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Encyclopedia > Vorkosigan Saga

The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science fiction novels and short stories by Lois McMaster Bujold, most of which concern Miles Vorkosigan, a disabled aristocrat from the planet Barrayar who heads his own private mercenary fleet at the age of just seventeen. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Lois McMaster Bujold (November 2, 1949, Columbus, Ohio) is an American author of science fiction and fantasy works. ... Miles Vorkosigan on the cover of A Civil Campaign. ... Barrayar is a planet in Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series of novels and stories. ...


The novels The Vor Game, Barrayar, and Mirror Dance each won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, while Falling Free, Memory, and A Civil Campaign were nominated but did not win. The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works. ...


The stories are listed in order of chronology, rather than publication date. Shards of Honor and Barrayar concern Miles' parents, while "Dreamweaver's Dilemma" and Falling Free and Ethan of Athos are set in the same universe as the other books but do not involve Miles or any of his family.


Warrior's Apprentice was the first book sold in the series, even though it was not the first book written, published, or story chronology first in the series. It was actually the second novel written in the series, after Shards of Honor. But neither book had been accepted by any publishing house. It was rejected four times before being accepted by Baen Books and starting Lois McMaster Bujold's writing career. Baen Books purchased Warrior's Apprentice and agreed to pick up the other book as part of the deal. Baen Books logo Baen Books is an American publishing company established in 1983 by SF publishing industry long-timer Jim Baen (1943-2006). ... Lois McMaster Bujold (November 2, 1949, Columbus, Ohio) is an American author of science fiction and fantasy works. ... Baen Books logo Baen Books is an American publishing company established in 1983 by SF publishing industry long-timer Jim Baen (1943-2006). ...

Contents

Background

The Wormhole Nexus

Travel between star systems is by wormholes, spatial anomalies that exist in five spatial dimensions, that allow instantaneous travel from one star to another. Most trips between inhabited systems require more than one jump. The spaceships employ artificial gravity and can sustain huge accelerations, allowing them to cross from one wormhole to another in a matter of hours or days. The inhabited systems are known collectively as the Wormhole Nexus, reflecting their interconnectedness.


Life in the Nexus is tremendously varied. Some people live in space habitats with artificial gravity and never set foot on a planet. Aside from space industry, habitats are positioned near wormhole jump-points to manage interstellar traffic. The jump-points are also guarded by military stations, which also serve as customs enforcers.


It is possible to invade a system through a wormhole, though there are also ways to temporarily block access by sending a ship to destroy itself in transit on a suicide mission. Wormhole jump pilots are hard to replace, so this kind of tactic is rarely used even by cultures which, like Barrayar's, hold life relatively cheap. As Miles Vorkosigan notes at one point, the best way to capture a wormhole is from both sides simultaneously. This creates room for plots involving trickery and skulduggery.


The inhabitable planets of the Nexus are home to all kinds of sub-groups of humanity, from the all-male culture on Athos to the liberal, technologically advanced Beta Colony, to the hegemonistic Cetagandan Empire, from the cut-throat, capitalistic Jackson's Whole, to the moderate and scientific Escobar, with plenty of industrial, agricultural and even pirate planets in between. Ethan of Athos is a science fiction novel which is part of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ... Beta Colony is an important planet (although rarely the setting) in Lois McMaster Bujolds science fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Cetaganda is the collective name for an 8-planet empire in the wormhole Nexus of the Vorkosigan Saga novels of Lois McMaster Bujold. ... Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Escobar is a planet in the science fiction series The Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Some aspects of the Nexus are quite terrifying. Apart from the usual kinds of death by impact, explosion, fire etc., there are weapons which target the nervous system, such as the nerve disruptor pistol, which can kill or merely cripple for life with a single blast. The drug fast-penta, which removes all inhibitions in talking, renders lying to interrogators impossible. Cetagandan agents employ chemical and biological agents when necessary, such as the one which reduces its victims to biological goo in the novel Diplomatic Immunity. Gangsters on the criminal planet Jackson's Whole will make genetic monstrosities for cash, provide any form of perversion for entertainment, and even raise clones of rich clients who then have their physical brains transplanted into a younger version of themselves, as an expensive and risky form of immortality. Beta Colony, in contrast, offers ethical genetic treatments and psychotherapy, but even there medical experts may wrongly think they have the right to intervene if they believe someone to have been subjected to mind-altering treatments. Beta also has draconian population control, requiring contraceptive implants for all, even as their sexual mores are among the most tolerant in the Nexus. Fast-penta is a truth drug in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Most of the aspects of the Nexus are there for plot points only, like most other interstellar sagas. The author has mostly avoided the need to work out the ramifications of very powerful ships, access to extreme biotechnology etc.


History of Barrayar

Main article: Barrayar

The planet Barrayar is a terrestrial world with no large indigenous animals. It has some small animals which nonspecialists call "bugs"; and it has a wide variety of plants. Barrayaran life is not edible for terrestrial animals; indeed, there are many plant species to which many humans are violently allergic. Barrayar is a planet in Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series of novels and stories. ... Barrayar is a planet in Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series of novels and stories. ...


