[LMB] A question about Barrayar

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Tue Nov 2 16:27:05 GMT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Elizabeth Holden" <azurite at rogers.com>
To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold." 
<lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: [LMB] A question about Barrayar

> Tel said:
>> Barrayar pretty explicitly doesn't have a free media (have
>> we -ever- seen a Barrayaran reporter?).
> We saw Betan journalists.  They didn't fare well.
> There are lots of things we haven't seen on Barrayar that I'm sure are 
> there, and I'd like to see them.  Novelistis.  Musicians.  Artists - 
> except for one amateur.

It's quite clear that there are or have been playwrights, SOMEBODY was 

> We've been moving in a plot-driven ambiance of politicians, spies and 
> soldiers.  The medical profession comes in for a lot of attention. We met 
> one swordstick-salesman, and, IIRC, one grocer, at least by implication. 
> One cook.
> The only thing I feel with any certainty that they don't have, is priests.

I wouldn't be entirely certain of that, who knows what lurks in the 
backcountry parts of Districts the books have never travelled the reader 

Consider that the Mayan religion quite literally went underground after the 
Iberian takeover of central America for 500 years, and that for the same 500 
years various Iberian families practiced crypto-Judaism.  Some of the Mayans 
and the crypto-Judaens have emerged out of the half-millenniuem of secrecy 
to openly practice the religions they hid for so long.  In the shorter term, 
there were families in England when Henry VIII created the Church of 
England, who remained Roman Catholic, despite the impetus and all the 
benefits of following the King to the new Christian denomination he founded 
and made the state religion.

There could, I think, easily be people on Barrayar with religions with 
priesthoods, invisible to readers .  For that matter, consider how religions 
nd new branches of existing religions pop up, with people founding some out 
of sudden revelation or mutating off of existing religions and their 
branches (Martin Luther started off as a Roman Catholic priest, who got more 
and more upset and irate as regards church hierarchy actions and inactions 
compared to his views on how things ought to be.  L. Ron Hubbard famously 
said, "If you want to get rich, found a religion" and then did so.   In more 
contemporary times, interest in ancient religion prompted some people to 
create/recreate religions based in part on ancient beliefs they researched 
and found attractive.)   The people in denominations and religions not on 
the mainstream often are invisible to popular culture attention and writing 
and their religious leaders and methods of selecting leaders even less 
visible, but they exist nonetheless.

This planet has a huge number of religions and denominations, varying from I 
think low billions of Christians and more than a billion Moslems, to the low 
numbers of e.g. Druse.   Most of the religions and religious denominations 
are invisible at the macroscopic view level to people outside their 

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