Lois McMaster Bujold, (by internal chronological order (1))
The Vorkosigan Saga is one of the names given to an ensemble of science-fiction novels and novellas written by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Most of the novels focus on the Vorkosigan family, and more particularly on Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. Currently, the series spans about forty years of the life of this family (apart from Falling Free which takes place 200 years in their past) and takes place on the planet Barrayar, on other planets colonised by humanity or on an orbital station...
The series deal with various themes and some are recurring, for instance themes about disability, bioethics, prejudices and gender. But all the novels have a common point: the idea of self discovery and what makes us unique.
One of the main characters, Miles, is one of the extremely rare characters in scifi to have a physical disability. It's his charm, his charisma, his tenacity that give him the strength to exist on Barrayar, a planet which is quite backward when it comes to disabilities or gender equality.
But despite those serious themes, all of the novels are full of humour, sometimes grim, always well done.
I also particularly like that since McMaster Bujold chooses a far away future as her setting, the societies and their habits are different from ours, while remaining familiar.
Another strong point is also the variety within the genre: she writes with ease space opera, a spy novel, a whodunnit, an intimate story.
McMaster Bujold doesn't have a hero: even if you consider Miles as the main character, he is far from perfect either physically or morally. The stories go from one character to another: Shards of Honor and Barrayar focus on Aral et Cordelia ; Captain Vorpatril's Alliance on Ivan ("Ivan, you idiot!") ; Ethan of Athos features only Elli as a recurring character. Each, and every fan of the series has their favourites, are imperfect, relatable, completely unique.
It is almost impossible to sum up such a complex ensemble, to which McMaster Bujold has regularly gone back as is proven by the difference between the publishing dates and the internal chronology. And it has now become quite a daunting number of books to read. But if you have the time, if you love scifi, wonderful characters and that the themes the series talk about interest you, you have to read it and you will almost certainly love it as much as I do.
The Vorkosigan Saga novels have been nominated and have won many awards, including the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards. They have also been adapted as a graphic novel in France.
The author's official website.
(1) McMaster Bujold herself recommends reading them by internal chronological order.
(2) A new volume has been announced for early 2016.
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All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
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