Barrayar was colonized by humans principally of Russian, English-speaking, French, and Greek ancestry about three hundred years prior to most of the novels set on the planet. Shortly after colonization, the 50,000 settlers were isolated by a failure of the wormhole which connected Barrayar to civilized planets. During the following two centuries, the planet evolved an imperial form of government reminiscent to 19th century European aristocracy, in which the Emperor was supported by sixty regional counts and other minor aristocrats, identified by adding the prefix Vor- to their names. The Vor of Barrayar are a military caste and essentially aristocracy of the planet Barrayar in the sci-fi book series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Barrayar was eventually rediscovered by a different wormhole route connecting to the rich merchant planet Komarr. The Komarrans took advantage of this discovery by allowing the neighboring expansionist Cetagandan empire to invade Barrayar in return for commercial rights. Despite a significant technological advantage, the Cetagandan invasion was driven back, in large part due to the actions of General Count Piotr Vorkosigan. This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Count Piotr Vorkosigan is the father of Aral Vorkosigan and the grandfather of Miles Vorkosigan in the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


After a brief interregnum of the Mad Emperor Yuri Vorbarra, who was deposed by Vorkosigan and their mutual cousin Ezar Vorbarra, the principal surviving heirs to the throne, and the subsequent maturing of Vorkosigan's surviving son Aral Vorkosigan as the youngest admiral in Barrayaran history, the decision was made to invade Komarr, both for Barrayar's protection and as payback for the Komarran collaboration in the Cetagandan invasion. An unsavory incident in which 200 Komarran leaders were executed during a truce, without Admiral Vorkosigan's knowledge or consent, earned him the nickname "the Butcher of Komarr" and caused significant problems administering the captured planet -- and for Barrayar's reputation. Mad Emperor Yuri is a minor fictional character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series the Vorkosigan Saga Yuri Vorbarra was the one time emperor of the Barrayaran Imperium. ... Ezar Vorbarra is a minor character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Aral Vorkosigan is a fictitious character from Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series. ... Komarr is a planet in Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series of novels and stories. ... The Butcher of Komarr is the infamous title given to Aral Vorkosigan in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci fi series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Vor may derive from a Russian word meaning thief or thief-lord i.e. bandit. It may be related to the Prussian von. There is also the Afrikaans Voortrekker, meaning, roughly, Pioneer. Yet another possible etymology: the somewhat similar-sounding Russian "dvor" means "court", and "dvoryanin" were the "new nobles" created by Ivan The Terrible and Boris Gudunov to counterbalance the boyars (old nobles). See the entry on Muscovy. The Vor of Barrayar are a military caste and essentially aristocracy of the planet Barrayar in the sci-fi book series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Look up Wiktionary:Swadesh lists for Afrikaans and Dutch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Tsar Ivan the Terrible, by Viktor Vasnetsov Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: ) (August 25, 1530, Moscow â€“ March 18, 1584, Moscow) was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and Czar of Russia from 1547 until his death. ... Boris Godunov Boris Fyodorovitch Godunov (Бори́с Фёдорович Годуно́в) (c. ... A Boyar (also spelled as Boya Telugu , Bojar, Romanian: , Boaire Irish ) was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Bulgarian, Romanian, and Russian aristocracy, second only to the ruling princes, from the 10th century through the 17th century. ... Muscovy (Moscow principality (княжество Московское) to Grand Duchy of Moscow (Великое Княжество Московское) to Russian Tsardom (Царство Русское)) is a traditional Western name for the Russian state that existed from the 14th century to the late 17th century. ...


"Dreamweaver's Dilemma" (Short story)

"Dreamweaver's Dilemma" is a short story set in the Vorkosigan universe at the beginning of the age of space colonization and genetic manipulation. It is published in the book also entitled Dreamwever's Dilemma which is a collection of short stories and essays by Lois Bujold.


Falling Free

Falling Free is set about 200 years before Miles' birth. It relates the creation of the "Quaddies", genetically modified people who have four arms, the second pair appearing where unmodified humans would have legs. They were intended to be used as a space labor force, not only superbly adapted to zero-gravity but unable to function "downside" in any but the lightest gravitational field. From the point of view of the commerial interests responsible for their creation, they would be highly profitable, requiring none of the special facilities or mandatory time off needed by downsiders, whose bodies tend to deteriorate over the long term in weightlessness. They would also be completely beholden to the company for life support, and would have no rights as human beings.


Legally, the Quaddies are not classed as human but as "post-fetal experimental tissue cultures". The company treats them as slaves. Their access to information is tightly controlled. Even their children's stories are about working in space. They can be ordered to have babies, or to have a pregnancy terminated. They are the subject of breeding programs, the company compelling the females to mate with a designated male even when they have formed couples. When a new artificial gravity technology renders them both obsolete and a potential political embarrassment to the executives, there are discussions about killing them or sterilising them. Engineer Leo Graf, who is assigned to help train them, helps them break free. They eventually settle in an initially out-of-the-way system which gradually becomes a major part of the Nexus.


