Vorkosigan Saga

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Vorkosigan Saga
Abbreviation(s): Vorkosigan, Vorkosiverse (for fanfic)
Creator: Lois McMaster Bujold
Date(s): 1986 - present
Medium: Novels originally in English
Country of Origin: United States of America
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Vorkosigan Saga refers to the series of books written by Lois McMaster Bujold that feature the character Miles Vorkosigan or his parents. The series is also referred to as the Barrayar novels after the home planet of most of the main characters. The first novel was published in 1986, and the series is ongoing. The early novels are rollicking adventures in the space opera genre, but later books incorporate elements of the detective and romance genres.

In a 2011 fic rec post on Crack Van, Beatrice Otter described the series thus:[1]

The Vorkosigan chronicles are space opera—but space opera with a twist. Lois McMaster Bujold, the author, is quite adept at drawing from and blending a variety of genres: comedy, tragedy, romance, mystery, adventure, coming-of-age, military SF, you name it, you’ll find it somewhere in the series. Bujold is a woman of wit and intelligence, and a sharp knowledge of human nature; her works are character-centered, full of vibrant and real-seeming people and places. You can read her works as adventure novels, and enjoy them immensely; they function equally as well on the “literary” level, with deeply moving and relevant themes and some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever seen. Also, her explorations of biotechnology and its implications are well-thought-out and get more relevant with time, not less, which is something few SF writers can say about their technology.


English-language Fandom

More than one fan community is available for fans of Bujold's work:

  • 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.

The fandom is fairly small, but the series is still being written, so there are always new fanworks produced and new meta discussions held.

Russian-language fandom

There is a huge segment of fandom within the Russian community and there have been frequent ficathons ran since 2005.

http://lavka.lib.ru/bujold (or http://lavka.lib.ru/bujold/buj_eng.htm in English)

http://barrayar.slashfiction.ru (main archive in Russian)

Rock Opera

Fan music videos have been made using audio from the rock opera. For example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQtYgLoABHk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCSIF0BP5ag

Giant Russian Barrayaran Cosplay Events


There is a wide range of fanfic: gen, slash and het and stories ranging from drabbles to novel-length fiction. One of the most well-known stories is the novel-length Miles/Gregor story A Deeper Season.[2]

The Miles/Gregor pairing is popular with fans, as are stories exploring more minor characters and expanding on canon relationships. There is a small clutch of Ivan Vorpatril/Byerly Vorrutyer stories and several exploring the relationship of Miles' parents, Aral/Cordelia, as well as Simon Illyan/Alys Vorpatril and Gregor Vorbarra/Laisa Toscane.

The canon text lends itself to fanworks exploring gender identity, sexuality and sexual mores. The repressed, sexist and isolationist culture of Barrayar is contrasted with the futuristic, open and egalitarian society of Beta in the marriage of Aral and Cordelia. The Betan "hermaphrodite" character Bel Thorne, the character Dono Vorrutyer who has undergone sex reassignment surgery, and the canonically bisexual Aral Vorkosigan have all featured in works exploring these issues. Some fans feel that the treatment of homosexuality and bisexuality in the original sources is problematic, that Aral Vorkosigan is written as het now! once he has married Cordelia, although this is addressed to some extent in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (2016).[citation needed] There is also criticism of Dono Vorrutyer, with fans questioning whether the character can accurately be termed a trans man, since the motivation for Donna Vorrutyer to undergo sex reassignment is written as wholly political and economic. These perceived flaws have led fans to write stories that examine or illuminate the issue, or just fix-it.[3]

Crossovers are comparatively rare and are most common with Doctor Who and Harry Potter.

Example Fanfiction

A few prominent authors & sample works include:

Yuletide and Winterfair

Until 2010, Vorkosigan fandom was nominated for and accepted into Yuletide each year, generating a handful of fics each round. In October 2010, Vorkosigan fans discovered the number of extant fics had grown too large for the series to be considered a 'rare' fandom.[4] Though this decision was soon reversed,[5] fans took note of the fact that the Vorkosigan universe had consistently been one of the more popular Yuletide fandoms since the exchange's inception, and began making alternative plans for a gift exchange roughly coinciding with Christmas/New Year, but not competing with Yuletide. These plans were initiated on bujold-fic[6] and led to the first year of 'Winterfair'. The concept behind this exchange is that everyone who writes a fic will get a fic. Prompts were submitted in late December with initial fic posted in January to early February. The Winterfair exchange also integrated the English and Russian language sides of the fandom into one event.

Winterfair 2011 masterlist

Winterfair ran again in 2012.[7]

Impact on Other Fandoms

The Vorkosigan Saga was a likely influence on Avoliot's popular original slash novel The Course of Honour, which began as a WIP posted anonymously to Fail-Fandomanon and, several years after its publication on Archive of Our Own, was pulled to publish under the title Winter's Orbit. The Course of Honour shares a number of setting and thematic similarities with the Vorkosigan Saga, and Avoliot (under her professional pseudonym Everina Maxwell)[Note 1] has described Miles/Ekaterin as one of her SFF OTPs.



Canon Resources

Fanfic Prompts

Fanfic Recs and Reviews



  1. ^ Avoliot has publicly connected her fannish and professional pseudonyms. E.g., her professional Tumblr is under the username avoliot Archived version and the bio begins with "Everina Maxwell."


  1. ^ Crack Van: Aral Vorkosigan's Dog by Philomytha (accessed 24 June 2016) (archive link)
  2. ^ A Deeper Season at the Archive of Our Own
  3. ^ e.g., Complicated by schemingreader, accessed March 29, 2011 (archive link)
  4. ^ No Yuletide on Barrayar Accessed 07 January 2011.
  5. ^ Hey! We're Yuletide-able again! Accessed 07 January 2011.
  6. ^ Request for Comment Accessed 07 January 2011
  7. ^ Winterfair Mark Two (Dec 16, 2011)
  8. ^ "The One That Proves That My Childhood Wish to Live in a House with Secret Passages and Rooms and Dungeons Would Probably Not Have Worked out All That Well in Reality. Oh, the Pain of Disillusionment. A Maze of Twisty Passages, All Alike, by Merry, aka merryish. Vorkosigan series, gen.