My name is Aaron Humphrey, and I’ve been reading science fiction, fantasy, and other books for many years now.
Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series comprises over a dozen books, for the most part fast-paced space opera, which mostly just means that people fly around in spaceships without worrying too much about how they came up with the science behind it. Not to belittle Bujold’s attention to the science–she just doesn’t let it get in the way of the plot, and quite often the implications of the science are actually integral to the plot. It’s also partially military SF, in that our most major character, Miles Vorkosigan, spends a lot of time in military service of one sort or another, but it manages to avoid the most dreary tropes of that subgenre too.
This blog. Was that not clear?
I’m a busy guy, and I’ve got a lot of other things on my plate, but I’ll try to do one post a week. I know that regular posting schedules are important to keep an audience, assuming I ever get one in the first place, and I will do my best. I work full-time and I like to play computer games, watch TV, and, you know, read books, so it will help if I can keep my enthusiasm level high. It will help that I love the Vorkosigan series and love to reread it every year or so, and this way I may be able to read it more often. Feedback will also keep me excited about the series.
In addition to what I mentioned in my last answer…I see lots of fantasy series rereads these days. There’s a Wheel of Time reread, a Malazan Book of the Fallen reread, a Memory, Sorry & Thorn reread, a Lord of the Rings reread, Harry Potter rereads, A Song of Ice And Fire…uh…well, there’s a first-time-read, at least, and possibly a reread somewhere too. In many cases, it’s because there’s a long gap between books, and many details which reward repeated reads, but it’s a lot of work to do it all by yourself. I have to say, the Vorkosigan series isn’t really like that. Bujold’s books aren’t as thick, there aren’t as many ongoing plot points that you have to keep track of, they’re SF, not fantasy, and there’s no overarching plot arc. Nevertheless, I see a need. Far too few people seem to know about these books, and I would like to raise awareness of them. I mean, last November there was a new Wheel of Time book and a new Vorkosigan book coming out. The Wheel of Time book, Towers of Midnight, showed up in our local chain bookstore on the day it was scheduled to, and we snapped it up right away. The Vorkosigan book, CryoBurn, I seem to recall, we eventually special-ordered after two weeks when we gave up on it showing up on its own. So you see the problem.
I admit, she’s won multiple Nebula and Hugo Awards for the series, so she’s certainly not hurting for acclaim, but still I continually meet people who know who Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin are who blink nonplussedly when I mention her name. So let me make my own modest contribution to increasing her profile.
First of all, I plan to do the books in chronological order as much as possible. The first book published, Shards of Honour, is also the first chronologically, luckily, so that’s an easy call, but the second book chronologically, Barrayar, was published after three or four others came out. I believe I originally read them in publication order, but now I prefer the chronological order as much as possible. For one thing, that’s how they tend to be omnibized, and I’ve got the two books above (which, by the way, star Miles Vorkosigan’s mother, Cordelia Naismith) in the new omnibus of Cordelia’s Honour because I gave my original copies to someone else. Ms. Bujold doesn’t always make things easy, because there are a few short stories, which got anthologized into Borders of Infinity and are scattered along the timeline. But I will try my best. (I do plan to skip Falling Free, since it’s a much earlier book set in the same world, but I’ve decided to toss Ethan of Athos in there, even though it doesn’t feature any of the Vorkosigans directly, but it does overlap slightly.)
In more mechanical terms…a couple of chapters for each post, I imagine, with a synopsis, a few notable quotes interleaved, and then commentary. I haven’t decided how spoilerrific I’ll be; probably not too much, but I will not be above making spoilery hints and comments. I encourage you to pick up your own copies and read along if you haven’t read the series before and you want to follow me. Two chapters a week shouldn’t be too hard, should it?