extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
[personal profile] extrapenguin posting in [community profile] vorkosigan

  • "Well, old man," he whispered, then shouted: "ARE YOU SATISFIED YET?" is a pretty good summation of Miles' life

  • And so Admiral Aral's life took General Piotr's like an overpowering hand of cards, and where did that leave Ensign Miles? Holding two deuces and the joker. He must surely either concede or start bluffing like crazy…, too

  • There were 50 000 Firsters. I wonder how good a diverse population that would make? Is that enough that most of the birth defects are due to radiation, rather than from bad recessives showing up due to inbreeding?

  • How long was the Time of Isolation, anyway?

  • What's an "aura detector" that Miles referred to – some sort of infrared recording thing?



Next up, The Vor Game, on the 7th of August (Sunday), with a reminder on the preceding Wednesday.

Firsters etc

Date: 2016-07-18 04:39 am (UTC)
stranger: rose nebula on starfield (Default)
From: [personal profile] stranger
The radiation from Cetagandan bombing of Vorkosigan Vashnoi is mentioned often as a threat to healthy reproduction. However, that's only two or three generations past, and the mutant-policing traditions are said, perhaps later in the series, to come out of the Time of Isolation. Cordelia notes that Hara's baby had a hare lip, a birth defect known on Earth well before space flight.

I'm guessing the Cetagandan bombing left rural Vorkosigan district in particular with a heightened reaction to possible mutatations, and of course it's a sore point with Miles himself, our POV. The reaction built on the older tradition, so it continued and became even stricter, perhaps, in women like Hara's mother who'd lived through the first generation of increased mutations from radiation damage.

Date: 2016-07-19 03:57 pm (UTC)
cahn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cahn
Gosh, I hadn't read this story in years -- it's really amazing, and deserves all its awards. (I may be a bit bitter, as I'm also in the process of reading this year's Hugo nominees, and… no. Even Bujold's work in this category this year (Penric) can't measure up to this.)

It's just really, really well-written; I feel like in very few words it manages to sketch out quite a lot about Miles, his Issues, whole tons of Barrayar worldbuilding — and as well work in plot and harrowing emotion AND issues.

I had to laugh at the scene where the idea of cavalry and the horse as a romantic symbol of the Vor is introduced — and then we find out Miles' horse is named "Fat Ninny." Great humor beat, there.

Somehow I had completely forgotten that Pym was Bothari's replacement, probably because the two are so very different. When Miles wondered whether anyone missed Bothari except him, I might have said aloud, "No, Miles. None of us miss Bothari."

Interesting that Miles feels Aral already knows the answer (and it's very possible he's able to figure it out just from talking to Harra), and expects Miles to be able to figure it out. What if Miles had handled it wrongly?

It's the first time I've read the story since having kids, and there were some things that pinged me that wouldn't have before. I cringed sympathetically when Miles (authorially) points out that it's a seven-day walk that Harra's done, weeks after having her first baby. (OUCH.) And that he notices Harra's breasts are milk-full — although honestly I suspect that's out of character for a young man and only child to notice. (I also hoped she didn't get mastitis!) Miles reads Harra's account of Lem as an unsympathetic lout, but of course as the story goes on we find that's not so — but on this reading I also cringed sympathetically for Lem; it seems like a very natural (if not the best) reaction to a small infant who cries all the time.

The scene with Ma Mattulich always makes me tear up in its emotional brutality. It's interesting — Bujold manages to make me feel awfully sorry for Ma Mattulich, while completely horrified by her. Also in the category of "reactions since having kids," I just can't even imagine bearing FOUR dead babies, the first two dying on their own and being forced to kill the second two. By your mom. AUGH. I imagine that would warp just about anyone.

Date: 2016-07-19 04:19 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
What if Miles had handled it wrongly?


Well, there's got to be a first time. I agree that Aral may well have guessed what's going on, so he may well think it's a combination of a relatively easy case (in terms of figuring out the facts) with one that's difficult and heart-rending and will make Miles take the problems and realities of the District seriously.

Date: 2016-07-20 08:58 pm (UTC)
elf: Maple leaf on Dendarii mountains (Vorkosigan crest)
From: [personal profile] elf
Continuing my habit of being late, but not as late this time...

I wrote fic about this a while back, for the Spook Me Ficathon: King of the Mutants. (Not a happy fic, nope nope nope. Probably no more triggery than the source material, but probably not any less, either.)

The wiki says it lasted about 600 years. That's long enough for inbreeding habits to cause bad recessives to line up if people aren't careful about finding partners they're not closely related to, which has got to be an extra problem for Vor.

I do love how Aral handed this one off to Miles. Worked as a nice test on multiple levels:

Miles is going to have to deal with these people somehow; if he can't, he has the option of moving to Beta or whatever, but he'll need to figure that out as soon as possible.

The people are going to need to accept Miles as heir--and Aral knows that they're not going to be able to ignore him and mumble about "our count with the, y'know, mutant thing;" Miles is far too noticeable for that to work once he starts taking an active part in politics. Aral needs to send a message to the backwoods communities that no, this *really is* the heir, and they need to cope with that.

There is no "wrong way" to do this case - the gate guard was going to turn Hara away entirely, as something too minor to bother the count with. Aral counted on Miles' good intentions and natural authority not to botch this horribly, but even if he failed to find a "good" solution, the worst likely result is that one backwoods village hates their count's whole family. That's hardly an insurmountable problem in the long run; this makes a great test case because, in case of problems, the results don't matter.

A count could have the whole village executed if things turn bad enough - in fact, the assassination attempts that did happen, would be grounds for executing the whole village. So: Botching this horribly can't hurt Miles' future as Count Vorkosigan, except for the emotional damage involved. (Which could be substantial, but the point is, Aral can give him the freedom to make mistakes, here.)

And Aral desperately needs to know how Miles deals with authority outside of a military context, away from both Vor and offworld politics. He needs to know how Miles copes with people who are required by law to obey him but who despise him - Miles needs to win their cooperation, not command their compliance, and Aral needs to know he's got the skills to do that.

Date: 2016-07-31 03:28 pm (UTC)
james: a shot of the desert mostly sand (Default)
From: [personal profile] james
So naturally my work schedule kicked into high gear right when this went up and I never saw it. :-)

Anyhow, I have often wanted more stories exploring the Time of Isolation, because I have so many questions. How much did they remember about the time before? When the wormhole opened up, did they still have any tech? They didn't seem to have good medical tech if they were dealing with mutations by infantcide, but they seem to have adapted very quickly to modern galactic tech. (At least in the city, but it seems like it's only supposed to have been a few generations since the ToI ended.)

Mostly I want stories about the kings and royal families a thousand years ago, dealing with a very different Barrayar but who have eeriely similar personalities thereby proving that indeed Miles is related to the royal family. ;-)

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