Diplomatic Immunity, last book in the series as of 2007, further explores the Quaddies society after some 240 years. It takes place on Graf Station, named for Leo Graf, who is hero and father-figure to the Quaddies.

Preceded by
The Falling Woman
by Pat Murphy
Nebula Award for Best Novel
1988
Succeeded by
The Healer's War
by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

The Falling Woman is a 1986 science fiction novel by Pat Murphy. ... Pat Murphy (Patrice) is an award-winning American author of science fiction and fantasy novels. ... Winners of the Nebula Award for Best Novel. ... See also: 1987 in literature, other events of 1988, 1989 in literature, list of years in literature. ... The Healers War is a 1988 science fiction novel by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. ... Elizabeth Ann Scarborough was born March 23, 1947, and lives in the Puget Sound area of Washington, in a log cabin filled with brilliant colors, beads and cats. ...

Shards of Honor

Cordelia Naismith, captain of an Astronomical Survey ship from the extremely liberal and technologically advanced Beta Colony, is exploring a newly-discovered planet when her base camp is attacked. While investigating, she is surprised by a soldier, hits her head on a rock, and awakens to find that, while most of her crew has escaped, she is marooned with an injured crewman and Captain Lord Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar, notorious throughout human space as the "Butcher of Komarr". He had been left behind by a treacherous rival. During their five-day hike to a secret Barrayaran base, she finds Vorkosigan not at all the monster his reputation suggested, and is strongly attracted to him. She helps him defeat a mutiny, despite some well-intentioned interference from her crew, and allows herself to be "rescued" and returned to Beta Colony. Cordelia Naismith is a fictitious character from Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga. ... Beta Colony is an important planet (although rarely the setting) in Lois McMaster Bujolds science fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Aral Vorkosigan is a fictitious character from Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series. ... Barrayar is a planet in Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series of novels and stories. ...


It turns out that the secret base was a staging point for an invasion of Beta's ally Escobar, led by Crown Prince Serg, the demented and dangerous son and heir of Emperor Ezar. Cordelia goes to Escobar in command of a decoy ship and successfully distracts the Barrayaran fleet from the ships delivering a devastating new Betan weapon to the Escobaran defenders. She is captured, briefly tortured by Admiral Vorrutyer, then rescued by Vorkosigan and hidden in his cabin along with Sergeant Bothari who assisted in her rescue. The new weapons give the Escobarans an overwhelming advantage and the Barrayarans are driven back with heavy losses, including the flagship with the Crown Prince. As Captain Vorkosigan is organizing his fleet's retreat, Cordelia overhears one critical fact and deduces, step by step, a political secret that would plunge Barrayar into a generation of civil war if it ever got out. Their ship is attacked and she is injured, but they manage to return to the secret base. Escobar is a planet in the science fiction series The Vorkosigan Saga. ... Serg Vorbarra is a minor character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Ezar Vorbarra is a minor character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Sergeant Konstantin Bothari is a character in the Vorkosigan Saga of science fiction novels by Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


On her way back to Beta Colony after a prisoner exchange, she is assigned a cabin mate who turns out to be a psychologist convinced that her injuries are evidence that she was tortured by Vorkosigan and the memories suppressed with drugs. Desperate to keep her terrible secret, Cordelia develops insomnia, stuttering and a nervous tic, which lead the psychologist to conclude she has been brainwashed and sent back to Beta as a spy. The Betan authorities are determined to "cure" her, forcing her to flee; she travels to Barrayar and marries Aral Vorkosigan. The dying Emperor Ezar Vorbarra appoints Aral as Regent-Elect for his grandson and heir, the four-year-old Prince Gregor. Aral, who is next in line of succession after the Prince, at first refuses, but Cordelia convinces him to take the job. Ezar Vorbarra is a minor character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Gregor Vorbarra is the Emperor of the Barrayaran Imperium in the sci-fi series the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


Barrayar

As Barrayar begins the Vorkosigans are expecting their first child. When the very old and ailing Emperor dies Aral takes over as Regent. An unsuccessful plot to assassinate Aral with poison gas seriously injures his unborn son Miles. The antidote to the poison, while quite effective, is a powerful teratogen which will eventually kill Miles while he is still in utero. To prevent this, the fetus is transferred to a uterine replicator – an artificial womb. While Cordelia and Aral are recuperating at the Vorkosigan country estate, there is a palace coup. Gregor is rescued by his loyal security chief Captain Negri and reunited with the Vorkosigans. Cordelia, Gregor, and various retainers escape into the hills on horseback and hide amongst the rural peasant population while Aral, with his father, organize the resistance/counteroffensive. After Cordelia rejoins Aral at a military base, they learn that the replicator containing Miles has been taken to the Palace as a hostage. Without proper maintenance, the fetus will succumb within two weeks, but Aral cannot bring himself to mount a rescue when there are greater concerns. However, Cordelia convinces her two bodyguards to follow her on a private expedition to rescue Miles and Gregor's mother, Princess Kareen. Once in the palace, Cordelia and her party are captured. They overpower their captors, execute Count Vidal Vordarian, Pretender to the throne, and escape with the replicator, but the Princess is killed. Cordelia then barges in on her husband Aral and father-in-law Piotr, who are bargaining with a couple of Vordarian's cronies over the terms for their surrender, and interrupts these delicate negotiations by dumping Vordarian's severed head onto the conference table. The coup falls apart without its leader and peace returns to the planet. The enlightened Betan Cordelia is given charge of Prince Gregor's education, with far-reaching consequences for Barrayar. In the field of ectogenesis, an artificial womb is used to grow an embryo outside the body of a female. ... Princess Kareen Vorbarra is a minor character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Vordarians Pretendership is a major event in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Barrayar is a planet in Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series of novels and stories. ...


