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Old 07-16-2010, 09:33 AM   #1
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Lois McMaster Bujold

It's official -- I've decided that Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favorite authors ever.

I started out last year reading the Sharing Knife series, and was entranced with the story. I was a little reluctant to begin the Vorkosigan series after that, because it was just so DIFFERENT from the lighter romantic style in which the Sharing Knife was written. Of course, as many of you know, the Vorkosigan books suck you in pretty immediately, and I was no exception. I devoured all of them (15 or so, I think?), and was very sorry to see them end. I bought the Chalion series after that and saved it for a while because I wasn't ready to leave Miles and his escapades behind. I picked it up last night to read a couple of pages to see if I liked it... and didn't look up again until 2:00 a.m. and 200 pages in.

This woman can write. I very highly recommend her to anybody who enjoys SF/fantasy. For me, the key to enjoying the genre is whether or not the characters would ring true even if they were picked up and put in another setting -- modern times, or in Atlanta, Georgia. Her characters would. They get dirty, they laugh, they worry, they get hangnails -- just in a different world. Wonderful author.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:23 AM   #2
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Wow. I think I tried to read one of her books once, but only got a few pages in before I gave up.

What would you suggest as a good starter book?
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bjones6416 View Post
It's official -- I've decided that Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favorite authors ever.
I really enjoyed her books as I read them translated in French, I think I'll read them again in English someday.

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What would you suggest as a good starter book?
I think it may depent on which genre you prefer : fantasy or scifi ?

Last edited by Gaurnim; 07-16-2010 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:20 AM   #4
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Wow. I think I tried to read one of her books once, but only got a few pages in before I gave up.

What would you suggest as a good starter book?
If you want to start reading the Miles Vorkosigan series, I think I'd start with Shards of Honour, which, along with Barrayar, is kind of a setup book. If you wanted to skip the setup you could just start with The Warrior's Apprentice.

Or, if you want something not quite so military you could read The Sharing Knife which has a little bit of romance tied in with the fantasy and concludes in three books.

I hope you give her another try. I know that we can't all like the same things, but I really think she stands out in her field. :-)
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bjones6416 View Post
If you want to start reading the Miles Vorkosigan series, I think I'd start with Shards of Honour, which, along with Barrayar, is kind of a setup book.
That's where I started. Webscription sells the two books together as 'Cordelia's Honor' for $5 DRM free...
http://www.webscription.net/p-85-cordelias-honor.aspx


Most/all of the Vorkosigan books are available in 2 in 1 or omnibus editions. Makes for a very good value.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:27 PM   #6
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That's where I started. Webscription sells the two books together as 'Cordelia's Honor' for $5 DRM free...
http://www.webscription.net/p-85-cordelias-honor.aspx


Most/all of the Vorkosigan books are available in 2 in 1 or omnibus editions. Makes for a very good value.
I agree, it makes sense to look for the omnibus editions. I got most of mine thru Fictionwise, I think. The order I read them in, keeping in mind that some of these are combined under another name, is:

Shards of Honour
Barrayar
The Warrior's Apprentice
The Mountains of Mourning (free on Baen!)
The Vor Game
Cetaganda
Ethan of Athos (Miles is not in this one)
Labyrinth
Borders of Infinity
Brothers in Arms
Mirror Dance
Memory
Komarr
A Civil Campaign
Winterfair Gifts
Diplomatic Immunity

A book that takes place earlier, but in the same world, is "Falling Free." It's very good too.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bjones6416 View Post
Shards of Honour
Barrayar
The Warrior's Apprentice
The Mountains of Mourning (free on Baen!)
The Vor Game
Cetaganda
Ethan of Athos (Miles is not in this one)
Labyrinth
Borders of Infinity
Brothers in Arms
Mirror Dance
Memory
Komarr
A Civil Campaign
Winterfair Gifts
Diplomatic Immunity

A book that takes place earlier, but in the same world, is "Falling Free." It's very good too.

...and Cryoburn will be out in November (earlier for the eArc).
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:00 PM   #8
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What would you suggest as a good starter book?
Baen Free Library has "The Mountains of Mourning", a short novella which gives a standalone, beautifully encapsulated look-and-feel of Miles Vorkosigan and his world.

I've often wished that she'd also offer the "Borders of Infinity" novella to bookend it, because it's about as perfect a representation of the Naismith side of Miles as TMoM is for Vorkosigan.

