I think there's a general consensus CRYOBURN is the weakest Vorkosigan novel Bujold has written. Maybe not the most flawed -- personally, I count ETHAN OF ATHOS as more flawed -- but certainly the weakest Vorkosigan novel, and possibly the weakest book, period. (And it's still readable -- the "worst" of an excellent bunch may still be objectively okay.) And that this is partially because she ran out of stories she wanted to tell about Miles before she stopped telling stories about Miles. And that CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE might well be pretty darned good, because she might well still have stories she wants to tell about Ivan.
In a friend's LJ, people were thinking about this, and it was observed that, in the Vorkosiverse, "having kids" means "no longer being the protagonist." Oh, you still have a life, you still have adventures -- Count Admiral Viceroy Aral Vorkosigan and Countess Captain Vicerine Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan certainly didn't stop doing stuff once Miles was born, but, for purposes of the novels, they became "Miles's parents" -- supporting characters. Ekaterin is something of an exception, having come into the story with a kid in tow, but, once she has her NEW batch of kids, she's backgrounded. Therefore, by Vorkosiverse rules, Miles shouldn't have been protagonist-ing during CRYOBURN. Miles and Ekaterin ought to have become background characters during the last chapter of DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY, the way Cordelia and Aral did during the last chapter of BARRYAR. Ekaterin is, but Miles doesn't become backgrounded until the last chapter and epilogue of CRYOBURN, which is among the reasons the book doesn't work.
Incidentally -- as far as I can see it, Admiral Quinn is the only person in-universe whose noticed this rule . . . Quinn could still carry a book, but Elana and Baz Jessek-Bothari stopped having that option when THEY had kids. . . Kareen and Mark could be protagonists, until and unless they decide to breed . . . Ivan's still available to be a protagonist, because he's spent his whole adult life screwing around rather than settling down.
The story that Lis wants to see, though, is the Barraryan Kel, from Tamora Pierce's FIRST TEST/PAGE/SQUIRE/LADY KNIGHT quadrology.
I can only think of three all-male militaries in the Vorkosigan universe. Athos, obviously, but that almost doesn't count. Cetaganda. And Barryar. And the Barryaran situation is REALLY not at all stable -- not when at least a third of the Barryaran Empire is already egalitarian. No Komarran woman is going to understand why she can't join the Imperial Service Academy. Including, for instance, Empress Laissa. . .
Some time soon, a girl from Komarr, or maybe from Sergyar -- or, for that matter, on Barryar itself, is going to want to enter the Emperor's Service. What's going to happen then? Who's that girl going to be?
THAT'S the story that Lis wants to read.
Of course, one of the other problems with the Vorkosiverse is that we're so far beyond it. I mean, the United States is already closer to Beta Colony than to Barryar. Western Europe, closer still.
And as far as technology goes, I think that the comconsole I'm currently typing on is at least as powerful and versatile as the ones Miles Vorkosigan uses. That's a ubiquitous problem along all science fiction worlds created more than, oh, ten or fifteen years ago, though . . . I mean, it's not merely that my communicator is more powerful than Kirk's, it's that, if someone WANTED to, we could make one that's more powerful than Picard's . . .