Lois McMaster Bujold's Sci-Fi

Coragem

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Hi there:

My wife and I both very much like Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy (Sharing Knife and Chalion).

Now, I like my sci-fi, and was wondering, where's the ideal place to start with her sci-fi. Of the books in the Miles Vorkosigan universe the chronology seems a little haphazard.

I was thinking of beginning with The Warriors Apprentice ...

Coragem.
 

TheDustyZebra

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Well, the actual beginning of the Vorkosigan series is Cordelia's Honor, although it was written after some of the others. I personally would recommend that you start there, but you could also start with Young Miles or the books which make that one up, which escape me at the moment because I've never read them separately but I believe you're on the right track with The Warrior's Apprentice. Seems like Cordelia's Honor might be made up of some smaller books, as well, but I forget. Anyway, if you don't start there, catch up to it before tackling the majority of the other works -- it is the start of Miles, after all, even if he barely manages to make an appearance by the end. :)

They do actually go in reasonable order from there, so it would be good to keep an eye on that.
 

Parson

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Indeed the best place to start is Cordelia's Honor which is an omnibus of the best two (BY FAR!!!) of the series: Shards of Honor and Barayyar. After that I thought they went seriously downhill and stopped reading them about 4 more into it. They just stopped ringing true for me.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Wasn't Cordelia's Honor one of the books we read and discussed for our (long defunct) book club? The thread is around here somewhere, if anyone is interested.

I enjoyed the book, but somehow never went on to read the rest of the series.
 

K. Riehl

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If you read The Curse of Chalion you will see some slight similarities between Miles and Cazaril.

The author recommends that you read the Vorkosigan books in published order.

Shards of Honor
Warrior's Apprentice
Brother's In Arms
Borders of Infinity(Collection)
The Vor Game
Barrayar
Mirror Dance
Cetaganda
Memory
Komarr
Civil Campaign
Diplomatic Immunity
Cryoburn

You might also like Falling Free, a stand alone that won the Nebula Award
 

Rodders

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I've only read one of the Miles Vorkosigan books and i very much enjoyed it. I don't know why, but i never got around to reading any more.
 

Coragem

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They just stopped ringing true for me.
I enjoyed the book, but somehow never went on to read the rest of the series.
I don't know why, but i never got around to reading any more.
My goodness, quite a theme emerging here. Looks like something must be missing if so many people don't feel sufficiently engaged to stick with the series.

As I always say, I like my reading to in some way reflect a positive view of humanity. Dark stories and dark characters are fine, but I get depressed unless I can identify with a hero (or anti-hero) or two, who is at least trying to do the "right" thing.

To put it another way, I'm a sucker for heroism and romance.

So far, for me Lois McMaster Bujold's stuff has fitted the bill.

Coragem.
 

pyan

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Well I'm going to buck the trend here by saying that I've read, and more to the point bought, every single book in the Vorkosiganiverse, and LMB is one of only three authors whose books I buy in hardback as soon as they're released. (The other two are Sir Terry Pratchett, and Jim Butcher)

Thoroughly recommended, if you like SF tempered with a lot of humanity and angst: I once saw them described as "If Dorothy L Sayers had written SF, this would have been the result", and certainly A Civil Campaign reminds me very much of DLS.

The best thing to do if you want to read the whole saga, Coragem, is to buy the hardback edition of Cryoburn. This comes with a free CD which has just about all the Miles stories on it in most ereader and PC formats.

But don't just take my word for it - just look at the awards and nominations the Saga has picked up...

Falling Free – won the Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1988; nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1989
"Mountains of Mourning" – won the 1990 Hugo and Nebula awards for best novella
The Vor Game – won the Hugo for Best Novel in 1991; nominated for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel that same year
Barrayar – won the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1992; nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1991
Mirror Dance – won the Hugo and Locus Awards for Best Novel in 1995
Cetaganda – nominated for the Locus Award in 1997
Memory – nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards in 1997
A Civil Campaign – nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards in 2000
Diplomatic Immunity – nominated for the Nebula Award in 2002
Cryoburn – nominated for the Hugo Award and Locus Award in 2011

Enjoy!
 

Ian Whates

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Sound advice from the green and tentacled one (that's you, Pyan!). I too have read all of Bujold's SF and thoroughly enjoyed all bar one (Falling Free, which I hated: daft and very slow-moving).

I too bought the hardback of Cryoburn, principally for the new novel itself but also for the CD (despite having all the books except Falling Free already).

