extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
[personal profile] extrapenguin posting in [community profile] vorkosigan
It's here, and rather more issue-y than I recalled.


  • Genetically repairing fetuses is a thing.

  • Homophobia is alive and well at Kline Station.

  • Ethan is woefully underprepared and has no idea what he's doing.

  • "Quinn Excites Dismay" :D

  • "women's work" – sexism is alive and well in the Nexus, sigh.

  • SPACE IS NOT COLD, VACUUM IS AN INSULATOR LMB NO.

  • Did no-one import the tech for same-sex couples to have kids genetically related to both? That's a thing that should exist, given the biotech level.

  • Quinn mailed Okita's clothes to Admiral Naismith – I now want fic of Miles receiving the clothes.

  • Terrence is very, very screwed up, consistently with his upbringing.

  • ...Speaking of which, did no-one in the Cetagandan administration pause and think "this is a terrible idea, the kids'll be able to read minds" and then order them to be treated well? Like, Terrence's upbringing counts as major Idiot Ball imo.

  • Elli is delightfully dramatic.

  • Did Terrence rent the Presidential Suite, or were they taking turns pacing?

  • Ethan shows his ingenuity with the grocery shopping.

  • Does Elli regularly talk with the not-present Naismith to develop plots?

  • The false disease vector report thing was very ingenious.

  • My favorite minor character is the Security guy who cites the codes Millisor's violating. Bureacracy!

  • So, what can we learn of Millisor's lifestyle from the doc's report, beyond the fact that he's stressed?

  • Based on the remark that Mr. Coffee-Colored Skin couldn't be Cetagandan: are all Cetagandans pale skinned? (Some must be, since Barrayaran Ceta descendents are still being discovered, ergo they can't all have been much different to Barrayarans in skin tone, but all? Is this using the shorthand Cetagandan = ghem?)

  • Apparently Bharaputra's hitmen have coffee-colored skin as a common feature.

  • Did Elli get the hobby of "banging her head against brick walls" from Miles, or did she already have it?

  • The resolution was a bit too pat and not that foreshadowed.



Next: "Labyrinth", on Sunday 16.10. (I'm increasing the gap to 4 weeks, since my schedule is rather full.)

Date: 2016-09-18 05:24 pm (UTC)
stranger: Dark-skinned Mozart contemporary (Joseph Boulogne)
From: [personal profile] stranger
I have no evidence, but I would totally guess that Elli learned to bang her head against walls from Miles. As a character point, it's too Milesian not to have happened that way.

Barrayar's ethnic make-up is pretty solidly European, so the general whiteness of the (long-isolated) population has a reason. The rest of the galaxy doesn't have that excuse. I'd expect Jackson's Whole, Beta, Hegan Hub, and so on, to have a mix of human colors although very few are mentioned until late in the series.

Good point about Cetagandan (Ghem, at least) being assumed white or white-ish for a large part of the series. I could see this as both Barrayar and the Gham including some brownish, olive, etc., colors (think, Southern-European and Middle-Eastern), but the big-deal ethnic marker on Barrayar is language instead, so nothing else is seen by the characters. Well, maybe.

I would frankly expect a range of exquisitely beautiful skin tones in the Haut constellations, but again, very little is mentioned explicitly.

Date: 2016-09-18 05:45 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I once had to point this out to someone who suggested that Barrayarans would regard dark skin as a mutation and act badly: Barrayar's ethnic makeup is Greek, French, British and Russian. That's three imperialist oppressors (including the the case of the Russians the Central Asian Republics) and one massively seafaring nation with an awful lot of melting pot in its history, including the 300 year occupation by the Ottoman Turks. The populations which go to make up Barrayar as at the date Bujold was writing were already ethnically diverse, and would only have got more so up the presumed date of the diaspora from Earth. Personally I think the only way to explain Barrayar is to assume the First Forty Thousand were private enterprise who got together following the ban on historical re-enactment societies in the middle decades of the 22nd century.

Date: 2016-09-18 06:30 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
No; on Barrayar they're ethnic groups, but they derive from settlers who originated from four specific countries (and who retained cultural and linguistic markers from those countries.) There's no way if you picked a starship of 40,000 people from those specific countries that you'd end up with a lilywhite population unless you were specifically screening on white supremacist grounds, and even then you'd have difficulties.

Also, how do you define an "ethnic" Briton? There've been black Britons here since Roman times, and we're the product of successive waves of immigration before and since.
Edited Date: 2016-09-18 06:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-09-19 12:57 am (UTC)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
From: [personal profile] feuervogel
This is a very nationalistic view of ethnicity. I had a ... conversation? with a guy I know who was born in Russia and moved to the US as a kid who wanted to define "ethnic Americans" as basically white people of Northern European ancestry, which is, let me be quite honest here, utterly bullshit, because there's no such thing as a phenotypally ethnic American (unless you're a Tr*mp supporter).

