The Vorkosigan Saga Reading Order – JustSharing

As I am making my way through Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, I have run afoul a few times of fact that the chronological, book and reading orders of this show seem to all differ from one another. So I thought it may be helpful to put up the differing lists here in order to help others intending to browse the books. The chronological order is fairly straightforward, though not always the best reading sequence (which would be omnibus order, posted below).

The Vorkosigan Saga Reading Order

‘Dreamweaver’s Dilemma’ (short story, set many centuries Before Miles’s birth)
Falling Free (200 BM)
Shards of Honor (2-1 BM)
‘Aftermaths’ (2-1 BM)
Barrayar (1-0 BM)
The Warrior’s Apprentice (17th year of Miles Vorkosigan’s life)
‘Mountains of Mourning’ (20 MV)
The Vor Game (20 MV)
Cetaganda (22 MV)
Ethan of Athos (22 MV)
‘Labyrinth’ (23 MV)
‘Borders of Infinity’ (novella version) (24 MV)
Brothers in Arms (24 MV)
Borders of Infinity (framing story) (25 MV)
Mirror Dance (28 MV)
Memory (29-30 MV)
Komarr (30 MV)
A Civil Campaign (30 MV)
‘Winterfair Gifts’ (31 MV)
Diplomatic Immunity (32 MV)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (35 MV)
Cryoburn (39 MV)
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (42 MV)

Ideal the Vorkosigan Saga reading order by omnibus

This is the easiest, most economical and best-recommended method of reading the show, a couple of oddities aside. ‘Labyrinth’ seems twice for a reason and Falling Free (the earliest-set book) is thrown rather randomly to the center of the series, but beyond that it is rather straightforward. It should be noted that Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Cryoburn and Gentleman Jole along with the Red Queen are only available as single novels right now, even though it is assumed that at some point in the future Baen will collect them together. Memory will apparently remain a stand-alone novel due to its position as the biggest gamechanger from the series thus far and also the thematic awkwardness of combining it with other works.

Cordelia’s Honour (Shards of Honour, ‘Aftermaths’, Barrayar)
Young Miles (The Warrior’s Apprentice, ‘The Mountains of Mourning’, The Vor Game)
Miles, Mystery and Mayhem (Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, ‘Labyrinth’)
Miles Errant (‘Borders of Infinity’, Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance)
Memory (not part of an omnibus)
Miles in Love (Komarr, A Civil Campaign, ‘Winterfair Gifts’)
Miles, Mutants and Microbes (Falling Free, ‘Labyrinth’, Diplomatic Immunity)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (not yet part of an omnibus)
Cryoburn (not yet part of an omnibus)
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (not yet part of any omnibus)

Publication order

Publication order sort-of functions – it’s the arrangement that Bujold wrote the tales in, after all – but she jumps back and forth from Miles’s life fairly randomly. Those who prefer a chronological progression are led to the reading sequence by omnibus, but novel order works for those who prefer to read the books in – less or more (Barrayar was half-written since the continuation of Shards of Honour, abandoned for many decades, and then completed) – the sequence the author wrote them.

‘Aftermaths’ (Spring 1986)
Shards of Honour (June 1986)
The Warrior’s Apprentice (August 1986)
Ethan of Athos (December 1986)
Falling Free (serialised in December 1987-February 1988, in Analog)
Brothers in Arms (January 1989)
‘The Mountains of Mourning’ (May 1989)
‘Labyrinth’ (August 1989, in Analog)
Borders of Infinity (October 1989)
‘Weatherman’ (February 1990, in Analog, later integrated as the opening of The Vor Game)
The Vor Game (September 1990)
Barrayar (serialised July-September 1991, in Analog)
Mirror Dance (1994)
Cetaganda (October-December 1995)
‘Dreamweaver’s Dilemma’ (February 1996, in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma)
Memory (October 1996)
Komarr (June 1998)
A Civil Campaign (September 1999)
Diplomatic Immunity (May 2002)
‘Winterfair Gifts’ (February 2004, in the Irresistible Forces anthology)
Cryoburn (October 2010)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (November 2012)
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (February 2016)