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Proto Zoa Kindle Edition

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Length: 99 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Author's Note:
 
The Vorkosigan Saga Reading Order Debate: The Chef Recommends
 
 
Many pixels have been expended debating the 'best' order in which to read what have come to be known as the Vorkosigan Books, the Vorkosiverse, the Miles books, and other names, since I neglected to supply the series with a label myself.  The debate now wrestles with some fourteen or so volumes and counting, and mainly revolves around publication order versus internal-chronological order.  I favor internal chronological, with a few caveats.
 
I have always resisted numbering my volumes; partly because, in the early days, I thought the books were distinct enough; latterly because if I ever decided to drop in a prequel somewhere (which in fact I did most lately with Captain Vorpatril's Alliance) it would upwhack the numbering system.  Nevertheless, the books and stories do have a chronological order, if not a strict one.
 
It was always my intention to write each book as a stand-alone so that the reader could theoretically jump in anywhere, yes, with that book that's in your hand right now, don't put it back on the shelf!  While still somewhat true, as the series developed it acquired a number of sub-arcs, closely related tales that were richer for each other.  I will list the sub-arcs, and then the books, and then the caveats.
 
Shards of Honor and Barrayar.  The first two books in the series proper, they detail the adventures of Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony and Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar.  Shards was my very first novel ever; Barrayar was actually my eighth, but continues the tale the next day after the end of Shards.  For readers who want to be sure of beginning at the beginning, or who are very spoiler-sensitive, start with these two.
 
The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game (with, perhaps, the novella "The Mountains of Mourning" tucked in between.)  The Warrior's Apprentice introduces the character who became the series' linchpin, Miles Vorkosigan; the first book tells how he created a space mercenary fleet by accident; the second how he fixed his mistakes from the first round. Space opera and military-esque adventure (and a number of other things one can best discover for oneself), The Warrior's Apprentice makes another good place to jump into the series for readers who prefer a young male protagonist.
 
After that: Brothers in Arms should be read before Mirror Dance, and both, ideally, before Memory.
 
Komarr makes another good alternate entry point for the series, picking up Miles's second career at its start.  It should be read before A Civil Campaign.
 
Borders of Infinity, a collection of three of the five currently extant novellas, makes a good Miles Vorkosigan early-adventure sampler platter, I always thought, for readers who don't want to commit themselves to length.  (But it may make more sense if read after The Warrior's Apprentice.)  Take care not to confuse the collection-as-a-whole with its title story, "The Borders of Infinity".
 
Falling Free takes place 200 years earlier in the timeline and does not share settings or characters with the main body of the series.  Most readers recommend picking up this story later. It should likely be read before Diplomatic Immunity, however, which revisits the "quaddies", a bioengineered race of free fall dwellers, in Miles's time.
 
The novels in the internal-chronological list below appear in italics; the novellas (officially defined as a story between 17,500 words and 40,000 words, though mine usually run 20k - 30k words) in quote marks.
 
 
Falling Free
Shards of Honor
Barrayar
The Warrior's Apprentice
"The Mountains of Mourning"
"Weatherman"
The Vor Game
Cetaganda
Ethan of Athos
Borders of Infinity
"Labyrinth"
"The Borders of Infinity"
Brothers in Arms
Mirror Dance
Memory
Komarr
A Civil Campaign
"Winterfair Gifts"
Diplomatic Immunity
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
CryoBurn
                  
 
Caveats:
 
The novella "Weatherman" is an out-take from the beginning of the novel The Vor Game.  If you already have The Vor Game, you likely don't need this.
 
The original 'novel' Borders of Infinity was a fix-up collection containing the three novellas "The Mountains of Mourning", "Labyrinth", and "The Borders of Infinity", together with a frame story to tie the pieces together. Again, beware duplication.  The frame story does not stand alone, and mainly is of interest to completists.
 
 
The Fantasy Novels
 
My fantasy novels are a bit easier to order.  Easiest of all is The Spirit Ring, which is a stand-alone, or aquel, as some wag once dubbed books that for some obscure reason failed to spawn a subsequent series.  Next easiest are the four volumes of The Sharing Knife--in order, Beguilement, Legacy, Passage, and Horizon--which I broke down and actually numbered, as this was one continuous tale divided into non-wrist-breaking chunks.
 
What have come to be called the Chalion books, after the setting of its first two volumes, were also written, like the Vorkosigan books, to be stand-alones as part of a larger whole, and can in theory be read in any order.  (The third book actually takes place a few hundred years prior to the more closely connected first two.)  Some readers think the world-building is easier to assimilate when the books are read in publication order, and the second volume certainly contains spoilers for the first (but not the third.)  In any case, the publication order is:
 
The Curse of Chalion
Paladin of Souls
The Hallowed Hunt
 
 
The short story collection Proto Zoa was an e-book experiment; it contains five very early tales--three (1980s) contemporary fantasy, two science fiction--all previously published but not in this handy format.  The novelette "Dreamweaver's Dilemma" may be of interest to Vorkosigan completists, as it is the first story in which that proto-universe began, mentioning Beta Colony but before Barrayar was even thought of.

