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Free Miles Vorkosigan!
October 29, 2010 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Cryoburn, the latest installment in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series, is out in hardcover. Hard copies of the book also contain a CD with the text of the book... and most of the rest of the books in the series, along with a number of speeches, interviews, and essays. In keeping with Baen Books' approach to DRM and publishing (previously), the entire thing is available for free online.
posted by asterix (33 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
You are about to start playing with a new Baen CD-ROM. Welcome! It includes not only the latest book in the series, Cryoburn, but the ENTIRE Vorkosigan Saga in several formats—and The Vorkosigan Companion—all of it beautifully unencrypted and unencumbered. But wait, there’s more! Also on this disk are interviews with author Lois McMaster Bujold, and various other interesting tidbits including a sample of the French language Miles Vorkosiagn graphic novel! More than fourteen novels for free—and with no stupid codes to work around. Think of that.

What’s the catch? This disk and its contents may be copied and shared, but NOT sold. All commercial rights are reserved. That’s it.
What what what? A complete series from a living author, for free, at the same time as the newest book is being sold? And you want people to share? I like the cut of your jib, sirs!
posted by filthy light thief at 4:42 PM on October 29, 2010


It's not the complete series; Memory seems to have been left out, for reasons that are not clear to me. But everything else appears to be there.
posted by asterix at 4:49 PM on October 29, 2010


It's not immediately obvious, but the website also has copies of all of the other Baen CDs.
posted by fings at 4:49 PM on October 29, 2010


Yeah, I've never been able to get into this series, even though I do have some of Bujold's other books. There's a passage in "Shards of Honor" that completely capture my felings toward my unbelief in the divine. I always go look it up every time Bujold is brought up.

This is so cool that if they put up a tip jar I'd throw $5 in it.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:50 PM on October 29, 2010


The Baen Library thing is so awesome. It has definitely prompted me to buy their books; whenever I need a meatspace-copy of a book to read offline I always pick a Baen book I haven't read yet, or at least something by one of the authors I've read through Baen.
posted by XMLicious at 4:53 PM on October 29, 2010


I love you for pointing this out. I am also picking up my hold copy of Cryoburn at the library tomorrow.
posted by ansate at 4:55 PM on October 29, 2010


I've actually been jonesing for some Bujold and re-reading her Sharing Knife series to help the ache. She really is the hidden gem of SF&F -- quietly writing brilliant books for years before I heard of her, and I've been reading SF&F for as long as I've been reading.
posted by jb at 5:03 PM on October 29, 2010


I'm still pirating it
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 5:08 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still buying it -- though now I can buy it in hardcover, AND have an epub copy for my ereader.
posted by jb at 5:12 PM on October 29, 2010


Memory has not been included in any of the omnibus editions -- all of the other ebooks on the site are the omnibus versions, which is also how most are available in paper these days. I'm not a fan of omnibus volumes myself, even if they are cheaper; they are harder to hold up while reading. I think Baen would make good money if they sold the single Vorkosigan volumes - the series isn't going stale, and every person who reads a later volume will run to get the earlier ones. The only novels that it really makes sense to have in one volume are the Cordelia novels, since they are really one story (and were originally intended to be one book).
posted by jb at 5:17 PM on October 29, 2010


This isn't the Baen Free Library; this is a third party putting online the CD-ROMs they sell with many of their hardcovers. It's less than clear to me that this is legit for many of them, but if they're not misquoting the Cryoburn CD-ROM, this one's explicitly saying it can be copied and shared non-commercially.

I've always found Miles annoying, but love the supporting cast. To no surprise, my favorites are the first two, centered on Cordelia.
posted by Zed at 5:19 PM on October 29, 2010


Zed: Baen is aware of the site, and has even asked the maintainer to make corrections here and there. As far as I know, all of their CDs have the same "Please share this" policy.