There are shortcomings of various sorts in some of the the books, but overall they're great fun with characters you can't help but warm to.
 

pyan

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(Falling Free, which I hated: daft and very slow-moving).
yes, I'd agree: yet another example of taking the Hugo and Nebula award status with a pinch of salt...

The only other one I wasn't too keen on was Ethan of Athos - but I suspect that that's because even having the mighty Quinn featured doesn't make up for the lack of Miles. But there again, neither does Shards of Honour, and he's peripheral in Barrayar (both peripheral and vital to the plot, which takes some doing, BTW), and I really like those two, so really I'm arguing in circles here...
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Oh, I know there are a huge number of fans for the series, who are always clamoring for another book about Miles.

I'll probably get around to reading some of the others someday, but what I really want is an other book in the Chalion series.
 

chrispenycate

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Oh, I know there are a huge number of fans for the series, who are always clamoring for another book about Miles.

I'll probably get around to reading some of the others someday, but what I really want is an other book in the Chalion series.
Which should be possible because there are five gods, and so far we've had the daughter, the son and the bastard.

Not that the parents will be easy.

I've not yet got cryoburn – perhaps this christmas? – but have read almost everything else Vor (the "almost" is for "Winterfair gifts", a short) largely out of sequence, and all my remaining books of hers the covers are worn, binding coming apart – lived in. Partly from me rereading, largely from being lent out to infect others.

Not unconditional, though; I didn't like "Spirit Ring".
 

Parson

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Sound advice from the green and tentacled one (that's you, Pyan!). I too have read all of Bujold's SF and thoroughly enjoyed all bar one (Falling Free, which I hated: daft and very slow-moving).
"Falling Free" was one book that I wished Bujold had written some sequels to. Next to Shard's of Honor, this is my favorite book of hers.
 

TheDustyZebra

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Oh yes, I didn't really mention my unbridled enthusiasm for all things Milesian in my previous post! The Vorkosigan series is on my most treasured bookshelf along with Honor Harrington and everything Spider Robinson. I re-read them all on average of once a year, although I have been slacking the past two years upon realizing that I might, indeed, be mortal and have a limit to the number of books remaining to me. Still, I find it hard to resist the call of that shelf.
 

Hypnos164

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I'm a big fan of Bujold in all genres (automatic hardback purchase), but that all started with Miles.

I think The Warriors Apprentice is a pretty good place to start - in terms of series chronology its the first book with Miles as the central character; if you don't bond with Miles you are going to struggle with the rest...
 

Coragem

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Well, I've already ordered a few, but it's good to have some reassuring comments.

I've found that, at times, my options with sci-fi have been a little limited -- partly because, as noted, I'm really not keen on books that ultimately fail to express an optimistic view of human nature. Also, I find that fantasy books are (speaking very generally) more consistent in terms of putting characters at the centre.

A few of the posts above mention David Weber, and the tenor of his work does suit me very well. I just find that, as a writer myself, his writing doesn't stretch me. I don't put down to any lack of talent on his part. He must be an absolute genius to churn out solid novels as he does, but that (to a degree) is likely to mean quantity and not always the very highest quality.

Coragem.
 

Vertigo

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I have only recently started reading Bujold. I have read Falling Free which I quite liked in a quirky sort of way. Oh and Parson don't the Quaddies put in an appear in one of the later Vor books? I have also read Shards of Honor which I also enjoyed but it was a little heavy on the romance for my taste. I shall probably go on to read more of them in the future.
 

Parson

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Vertigo,

I certainly don't remember reading anything about them later, but then like I said I only read about 4 of the Miles books ---- Is that the same thing as the Vor books? Or is that a different series set in the same universe?
 

chrispenycate

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Miles is Miles Vorkosigan, and does not appear in the first book (Shards of Honor), only just manages to get born for the second, and only becomes the central character with the third. So "Milesverse" is not entirely accurate (especially as cousin Ivan seems to be the focus of the latest, as yet unfinished, book in the series).

But as Barrayan aristocrats are prefixed "Vor", "Vorverse" (for the entire wormhole nexus series) is adequately accurate.

Yes, the Quaddies reappear in "Diplomatic Immunity", the last but one full-length published Miles/Vor book.
 

Vertigo

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Nope same series Miles Vorkosigan books. As best I can tell there is a Quaddie in Borders of Inifinity and in Diplomatic Immunity (currently the last full novel in the series I think) Miles is dispatched on a diplomatic mission to the Quaddies' system. I have not read either; this is only going on the blurb.

Gah, Chrispy dropped that whilst I was typing! And no doubt his assessment is far more correct!
 
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