Miles Naismith Vorkosigan is born with extremely fragile bones that tend to break under any stress. His growth is stunted. On Barrayar, babies with birth defects are common due to poisoning from native Barrayarian plant life and to lingering radiation from the earlier war between Barrayar and Cetaganda. Such babies were traditionally subject to infanticide, though this practice has since been made illegal. So-called "muties" are still reviled and shunned and Miles, though genetically healthy, must deal with prejudice throughout his life. Cetaganda is the collective name for an 8-planet empire in the wormhole Nexus of the Vorkosigan Saga novels of Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


The Warrior’s Apprentice

17-year-old Miles fails to qualify for the Barrayaran Service Academy, breaking both legs during the physical test. On a visit to Beta Colony, in quick succession he obtains a ship, a pilot, and a smuggling mission, running guns to a beleaguered government. He captures another ship from the Oseran Mercenaries, somewhat unintentionally, and representing himself as “Admiral Naismith,” commander of the non-existent Dendarii Mercenaries, co-opts the crew through improvisation, sheer audacity and luck. Under Naismith's brilliant leadership, the Dendarii eventually take over the rest of the Oserans and win the war. Admiral Naismith is a character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... In Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga, the Dendarii Mercenaries are the mercenary organisation founded by Miles Vorkosigan in The Warriors Apprentice. ...


The unexpected arrival of Miles’ cousin Ivan Vorpatril brings the realization that the Council of Counts back on Barrayar has charged him with maintaining a private army, violating Vorloupulous's Law—an act of capital treason. He returns home posthaste, uncovers the real plot behind the charges, and escapes trial by recasting the Dendarii as Imperial forces. He is rewarded with admission to the Academy. Ivan Vorpatril is a relative of Miles Vorkosigan, and a son of lady Alys Vorpatril. ...


"Mountains of Mourning" (short story)

A woman from the backward area of Silvy Vale walks to Vorkosigan Surleau to report the suspected murder of her baby, who was born with a hare lip and cleft palate. Miles' father sends him to investigate as his Voice to gain experience. Miles solves the mystery and exercises justice and mercy in appropriate measure.


The story is available for free download in multiple formats from the Baen Free Library. The Baen Free Library is a digital library of the science fiction and fantasy publishing house Baen Books where (as of June 2005) 77 full books are available for free download in a number of formats, without copy protection. ...


The Vor Game

Miles graduates from the Academy and is sent to replace the Weather Officer at a remote polar station on Kyril Island, to see if he can withstand the discipline and military routine. Miles responds by being arrested for mutiny, and since he is Vor, it is also treason. He is quickly sequestered in the bowels of Imperial Security (ImpSec) by Illyan, who has larger problems than insubordinate Vorlings. ImpSec is the short name for Barrayaran Imperial Security in the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Young Emperor Gregor, having learned about his father Prince Serg's megalomania and perversions, has run away while on a diplomatic mission in another system. Miles, traveling to the Hegen Hub for ImpSec, is thrown into debtor's prison. There he finds Gregor, who had been shanghaied by unscrupulous ship owners. Miles muddies the waters in an attempt to extricate Gregor, and is soon up to his neck in a mysterious plot involving an interstellar femme fatale, his former Kyril Island commanding officer, and Hub power politics. Miles finds his mercenary friends and, after some problems with the former leaders who have regained power, resumes his Admiral Naismith persona. He is able to rescue Gregor, stop the fiendish plot, and as a bonus, unify the Hub systems to repel a Cetagandan invasion, with a little help from the Barrayaran Fleet commanded by his father. This is a list of planets appearing in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


Gregor and ImpSec decide to put the Dendarii on permanent retainer for covert missions, with Miles officially enthroned as liaison and Admiral of the 'fleet'. Thus begins the portion of Miles' career that ends with his temporary disgrace in Memory. ImpSec is the short name for Barrayaran Imperial Security in the Vorkosigan Saga. ... In Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga, the Dendarii Mercenaries are the mercenary organisation founded by Miles Vorkosigan in The Warriors Apprentice. ...


