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Ethan of Athos

(Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #3)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  12,258 ratings  ·  584 reviews
On Athos, a world without women, Dr. Ethan Urquhart delivers babies from uterine replicators. But when the ovarian cultures start dwindling, he is sent abroad on a mission to replenish the planets stocks.
Mass Market Paperback, 237 pages
Published December 15th 1986 by Baen (first published December 1st 1986)
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 ·  12,258 ratings  ·  584 reviews

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Richard Derus
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quiltbag
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: The familiar old SF "planet of women" chestnut is reversed in the planet of Athos — an all-male planet made possible by the invention of the uterine replicator. Ethan, drawn out of his beloved Athos by a quest, finds himself an alien in more mainstream human society, and cannot help but find women disturbing aliens as well, especially the ultra-competent, ultra-beautiful Elli.

Ethan of Athos is Lois McMaster Bujold's third novel. It departs from the concerns
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
A buddy read with Choko and Maria.

A group of guys from Miles Vorkosigan universe decided it was a good idea to create a man-only planet. The technology at the moment was good enough for such project and thus Athos was born. The biggest and the most obvious problem was procreation. The locals had to get some fresh female eggs from time to time, but it was not a problem and the men lived in practically complete isolation without seeing a single woman all their lives and thinking it was the way it
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
*** 4.35 ***

A buddy read with Evgeny and Maria, because we love Science Fiction!!!

I love this author, I love this Universe, and I love this world of extremes. Every time I approach the next volume of this series, I experience this trepidation as to what weirdo society are we going to be introduced to this time. The genius of the series lays in the ability of the author to present a system of life which seems extremely outlandish, until you get to the basic premise and you see how everything must
mark monday
"How do you do," Ethan began politely. "I represent the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization of the Planet Athos. If I may, I'd like to tell you about the pioneering opportunities for settlement still available there--"

The sudden dead silence of his audience was interrupted by a large worker in green coveralls.

"Athos? The Planet of the Fags? You on the level?"

was Bujold on the level when she wrote this? sad to say, this book is sort of a mess. although it does have the genial tone, fast pac
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
For fans of the Vorkosigan Saga, this represents an interesting break from the norm. There are a couple of books in the series focused on Miles' mother, Cordelia (Shards of Honour & Barrayar), the bulk (10+?) are focused on Miles Vorkosigan himself, (although they often feature many other POVs) - and there's one set way earlier in the universe's timeline that doesn't feature any members of the Vorkosigan family at all.

And then there's this one...

Ethan of Athos is set during Miles' Admiral N
Rachel Hartman
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's actually been years since I read this, but I was reminded of it today by one of Sean's status updates for Angelfall, the one where he laments that the MC and the angel are going to start romancing each other. I sympathized (though I haven't read Angelfall), and that got me wondering whether the romancing is inevitable or necessary to make a good book.

Skip ahead to the answer: it's not. Here's proof.

(Bear in mind that the following is from memory, and forgive me if I get details wrong. I thi
Caro the Helmet Lady
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The only thing I missed in this Vorkosigan saga installment was Miles himself. Everything else was quite awesome - adventure, intrigue, characters. And the "science" part was pretty cool too. I like Bujold's writing a lot, it always pulls me in and keeps me till I finish the book. It's rational, not overloaded with detail and often humorous and ironic.
It's a skippable book if you want to read saga only for Miles, but in general it's a good sci-fi story, so you can leave it aside for later.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
After an average volume that was Cetaganda, I fell for Bujold’s writing and the world of Vorkosigans again. Ethan of Athos is a… strange little story. Strange in a way that it’s both very simple and yet when you start to think about it all, it gives material for long discussions. It’s both gay and so very heterosexual, it’s adventurous and also you could probably skip most of the action parts and it will be still fine. And all that not because the novel is so complex, it’s just… strange in this ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All the people
If you had told me two days ago that I would enjoy reading a book that departed from the main characters of the series and instead had a misogynist male protagonist from a misogynistic planet that follows a worldwide explicitly misogyny-based religion, and that furthermore, I would find said protagonist charming, sweet, well-intentioned and moreover, ETHICAL, I would have laughed in your face.

