The Captain’s Log – ethan of athos, brothers in arms, borders of infinity, and the vor game (Lois McMaster Bujold) – The Vorkosigan Saga Year Continues!

Ahoy there me mateys!  In 2021 the First Mate gave me a treasure trove of the entire Vorkosigan Saga.  I am loving exploring this world.  After much internal debate, I decided to read the series in publishing order . . . well mostly.  Here be the reviews for the most recent books I tackled . . .

ethan of athos

This book only features Miles indirectly but I was highly entertained by this one.  This is the story of Ethan from the planet Athos.  Athos is populated only by men therefore woman are treated as mythical, scary creatures.  Children are born in artificial wombs.  Ethan is a head doctor who learns that the ovarian samples are malfunctioning and so he is sent off planet to get more.  Silliness ensues.  This also features Eli Quinn (from a previous novel) and I love her.  Ethan’s culture and religion are highly misogynistic but Ethan’s attitudes grow and mature in the end.  Given that this was written in 1986, there are some anti-gay sentiments present on the planet that Ethan finds himself on (called Jackson’s Whole where everything including justice is for sale).  This book itself shows that this is not the author’s personal belief and it seemed to be used here (as does Athos itself) to explore the ramifications of misogyny.  I missed Miles but Eli Quinn and Ethan’s relationship made this one of me favorites so far.

“Ethan trembled, waiting for the insanity to strike him from their level, medusan gazes. Nothing happened. After a moment, he unclutched the desk edge. Perhaps then the madness that possessed galactic men, slaves to these creatures, was something only transmitted in the flesh. Some incalculable telepathic aura? Bravely, he raised his eyes again to the figures in the screen.  So. That was a woman — two women, in fact.” ― Lois McMaster Bujold, Ethan of Athos

brother in arms

Back to Miles.  He visits Earth on what is supposed to be quick stop and sort of brief vacation only to get stuck there over bureaucracy and the need of monies.  There is lots of drama of him having to hop between his two identities.  There is a lot of time where Miles is spent waiting.  In this book Miles is having major problems and his is having trouble coming up with anything clever to get him out of trouble.  There is a ridiculous twist that I didn’t quite love but does have some interesting ramifications that I am sure will appear later.  I loved more Eli Quinn.  Ivan also continues to grow on me.  This was a solid read.  Onto the next!

“How many four-foot-nine-inch black-haired grey-eyed hunchbacks can there be on this damn planet? D’you think you trip over twitchy dwarfs on every street corner?”
― Lois McMaster Bujold, Brother in Arms

the borders of infinity

This is a collection of three novellas with a fun frame story of Miles telling Illyan about why he went over budget.  In “The Mountains of Mourning” Miles has to act as a representative of his father in the hinterlands of his father’s domain.  Miles has to solve the murder of an infant, deal with prejudice, and make hard choices.  It was bittersweet and lovely.  I also loved Fat Ninny the horse.  Won the Hugo and Nebular in 1990.  I did not really like the second novella “Labyrinth” at all.  There is a sex scene between Miles and a sixteen year old genetically engineered human that did NOT work for me because of the age gap even though it was consensual.  I also thought how easily Miles was able to trick the facility was lame.  I hated Canaba.  Jackson’s Whole still sucks.  The third novella “The Borders of Infinity” dealt with Miles trying to rescue a POW from a horrible bubble prison.  Of course things get more complicated fast.  I really liked the crazy religious dude.  I liked getting to see more of Mile’s cleverness.  How the Ceta’s manage to follow the letter of POW law but not the spirit was horrible and fascinating.  This third novella actually takes place before the novel, brothers in arms.  Fun.

“It’s easy for the central authorities to make the rules, but these people have to live every minute of the consequences.”
― Lois McMaster Bujold, The Mountains of Mourning

the vor game

This won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1991.  I can see why.  SO much fun.  Miles graduates from the Academy and gets his unexpected assignment.  He is sent to a miserable cold place called Kyril Island where he is a weatherman.  Not what I was expecting.  Is recalled back home for spoilery reasons involving making the correct choice in a bad situation.  Then Miles is assigned to Hegen Hub where he inadvertently loses his handlers, finds an unexpected prisoner, starts a rescue, and gets in over his head yet again.  The mercenaries are involved.  Threat of war is involved.  It is a big mess but resolves in an excellent way if disbelief is suspended.  Five stars for pure enjoyment.

“There will be a ten percent surcharge for resisting arrest,”
― Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game

Next up: barrayar.  Given how much I disliked reading about Bothari in shards of honor and almost never picked up another book in the series, I be a bit worried about this one.

To visit the author’s website go to:
Lois McMaster Bujold – Author

To add to Goodreads go to:
Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

The World of the Five Gods series – Fantasy
the curse of the chalion – book 1
paladin of souls – book 2
the hallowed hunt – book 3
penric’s progress – omnibus 1 (eArc)
penric’s travels – omnibus 2
the orphans of raspay – book 7
the physicians of vilnoc – book 8
the assassins of thasalon – book 10

The Sharing Knife series – Fantasy
knife children – book 5 (eArc)

The Vorkosigan Saga – Sci-Fi
shards of honor, falling free, and the warrior’s apprentice – books 1, 4, 2


3 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – ethan of athos, brothers in arms, borders of infinity, and the vor game (Lois McMaster Bujold) – The Vorkosigan Saga Year Continues!

  1. I totally LOVE this series so I’m aware of my total lack of objectivity here… 😉
    I would be interested in knowing your reactions at reading the books in publication order rather than following the internal chronology (which I prefer). As for the twist from Brothers in Arms, the twist will have *interesting* consequences later on.
    Happy (continued) reading!


  2. Really enjoyed your review! I haven’t read any of these, only Shards of Honour and Barrayar, but I loved both. I think that she does a good job trying to unpick some of the stuff around Bothari in Barrayar – I found that part successful though I know others disagree. I hope you enjoy it!


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