usually a bit more cheerful (albeit sometimes darkly so).

4 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

BROTHERS IN ARMS:

Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold is my latest re-read of the Vorkosigan Saga. Chronologically it follows on directly from the novella "Borders of Infinity" and I think it would be really weird not to read them in that order.

The events in this book take place over about a week on Earth, in London. With no rain. Miles and his Dendarii fleet stop by for repairs and to continue avoiding the Cetagandans who have a hit out on Miles. While there, he gets embroiled in events centred around the Barrayaran embassy, because there is always trouble wherever Miles is.

While I remembered the most crucial development in this book from my first read through, I had completely forgotten that this was the first time we met Duv Galeni and also that Ivan was in it. Furthermore, because I knew what happened later, there were some extra hilarious bits, mostly near the start. Excellent and seemingly innocent foreshadowing on Bujold's part.

This book made me laugh more than I expected, which was pretty much what I wanted from it. As far as recommendations go, any regular readers of my blog will know that I recommend reading Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga generally. In this specific case, I'd say Brothers in Arms stands alone well, but I would still recommend reading the earlier books in the series to better enjoy the series as a whole. There's also a little bit of background knowledge from earlier books that places this one into better context — although Bujold does a reasonable job of explaining it to the reader anyway.

5 / 5 stars

You can read more reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Aug 22, 2017 |
This 4th omnibus in the Vorkosigan series contains the novella "The Borders of Infinity" (66 pgs; 3★) and two novels, "Brothers in Arms" (241 pgs; 4★) and "Mirror Dance" (432 pgs; 4★).

The Vorkosigan series is such fun reading! I found the 3 stories in this omnibus were connected by a shared theme of identity -- what makes us who we are? How much of ourselves comes from outside versus innate traits? These questions are highlighted by the introduction of a surprising new character Miles' clone and therefore younger brother, Mark Vorkosigan.

I love the fact that after I surface from the adventure of these books, there is more to mull over. ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 29, 2015 |
Wow. These books really just keep getting better! ( )
  cendri | May 30, 2014 |
Contains:
Borders of Infinity
Brothers in Arms
Mirror Dance ( )
  SChant | Jul 22, 2013 |
Follow this link for my review of the short story 'The Borders of Infinity' contained within this omnibus edition of the Vorkosigan space opera series.

Follow this link for my review of Brothers in Arms.

Follow this link for my review of Mirror Dance.

This omnibus edition didn't include any author's note or forward. It did include a time line for Miles as an addendum.

Overall, the series took a more serious and dramatic turn in these two novels and short story. Oddly, I look forward to reading each new novel because the concept is so different from what I'm used to in a fantasy series. Miles isn't on a quest, he's not the 'Chosen One', he's not cursed, he's not magically endowed beyond reason nor does he have a wizardly mentor leading him around by the nose. He uses his talents, his intelligence, his wit and his heart to great effect. He inspires others to exceed their perceived limitations, even some enemies.

I am looking forward to reading the next novel Memory next month. ( )
1 vote mossjon | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hickman, StevenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Whether he's rescuing prisoners, keeping his enemies from replacing him with a clone, or coming back from his own dysfunctional death, Miles gets the job done. Of course, it may not be "quite" the job his superiors wanted done.

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