Anyway, it's only a long-ish short story and it won't cost you anything but a bit of time to try it. If you still don't like it, then you probably won't care for the Vorkosigan series in general.
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:12 PM   #9
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You guys....!! Don't I have enough to read without y'all putting more books in my TBR list...
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Old 07-16-2010, 06:33 PM   #10
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/maniacal giggles

I'd highly recommend adding "Falling Free" to that TBR list.

Personally, I think Miles and his series jumped the shark somewhere around "Memory"; I'm not sure if it's just what she did to Simon, or the fact that the creativity seemed to be drying up, but I haven't enjoyed the later ones nearly as much. Actually, I haven't enjoyed them as much since Mark showed up. Personal taste, mind you, but he really annoys me.

There are other characters I'd like to see books about. Bel Thorne, for instance ... it's an interesting character who must have had a noteworthy life both before and after its life intersected with Miles. For that matter, I'd like to seem more about Beta and its people. I'd like to read some of Aral's back-story. There might not be enough to make a novel out of, but surely at least a novella or two?

I'd really like to see a follow-up to "Falling Free" or "Ethan of Athos"; both have a lot of hooks that a sequel could be hung on. And I'd really, really love a sequel to "The Spirit Ring"; that's a book which has been too long ignored.

But yes, Ms. Bujold is an awesome writer. One of my all-time favorite SF scenes is when Cordelia gets back from her, um, shopping trip. I have "Shards of Honor" and "Barrayar" individually, and in an omnibus edition, and I bought the ebook too.

Also, I'd highly recommend "The Vorkosigan Companion", though it's in desperate need of a better table of contents.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:49 PM   #11
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There are other characters I'd like to see books about. Bel Thorne, for instance ... it's an interesting character who must have had a noteworthy life both before and after its life intersected with Miles. For that matter, I'd like to seem more about Beta and its people. I'd like to read some of Aral's back-story. There might not be enough to make a novel out of, but surely at least a novella or two?

I'd really like to see a follow-up to "Falling Free" or "Ethan of Athos"; both have a lot of hooks that a sequel could be hung on.
Did you ever get as far as "Diplomatic Immunity"? It is kind of a semi-sequel to "Falling Free" and follows-up on the further adventures of Bel Thorne.

On the other hand, if you weren't satisfied with DI and meant something beyond that, it's perfectly understandable.

For more on Beta, the collection of Bujold's early work, "Dreamweaver's Dilemma" has a short story or two, if you haven't read them already.

I personally would love to have her write a hypothetical "Sergyar" to complete the planetary set, and have it be about Aral and Cordelia's challenges as Viceroy/Vicereine.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:16 PM   #12
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I've read them all; even not-so-good Bujold is better than most other writers. I still want more about Bel Thorne -- how it got involved with the mercenaries in the first place, for instance. And Tung, his back-story might be interesting too. I was thinking more of an immediate sequel to "Falling Free", which is after all quite a ways earlier than the "Bujoldverse" main timeline.

Ooh, yes, "Sergyar" would be good. Miles is fine, but I want more Aral & Cordelia!

And Ivan. He needs a book. Or how about Captain Negri? Or ... I've forgotten his name ... the pilot who can only fly obsolete ships?

I think it's a mark of just how good Bujold is as a writer that there are people who want to follow the other characters in her world because they're as real as most authors' main characters.

I want Timothy Zahn to do a sequel to "Spinneret", too. He left us with way too many questions.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:24 PM   #13
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And Ivan. He needs a book.
Does he ever.
I loved his solution to being drugged on Cetaganda; the boy is far from stupid.
He needs to run into a Quinn-type on a really bad day.

I'm really curious to see the Vorkosigans of the next generation. Those kids are going to be holy terrors, what with that parentage.
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:25 AM   #14
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I first picked up her books because I kept hearing about them and she'd either been nominated or won so many awards. I read Falling Free first since it was a sort of stand-alone novel. After that I've been working on the Vorkosigan books and I've read The Curse of Chalion.
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:05 AM   #15
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I've often wished that she'd also offer the "Borders of Infinity" novella to bookend it, because it's about as perfect a representation of the Naismith side of Miles as TMoM is for Vorkosigan.
http://www.baen.com/chapters/W200308...5583.htm?blurb

Can only be read online, but it's a short read.
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