[LMB] Betan influence

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Wed Jun 6 03:51:39 BST 2007

On Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 09:51:30PM -0400, Elizabeth Holden wrote:
> --- Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
> > We see far more of Barrayar.  We've seen very little of Beta,
> > really; characters meet there, or pass through it, or pick up a ship
> > there; we haven't seen them live there.  We've heard a bit, like
> > Cordelia's youth,
> We hear a lot through Cordelia's point of view and her attitude.
> Still more through Miles' point of view.  A Betan transplanted to
> Barrayar (as Cordelia was) seems to me to be the best of both worlds.

My impression is that Cordelia's there only because of Aral; when Aral
dies, she might stay for her family, or as Vicereine (?) of Sergyar
(which is, after all, not Barrayar, and the chance to architect a new
society is an unusual temptation), but Barrayar itself has not enamored
her.  She's surprised that Miles chooses it, she makes sure Mark knows
he has family on Beta, too; she wouldn't *recommend* Barrayar to anyone,
is my impression.

> > Perhaps because Barrayar has so much more to kick against, than because
> > Betans are more conformist.
> Possibly, though we do see people who don't fit into the mainstream of
> Betan society and find themselves at odds there. 

Everywhere should have some misfits.  (Some people are just misfits for
life, after all.)  But it matters why one is a misfit, and how the
friction manifests; vague dissatisfaction beats outright oppression,

> > My usual questions are "which society would I rather be a random member
> > of?" and "which society would I rather be a worst-off member of?"
> I think I'd still answer Barrayar to both questions.  We've seen
> homeless/displaced people on Beta Colony and there doesn't seem to be

I don't remember anyone besides Baz, who wasn't a citizen, and who
was hiding from ImpSec as much as from Betan security, IIRC.

> much option in terms of where one can be displaced *to*.  On Barrayar,
> even the worst-off members of society can appeal to their Count (or
> representatives thereof) for help.

And on Beta everyone is guaranteed food, housing, and comconsole access.
(checks) well, maybe just comconsole access, but Cordelia's explicit
about that.  It's in the chapter abut Kou and Bothari being jumped in
the caravanserai for Kou's walking funny.  Cordelia's shocked by the
caravanserai.  "Well, some people [on Beta] have more money than others,
of course."

> tune with the kind of lifestyle I like.  Barrayar has *fresh air*.  

Cordelia does mention air filtration fees, which seemed weird -- what
happens if you can't pay them?  Beta isn't supposed to be Jackson's

-xx- Damien X-) 

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