I buy all my Baen books as ebooks from Webscriptions.net now, but I first discovered John Ringo through the Baen Free Library and then went on to buy everything he's done in paper after reading "A Hymn Before Battle". I'm actually re-reading "When The Devil Dances" via Kindle for Mac in another window right now.
posted by mrbill at 6:09 PM on October 29, 2010


Aha, from the site's disclaimer:
For the small minority of people who still seem to think that this site is blatantly trampling upon multiple copyrights and don't believe what's in the linked CD-ROM Orientation, feel free to visit the Baen Publishing Enterprises web site and drop a dime on me. They have a lively web forum and you can speak directly to the publisher and webmaster in several conferences. Just be prepared to be roundly mocked after complaining about this site.

Baen knows all about this site, to the point where the publisher has my phone number and she's not afraid to use it.
posted by mrbill at 6:11 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always found Miles annoying,

In a Woody Allen kinda way, yes?
posted by mek at 6:16 PM on October 29, 2010


God DAMN it, there goes any chance of productivity this weekend, right out the window.
posted by Michael Roberts at 6:47 PM on October 29, 2010


Zed - you find Miles annoying -- I know a couple of people who want to marry him. :)
posted by jb at 7:19 PM on October 29, 2010


I've always found Miles annoying

There's times in the books where I could happily throttle Miles, but then, he seems to inspire that reaction in everyone at some point. I love the books because Bujold has managed to write a series of many books, actually age the characters realistically, and keep things fresh and interesting. There's plenty of series where the characters never seem to age and the plots start to feel stale. The Miles books avoid that.
posted by booksherpa at 7:37 PM on October 29, 2010


I think Miles is annoying sometimes, but I sort of like that because, uh, well, I'm annoying sometimes, and some of the people I love best are annoying sometimes, so!

This series has always impressed me because so many of the protagonists--who really are the good guys--are in larger or smaller ways mentally or physically different in some fashion. Sometimes both. Just the sheer fact that the series takes as a given that people who are depressed, bipolar, even dissociative can still be heroes? People who aren't physically attractive by our standards can still be romantic leads? That struck me very powerfully when I read the first book years ago, and it still does today.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:25 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just the sheer fact that the series takes as a given that people who are depressed, bipolar, even dissociative can still be heroes?

For me, this brings to mind Bothari. A warped, possibly insane, certainly very dangerous individual. Miles' bodyguard. Possibly one of Miles' best friends. His death devastates Miles and even has a major impact on the reader (me..). Found the first two books too much "Romance Novels in Space", but I'm loving the Miles novels that follow.
posted by jgaiser at 8:42 PM on October 29, 2010


Thanks for the tip! Miles is great and I love The Fifth Imperium site.

Thanks to Eric Flint and Jim Baen for making Baen Books the most progressive publisher in sf/f. It's sad that after years of proven results in increased sales no other publisher has followed their lead.

They don't use DRM and they offer half a dozen different formats as well so you can read a Baen book where and how you want. Webscriptions also kicks ass by offering super preview versions of books that have completed editing but have not been published yet or even finished drafts from some authors. Tor may have (ok, definitely does have) prettier covers but Baen really goes the extra mile to give readers the goods.
posted by irisclara at 10:32 PM on October 29, 2010


from the site's disclaimer

Well, yeah, I knew what the site says, but if you look at the CD-ROM Orientation it cites there to justify redistribution, it doesn't actually say anything about redistribution. And I haven't seen verification that Baen knows about it and is okay with it. So, like I said, not clear to me. I'm not asserting the others are illegitimate, but it seemed fishy enough to me that I wasn't willing to download them.
posted by Zed at 10:38 PM on October 29, 2010


Barn has quite a few other similar CDs for some of their other authors. Though I think that Bujold is by a very large margin the best author with one of these posted, and possibly in the entire Baen stable.