Cetaganda

Miles and Ivan are sent to the homeworld of the Cetagandan Empire to represent Barrayar at the Imperial funeral of the dowager Empress. They soon become entangled in a struggle for power. Cetaganda is the collective name for an 8-planet empire in the wormhole Nexus of the Vorkosigan Saga novels of Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


Miles forms an unusual alliance with ghem-Colonel Dag Benin, a member of the military caste. Miles solves the mystery, prevents the Cetagandan empire from fragmenting, and gets Benin a well-deserved promotion. Miles himself, much to his chagrin, is awarded the Cetagandan "Order of Merit", which is the highest award in Cetagandan society. He also picks up clues to a Cetagandan genetic experiment, which becomes the object of much skulduggery in Ethan of Athos. The Ghem are the lower aristocracy of the Cetagandan Empire in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga The Ghem are the Military caste and the lower aristocracy of Cetaganda. ... Ethan of Athos is a science fiction novel which is part of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


Ethan of Athos

This novel does not feature Miles except indirectly; his girlfriend, Commander Elli Quinn of the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet, plays a leading role. See Ethan of Athos for more information. Ethan of Athos is a science fiction novel which is part of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


"Labyrinth" (short story)

Miles takes the Dendarii cruiser Ariel on a mission to Jackson's Whole ostensibly to buy weapons, but in actuality to smuggle geneticist Dr. Hugh Canaba away from his current employer and into Barrayaran hands. Canaba throws a wrench into the works when he refuses to leave without certain experimental samples which he has injected into one of his earlier projects, a prototype "super-soldier" created from human, wolf and horse DNA. Even worse, it has been sold to the paranoid and sadistic Baron Ryoval whom Miles has recently offended. Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Miles breaks into Ryoval's laboratory, but is caught and imprisoned in a space where they are also keeping Canaba's dangerous specimen. This turns out to be an eight-foot-tall werewolf complete with fangs, claws, superhuman strength and speed, and a ravenous appetite. Miles is shocked to find that the creature is female, and, despite her fearsome appearance, she is an intelligent and emotionally vulnerable young woman. She challenges him to prove that he believes she is human - by making love to her. Miles gets to indulge his weakness for tall strong women... He offers her a new life with the Dendarii, and a name: Taura. They spend several hours trying to escape and commit one supreme act of sabotage and revenge before Dendarii Captain Bel Thorne manages to negotiate a ransom. In Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga, the Dendarii Mercenaries are the mercenary organisation founded by Miles Vorkosigan in The Warriors Apprentice. ...


Miles finds several aspects of the Deal unacceptable and the exchange turns into a minor battle with Ryoval's security. Despite her lack of combat training, Taura demonstrates spectacular raw ability and contributes mightily to her own rescue. They escape and are pursued, but manage to reach the Ariel and depart the Jackson system. Miles creates confusion and avoids pursuit by telling different lies (and a couple of vital truths) to Ryoval and his rival, weapons dealer Baron Fell. Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


"Borders of Infinity" (short story)

Miles goes undercover, allows himself to be captured by the Cetagandans and deposited in a maximum-security POW camp on Dagoola IV. His mission is to get a single man out of the camp, but has to improvise, when his target proves to be comatose. With a little help from Suegar, a religious fanatic, and Tris, the leader of the woman prisoners, he reinstitutes order and civilisation in the camp and stages a mass breakout. This is a list of planets appearing in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


As a result, the Cetagandans put a price on Naismith's head. At this point, they (along with nearly everyone else) are unaware that Naismith and Vorkosigan are one and the same.


Brothers in Arms

Miles and the Dendarii arrive on Earth, fleeing Cetagandan retribution and desperate to repair the damage suffered by their ships. Miles visits the Barrayaran Embassy so the Dendarii can be paid for their last mission. There he finds his cousin Ivan Vorpatril working for the distinctly hostile Captain Duv Galeni, who turns out to be a Komarran related to one of the alleged victims of Miles' father. Miles is reassigned as Third Military Attache, once more a mere lieutenant, and worse, technically under Ivan's command. As if this weren't enough, Miles discovers he has a clone brother, who is trying to kill him at the behest of Komarran terrorists, who want to send the clone to Barrayar in Miles' place. Duv Galeni is a fictional character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


The assassination plot is foiled, but instead of disposing of the clone or handing him over to the Barrayarans, Miles sets him free. He declares that, by Betan law, the clone is his brother, and furthermore by Barrayaran tradition, his brother would have the name Mark Pierre Vorkosigan. In exchange for "Mark" helping Miles to fool the Cetagandans, who are beginning to suspect that Naismith and Vorkosigan are the same person, Mark is let go with a considerable sum of money, and the invitation to claim his Barrayaran heritage, if he wants to - or dares. Mark Pierre Vorkosigan is a character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi Series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Borders of Infinity (book)

The three short stories Mountains of Mourning, Labyrinth, and Borders of Infinity were reprinted with an untitled framing story in which Miles reports to Simon Illyan, head of ImpSec. The framing story emphasizes an audit -- both financial and political -- of ImpSec which questions Miles' activities and expenditures during the previous adventures. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


Mirror Dance

Mark masquerades as Miles and dupes the Dendarii Free Mercenaries into a mission to free clones held "prisoner" on the freebooter's planet of Jackson's Whole. When Miles finds out, he attempts to rescue his troops and his brother from the mess Mark creates, but is killed by a needle-grenade. Although he is put into a cryonic chamber, it is lost when the assault team is forced to withdraw. The medic in charge of it hides the chamber in a freight-forwarding warehouse. When the medic is killed, nobody has any idea where he had sent it. In Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga, the Dendarii Mercenaries are the mercenary organisation founded by Miles Vorkosigan in The Warriors Apprentice. ... Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


The Dendarii take Mark to Miles' parents on Barrayar. Cordelia accepts him as another son and has him acknowledged as a legitimate family member. After a while, Mark concludes that Miles is still on Jackson's Whole, and decides to go there himself to look for him, since ImpSec does not believe him. Cordelia helps him by buying him a ship. Barrayar is a planet in Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan Saga series of novels and stories. ...


