Sunday, January 30, 2011

Travels With Miles (On Serial Matters)

With the publication of the latest installment in this series, I started re-reading the earlier installments. I've gone through the series a couple of times now; my first read began when the first couple of books were originally out, then with probably the latest couple I read through again each time.

Each readthrough has been interesting and shown me new things about the series. My first read was for the adventure (the military science fiction aspect), then for the comedy (if anything can go wrong with Miles, it will...and then he will put it right), then for the humanity.

Yes, the humanity. For more than the military science fiction aspect, more than the romantic aspect, these books are about people and their relations. Miles and his parents and grandfather and sergeant-guardian. Miles and his crew of mercenaries. Miles and his various loves.

Miles is conceived. He is born. He grows up. He learns. He sees death. And he grows.

I hope we see Miles and his travels for a long time now. Lois McMaster Bujold seems to have slowed her output (as do we all), but each one is a worthwhile read. For those of you are cash-strapped, try to pick up the first run of the latest book: if you get a first printing, it'll contain a CD-ROM of all the books (except for Memory) in electronic format. Buy the book (support the author), pick up Memory (it is still in print), sit back and enjoy.

A note on reading: You can approach the books in chronological order and each has a handy timeline showing the events of the series. Or you can break them down into three sub-series. The biggest deals with Miles directly. Falling Free and Ethan of Athos can be read as standalones. Shards of Honor and Barrayar deal with how Miles' parents met, fell in love and tried to raise a family and change a world.

Lois McMaster Bujold; Falling Free (NESFA Press; 2004; ISBN 1-886778-53-1; cover by David Seely) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Shards of Honor (NESFA Press; 2003; ISBN 978-1-886778-10-8; cover by David A. Cherry) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Cordelia's Honor (Baen Books; 1999; ISBN 0-671-57828-6; cover by Gary Ruddell).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Miles, Mutants and Microbes (Baen Books; 2007; ISBN 978-1-4165-2141-9; cover by Alan Pollack). (Made up of Falling Free, Labyrinth and Diplomatic Immunity.) (Falling Free re-read in 2010.)

Lois McMaster Bujold; The Warrior's Apprentice (NESFA Press; 2001; ISBN 978-1-886778-27-2; cover by Nicholas Jainsschigg) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; The Vor Game (NESFA Press; 2010; ISBN 978-1-886778-85-6; cover by Robert M. Brown) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Ethan of Athos (NESFA Prees; 2003; ISBN 978-1-886778-39-6; cover by Nicholas Jainsschigg) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Miles, Mystery and Mayhem (Baen Books; 2001; ISBN 0-671-31858-6; cover by Patrick Turner). (Contains Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos and the short work Labyrinth.) (all three re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold
; Brothers in Arms (NESFA Press; 2008; ISBN 978-1-886778-74-0; cover by Doug Beekman) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Borders of Infinity (NESFA Press; 2007; ISBN 978-1-886778-59-7; cover by David Deen) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Miles Errant (Baen Books; 2002; ISBN 978-0-7434-3558-3; cover by Stephen Hickman) (Contains Borders of Infinity, Brothers in Arms and Mirror Dance.) (re-read in 2010).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Memory (Baen Books; 1996; ISBN 0-671-87743-7; cover by Gary Ruddell) (currently being re-read).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Komarr (Baen Books; 1998; ISBN 0-671-87877-8; cover by Gary Ruddell).

Lois McMaster Bujold; A Civil Campaign (Baen Books; 1999; ISBN 0-671-57827-8; cover by Patrick Turner).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Miles in Love (Baen Books; 2008; ISBN 978-14165-5522-3; cover by Alan Pollack). (Omnibus edition of Komarr, A Civil Campaign and the short work Winterfair Gifts.)

Lois McMaster Bujold; Diplomatic Immunity (Baen Books; 2002; ISBN 0-7434-3533-8; cover by Stephen Hickman).

Lois McMaster Bujold; Cyroburn (Baen Books; 2010; ISBN 978-1-4391-3394-1; cover by David Seeley).

Associated: Lillian Stewart Carl and John Helfers (editors): The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen Books; 2008; ISBN 978-1-4165-5603-9; cover by Darrell K. Sweet) (read in 2010).

Part of the 2010 Year in Shorts, the 2010 Year in Books and the 2011 Year in Books.

Addendum (February 16, 2010): An episode of The Incomparable Podcast covers the series. Some good stuff here. "Fan" art of the series characters.

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