And I would have been wrong.

I failed to take into account Lois McMaster Bujold. Who is maybe a sorceress
Maria Dimitrova
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: barrayar, buddy-reads
Buddy read with Choko and Evgeny.

At first look this book is a lot different from the rest of the Vorkosigan Saga because it misses a Vorkosigan. Neither Miles nor any of his extended family shows up in this volume. But that doesn't make it any less entertaining! And if you look closely you will see that EoA follows the general theme of the series - a modern day ideology taken to the extremes.

One of the most interesting and useful inventions in this universe is the uterine replicator. This wonde
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a part of Vorkosigan saga, but while set in the same universe, the main characters are not the same as in the ‘main’ series. I read is as a Buddy read for April 2020 at Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group.

The planet of Athos is founded by men, who considered women ‘the root of all evil’. Therefore it is a men-only society and the problem of procreation is solved with uterine replicators and an initial stock of ova. However, as centuries passed, cloning of ova led to the accumulation
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In the universe of Barrayar, the Vorkosigans and all the rest comes a story about a native of a reclusive planet on a critical mission and experiencing massive culture shock while helping to deal with an espionage mystery.

Lois McMaster Bujold often features cultures and plots based around the social and political consequences of advances in technology. With this one we again come back to the uterine replicator technology and how that can be applied; in this case enabling Athos, a male-only plane
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
It reads as a backwater boy gets thrown into intergalactic espionage, but I particularly liked the setup for a planet of nothing but men eventually becoming the galaxy's largest repository of something that would spoil your reading of the book if you learned about it before-hand.

As sci-fi as social commentary, it wasn't very deep, but it did have significance for the eighties.

Overall, the novel was intended and succeeded at being a light adventure, but I'm slightly shallow in what I want from M
3.5 stars

A short book, but as usual, very skillfully written. Ethan was an interesting character to me, and one who I found quite endearing. I loved the strength evinced by Elli Quinn, who seems to have bounced back nicely from the devasting injury she suffered in The Warrior's Apprentice.

I also enjoyed seeing Admiral Naismith through the eyes of Quinn as observer, rather than directly through his own. It's always fascinating to get the perceptions of another person that way.

The whole idea of a
Jamie Hansen
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Surprisingly entertaining. While I missed Miles and the main characters of previous books, I liked Ethan more than I expected to and especially appreciated getting to know and see Commander Elli Quinn in action. I look forward to her character returning as I am told she will. :)
Ethan of Athos is classed as a stand alone book in the Vorkosigan saga but I must admit I did find that, although Miles wasn’t present for any of the action, he was mentioned so much he really did become part of it.

Ethan is a doctor from Athos, an all male planet. The planet uses replicator technology (which has been introduced in previous Vorkosigan books) to breed their [male only] children. For their reproduction they obviously have the male part of the equation sorted but a catastrophe await
Kaje Harper
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, favorites, scifi
I read this when it first came out in 1986 (and several times since). Fantasy and SF were, at the time, one of the few places you could find gay main characters who were content, unapologetic, and sometimes in the story for reasons other than being gay. This book deals with Ethan, a physician raised on a planet originally settled by some misogynistic gay men, who, in a future where babies could be selected for sex and gestated in uterine replicators, were spared the necessity of having women aro ...more
Vicky N.
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ethan of Athos is a non-Vorkosigan book that is severely lacking with the absence of Miles Naismith, but tried to mimic his spirit with the audacious Ellie Quinn.

So the idea behind this book is that a group of people took an uterine replicator, a contraption simulates an uterus, to create an all men planet and make them believe women are evil and that they have entrapped men from all over the universe so they must never leave the planet to not contaminate themselves with women.