Meanwhile, Miles has been resuscitated by the Duronas, a research group cloned from a medical genius, employees of a planetary overlord, Baron Fell. His memory takes some considerable time to return, and the doctors treating him do not know whether he is Mark, Admiral Naismith or Miles Vorkosigan (they are unaware of Miles' dual identity). Mark successfully finds Miles, but is captured by Miles' old nemesis, Baron Ryoval, held prisoner and tortured for five days. The stress and trauma cause his personality to fragment into four sub-personae: Gorge the glutton, Grunt the pervert, Howl the masochist, and Killer the assassin. Together, they hide and shield the fragile Mark persona while Killer bides his time. When Ryoval becomes frustrated and decides to deal with the problem personally, Killer strikes and Mark escapes. Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Jacksons Whole is planet in the Science Fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


He sells Ryoval's secrets, accessible only through a code-ring to Baron Fell for two million Betan dollars on condition that the Durona Group be permitted to leave Jackson's Whole and go where they will. Between them, the two brothers manage to upset the balance of power on Jackson's Whole.


However, the side-effects of Miles' death and revivification have serious repercussions. Mark has his own problems, thanks to his original programming, reinforced by torture, and the new damage inflicted at Jackson's Whole. He goes to his mother with one request: "Help me!" She decides to send him to Beta Colony for treatment. Beta Colony is an important planet (although rarely the setting) in Lois McMaster Bujolds science fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Memory

"Miles hits thirty; thirty hits back." Miles suffers an epileptic-like seizure--a lingering side effect of his recent death, and cryo-revival--during a combat mission, injuring the Barrayaran courier he was sent to rescue, and then falsifies the mission report to cover up his medical disability. He is caught in his lies by Simon Illyan and forced to resign from ImpSec. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


Meanwhile, Emperor Gregor, after years of refusing all the Barrayaran ladies dangled in front of him by Alys Vorpatril, Ivan's mother, unexpectedly falls in love with a Komarran, Laisa Toscane, head of a Komarran economic delegation. Unfortunately, she was already in the sights of Duv Galeni, a Komarran working for ImpSec. This brings Galeni under suspicion during later events. Gregor Vorbarra is the Emperor of the Barrayaran Imperium in the sci-fi series the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ... Lady Alys Vorpatril is an important side character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Gregor Vorbarra is the Emperor of the Barrayaran Imperium in the sci-fi series the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ...


After Illyan falls ill, Miles suspects that a plot to destroy Illyan's career and subvert ImpSec is in the making. His attempts to investigate are blocked, so he asks Emperor Gregor Vorbarra to assign an Imperial Auditor (a troubleshooter with the legal authority of a special prosecutor, the military authority of a general, and the political clout and protections of a Viceroy, one of the more bizarre outgrowths of the Time of Isolation) to the case to clear the way for him. Gregor instead decides to make Miles himself a temporary Auditor. After Miles successfully resolves the crisis, this is made permanent. Duv Galeni is cleared, becoming the new Head of Komarran Affairs, and discovers love in the form of Delia Koudelka, one of four Koudelka sisters instead. ImpSec is the short name for Barrayaran Imperial Security in the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Imperial Auditor is a fictional position in the government of Barrayar in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series the Vorkosigan Saga. ... The Time of Isolation was a period of time on the planet Barrayar in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Duv Galeni is a fictional character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Koudelka is a last name of several minor characters in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ... Koudelka is a last name of several minor characters in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


Komarr

Miles has asked to observe Auditor Professor Vorthys's investigation of a serious accident on Komarr. Once there, he manages to defeat plotters who seek to seal off the only wormhole to Barrayar, and falls in love with his hostess, Ekaterin Vorsoisson, who is trapped in a very unhappy marriage. Her husband is emotionally abusive and has a genetic condition called Vorzohn's Dystrophy. He is so intent on keeping this secret that, although it is curable, he has not had treatment nor allowed their son to be treated. After she discovers that he has also been taking bribes, she tells him that she is leaving, but before she can, he gets himself killed in such a way as to point the finger of suspicion at Miles. Ekaterin Vorsoisson is a character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


The apparent accident and Ekaterin's late husband's acceptance of bribes prove to be related. A group of Komarrans working in the terraforming office have developed an advanced weapon with potentially devastating consequences for Barrayar. Miles and Ekaterin are both caught up in the machinations, and Ekaterin proves more crucial to its successful resolution than Miles, before knowledge of both the plot and the newly developed weapon are classified at the highest levels possible -- including any information about Ekaterin's husband's death which might exonerate Miles in a subsequent inquiry. Artists conception of a terraformed Mars in four stages of development. ...


