Lois McMaster Bujold

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Name: Lois McMaster Bujold
Also Known As: Lois McMaster, LMB
Occupation: author
Works: Vorkosigan saga, the Chalion series, and the Sharing Knife series
Official Website(s): Bujold Nexus, Her wikipedia page, her ibd forum page, to which she often contributes
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Lois McMaster Bujold is a prolific and extremely popular science fiction and fantasy author.

She is a long-time science fiction fan. She had a trib in the 2nd issue of Spockanalia [1] the first media fanzine, and has admitted that at least one of her characters bears a debt to her love for Kerr Avon, the anti-hero in Blake's 7.

Together with Lillian Stewart Carl, she wrote and published the Star Trek zine Star Date and sold it at Midwestcon. For over 20 years, since October 1997, a long-running rumour about the source of the Vorkosigan stories has been firmly denied by Bujold herself. The rumour persists that the first Vorkosigan novel, Shards of Honor, started out as fan fiction about "a Klingon officer and a red-headed Federation scientist". [2] :

Now, this Star Trek thing. This is going to be the third time I have knocked it on the head *this year*. It's getting profoundly irritating. *SoH is not now, and has never been, a Star Trek story.* Six *years* before I started writing it, to entertain myself driving to work, I had worked out a vaguely ST-universe two enemies-lost-on-planetside scenario. You have only my word for this, by the way, as I am reporting on my private thoughts here. Nothing was ever written. When I did sit down in 1982 to write my original novel, I used some elements from this scenario in the opening chapters, while also drawing on not less than my whole life and everything I'd learned in it. By the time the first word hit paper, I wanted to write my *own* books, thank you very much. And I did.

While I do not wish to gratuitously insult Trek fans -- I consider them a potential market for character-centered action-adventure stories with something of the same economic lust that early 20th Century industrialists used to look on the population of China, if only I could push my product across their mental barriers -- the suggestion that one is incapable of making up one's own stories is perhaps the most deadly insult you can level at a writer. Please refrain from doing so. And when you encounter this Star Trek rumor again -- and it seems to be everywhere -- kindly disabuse the perpetrators for me. I don't seem to be able to catch up with them all.

Ta, Lois [3]

In a post to the Bujold mailing list in 1997, also in October, she said:

Yes, I am a fan-ac friendly author; I did indeed write fan-fic in my teens. Recent legal concerns in genre fiction have rather thrown a wrench in the deal. In general, it's considered safer for a writer not to view fan fic centered on their work, so lately, and most reluctantly, I've taken to avoiding it. Feel free to write amongst yourselves, though. [4] [5]

See also Timeline of Bujold Fandom

Fandom Source Material

Although Bujold has written other works (e.g. The Spirit Ring), fan activities focus on the following series:

  • Vorkosigan Saga: (currently) 15 science-fiction novels (and a couple of short stories) published between 1986 and 2010 focusing (predominantly) on the exploits of Miles Vorkosigan, his family, and companions.
  • Chalion series: (currently) three fantasy novels published between 2001 and 2005 and the Penric e-novellas (11) by late 2023.
  • Sharing Knife series: (currently) four fantasy novels published between 2006 and 2009.

Within the fan communities, overwhelmingly greater interest has been shown in the Vorkosigan Saga than in her other two series.

Fan Communities

More than one fan community is available for fans of Bujold's work. All fan communities welcome fans for any of Bujold’s novels:

  • Lois McMaster Bujold Fanfic Community (link) (or bujold-fic for short) is also based on LiveJournal. This community provides a place for sharing fan-fiction set in any of Bujold's universes, of which the most popular is the Vorkosiverse. It was created in November 2005 and as of January 2011 included over 400 members. Sahiya is the community maintainer.
  • The Bujold Nexus Mailing List has been active since October 1994 and was the first resource available on the Internet for fans of Lois McMaster Bujold.
  • Russian fan-community - Can anyone please help with more information about this?

In comparison with huge fandoms like Harry Potter, the fandom for Bujold’s works is small – particularly so if one subtracts those fans whose predominant interests lie within the Vorkosigan Saga. However Bujold is still writing new novels, so there are always new fanworks produced and new meta discussions held.