Because there have been black people living in the British Isles since Roman times, I would certainly count them as "ethnically" British, for whatever nationalistic definition of ethnic one wants to use.

Date: 2017-02-01 06:29 am (UTC)
tel: Copper maple branch sculpture (Default)
From: [personal profile] tel
Worth noting that skin color is not an evolutionarily neutral trait, it's an adaptation to the environment. Extrasolar planets will not have identical radiation environments and atmospheric conditions to Earth. The Barrayaran population is quite likely partly adapted to Barrayar and are not necessarily going to cosmetically look like their Earth ancestors.

Date: 2016-09-18 07:30 pm (UTC)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
From: [personal profile] melannen
The "we can't make a baby from two dudes" thing always struck me as a very bad prediction, given what we were doing with artificial baby-making even at the time she wrote the book. (And if everybody but Athos has the tech, it seems like 'we'll steal you the tech' is a much better ending to the book.)

Date: 2016-09-20 05:42 am (UTC)
elf: Maple leaf on Dendarii mountains (Vorkosigan crest)
From: [personal profile] elf
This gets covered in later book! They can mix the genetic material of two guys just fine; they still need an empty egg to grow it in.

Athos may have been set up before they managed to do the splicing necessary to not need the egg-based DNA at all. (Is it easier to match for male babies only and avoid some genetic problems, than to mix-and-match pieces at will, which would allow starting with two male sets of chromosomes?) And of course, nobody's volunteering to upgrade their technology.

Even when (if?) Athos gets that tech, they still have the problem of needing egg parts. I'm not sure if it's easier or harder to buy human egg-shells with the promise that you'll be throwing out the contents.

Date: 2016-09-21 04:17 pm (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Plus the genetic situation for Athosians might be small enough that they actually need the extra sets of genes from the ovarian cultures. Yes, they can weed out defects a lot, apparently -- IIRC what Ethan said to the prospective father -- but there's only so far that can go. It's entirely possible that the status prior to EoA was the next best thing to cloning down the generations...

So shrinking their available DNA combinations might not have been genetically viable in the first place, and might yet be unviable even "today." Not to say that they might not offer it as an option in the future, once the eggshell technique percolates to them, but I suspect they'll be wanting ova for a good long time, simply because it's extra DNA.

Date: 2016-09-18 11:04 pm (UTC)
shanejayell: (Question)
From: [personal profile] shanejayell
It's funny because we just had a news article on bables made with two men. So, yeah...

This is one of the weaker LMB books, honestly. *shrug*

Date: 2016-09-19 01:59 am (UTC)
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)
From: [personal profile] krait
Well, it was written in 1986; it does show its age.

Watsonianly speaking, though, my personal workaround is that the tech is there (now), but Athos is big on The Way We Have Always Done Things and was founded before the replicators had been tested with embryos of nonstandard origin. It'd be too much financial investment and cultural shift to switch to a new method at this point, so they just go with it.

(It doesn't seem like much of stretch to me! I mean, they've kept the same 200 ovarian cultures going for umpty-hundred years?! Athos places a lot of cultural weight on both tradition and frugality; it's also big on following clearly defined paths to major life goals.)

Date: 2016-09-19 02:04 am (UTC)
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)
From: [personal profile] krait
Quinn mailed Okita's clothes to Admiral Naismith – I now want fic of Miles receiving the clothes.

You and me, both. Along with a 'snapshot' of Miles's face when opening his very expensive intergalactic mail!

On a side note, "Quinn Excites Dismay" may be one of my most favourite character catchphrases. :D

Date: 2016-09-19 02:20 am (UTC)
james: a shot of the desert mostly sand (Default)
From: [personal profile] james
The problem I always had with this book was - it seems like Bujold was trying to cram all the "look we can have homosexuals in this universe" onto one planet, in one book, so that we didn't need to have them on Barrayar. Which annoys me, because why not? Why couldn't Byerly just be gay (and end up with a man, don't get me started on how he marries a woman, wtf.)

It's an issue that does get addressed and fixed in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, but when this book came out and I read it I thought - well, if Bujold is willing to write about homosexual people, why can't they exist on Barrayar, too?

Sometimes I feel like I'd love to see this entire series re-written and edited and updated from the standpoint of Bujold now, after growing as a writer and after seeing some of the (unintended?) consequences of early choices. Like the whole bit about women having very few career options (which again gets addressed and fixed in GJaRQ.)

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