Though I guess if you're looking for LOLZ, a debt to Horatio Hornblower and completely hilarious politics, you could check out the David Weber CD.
posted by sparkletone at 11:42 PM on October 29, 2010


Odd, I'm happy to read this and yet not at all regretful that I just got the email from Amazon yesterday that my order of Cryoburn has shipped.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 2:38 AM on October 30, 2010


I've been re-reading the novels on my iPad for the past week since I bought Cryoburn. I already bought them all a long time ago, one by one, because they belong to the category of "candy" books that I read and toss aside, but I've been mulling over why a publisher would choose to make them available for free. Are the books no longer selling at all? (I am all too aware that books of this sort have a relatively brief "shelf life" :) ) Is this a way to seriously market Cryoburn? If so, why isn't there more of a splash than "Free CD-ROM Inside" on the cover?
posted by Peach at 5:39 AM on October 30, 2010


I have been reading and rereading the Vorkosigan novels nearly every year since high school. I had no idea that Baen books had this policy and practice. This is just amazing!

Goodness. There's so much to say in this thread... If I type it all I'll be late for work... Damn.
posted by Severian at 6:15 AM on October 30, 2010


but I've been mulling over why a publisher would choose to make them available for free. Are the books no longer selling at all? (I am all too aware that books of this sort have a relatively brief "shelf life" :) ) Is this a way to seriously market Cryoburn? If so, why isn't there more of a splash than "Free CD-ROM Inside" on the cover?

My 2 cents of overthunkbeansworth:

From what I gather (and yes, I'm half in love with Miles as well) there's a significant fanbase around the series and given that both Baen and Eric Flint have been successful with fanfic turned into books with the 1353/Ring of Fire series, perhaps this is an attempt to tap into that same user created/co created community comes up with lots of stories and stuff around the Vor world space.. (another example is the Man Kzin war series extension but I don't know if that's really fanfic per se)

disclaimer: I could, of course, be wrong
posted by The Lady is a designer at 8:32 AM on October 30, 2010


On a side note: Agree on the Bothari observation

Keep in mind he was damaged earlier but transferred his debt to Cordelia to Miles
posted by The Lady is a designer at 8:34 AM on October 30, 2010


Eric Flint has a long discussion on Baen's Free Library page on his and Baen's reasoning on providing free copies of their books. A good read. Too bad the other book publishers aren't as understanding.
posted by jgaiser at 9:38 AM on October 30, 2010


Thanks to Eric Flint and Jim Baen for making Baen Books the most progressive publisher in sf/f.

This made me do a double take before I realized you were speaking of progressive in terms of digital distribution/sharing. I've always found the tone of most of the Baen productions to be somewhat conservative (albeit eclectic).

Their Free Library is indeed awesome, though - as someone who devoured the Harrington books in high school but found most of the local library copies missing or stolen, online access was an immense boon.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:47 AM on October 30, 2010


I've always found the tone of most of the Baen productions to be somewhat conservative (albeit eclectic).

John Ringo is one of my favorite authors, but there are times when I have to grit my teeth and ignore his politics, especially when reading The Last Centurion. A good part of the book is dedicated to very thiny veiled Hillary-as-President bashing.
posted by mrbill at 1:47 PM on November 1, 2010


Bujold is by a very large margin the best author with one of these posted, and possibly in the entire Baen stable.

Of current original Baen authors, Bujold's the only one I'm likely to seek out, but they've been reprinting a lot of good classic sf, lots of it available from the Free Library, like Murray Leinster, Keith Laumer, and James Schmitz. Or The World Turned Upside Down anthology. And there's good stuff in The Best of Jim Baen's Universe.

I've always found the tone of most of the Baen productions to be somewhat conservative (albeit eclectic)

The last physical Baen book I bought was a reissue of Joanna Russ' The Adventures of Alyx, considered a classic of feminist sf. So, yeah, eclectic.
posted by Zed at 7:57 AM on November 2, 2010


I'm most of the way through Cryoburn and can say I actually like Miles now that he's a grown-up. (And, courtesy of the CD-ROM distribution of the backlist, I've loaded Cordelia's Honor on my e-reader for my wife to read.)
posted by Zed at 2:27 PM on November 24, 2010


So, in the month since I saw this post, I've read everything from Cordelia's Honor through Komarr. And am making good time on A Civil Campaign. Thank you for posting this.
posted by cthuljew at 11:19 PM on November 27, 2010


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