[LMB] Women--dispensible accessories on Barrayar, was Timeline challenge

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Tue Nov 30 18:51:52 GMT 2010

Another few random thoughts on the stair, before I go off on my errands...

Beta Colony is pretty much a techno-socialist utopia, with parity among 
the genders as level as technology can make it.*  (And in my view, it is 
technology and not virtue that is the root of women's lib in modern 
societies.)  Trying to write an action-adventure with characters having 
or gaining (as is overwhelmingly favored by the SF book-buying audience) 
status and political agency, with angst q.s. to the top and over, would 
be as much of an uphill struggle as trying to write a YA with helicopter 
parents swooping in to spare the kids from anything resembling 
adventure.  There's a *reason* that YA books first have to get rid of 
the parents.

(By the way, it's not just domestic work that is dismissed from story 
attention; no one writes about engineering or building projects much 
these days, either.  Or any other diffuse practical creative endeavor, 
i.e., work.  Sanitation engineers save more lives than doctors and 
heroes put together, but who writes about them?  My books with the 
engineer hero, with the doctor hero, and with the middle-class artisan 
heroine are, collectively, my least-sellers.)

All Betans have votes, and if they want more voice, they can go off and 
form or join a committee, and work on PR, or run for office.  An 
excellent way to live; not very interesting, apparently, to read about, 
at least to those of us who already live like this.  But if you want to 
read about fights with ninjas of various ilks, it has to be in a setting 
that generates ninjas.

Well... there's the Orb, I suppose.  That would be interesting, but 
again mainly from the viewpoint of an outsider.  (Betans would take it 
for granted.)  But I probably couldn't publish it under my own name.

Ta, L.

(I am reminded, tangentially, of the tongue-in-cheek stated difference 
between literature and genre writing; literature is about love and 
death, while genre fiction is about sex and violence...)

* -- To be noted, much of Beta's control-culture also stems from its 
origin as the only colony to be settled by, effectively, sub-light 
generation-ships.  In its way, Beta was for a while (after settlement 
and before jump ships were developed and a connecting wormhole route 
discovered) in as much of a Time of Isolation as Barrayar, which would 
make an interesting compare-and-contrast.

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list