Fan Fiction in Bujold's Universes

Fanfiction for Bujold's works showed up almost immediately; mostly short little interstitial pieces directly connected to the novels. Slash started to appear in the early 2000s. The two most common slash pairings are Miles/Gregor and Ivan/Byerly, both from her Barrayar series of books.[6] The best-known long work in the fandom is A Deeper Season, here a Gregor/Miles series of novels by sahiya and E.E. Beck.

A fan in 1995 asked:

*Are* there any Bujold-universe oriented fanzines? If I can't get my Bujold-fix from her stuff, I can try other people's stuff... <grin> -- [7] [8]

As per "official permission," a fan in 1997 explained:

>> As Pat Mathews has mentioned in a recent post, she had fanfic within it. Pat, could you tell us about sort of special arrangements you made with Lois about printing these? -- Susan (the Neon Nurse) [9]

All this took place before the Great MZB Flap. I merely asked Lois is a letter and she said "OK", adding that her characters were unique enough that it was impossible to get the true flavor. In fact, the best stories in there were jokes; after a while, the only plot anyone could come up with was Gregor's wedding. One writer had him threaten to marry Bel Thorne in order to get his way! PS - as I heard it, the Great MZB Flap was not the fan's fault. Someone - I think DAW - pushed the panic button over what began as a mere attempt to negotiate the terms of MZB using part of a fanfic writer's plot. I will say no more except to suggest checking the copyright pages of some of her latest works. [10]

In 2006, Bujold was quoted in the essay Wizard Oil:

Lois McMaster Bujold (Shards of Honor, and others), who wrote fan fiction back in her teens, says on her website, "I'm a control freak with respect to my own work up to the time the galley proofs leave my hand. At that point, I believe -- reluctantly -- that I have to cut the umbilicus and let the work sink or swim as best it can."

Bujold enjoys fan fiction because, "One can see in sharp relief just what a difference the writer (and their style) makes, like little story-petrie-dishes . . . . One can see inside readers' heads, that otherwise inaccessible stage where all this art takes place. The sense of strolling through a hall of mirrors is profound. As a writer myself, I find much food for thought about my craft in this."



  • Bujold Ficathon (2006–present); held in summer
  • Winterfair (2011–12); held in the New Year
  • Russian ficathon; held in summer/autumn

Fans in Bujold's Universes

Many SF and media fans's names were used for minor characters (i.e. "Tuckerized") in the Vorkosigan saga, often under their legal names, so they're hard to link to here at Fanlore.


A conference on Bujold's works is being organised for August 2014.


  1. ^ "The Free Enterprise" is a humorous piece, claimed to be the underground newspaper for the Enterprise, a publication circulated by the crew. Sample articles: "Is There Really a Bridge?" and "Does Engineering Exist?")
  2. ^ Carl, Lillian Stewart. Through Darkest Adolescence with Lois McMaster Bujold. In S. Lewis (Ed.), Dreamweaver's Dilemma (pp. xiii-xiv). Framingham: NESFA
  3. ^ LOIS-BUJOLD Digest 918 (accessed 27 June 2016)
  4. ^ Fwd: Fanfic, speculation, and Star Trek
  5. ^ her comments reposted at The Lois McMaster Bujold FanFic Archive
  6. ^ list of books in the Barrayar series on Wikipedia
  7. ^ comment by Elizabeth McCoy at LOIS-BUJOLD digest 33, January 15, 1995
  8. ^ A fan's response: "The official Bujold new letter "Miles Minions" is available from the person who runs Misty Lackey's Queen's Own, judith Louvis. However I haven't had a new edition in I think two years :-(. Perhaps if all the readers of this list write her, she might be willing to put some effort into a) re-vitalizing the zine or b) finding someone else to take it over." -- LOIS-BUJOLD digest 34, January 20, 1995
  9. ^ Susan (the Neon Nurse) is Susan Crites
  10. ^ an exchange at lists.herald.co.uk/old-archives, October 15, 1997

External links