I Have Some Concerns About Netflix’s The Knight Before Christmas

@16 - I don't really care if the threats are 14th century appropriate. There are many aspects of 14th century English life that fall well short of my personal standard for being Holiday Festive. And I'm basically the Grinch, so my standards are low. 

I Have Some Concerns About Netflix’s The Knight Before Christmas

@6 and 7 - Per the movie, Cole learned modern vernacular by binge-watching Netfilx all night in Brooke's guest house.  I don't know how he got the Modern English, but I infer that the movie would like you to treat that the same way it treats the Hundred Years War.  

SFF Horse Breeds: Tiny Horses

@4 - in some parts of the country there is a dog shortage, and service dogs are a major investment in breeding and training. I’m sure that’s all true of service horses too, but as @0 points out, the lifespan is longer. 

Making Valdemar Work: Mercedes Lackey’s Eye Spy

@21 - I was rpleased with how Abi’s asexuality was handled in that scene. I contemplated including it in the review, but felt that many readers would regard it as a spoiler they would prefer to have discovered on their own. 

Making Valdemar Work: Mercedes Lackey’s Eye Spy

@17 - the pinky was for an attempted boob grab. Abi explained what she would do if her assailant hadaimed lower down. 

Follow Your Arrow: Valdemaran Public Health and Epidemiology

@10 - the Waystations have a lot of supplies in place, and it would make sense for bug bombs to be among them. And yet. Perhaps the components have a short shelf-life?  Or maybe there are inventory control issues. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Epilogue

@9 – Judith Tarr’s horse blog is a great series!  

The next thing on my to-do list is a really amazing summer vacation

@12 - We need an Escobar book, don’t we?  O

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 16

@31 - that convo is about Aral and Vorrutyer. My gut feeling is that the decisions about who knew about Aral, Jole and Cordelia weren't just up to Aral and Cordelia. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 16

@22 - Then you have to think about how much time these children will spend having unmonitored conversations with random members of the public.  

Which should be very close to zero.  My 12 yo isn't having long unsupervised convos with randos on the street.  And when they are having conversations, those generally deal with general information (directions, weather) rather than personal exchanges of information.  My kid *is* learning how to deal with some rude questions at what I consider an early age, but the answer to that is NOT "let's deny that there's anything about you that people might be rude about."  The answer to rude public comments is "extricate yourself and find a safe adult."  In situations where kids might encounter a lot of rude people (strangers on the street, homophobic family members at Thanksgiving dinner, whatever) you keep safe adults close at hand.  

It's no good protecting kids from information about themselves.  Jole is already planning to talk to his sons about their parentage.  And it's not that new in the Galactic Nexus!  Miles has a pair of great-grandmothers.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 16

@8 - “The other side of the loss they’re unwinding is making the new link: Oliver telling Miles about the incipient semicousins to Miles’s children (which Oliver can commit to now that he’s decided to take up a local, self-made challenge rather than Chief of Ops) to make sure that they’ll be known as kin. I wonder who gets to explain to the public who these people are that Miles’s kids greet as family, but Barrayar is changing fast enough that the people who matter (e.g., Gregor, now that he’s in the loop and not blindsided) will simply make clear that this is not something to be fussed about. (Although I do think Oliver may want to wait until his kids are teenagers, or at least unusually well backboned, as somebody is going to make a public fuss that small children shouldn’t be unnecessarily subjected to.)”


Children whose families are closely connected greet each other as family. People who make a fuss are shown to the door. It helps when you have armsmen, but that’s still how it works for a lot of people who don’t. Cordelia is really good at “things that aren’t secrets and aren’t public either.”  She’s been doing it the whole book. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 14 and 15

@24 - As of this chapter, Miles doesn't know about the threesome yet.  

Give him a minute.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 14 and 15

@16 - Cordelia helped unionize her planet's sex workers.  I think she's kept herself up-to-date with the risks of sexual activity, as well as with contemporary sexual mores.

Miles might *want* to consult on his mother's love life, but there's certainly no reason he has to be.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 11-13

@7 - we saw pictures of Helen and Alex’s ponies in Cryoburn, and lo and behold, there are horses in GJ chapter 14

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 10

@56 – Miles was not the first judge.  He is the first to investigate the situation, but not the first to know who killed Raina – although I suppose there are a number of possible readings of the story in re. whether or not the Speaker for Silvy Vale and others (besides Lem) knew that Ma Csurik had killed Raina.  

The central question, it seems to me, is to what extent Barrayar is a totalitarian feudal society ruled by the whims of its arbitrary feudal overlords and to what extent it is being led in a more progressive direction by the careful decisions of its traditional, but very thoughtful, leaders.  There’s no one answer to that, even if we could all agree on Barrayar’s position on that spectrum in a single moment.  (And we cannot.)

The discussion of Mountains of Mourning is making me twitchy.  It’s not really relevant to this chapter of Gentleman Jole.  Let’s leave that alone for now.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 10

@40 - I concur that Piotr probably didn't have reporter following him around.  If he ever shot one, he would probably say it was for treason or something, not simply for being a reporter. 

And Aral didn't, unless you count the political officer, who he DID kill, but he didn't kill ALL the political officers he ever worked with.  That I know of.  Just the one.  OK, maybe two.  I forget what happened to the one in the Vorkraft mutiny.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 10

@38 - That's . . . quite the extrapolation.  If you want to make up some Barrayaran history, you're free to do so, but that is really not in the books.  

I would also argue that you're misinterpreting Earth history.  Journalism is a risky line of work, especially if you're undermining a totalitarian regime.  But there have been a number of illiberal military aristocracies that didn't carry out summary executions of journalists.  I mean, basically all of Europe in the 19th century was illiberal military (or militaristic) aristocracies and they had newspapers.  The USSR had newspapers.  The DPRK has newspapers.  Nazi Germany had newspapers.  Those aren't examples of freedom of the press, but someone wrote the newspapers.  I'm not trying to deny that journalists are killed in the field.  They are.  It's a major problem.  And I'm certainly not trying to deny that in some areas, some journalists are killed with impunity.  I'm just trying to point out that even the most oppressive regime finds some journalists useful.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 10

@35 - At what point in Barrayaran history were Counts permitted to shoot people with impunity?

I don't think Barrayar has a particularly long tradition of a free press, but there's a lot of distance between slow growth from a time when they had a Ministry of Propaganda and a history of summary executions.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 10

@32 – We don’t see a lot of them, but the government deployed a Gregor lookalike to cover up when he was missing in The Vor Game, so they must have something.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 10

I can't think of a reason why Vor woman wouldn't be able to conduct business if they wanted to.  It's not medieval Europe -they don't derogate.  We do see that status is important to the Vor, especially to those who have fallen on hard times (the Koudelka girls are aware of different sets of social rules for proles vs. impoverished high Vor (helping in the kitchen vs. pretending not to notice the lack of servants)) but professional qualifications can fit well with status.  And perhaps I'm a hopeless optimist but it seems to me like, in a spacefaring society, they would.  Either way, we don't have the evidence.  Ekaterin has a business and her services are in high demand.  Alys acts as though having a garden designed by Ekaterin is a status symbol in and of itself.  Surely she would know.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 8 and 9

@57 - IMO, therapy cannot be punitive. 

It can be rehabilitative, and good therapists can motivat clients to engage with rehabilitation even if they entered the process involuntarily. Which people do sometimes, on the planet where I live. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 8 and 9

@48 - the book where everyone makes only the most constructive decisions available to them is both short and tedious.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 8 and 9

@36 - I have read a lot of stories where “therapy” for criminals involved suppressing memories, and in this series, the planet that used that method was Barrayar. Not Beta Colony. I don’t know what they’re doing on Beta Colony, precisely, but nothing I’ve read suggests that it’s that extreme. I suppose if the only way you can imagine therapy for rehabilitation of criminals is that it erases a person's personality and replaces it with another, then therapy is indisputably equivalent to death.

But I don’t. I imagine it sort of the way I thought of the PT I did for my sprained ankle a few years ago - it didn’t wipe out the old ankle and replace it with one that had never been sprained; It strengthened the old ankle so that its issues wouldn’t cause problems with my knee. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 8 and 9

@18 - As an adult with ADHD and two children, I feel like you may not be fully appreciating the demands of child care, the nature of hyperactivity, or the things that can happen in an enclosed space.  

@17 - To be very clear, I do, in general, feel that a person who has been convicted of a capital crime should be deprived of some rights, including the right to freely choose what happens to them next.  I also feel - very strongly - that a person losing some legal rights because of their crimes is not an excuse for others to commit crimes against them.  Criminals shouldn't be tortured or enslaved or murdered or raped or any of a great many other things. 

If therapy were to mean that Arde was tortured, I would be vehemently opposed.  That said, Arde was, if I recall correctly, threatening to blow up a vital commercial jump point before Miles showed up and short-circuited the situation.  Therapy was being offered as a likely outcome of Arde's arrest, and an alternative to the destruction of vital infrastructure and a number of deaths including Arde's own. 

I don't feel like Arde should have been given complete agency in that moment.  He was about to make a choice for a lot of people who would definitely have chosen something else and there are criminal penalties for that behavior. 

If therapy meant Arde turned to a career in accounting, well, accounting is a valuable and needed skill, accountants have a lot of opportunities available in a number of work environments, and the occupation does not require expensive neurosurgery.  At the moment that Miles intervened, Arde was badly in need of a new job.  A few months after that moment, the Necklin rods in his RG freighter were broken so it couldn't jump, and he spent a prolonged period of time doing in-system salvage work and as far as I know never jumped again.  He just felt better about it at that point, because he had some hope of eventually repairing the RG. 

A career in accounting is another way of dispensing hope.  Depending on how.  If Betan therapists are using electrical shocks and sleep deprivation, or coercive drugs, to accomplish that career change, I'm opposed.  But there are some other characters in the Vorkosigan universe who have, for a variety of reasons - known and unknown - turned to careers in accounting.

Elena Bothari became an accountant. 

Miles's accountant kept the Dendarii Fleet alive in Brothers in Arms.  

Tsipis is a really valuable member of Team Vorkosigan. 

What is your problem with accounting?

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 8 and 9

@6 - my thinking is more that the expertise to do good things exists, given a consenting subject and a good therapist, than that it will always be an completely positive experience for everyone.  Sort of like the Norwegian system I appreciate your understanding. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 8 and 9

@4 - I concur that it is *so very much not* an issue. Cordelia herself has pointed out that it’s not illegal, immoral, or fattening. I think Jole is being hesitant about going public because of concern that it might expose his previous relationship with Aral. And while that was something they kept confidential, it was more for the sake of Jole’s career (I gather) than for Aral, about whom nothing could be more scandalous than what was already known. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 6

We have had the pronoun conversation several (dozen) other times - for those who would like a sample and an explanation of my very strong desire to never ever have that conversation again, you can locate several iterations through the reread archives by picking any chapter of any book that includes Bel, and some that don't.  

The issue has always been a significant one for me and has become rather more personal and significant over the last few months - see paragraph 4 of this blog post and comment 6 above.  I fully understand how awkward it sounds to many people to use "they" for a known singular individual.  And that feeling of awkwardness on the part of people adapting to a grammatical structure that has been part of the English language for a long time but not a preferred use for many is much less important to me than a number of other feelings in the emotional matrix surrounding this issue.  That's the most polite locution I could come up with for I DON'T CARE because I really don't.  I have bigger fish to fry.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 6

@3 I love it when people don’t nitpick BUT. 

I too am uncomfortable with Murderbot using “It” even though I too love Murderbot. I note that Murderbot is deliberately denying a human identity. Like, as a personal project. Murderbot is pretty fucked up. I see a bunch of Murderbot’s friends trying to help Murderbot to a better self-concept. AS WOULD I if I ever met Murderbot.  I would avoid the problem of offending Murderbot with my pronoun usage by never using pronouns for Murderbot.  Like I’ve been doing here.  

If you believe that’s Bel Thorne has a reality, which is by no means a settled point, you believe in a person who lives centuries from now on a planet you haven’t visited as part of a culture you know only a little about. You don’t sociocultural construction of the term It as used as a pronoun for Herms on Beta Colony. I don’t either. 

I *DO* understand the sociocultural construction of the term it as used as a pronoun for transgender, gender fluid, and non-binary people here and now.  So I don’t use it. If you feel like complaining about my personal approach to pronouns, please feel free to take those complaints to basically anywhere I’m not on the internet. Which is basically the entire rest of the Internet. This, right here, in the comments on MY blog post that *I* wrote is one of the very few parts of the internet that has things on it I want to be able to read and discuss with MY KID - my very non-fictional, very real kid with very real attitudes and feelings - one day. Probably Wednesday. They have plans today and tomorrow. They also have a pretty good understanding of the sociocultural construction of the of the term it as used as a pronoun for people on Earth this year. 

What the mods willdo will be what the mods will do, but from this point forward, I will be flagging any comments that use or defend the use of “it” for Bel and requesting deletion. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 4 and 5

@79 - I did not consider roads when I wrote the blog post. But in an early stage, it included 300 words on how much more I want to know about Sergyar’s sewage systems. One of the many, many things I loved about Ethan of Athos was the newts. And that I got to know about the newts 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapters 4 and 5

@11 – (I took down the link because it seemed imprudent to leave it up forever) 

Stilton is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, turning two this week.  As Cardis go, Stilton is a moose, but he’s still, you know, a corgi.  The more important factor, IMO, is this kayak, which is a fourteen footer.  Anything I can fit in the trunk of my car, I can fit in this beast.  T


Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 3

@17 - it’s a more advanced version of something available now. Cordelia has provided an enucleated egg - essentially an egg shell. Aral’s genes, from his sperm sample, will be inserted in that egg, and Jole’s sperm will fertilize it. 


Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 3

@6 -  I agree that the most of options sound kind of clunky  

I think Aralgrad is the best of the options within the Barrayaran place-naming traditions as we know them. Vorkosigangrad might work too. Barrayar has a large group of heritage speakers of English, so Something with a -shire or -ton suffix isn’t out of the question. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 3

@1 - this is such a beautiful chapter. It’s warm and comforting, and at the same time it maintains the suspense in Cordelia and Jole’s relationship. 


Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 2

@34 - I suspect that Cordelia has experience coordinating high quality educational services in a variety of environments. I don’t think Barrayar has an equivalent to the IDEA. I could be wrong!  But I suspect Miles was at least partly educated at home in his elementary years because of his medical needs. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 2

@13 – well, certainly, it was a thrill to have tiny children (and the only thrill we could afford at the time) and it’s a thrill to have nearly adult ones now. And I can’t have any more, and I could quite plausibly be dead within 30 years and not fall short of the “three score years and ten” AE Housman said I would get. 

Jole and Cordelia have a different set of realities. Cordelia expects 120 years or more, and they have replicators. Under those conditions more people might do their whole careers first and children next. 

Never in my life have I ever been more exhausted than when my second child was new, and I am quite a bit older now than I was then. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 1

@29 - "But risking that kind of scandal when he was engaging in the balancing act that would keep Barrayar out of civil war and incidentally keep his son alive?  When he was already under suspicion of Betan influence and mutie sympathies and living down his already much abused reputation?"

Aral and Joke weren't a thing until Miles was in the Academy - a more stable situation in re. Civil war and Miles's survival. The second question here reminds me of Barney Frank, who, when asked him if he was secretly a socialist (or secretly advocating for single payer health care, or something of that nature) replied "I haven't had a secret in thirty years." Aral wasn't suspected of those things, it was known. 

Aral and Jole's relationship is problematic in some ways. We will discuss them more in later chapters.  But it's hardly the most problematic thing about Aral.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 1

@17 - was there?  Now means at this moment. When Vordarian accosted Cordelia, that was true. 

In Shards and Barrayar it was very clear to me that Aral and Cordelia were monogamous. Aral expected it. He’d murdered two people over it during his first marriage. He was deeply unsettled when he thought she was kissing Koudelka. 

And then, I hear, things changed. The arc of Aral is long, and it bends towards Cordelia. He murdered three people (not counting the executions). He had a passionate, dark, scandalous, very public affair with Ges Vorrutyer. He was a scary drunk. If a friend of mine brought him to dinner, I would not recommend that she keep him around. He made a lot of changes in his life. Jole was not Aral’s first affair, or even his second. He and Cordelia had worked some things out before Jole showed up. I think she did make her feelings clear and they did work out a resolution. Cordelia was comfortable with the situation. More to come in future chapters, of course  


Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, “Aftermaths”

@7 - I didn't read that as Alys having originally been a pallbearer.  I read it as her coordinating the funeral.  THAT SAID - I really don't know who the other sixth pallbearer might have been.  Aral doesn't have a lot of relatives.  If Gregor was representing Barrayar here (and he was listed after Jole "for Sergyar" and Galeni for Komarr) they might have gotten a political ally or another important government official who had some kind of connection to Aral.  OR, it might have been Alys.  

I have never personally attended a funeral where pallbearers carried the casket so I haven't contemplated how closely pallbearers need to match in height.  I assume Miles was out of the lineup for height-related reasons and I thought maybe Ivan was standing in for him in that regard.  I assume planning for Aral's funeral significantly predated Aral's death so there would have been time to consider options like using a military honor guard as pallbearers, but that might have clashed with the relative privacy of Aral's burial at Vorkosigan Surleau, which Gregor described as a family occasion with only a hundred or so people present (still awkwardly huge, but relatively small).

I'm intrigued by the possibilities.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 19 and 20


It is very, very kind of LMB to comment on this blog at all.  She doesn't have to.  She has her own blog to write, and her own professional projects that actually pay money, which commenting on this blog does not.  Her presence in the comments is an immense compliment (and I assume not a compliment to me personally - I am deeply grateful for the patient tolerance LMB has extended to me over the past three years).  

So let's not use the comments on this blog as an opportunity to reach out to LMB with critiques of books that aren't even under discussion in this reread blog.  You can do that on your own blog.  

You can critique my writing here if you want.  That's legit.  You can critique the Vorkosigan Saga here.  Just maybe don't address that critique directly at Lois's comments like you expect her to write back to you apologizing for a scene you felt didn't work.

Love and kisses,



Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 19 and 20

The wording of Vorventa's announcement is an amazing example of economy of wording, and showing rather than telling (even though, yes, Vorventa is *telling* Miles the news) and it was so beautifully set up by the earlier books.  For readers who weren't fully in the loop when they read that, the import of Vorventa's presence and uniform was very clear when they turned the page, but for readers who were clued in, those three words convey both the news and its emotional resonance in a way that's not quite personal but unique and appropriate to both Miles and Aral and their roles in Barrayar's recent history.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 15-18

@9 - When Lieber bought his ticket, the cryochamber was no longer in his possession. So he wasn’t paying to ship it. 

Leiber knew Lisa had children because he had met Mina.  

Regaining custody of your children across international borders is pretty dicey now. Doing it across a wormhole jump after being “diagnosed” with a sort of vague mental illness and with limited resources sounds close to impossible.  

Hotel rooms can be expensive. Maybe Leiber absolutely couldn’t afford one. The cheap option left him really vulnerable, though. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 12-14

@3 – I meant to get through the interview with Lieber this week, and then realized there was no earthly way. Sometimes things don’t all fit in to one blog post. In hindsight, it might have been better to break with the conventions of rereads for this book and do chapter 20 first. I feel like I’m racing for chapter 20 and I keep tripping over Miles’s investigation. Mark isabout to show up, and Suze’s Building is going to be attacked and I’m counting on my fingers how much longer we have until chapter 20, which, for reasons that are probably not hard to guess, I have been planning the blog post for since July of 2016. Which was just a few months after the reread started. The reread turns three this month

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 8 – 11

@58 - right now, Miles doesn’t know that the corporations know which of their clients are unrevivable because of the cryofluid issue. 

But, as will soon be revealed, they have been informed of the problem, and could identify the affected individuals by examining patient records. They have covered up the problem 8nstead of making it public. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 8 – 11

@54 - we know that not all individuals who are frozen are successfully revived - it's a process with known risks. 

The legal issue in this case has yet to be fully explained, but I think it's fraud; New Egypt is aware that a number of people in its cryofacility are unrevivable.  Since they are dead, their property and voyes should be transferred to their heirs .

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 8 – 11

@15 - I reject the assertion that a granola bar is a lunch bar.  

And that's probably why I don't get a lunch bar - my high tech future lunch displeases me.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Series: Cryoburn, Chapters 6 and 7

@33 - all of that assumes that what is happening on Kibou is a bug, rather than a feature. On Komarr, votes are transferable property, and those with more votes have more say. That’s how corporations work, and planets like Komarr and Kibou were settled by corporations. Letting everyone vote lends proceedings a nice air of democracy, but consolidating votes in the hands of proxies is a commonstrategy in corporations whose stocks are traded. 

Decreeing frozen people dead would also cause a lot of problems - people could use cryofreezing to discharge debt (at least in some circumstances) and property would transfer upon freezing, leaving the revived with no resources for their economic support. Cryofreezing and revival are complicated and messy no matter how you manage it. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Series: Cryoburn, Chapters 6 and 7

@25 - I think it would be more like voting the inciting incidents of the French Rev without knowing the name of Louis's executioner. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Series: Cryoburn, Chapters 6 and 7

@9 - I think they are. I know I thought about that while writing this week. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapter 5

@39 - it’s scheduled for later today.

I did far more shovelling than drinking for President’s day and I have the week off school so I’m eating homemade pasta (with store-bought sauce, maybe not the best move, but the brown butter and Parmesan sauce I was thinking about has 718 calories per serving and I thought moderation would be prudent ) so I’m feeling quite well. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapter 5

@22 - Did your prof abduct you, isolate and imprison you in an unfamiliar location, and control all of your access to information?  My college classes weren't like that, but it's been years and I might have fallen behind on some changes in pedagogy.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapter 5

@16 - and also there appears to be some kind of light beam travelling from an object beneath the title an the building in the center, and I have no idea what that is. There are many questions. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapter 5

Dave Seeley has some gorgeous, high res images of the Cryoburn cover (without the cover text) up on his FB this morning.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 3 and 4

@12 - OMG, yes.  Also, while I think they have some personality traits in common, Lazurus Long is immortal.  Miles isn't, and doesn't think he is.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 1 and 2

I really appreciate the way everyone is avoiding spoilers.  For real, with no sarcasm intended.  Usually, I'm spoiler-tastic, but I like the idea of leaving the shock for those who haven't read the book yet.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 1 and 2

@7 – I’m so glad you like those!  I had some issues with asthma this week and then my husband got a concussion, so this blog post is focused on things that were easy to access in waiting rooms with poor internet connectivity.

ETA: I don’t know why the end of last week’s blog post is repeated at the end of this one, although it is still true, assuming that next week is when we get the deets on Jin’s mom. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Flowers of Vashnoi

@26 and 27 - Miles recalls that Piotr never burned an offering for his family who died at VV because there had been enough burning already.  In case that helps with the bast forensics effort.  Ma Roga reminded me of the older women who refused to leave the area around Chernobyl, which I don't think is as relevant to understanding the blast, but is interesting.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Flowers of Vashnoi

@22 - I have not bothered trying to generate sympathy for parents who lack the courage to deal with their infant daughter's 6th finger, or their son's pointy ears.  I literally do not care how scared they were, or what social and cultural forces they were scared of.  I. Just. Don't.  

Ingi and Jadwiga were scared about her tumor.  Their situation is genuinely frightening, because Ingi and Jadwiga ARE the people who are isolated and have no access to resources and have to consider the possibility that some force beyond their ability to influence - cancer, radiation, Ma Roga, injury - might end their lives in a horrifying and agonizing way.  

I'm saving my sympathy for people who actually deserve it.  

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Flowers of Vashnoi

@18 - When Miles investigated that infanticide 20 years ago, there were already resources available to treat infants with birth defects.  Harra made a plan to get to them.  

Neither Jadwiga nor Ingi are twenty. And FWIW, a cleft palate is a more serious threat to the life and health of an infant than either bonus fingers or albinism.  

Regardless of your intentions, extrapolating about a cultural impulse to infanticide is really, really close to excusing it.  Bujold doesn't do that.  I don't see why anyone else would want to either, except for the very ugliest of reasons.  (We've been down that road before - it's ugly.  You can go read it in the comments on "Mountains of Mourning" if you need to be reminded of why I don't want to go there again and why I am feeling fairly unpleasant while I write this now.)

To be very clear, here's what I can put up with:

Questions and comments about what kind of medical care people in the area surrounding the Vorkosigan Vashnoi exclusion zone might have access to, and when those resources might have become available. These potentially offer insight into how Barrayar has changed in the time we have known it.

And here's what I can't tolerate, and will call in the mods to nuke:

- Any suggestion that infanticide is ever justified, anywhere, ever.

Barrayar is a harsh world, and that shows in its treatment of infants with obvious birth defects.  We aren't meant to sympathize with it, and I fear that doing so makes for a very unpleasant reread blog experience for disabled fans.  AND I WANT THEM HERE.  


Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Flowers of Vashnoi

@8 - when Ma Roga pleaded her belly she was sent to live in the exclusion zone - I think Piotr assumed she would die. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Flowers of Vashnoi

@1 - It’s hard to say, because these people have access to far future medical technology. I don’t know what Barrayar can do for long term radiation exposure. I trust Bujold on this though - if Miles said the medical prognosis was good, it is. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Chapter 25 and Epilogue

@36 -Flowers of Vashnoi. I interviewed my cousin about microbiology and fire safety!  We did Winterfair gifts after ACC. It’s in the index. 

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Chapters 12 and 13

Ekaterin often saw Tien’s behavior as symptoms of they dystrophy and his anxiety about it, and as a burden she’s had to shoulder because of her oaths. In the moment when she left Tien (due to discovering his fraud) her concern about custody was that Nikki would split his time between his parents, and she didn’t want to complicate his relationship with his father.  It seems to me that Barrayaran custody agreements don’t usually cut off opposite sex parents while both parents are alive.  This is a little speculative - it’s hard to fully support this conclusion from the available evidence.  We don’t really have an example  

Tien’s family knew they carried the mutation - it came out when Tien’s brother  died. They didn’t know Tien had it - they seem to me to have been in denial. The best course of action wouldn’t have been for the entire family to be tested right away, and for those who tested positive to be treated. Treatment was available any time Tien walked into a doctor’s office and asked for it. The reasons he did not - and their merits and detriments - were discussed at length in the Komarr section of the reread, and I would prefer not to rehash. 

And to be clear, when I say I would prefer not to rehash, I mean that those were the darkest hours of this reread, and I’m still shocked that we made it out the other side. L

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Chapters 16-19

@20 - Thank you!  You too!

@2 - Miles would use Vorkosigan Surleau.  Ivan would have to book something in advance.

@3 - I will keep that in mind on the 24th.  


Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Chapters 16-19

Just FYI - The Vorkosigan reread is taking a break for the holidays.  See you in the New Year!

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Chapters 15 and 16

@42 - He *eventually* realized that.  There was a degenerative process, during most of which he was being actively undermined by a trusted subordinate.

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