Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga)
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Cover Artist: Paul Youll
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476781938
Date: 03 January 2017 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Borders of Infinity links three stories set in the Vorkosigan Saga from the early career of Miles Vorkosigan. There is a set of four brief excerpts which tie the stories together which is the debriefing of Miles. He explains why the stories lead him to his current conundrum.
"The Mountains of Morning" is set shortly after Miles finishes up at the Service Academy while he is vacationing on his parent's estates. A woman comes seeking justice, and Miles is just the person to dispense it on his father's behalf.
"Labyrinth" is set on Jackson's Hole. Miles is sent to retrieve a scientist who wants to emigrate to the Empire. Miles never gets an easy assignment, there are some bio-samples which are needed which will be hard to get or the price will be very high.
"Borders of Infinity" is another rescue mission. Miles is a prisoner who discovers what he thought he knows is all wrong. The Cetagandans are following the letter if not spirit of the rules regarding prisoner care. With the help of a crazed prophet, Miles must unite the prisoners for what is coming.
This short fiction collection fills in some of the action between the novels and tells of some important first meetings. For the most part it is pretty accessible to new readers, but reading The Warrior's Apprentice first would be of use.
This is another release related to the 30th Anniversary of the start of the series. I am enjoying my journey through the Vorkosigan Saga years after original publication. Each volume I read is my first time through. It is weird finally getting to a series that I have multiple friends who have read it long before I got to them. It is a reminder that good things can come from the past as well as new publications. So sometimes we need to take a chance on something which is new and old at the same time. The length of the series can seem a bit daunting, but just think of it as more to enjoy.
Miles Vorkosigan was a hero before his time. He is gifted but carries a deep flaw related to his birth. His bones are very weak because of an attack on his mother before he was born. It isn't genetic and won't be passed on, but it does make things difficult for Miles to be the prototypical hero. He is small and physically weak, but he can overcome those limitations through determination, hard work, and intuition. When this series started, this was not a hero which was written. His flaws are what make him greater.
The Vorkosigan Saga is classic military SF. Space battles, plots within plots, and reluctant heroes keep the action moving towards the final battle. As a long running series, you know Miles is safe, but those around him fall. The question is always, "Who will it be?"