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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. Most of these were published between 1986 and 2002, with the exceptions being “Winterfair Gifts” (2004) and Cryoburn (2010). 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 gay man (Ethan of Athos), and a pair of brothers, one of whom is disabled and the other a clone (Miles and Mark Vorkosigan). All these “outsider” characters belong to a socially prestigious class and are well-educated. In the last two works, we also get the point of view of Armsman Roic and the boy Jin, who are less privileged and articulate.
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...