I really liked A
Jun 23, 2007 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jon by: Beyond Reality Series Selection November 2009
3.5 stars

Miles is completely absent from this Vorkosigan series installment. Elli Quinn returns, with a new face and a new mission. The story is told mostly from the point-of-view of Ethan. Again, the theme swirls around genetics and reproduction, but definitely with a twist. The flip side of the female controlled genetic finesse of Cetaganda proves to be Athos, an all male planet rapidly running out of viable ovary cultures at their Rep Centers. When the batch of new ovaries is sabatoged, Athos
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not one of my favorite Vorkosigan books, but great worldbuilding and interesting puzzles to be solved. Also, it's nice to get to know a character we have seen earlier in the series.
Executive Summary: After a slow start, I thought it finished much stronger. 3.5 stars, rounded up.

Audiobook: Grover Gardner once again does a good job. I don't think he really does voices (I find myself drawing a blank as I write this), but I enjoy listening to him. The volume and inflection is good, which for me is often the most important thing anyways. I plan to continue this series on in audio.

Full Review
This is a pretty short book. It's only about 8 hours in audio. It started a bit roug
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Men like writing about all-female planets, so why shouldn’t a woman write about an all-male planet, Athos? Although we don’t see too much of Athos in this novel—quite quickly it becomes apparent that Dr. Ethan Urquhart will have to leave the womb of his planet and deal with out-worlders, a scary proposition for someone who has been raised to believe that women are dangerous.

Ethan is a talented doctor, in charge of conceiving test-tube babies and establishing them in the uterine replicators that
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun ... and somewhat unique ... installment in one of my favorite (most comfortably familiar) space operas. I'm well into the series (and I haven't consistently read them in order*), so it's hard to review this objectively. [Oh, and just to be clear, the publication order is by no means chronological, so there's plenty of debate as to what the correct order of reading these might be, anyway....]

Reviewer's warning: If you read the Vorkosigan Saga exclusively for Miles' personal saga or story ar
Emily Larkin
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is quite an old Bujold, but still one of my favorites. And actually, now that I think about it, it’s probably the first male/male romance I ever read, because while this book is a sci fi adventure romp on the surface, underneath all the derring-do is pinch of gentle romance. The story starts on a men-only planet, but quickly moves to a space station, where the beleaguered hero falls into misadventure. There are so many twists and turns in this book. Blink, and you’ll be lost! It’s part of t ...more
Apr 07, 2016 rated it liked it
While this one won't go down as my favorite Vorkosigan book (I missed Miles and his family too much :) ), it was certainly interesting and entertaining. I'd say I'm a solid 3.5. Only Bujold can write about a man from a planet that has based their entire religious philosophy on the divinity of the male and evilness of the female (their planet is entirely male due to scientific advancements where babies can be grown in uterine replicators) and somehow have him be likable and good. I love that abou ...more
Not my favourite Vorkosigan book, but very fun nonetheless. I like Elli Quinn a lot, and Ethan Urqhart is a terrific character.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A highly original idea of what a world without women would look like, and an entertaining read as well.
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Science Fiction. Athos is a planet of religious men at the ass-end of nowhere. Contact with women is forbidden, and the men rely on uterine replicators to produce their sons, but something is wrong with the ovarian cultures their doctors have used for generations, and now someone must leave the planet to purchase new samples. The Population Council volunteers Dr. Ethan Urquhart for the job. Too bad about how he gets mistaken for a spy his first day on the space station.

Though this is part of the
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Hugo & Nebula Awa...: Vorkosigan 6 -- Ethan of Athos 14 15 Apr 18, 2020 05:47PM  
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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse

Other books in the series

Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Shards of Honour  (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)
  • The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)
  • Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga, #4)
  • Brothers in Arms (Vorkosigan Saga, #5)
  • The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)
  • Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)
  • Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8)
  • Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga, #9)
  • Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10)
  • Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11)

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