Ekaterin plans to return to Barrayar to stay with her aunt and uncle and complete her education.


A Civil Campaign

The backdrop to this story is Gregor's impending marriage to the Komarran heiress Laisa Toscane. The tough and resourceful Lady Alys Vorpatril, in charge of all the arrangements, demonstrates the power of the Vor Ladies network in making sure that nothing is allowed to spoil the proceedings.


Miles tackles the task of wooing Ekaterin in typical (for Miles) fashion: he doesn't actually tell her of his intentions. He is fearful that her previous experience has put her off marriage for life. His brother Mark also has relationship problems: he is in love with the warm, empathetic Kareen Koudelka, but her parents disapprove of him, and while this did not seem to bother her on Beta Colony, the sexual mores of Barrayar are much stricter, and she feels that she has to keep their relationship a secret from her family. An important subplot involves Mark's profit-inspired theft from a laboratory on Escobar of an engineered insect called the "butter bug," capable of converting any biological material into sanitary, nutritious, and edible ... vomit. An iconic image of genetic engineering; this autoluminograph from 1986 of a glowing transgenic tobacco plant bearing the luciferase gene, illustrating the possibilities of genetic engineering. ... Vomiting (or emesis) is the forceful expulsion of the contents of ones stomach through the mouth. ...


Everything goes horribly wrong when Miles hosts a dinner party. Butter bugs and "bug butter" plague both aesthetics and digestion. Simon Illyan blurts out that Miles has been courting Ekaterin, and she walks out after he panics and asks her to marry him. Kareen's parents forbid her to have anything to do with Mark after they find out that he took her to the Orb of Unearthly Delights, a notorious pleasure palace on Beta Colony.


The debacle has wider consequences. Two seats in the Council of Counts are up for grabs, one because the incumbent died, the other because the current, young Count Vorbretten has been found to be part-Cetagandan, dating back to the days of the occupation. The other seat, representing House Vorrutyer, is being contested by a distant cousin, Richars, and the previous Count's sister Donna, who has undergone a future form of gender reassignment which results in an individual who is fertile, as well as functional, on Beta Colony. She becomes a man, Lord Dono, in order to qualify as a potential Count. As his father's Deputy, Miles's vote is courted and the suspicion cast on him relating to Ekaterin's late husband is used by Richars in an attempt to blackmail him. Imperial Security refuses to allow him to defend himself in the Komarran incident. Lord Dono, who as Donna taught Ivan Vorpatril "everything he knew", uses Ivan to recruit his own support among the counts, gaining Miles's vote after Richars's blunder. Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) includes the surgical procedures by which a persons physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are changed to that of the other sex. ...


When Ekaterin finds out about the rumors, she is forced to confront Miles. Miles offers to take the blame, to spare Ekaterin and her son, but she refuses to let him. Somewhat reconciled, they set out to solve their problems, defeat their enemies and determine her true feelings.


Mark's and Kareen's problems are solved after Cordelia talks to Kareen's parents and persuades them that the relationship is good for Kareen even though it does not follow traditional Barrayaran rules. Cordelia plays dirty - for the conference she makes the parents sit on the very couch where they had first made love before their marriage.


Miles's troubles culminate in a tumultuous Council session where dirty tricks, innuendo, and a bizarre exchange between Ekaterin, sitting in the gallery, and the upstart Richars Vorrutyer on the Council floor, result in defeat for the enemy and the very public betrothal of Miles and Ekaterin.


Finally, at the Imperial wedding reception, Miles and Ekaterin meet the Cetagandan delegation, including ghem-General Dag Benin. Benin has a message - the Cetagandans send their condolences on the death of Admiral Naismith, and hope he can stay dead this time. Miles reads the real message loud and clear, and responds that he hopes that the Admiral's resurrection will not prove necessary. The Ghem are the lower aristocracy of the Cetagandan Empire in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga The Ghem are the Military caste and the lower aristocracy of Cetaganda. ... Admiral Naismith is a character in Lois McMaster Bujolds sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga. ...


"Winterfair Gifts"

A novella, published in February 2004, as part of the anthology Irresistible Forces (Catherine Asaro, editor). Photo by Hugh Talman Catherine Asaro (born 1955) is an American science fiction and fantasy author. ...


The story relates the wedding of Miles and Ekaterin from the viewpoint of Miles' armsman, Roic, including Taura's first visit to Barrayar and the attempted murder of Ekaterin as an indirect attack on Miles.


Diplomatic Immunity

Miles and Ekaterin are enjoying a much-delayed honeymoon while their first two children are approaching birth in their uterine replicators back on Barrayar. They have just left Earth to begin the journey home when Miles is dispatched by Gregor to Quaddiespace to untangle a diplomatic incident in his capacity as Imperial Auditor. There, he is reunited with Bel Thorne, a former Dendarii captain.


