For fans of Lois McMaster Bujold, a new book in the Vorkosigan Saga series is always an event to celebrate. Oddly, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance centers on Captain Ivan Vorpatril and his assignment as a staff officer on the planet Komarr, and subsequent involvement in undercover matters for Imperial Security, centered on two lovely females. His hyperactive cousin Miles Vorkosigan makes only a cameo appearance in this stand-alone novel.
Ivan and Cousin Miles…
So you can start with this novel, and if you’re intrigued, there are about fourteen more books, novellas, or short stories in the series, taking you through the romance of Miles’ parents, Miles’ exploits at the military academy, his adventures as a mercenary for hire and Miles’ own courtship and marriage. Bujold is a master in the so-called space opera genre, based not so much on hard science, but more on characters and witty repartee.
Where to Start?
Controversy abounds as to whether to read the books in the order published or in the chronological order of the Barrayar planet and the surrounding universe. Pages 423 to 426 in Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance give an outline, or the avid reader may refer to the author’s amplified suggestions on her rather plain website.
Who Might Like This?
While I relish the dragons in Anne McCaffrey’s thirty book series about the dragonriders of Pern, sometimes I like less fantastical reading. (If an avid reader with a San Mateo County Library card wishes to discern the correct order, the NoveList site under Research on the SMCL website lists the books in sequence!) Bujold’s series has stunners as weapons, a military and peerage hierarchy, wonderful interactions between strong aristocratic women and their wayward adult sons and just makes for fun and escapist adventures in space.
Third Science Fiction Series by a Woman Author
In addition to Bujold and McCaffrey, a third author I follow is Sharon Lee. She writes with Steve Miller about the Liaden universe, and if you like the series, there’s probably at least fifteen titles (again, check NoveList). I just enjoyed Dragon Ship: A New Novel of the Liaden Universe. Part of my absorption lay in the fact that I had met gutsy Theo Waitley in previous books, as she was expelled from her pilots’ academy, had a love affair with Win Ton and discovered her family heritage, all while piloting her ship through all sorts of interplanetary intrigue. This feisty space venturer with the sharp tongue is high on my list of favorite science fiction characters!
Karen Y. is an army colonel’s daughter. Otherwise, she can’t quite figure out where her yen for military space opera derived.