The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science fiction novels and short stories set in a common fictional universe by American author Lois McMaster Bujold. The first of these was published in 1986 and the most recent in 2012. Works in the series have received numerous awards and nominations, including winning four Hugo awards.
Bujold’s approach varies, sometimes crossing genres. All the novels include humor and comedy, sometimes very black and juxtaposed with tragic deaths or losses. She mixes military adventure, political thriller, romance, and the whodunit in various proportions.
The point of view characters include women (Cordelia in Shards of Honor, Barrayar; Ekaterin in Komarr and A Civil Campaign), a homosexual (Ethan of Athos), and a pair of brothers, one of whom is disabled and the other a clone (Miles and Mark Vorkosigan), together with some less well educated characters (a bodyguard Roic and a runaway lad Jin).
An important concern of the series is medical ethics. The author focuses on problems of personal identity, particularly the role of the physical in determining personhood. In this science-fiction context, identity may be affected by bioengineering, genetic manipulation, cloning, and medical technology allowing the replacement of failing systems and the prolonging of life. Some stories explore the relationships among child-rearing, pair-bonding (romantic love), and sexual activity.
The various forms of society and government Bujold presents often reflect 20th-century politics. In many novels, there is a contrast between the technology-rich egalitarian democratic socialism of Beta Colony and the heroic, militaristic, hierarchical society of Barrayar, where personal relationships must ensure societal continuity. Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, the protagonist of most of the series, is the son of a Betan mother and a Barrayaran aristocrat, embodying this contrast.
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