extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
[personal profile] extrapenguin
So, we've read the book and are here to discuss! I am unfortunately not all that good at thematic analysis or arc stuff, but here are some jotted-down notes from my read:
  • Requests for next Bujold Fest: A treatise on Sergyaran nature.

  • Huh, nerve disruptors cause blisters?

  • Nuovo Brasil is name-dropped along with Barrayar and Cetaganda – now I'm curious about the Nuovo Brasilians!

  • Do they have no blue cheese dressing on Barrayar, or does it taste different from the Betan artificial version?

  • Aral's command issues, lol. "Now who in my command is so confused in his thinking as to betray both sides at once?"

  • As was mentioned in the Tor readthrough, Aral confesses to 0.6 murders per day on their trek to the supply cache. I like that this is a valid statistic to measure. :P

  • Koudelka! Gottyan? Nilesa! (I have no idea what I was aiming at with this note, but whatever!)

  • Aral: very abrupt, and not all that good at convincing. "My planet sucks and I fell in love with you while you were puking!" is not the height of romance.

  • It seems like Aral's almost trying to sabotage the invasion by telling Cordelia a lot about the plans.

  • Cordelia: very ingenious. I can definitely see where Miles gets it from!

  • What happened to Cordelia's belt???? It was used to tie up Gottyan, but Aral released him and no further mention was made of the belt. Did Aral keep it as a memento? (Oh, and Aral, get better pants. Yours don't fit. Pants should stay up without a belt!)

  • Cordelia: very good at emotional band-aids

  • 17 replicators, just given to Barrayar, and some of what was said there makes me a bit uncomfortable. "A couple of them were pretty emotionally divided about abortions." Um. And they were given to Barrayar, with the expectation that... they'd be aborted? They'd grow up to be cogs in the Barrayaran machine, off to kill their fully Escobaran half-siblings should a second war happen?

  • How come no-one voted for Steady Freddy?

  • Hm, the Betan and Escobaran psychs seem to have done nothing more than give Cordelia a stutter.

  • oh Cordelia's daring escape :D (an excellent combination of ingenuity and emotional band-aids!)

  • Hm, Aral loathes tiny women? (Another things Miles seems to have inherited...)

  • The Bothari bits make me uncomfortable.

  • Count Vortala A+ snark. I don't suppose we see much more of him?

  • "declare everyone a Vor and be done with the whole bloody nonsense forever" oh, Aral.

  • The Escobaran war's called the 120 day war, despite only lasting for 118 days and a part of an hour!

  • Mother's Tears charms don't seem to return IIRC?

  • Medtech Boni carries around a wedding dress??? Okay this section is creepy.


All in all, better than I remembered, especially re: Cordelia and Aral's relationship. It is still structured so that Cordelia gives up everything while Aral gives up pretty much nothing, but it's more that Cordelia is driven away from Beta than that she walks voluntarily. I wonder what it'd have been like had Dr. Mehta and her colleagues not been such colossal assholes to Cordelia.

Next up is Barrayar, with a discussion post hopefully up on the 18th or 19th.
flourish: A woman, Taura, whose face is a blend of human and beast: brown braided fur, fanged mouth set in a neutral expression. (Vorkosigan taura)
[personal profile] flourish
To kick off our Vorkosiverse reread: Shards of Honor! I've just got some quick thoughts, and look forward to hearing all of yours too:
  • Cordelia discusses herself as being somewhat socially awkward or incapable when she talks about the bad relationship she was in pre-Aral, but she doesn't actually end up being that way in the series later. Is this just self-doubt? Or could it be that Cordelia is "out of step" with Beta colony and for some reason has assumptions about the way people interact that's more suited to life on Barrayar (or, even, not on Barrayar either, but at least on Barrayar she knows her assumptions are likely to be wrong)?
  • I've recently seen some people complaining about the question of "blood guilt" that gets brought up with the fetuses in replicators, suggesting that Bujold has some kind of anti-abortion axe to grind. Rereading it this time, I wonder if it isn't perfectly reasonable: on Beta colony there are not typically any unwanted pregnancies, nor would I imagine are they very common on Escobar. The idea that Betan culture - how does Cordelia put it? "has a respect for life"? - has a very different tenor than it does in the United States today, then, or on Barrayar for that matter. I don't have any opinion on the topic that I care to share, but it was interesting to me to meditate on how it affects our understanding of Cordelia...
  • It's also interesting that Cordelia explicitly positions herself as a theist. I like that Bujold does not just allow the assumption that everyone is a theist, or everyone is an atheist, or whatever.
  • It just occurred to me: Konstantine Bothari - he's Greek! And so is Elena, then. Somehow it did not occur to me that 'Konstantine' established him as part of the Greek minority on Barrayar.
  • Rereading Shards of Honor reminded me of Xav Vorbarra's Betan wife. To refresh: Xav is the younger son of Dorca the Just, half-brother to Mad Emperor Yuri. He ended up living through the end of the Time of Isolation (or at least Dorca's reign overlapped the Time of Isolation's end, so I assume Xav lived through it) and ended up bringing home a Betan wife from his ambassadorship to Beta colony. I don't know if we know her name, but his daughter Olivia married Piotr and therefore was Aral's mother; another daughter was Padma Vorpatril's mother. Can we say wonderful fanfiction topic? I would love to dig my teeth into writing about the experience of a Betan going to just-post-Time of Isolation Barrayar! Holy jeez, talk about culture shock.
What are you all thinking about?

Remember: the next book in our readthrough is Barrayar, and we'll be discussing it on June 1!

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