Miles almost dies (again) and barely averts an interstellar war between Cetaganda and Barrayar when he uncovers a plot by a highly placed Cetagandan to steal a vital cargo and put the blame on Barrayar. Not least of Miles's problems is the potential combined wrath of his wife and his mother should he miss the birth of his children.


New Vorkosigan book

On July 20, 2006, Baen Books announced on its website that it will publish a new Vorkosigan book within the next few years. This has been confirmed by Lois McMaster Bujold. However, no details are known about the content of the forthcoming book.


Books in print

The earlier novels and the short stories have been repackaged in omnibus editions.

  • Cordelia's Honor
    • Shards of Honor
    • Barrayar
  • Young Miles'
    • The Warrior's Apprentice
    • "The Mountains of Mourning"
      This short story is also available from the Baen Free Library
    • The Vor Game
  • Miles, Mystery and Mayhem
    • Cetaganda
    • Ethan of Athos
    • "Labyrinth"
  • Miles Errant
    • "Borders of Infinity"
    • Brothers in Arms
    • Mirror Dance
  • Miles, Mutants and Microbes
    • Falling Free
    • "Labyrinth"
    • Diplomatic Immunity

See also

This is a list of planets appearing in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. ... Miles Vorkosigan is the fictional hero of a series of novels and short stories by Lois McMaster Bujold known as the Vorkosigan Saga. ...

Reading order

Bujold has done a good job of making most of the books in the Vorkosigan Saga comprehensible without reference to earlier books, but some subsets will make more sense when read in the right order.

  • Barrayar is best read after Shards of Honor.
  • Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance and Memory should be read in order. Brothers in Arms tells the reader that Miles Vorkosigan has a cover identity as Admiral Naismith and that he told a reporter that Admiral Naismith was his clone before discovering his real clone-brother Mark. Mirror Dance and Memory make considerably more sense with this information.
  • Komarr, A Civil Campaign and Diplomatic Immunity should be read in order because they show the development of Miles and Ekaterin's relationship.

The question of which book is the best starting point is a tricky one; the problem is that the later books tend to be better written, but they also depend on earlier books for their full effect. Two obvious starting points are Shards of Honor, the first book involving any members of the Vorkosigan family, and The Warrior's Apprentice, the first book about Miles himself. However, many Bujold fans consider these to be among her weaker novels. Shards of Honor was Bujold's first novel and has some elements of formula romance: Cordelia and Aral fall in love at first sight, and at the end, Cordelia abandons her career and her home to marry him. The Warrior's Apprentice is an action-packed book, full of life and energy, but its plot is rather too founded on coincidence. If Miles had not happened to run into all the right people to make up his crew, he would not have been able to create the Dendarii.


The collection Borders of Infinity is the most commonly recommended starting point among Bujold fans on the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written. It gives a good sampling of Miles' adventures in a range of styles, and the first story, "The Mountains of Mourning", is available for free download in multiple formats, online at the Baen Free Library. The Baen Free Library is a digital library of the science fiction and fantasy publishing house Baen Books where (as of June 2005) 77 full books are available for free download in a number of formats, without copy protection. ...


Another possible starting point is Komarr, especially for readers who are more attracted by detective fiction or the theme of searching for identity than by space opera. Although this book comes fairly late in the series, it shows Miles at the beginning of his second career, and is partly from the viewpoint of someone who has never met him before.


For individuals who are not normally science fiction fans (and some who are), A Civil Campaign generated significant cross-genre interest with romance readers and can be read without reference to Komarr. The infamous "dinner party scene" by itself is a strong hook for reluctant readers. This novel also offers a large number of mostly conversational scenes with profound philosophical and character insight.


The omnibus editions listed above (Cordelia's Honor, Young Miles, Miles, Mystery and Mayhem, and Miles Errant) put the pre-Memory books in chronological order.


External links

  • The Bujold Nexus - Official website of the author Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Dendarii Nexus - semi-official website
    • Miles Vorkosigan/Naismith: His Life And Times - timeline
    • cover of German edition of The Warrior's Apprentice
  • Catalog at Baen books

  Results from FactBites:
 
Lois McMaster Bujold - Baen Books (209 words)
Together they form a continuous story following the life of Cordelia Vorkosigan nee Naismith from the day she met her then-enemy Lord Aral Vorkosigan through the boyhood of her son Miles.
It was a war nobody wanted, least of all Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan.
Cordelia Vorkosigan goes on a suicide mission to rescue her baby and settle a bloody civil war single-handedly.
Vorkosigan Saga (2519 words)
The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science-fiction novels and short stories by Lois McMaster Bujold, most of which concern Miles Vorkosigan, a disabled aristocrat from the planet Barrayar who creates his own private army at the age of just seventeen.
In this unwelcome situation, she finds Vorkosigan is not at all the monster his reputation suggests, and begins to fall in love with him.
A woman from the backward area of Silvy Vale has walked to Vorkosigan House to report the suspected murder of her baby, who was born with a hare lip and cleft palate.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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