The Vorkosigan Saga (blending military sci-fi with humour)

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The Vorkosigan Saga (blending military sci-fi with humour)

Postby Quatermass » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:09 am

Last year, I dipped a tentative toe into the realm of military science fiction. I read On Basilisk Station by David Weber, and Cordelia's Honour (the first Vorkosigan Saga omnibus book) by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Now, On Basilisk Station had a very good story and a pretty exciting battle at the end, but it was so full of techwank and was pretty dry. I guess that's what happens when you do Hornblower in space.

But Cordelia's Honour? Now that was a book that actually made me care about the characters, and had a certain amount of wit and humour. Often dark humour: read Barrayar, and you'll understand why 'shopping trips' can be both gruesome and funny. I was hooked, and enjoyed the later books, whereas I'm not sure that I am going to go back to David Weber's Honor Harrington series.

Why? Well, the main character of the Vorkosigan saga is a four-foot-nine brittle-boned hyperactive silver-tongued guy by the name of Miles Vorkosigan. And considering how much I love Doctor Who, consider this statement carefully: this is one of the few characters in fiction who I reckon could outmatch the Doctor in terms of wit and improvisation.

Lois McMaster Bujold is probably the best female author I have read since JK Rowling. Not only does she write extraordinarily interesting characters, but she is a master of blending humour with drama. Probably the most funny book of the series is A Civil Campaign, which is, at times, on a par with Terry Pratchett.

I recently (thanks to my birthday) completed my collection of the Vorkosigan Saga. A very excellent series that any fan of science fiction should try.

Anyone else here read any of the Vorkosigan Saga?
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:49 am

I've not read any of those, but the technical stuff reminds me of the Aubrey/Mataurin books by Patrick O'Brian. He goes into great technical detail about the rigging of a sailing ship and uses Navy-speak so much it can make your head spin if you try to take it all in. I eventually found that I needed to tune out somewhat on that stuff and just concentrate on the story. :)
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Postby Quatermass » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:16 am

Tonyblack wrote:I've not read any of those, but the technical stuff reminds me of the Aubrey/Mataurin books by Patrick O'Brian. He goes into great technical detail about the rigging of a sailing ship and uses Navy-speak so much it can make your head spin if you try to take it all in. I eventually found that I needed to tune out somewhat on that stuff and just concentrate on the story. :)


Don't read any of the Honor Harrington books, then. :)

But seriously, Tony, if you like science fiction books, you may just like the Vorkosigan Saga. Believe me, Bujold knows how to write well. And makes things funny. Because of the fact that his growth was affected by a teratogen, Miles has some interesting reactions to truth serum. In Brothers in Arms, he recites the entire play of Richard III while bouncing off the walls. :lol:
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