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Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Brothers in Arms, Chapters 3-4

The Warrior’s Apprentice got me into the Vorkosigan Saga, but Brothers in Arms got me hooked. I don’t want to get too bogged down in the literary analysis here—these are the chapters where Miles proves that he can show us a real good time. I’m not sure he proves that he can show Elli a real good time, but I’m good.

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Brothers in Arms

This week, the Vorkosigan reread embarks upon Brothers in Arms, a book that I remember as being a madcap screwball comedy. Brothers puts Miles in the unusual position of having to switch back and forth between his roles on short notice, while also dodging the Cetagandans who are out to assassinate him in his persona as Admiral Naismith. This is one of the places where the differences between reading order and writing order are very obvious – after Cetaganda, the Cetagandans really should be capable of spotting Lieutenant Lord Miles Vorkosigan in the wild. But of course, Cetaganda was years away, unless they know some of the things that Miles is about to learn. Brothers also introduces two characters who will go on to play enormous roles in the rest of the series – Mark and Galeni.

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: “Borders of Infinity”

This week, we’re rereading “The Borders of Infinity,” the third novella in Borders of Infinity. Together, “Borders” and “Labyrinth” provide the explanation for those cost overruns that Illyan is looking into. The story was first published in 1987, in a Baen anthology titled Free Lancers. As an introduction to Miles, “Borders” works well on its own; This is the story where Miles arrives at the Dagoola IV prison camp empty-handed, quickly loses his clothes, and then saves everyone. He’s like a leprechaun who can pull combat drop shuttles out of his butt.

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Borders of Infinity, “Labyrinth”

“Labyrinth,” the middle story of Borders of Infinity takes us to Jackson’s Whole, the Galactic Nexus’s official wretched hive of scum and villainy. We’re here to pick up Dr. Hugh Canaba, who Barrayar very much wants to involve in their genetics projects. Barrayar has genetics projects now. Which makes sense, because Barrayar has a tissue sample from Terrence Cee. We learned all about the potential multi-generational consequences of handing out your tissue samples in Ethan of Athos. Borders of Infinity was the sixth Vorkosigan book published, first appearing in 1989. This was thirteen years prior to the UN’s adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, banning the recruitment of children under the age of 18 by guerrilla and non-state forces.

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Borders of Infinity, “The Mountains of Mourning”

This week, we’re heading to Vorkosigan Surleau and then into the Dendarii Mountains with Miles. We will be looking at “Mountains of Mourning,” the first of the three novellas in Borders of Infinity. We’ve gone back in time here to the moments after Miles’s academy graduation and before his sojourn at Camp Permafrost. Assuming that Barrayar’s atmosphere is similar to Earth’s, space is going to be about 62 miles away for this entire story. Some parts of this space opera are still finding their way home.

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Space Opera and the Underrated Importance of Ordinary, Everyday Life

The truth is, I’m not really a Space Opera kind of girl. Left to my own devices, I will not-infrequently choose the sort of book that has at least one psychic animal and an ill-advised romantic relationship in it. You don’t see a TON of space in those. Unless you’re reading Anne McCaffrey, and hey, those are some AMAZING cats.

I like not-space. It has great things in it, like gel pens, and cheese and crackers, and a dramatically reduced chance of dying from exposure to hard vacuum. And while I think my personal preferences are important to acknowledge, I am not immune to Space Opera’s charms.

[I love space opera that connects the big and the small.]

Series: Space Opera Week

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Borders of Infinity

We finished Ethan of Athos last week, so this week we’re starting Borders of Infinity—and we get to do BOOK COVERS!

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Ethan of Athos, Chapters 12-15

Last week in Ethan of Athos, everyone except Quinn and Terrence got arrested. Quinn slipped out the door at a strategic moment, and Terrence was outside Millisor’s quarters with a stunner for the entire fight. Now that I think about it, this was an excellent reason to have Ethan carry the med-kit. The health department raid was a pretty exciting climax to the story so far. What’s next?

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. We’re covering books in reading order, so Ethan is the seventh book, rather than the third. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Ethan of Athos, Chapter 11

When we wrapped up last week’s blog post, Elli, Ethan and Terrance were headed out to rescue Elli’s cousin Teki, who had been picked up by Millisor’s squad of nefarious Cetagandan agents—the ones who like torturing people. All three of them have military training, but Terrance gets Elli’s second stunner. He also gets instructions to hang back and pick off anyone who escapes the Biocontrols squad. Ethan goes with Elli; He gets to carry the medkit.

