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on 7 October 2001
This is the third unitary edition of the Vorkosigan Saga, containing Cteaganda, Ethan of Athos and Labyrinth (a short story from "Borders of Infinity). The first two unitary editions were Cordelia's Honor (Shards of Honor and Barrayar) and Young Miles (Warrior's Apprentice, Mountains of Mourning (short story) and The Vor Game).
The unitary editions order the stories in internal chronological order (rather than the order in which they were written) and provide an excellent way to read through the Vorkosigan saga. I would recommend starting with Young Miles or Cordelia's Honor first, but the books can be read as stand-alone novels in their own right.
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on 30 April 2011
These three installments in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga are something of a mixed bag. Although they follow on from each other in the general chronology the publication order was quite different and were published over the span of a decade or so. They all use the field of genetics to fuel the plot and themes.
In Cetaganda Miles tries his hand at another bit of detective work. He's on a diplomatic mission to Cetaganda with his 'a bit thick but handsome' cousin. He's not even off the shuttle before he's knee deep in intrigue, and murder, dodging potentially fatal traps as he goes. Spending time in Miles head is always enjoyable and fun. I also enjoyed trying to imagine how beautiful the Cetagandan Haut women were. Probably similar to trying to imagine what Galadriel looked like - an enjoyable exercise but ultimately a futile one.
Don't start Ethan of Athos thinking Miles is in it. You'll only be disappointed. The little guy is mentioned quite a bit though and one of the major characters is Elli Quinn, some might remember her from The Warrior's Apprentice. The main protagonist is this chap Ethan. He lives on a male only planet inhabited by blokes who live in superstitious dread of women (otherwise known as uterine replicators with legs). The fun starts when he has to leave his home planet in search of a replacement supply of ovarian cultures to replace the failing existing cultures, without which his society can't reproduce. Massive culture shock ensues (women everywhere). Ethan soon gets up to his neck in problems he's not really equipped to deal with, problems that he's going to have to rely on a woman to overcome. Enter Elli Quinn. It's all quite light hearted but very amusing.
Labyrinth is a novella which features Miles back at the helm of the Dendarii cruiser Ariel. Before too long everything goes pear-shaped and Miles finds himself in big trouble. And if being trapped in a dungeon with a sex mad teenage werewolf doesn't qualify as big trouble I don't know what does. As fun as ever but still finds time to ask a few questions about what it is to be different.
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on 16 June 2003
As these are reprints, they are of little interest to those already fans and collectors of the series. However, these two novels and one novella provide a good and varied introduction.
CASTAGANDA, the first novel, is a light-hearted science-fiction/mystery with Miles and his cousin. Humor, adventure, and intrigue combine for a delightful reading experience.
ETHAN OF ATHOS is a departure in that Miles is referred to but not in the story. Homophobes may have trouble with it, because the title character is from an all-male planet based on a monastic type of life-style, a planet where women are forbidden and as a result of generations on a "men only" world are also mistrusted and misunderstood.
"Labyrinth" is a novella again featuring Miles in an adventure.
The common link here is the author's interest in synthetic birth. This theme dates back to Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD, but here Bujold examines the subject from three different perspectives. These are fun stories and quite recommended.
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on 16 February 2014
The Cetaganda story has some of the most amazing world building I have ever seen. Miles is at his best, deep over his head in political intrigue. The plot is entirely driven by the peculiar culture of Cetaganda and Ivan is an amusing side-kick. The other two stories are enjoyable and keep my rating at 5. The second story, Ethan of Athos isn't about Miles but other characters in the same world.
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on 3 July 2014
not her best work but miles is a great character
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on 18 September 2014
Yet another gem in the Miles saga
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on 21 May 2015
Brilliant
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on 20 July 2007
This is two novels and a novella, all originally published elsewhere. The first novel, Cetaganda, is fine. The second, Ethan of Athos, is solely for those who enjoy political correctness and perversion, and consists of sniping at everyone else. This is unreadable, unless you share that strange ideological position and that ideological hate of normal people. Anyone else will feel got at. The final novella, Labyrinth, is OK-ish, and set in thief-world Jackson's Whole. Is this worth bothering with, tho, if you already have one?
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