My latest original e-edition is Sidelines: Talks and Essays, which is just what it says on the tin--a collection of three decades of my nonfiction writings, including convention speeches, essays, travelogues, introductions, and some less formal pieces. I hope it will prove an interesting companion piece to my fiction.
 
Happy reading!
 
 
-- Lois McMaster Bujold.

Product Details

  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 99 pages
  • Publication Date: January 2, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006T10LK8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,865 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful By An Amazon Customer on January 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The contents (besides a short introduction and a note about the cover), are all from other works - four short stories that appear in Dreamweaver's Dilemma ("Barter", "Garage Sale" "The Hole Truth" and "Dreamweaver's Dilemma")and the short piece "Aftermaths", which also appears at the end of Shards of Honor. So if you have those books, then this offers nothing new.

Even if you don't have those books, the price for this volume is a bit steep for what you get. It is interesting to read the early efforts of a great writer, if only to see how far she's come. Dreamweaver's Dilemma in particular provides insight into the Vorkosiganverse pre-history. But unless you are already a die-hard Bujold fan who wants to complete their collection, probably best to give ths one a pass.

I do wish she had added even one new story - that would've made it worth the price of admission!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Rice on January 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I've been a fan of Lois Bujold since her first published novel in 1986. I'd not seen most of these early writings, much less published in one volume. For fans, it's a required purchase. For fans of science fiction and fantasy, it's a recommended purchase. If you are not familiar with Lois' style, her stories have a wry sense of humor that is not quite evident when first read. Sometimes it's a couple of sentences later that I have to stop and re-read and chuckle at her clever turn of the phrase. Dreamweaver's Dilemma was published as a NESFA Press souvenir book when the author appeared at Boskone, a long running and well known regional convention among science fiction and fantasy fans. Dreamweaver's Dilemma gives some background to the Vorkosigan universe and Beta Colony, the setting for Bujold's popular series about Miles Vorkosigan. My favorite is the first story, "Barter". Parents can relate to this one about a way to keep your children and spouse under control. If you have ever had an unpleasant neighbor, "Garage Sale" will illuminate a desired course of action. Anyone living in an area that has sink holes or chuck holes from winter weather will find "The Hole Truth" very true. "Dreamweaver's Dilemma" and "Aftermaths" are in the genre of fantasy/science fiction that Bujold is the most well known for writing. Both are enjoyable and thought provoking. "Dreamweaver's Dilemma" gives a sample of Beta Colony, the birthplace of Bujold's successful Vorkosigan series. "Aftermaths" always seemed out of place following her "Shards of Honor" novel. Reading it separately let me appreciate it more as a sample of her writing style and amazing imagination. Highly recommended.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anda Olsen on February 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I adore Lois Mc Master Bujold's Vorkosigan universe and just recently re-read all the Miles books to capture Mirror Dance & Cryoburn. (NB: have read all her other stuff too, except The Curse of Chalion, which I am saving.) Some of you may share my reluctance to totally END an author. So the first time through, I just dabbled in Mirror Dance. Then when Cryoburn came out I just dabbled in that. BUT-- it gave me new hope that she would be writing more in this universe: so I started at the beginning and read everything again straight through. WHAT a treat! Then I went on line to see if there was -- perhaps -- a new Miles coming along after Cryoburn. What I found was Proto Zoa. Which is a collection of her early work. GET IT NOW. A nice insight into the beginnings of a major author. But not just that. Each short story stands alone as an enjoyable read. And why did I say: who me, Kindle? because I almost always invariably read the end of a book first: just to see if I want to read it. This holds true w/ established authors, too. But I am MUCH more lenient w/ the short story format! LOL. So my Kindle purchases tend to be only novels that I have read before and want to enjoy again. Promise: you will enjoy Proto Zoa without knowing the ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nevay on June 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am an avid and loyal fan of Bujold and bought this to pass the time while waiting for her next book. Clearly the publishers knew this and because I am a fan of Bujold, I think she wanted to show her fans, that her work was not always as polished as it now is. (Those of us still getting "pink slips" take heart.)
A collection of short stories, some funny, some extremely short, some really old fashioned....Not my favourite Bujold at all, but it does offer an insight to the creative mind and it was certainly entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lorry on January 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I have read all of Lois McMaster Bujold 's books and found only one of the stories to be familiar to me,"Aftermaths". So am I missing something? Very glad I bought this, as usual , transported to another place, effortlessly it seems .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arlis Kelley on August 20, 2013
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Couple of good stories. You can see the potential you know Bujold came to in her later books. Worth the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Verlaine T on September 2, 2014
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I am a great fan of Bujold's, but this is a grab bag of early efforts which could have stayed in the drawer. As much as I read and reread her Vorkosigan saga, or the Chalion books, I had to force myself to finish these stories, hoping to find them interesting...but no. I'm only keeping this in my Kindle because I can't help collecting Bujold books.
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Reading Lois McMaster Bujold's creations is akin to being in a feelie-dream. Her genius for giving birth to new worlds from her imagination is awesome. This is a writer whose prose is so full of life and richness, that you must force yourself to savor her stories and not gluttonly race through them. Her writing transcends the science fiction genre and joins the wider ranks of great literature.
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