This reread has an index, which you can consult at will, should you feel the urge. We’re covering books in reading order, so Ethan is the seventh book, rather than the third. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Science Straight Out of the Vorkosigan Saga: Uterine Replicators! (Sort of!)

Followers of the Vorkosigan Reread have known for a long time that Bujold’s works are inspirational in any number of ways. At least, I assume that’s why they’re following the reread. Last week, the Vorkosigan Series became one of the first ever to be nominated for a Best Series Hugo, and this week an article in Nature is describing work at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute on the development of a uterus-like life support system for premature infants! Bujold’s uterine replicator has played a major role in shaping the worlds of her books. It allowed for the creation of the Quaddies, and for their enslavement. It allows the all-male population of Athos to produce their precious and beloved children. It offered an alternative to abortion for Prince Serg’s victims. It lets the Star Creche on Cetaganda control reproduction without controlling interpersonal relationships. It lets Betan and Barrayaran mothers pursue dangerous careers in fields like space exploration and politics while their infants safely gestate in a controlled environment. And that’s just for starters. How close are we to developing a uterine replicator? Closer than we were!

Which is to say, not close!

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

The Horse-Lovers’ Guide to Star Trek

The Star Trek franchise is a little horse-lite. For those of you new to the series, it’s a bunch of shows (and movies) that take place in space, a place where horses mostly don’t live. I have not yet seen a precise analysis of the challenges inherent in transporting horses into space, but I am unwilling to believe that those challenges are trivial. This explains why the most common reason for the appearance of a horse in an episode of Star Trek is that someone is having some kind of telepathically-induced hallucination. Star Trek characters like horses just fine—Chris Pike rode a little; Jim Kirk rode a little; Picard was passionate enough about it to travel the galaxy with his own saddle, in case he got the chance to ride and found a horse whose back and withers fit his tack. (I know some of you are dying to know—I asked Melinda Snodgrass, and she said it was a dressage saddle. She does not know the maker.) There’s a longstanding historic relationship between military command and horsemanship, and it’s nice to see that Starfleet has officers who maintain the tradition.

It won’t matter much in the end. In the Star Trek universe, real horses are doomed.

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Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Ethan of Athos, Chapters 9-10

Last week on Kline Station, Elli Quinn, Terrence Cee, and Ethan sat down to talk about Terrence’s problems, which are many. Terrence is on the run from the Cetagandans, who want to exploit his psychic powers for their intelligence operations. I assume that these operations are nefarious in nature, because, well, that’s an assumption I feel pretty comfortable making about government and corporate intelligence operations. Terrence confirms. Score one for my assumptions, which are thick on the ground in this week’s blog post.

This reread has an index, which you can consult at will, should you feel the urge. We’re covering books in reading order, so Ethan is the seventh book, rather than the third. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the value and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Ethan of Athos, Chapters 6-8

In any given moment, in any given story, what we’re reading is about the past, the time the story was written, or the present. And likewise, at any given moment, we’re learning about the setting, the characters, the plot, or ourselves. There are some interesting learning moments in store for the Vorkosigan reread this week. For example, everyone on Kline Station really does eat a lot of newt. Elli wasn’t making that up.

This reread has an index, which you can consult at will, should you feel the urge. We’re covering books in reading order, so Ethan is the seventh book, rather than the third. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question the worth and dignity of individuals, or that deny anyone’s right to exist, are emphatically NOT welcome. Please take note.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Ethan of Athos, Chapters 3-5

This week in the Vorkosigan reread, Ethan faces the wider world for the first time in his life. Ethan is the kind of introvert who finds it easier to form a partnership with Janos than to meet new people in clubs on his home planet. Kline Station is going to be a challenge.

For new readers and anyone who needs reminding, previous posts in the reread can be found in the index. To find everything Tor.com has ever published about Bujold’s works, including Jo Walton’s thoughts on Ethan of Athos, check out the the Lois McMaster Bujold tag. Historically, the comments thread has not been terribly spoiler-y but the current policy is that spoilers for the entire series are welcome where they are relevant to the discussion.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Ethan of Athos, Chapters 1-2

To go on a journey, you have to leave home. And if “you” are a fictional character, your journey will only have meaning if “you” have given your readers at least a hint of what “home” is for you.

The home Cordelia left behind in Shards of Honor was an expeditionary force ship whose crew voted on important mission priorities. The Barrayar Miles left in The Warrior’s Apprentice was the kind of home that cordially invites a person to fling themselves off of walls to their certain doom. Ethan is leaving Athos, so the beginning of his story is about what Athos is and how he fits into it. This offers an exciting opportunity for amateur anthropology.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga