[LMB] Bujold vs. Pratchett worldviews

Andrew Lambdin-Abraham a.abraham at mail.utexas.edu
Sat, 21 Dec 2002 02:13:47 -0600

On Saturday, December 21, 2002, at 12:58 AM, Damien Sullivan wrote:

> Works for Costa Rica.  Not a bad example, perhaps; a small country 
> surrounded
> by other small countries.  And A-M is just one city-state, don't know 
> how much
> good a regular army could do again a serious imperial invasion.  Note 
> in Jingo
> Klatch is presented as being rather superior, what with the size and 
> recent
> military experience, plus buying the A-M weaponry.

Well, there are a number of other complicating factors.  The ones that 
spring to mind are the presence of a bipolar world where any country 
could find a friend in one of the Great Powers if it was willing to pay 
the price, and the general international concensus that taking over 
another country by force isn't done.  In addition, I've heard reports 
that Costa Rican police were engaged in the Nicaraguan Civil War in the 
80's, though I'll need to look that up.  It's been too long since I've 
read Jingo to remember the events well enough.

>> Finally, there's something seriously dangerous about setting up a
>> society without a strong force or two.  Vetinari manages to balance 
>> the
> There is the Watch, getting bigger and bigger.  And if the people get 
> used to
> this rule enough, and you've got things like the NGOs and the 
> newspapers, it
> could be hard for any faction to re-establish autocratic rule.

True enough.  The question isn't so much "Is autocratic rule possible 
now", because it's fairly forseeable how to make that impossible.  The 
real trick is managing it and avoiding anarchy/factionalism at the same 
time.  Is the Watch strong enough to prevent that in a moment of crisis?