[LMB] Vor class permeability, was Komarr and Rho Ceta (map)

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Tue Jan 18 17:49:29 GMT 2011

[LMB] Komarr and Rho Ceta (map)
Tel teldreaming at gmail.com
Tue Jan 18 07:29:41 GMT 2011

Galeni's family (or perhaps some other Galens) are recent additions to
the pre-invasion Komarran oligarchy, along with at least one other
family. Meanwhile, no new Vor have been created in - how long? (not
that I'm advocating the creation of new Vor). Males and females can
become elite and marry in to the elite on Komarr, only females can
marry in on Barrayar.

***  Counterfactual -- or counterfactoidial -- to textev.  In more than 
one place, there is complaint about "such a distressingly high 
percentage of Vor maidens being carried off to preside over the 
households" of up-and-coming non-Vor entrepreneurs.

I don't think most Vor grandparents will much distinguish among their 
offspring with or without the extra syllable.

If you are defining the elite only as the 60 countships, of course, most 
Vor are also excluded.  If you are defining the elite as the whole 
clan-based amorphous system, it is quite permeable, and becoming more 
so.  The middle-class Vor hold middle-class jobs (*); we don't have the 
intense British land-is-the-only-proper-source-of-income trope, here.  
More like the (portions of the) samurai class who retooled as 
entrepreneurs, post-Meiji.  ***

So there's less chance of upward movement into
the circles of power after the occupation, and your average Komarran
has little to no chance.

***   In *any* system, there is little chance of an average person 
moving up into circles of power, first, because they are average, and 
the jobs require moxie, and second, because the only ones you are 
considering as worth mentioning, at the highest levels, are always 
small.  The average person cannot become a Supreme Court justice, 
either; the task requires extraordinary talent and training, and there 
are only 9 slots.

There are, however, a million judge-ships at lower levels that have to 
be filled somehow; I assure you, the Vor are insufficient to the task.  
The, ferex, State Supreme Court-equivalent in a Komarran Sector is 
filled by Komarrans.  As is the planetary one, if they have one.  
(Loyalty oaths ad lib and q.s., I suppose.  Do they have the equivalent 
of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag we used to recite/mumble in 3rd 
grade, I wonder?  Do we still, for that matter...?)  What's happening 
with the design of the justice system on South Continent?  We don't 
know, but it's not the old Count's system.

Also, Laisa, I am sure, was not the only cross-cultural marriage, here.  
War brides and grooms on all levels, going in both directions.  Ref: in 
the book you haven't seen yet (and never may, at this rate) to a Greekie 
tech sergeant who married a Komarran girl and retired to Solstice to 
open up a Greekie restuarant...

Re: making more Vor -- or not -- that remains a debate at least by 
_ACC_.  The three options are, roughly:  keep the system tight to the 60 
extant countships on the North Continent, while the Imperium grows 
around it until it is just a fraction of the whole  (reducing the power 
of the counts by outgrowing them); expand the countship system to the 
other polities -- South Continent, most of the assorted islands, Komarr, 
and Sergyar, all at the story-present still count-free, reducing the 
power of individual counts by dilution but expanding the system; or 
expanding the Vor class without expanding the countship system via a 
Brit-like co-option method of awarding new syllables as honors for 
merit, probably non-inheritable but definitely open to achievers from 
all walks of life, not to mention genders.  (And, of course, there's 
Aral's suggestion, probably too radical for anyone.)  Other options are 
no doubt on the table, or under it; at the moment, Gregor's government 
is still going with option #1.

Ta, L.  Who is now late and must run...

* -- And, no doubt, a certain leakage of Vor luser-dudes and -dudettes 
downward still; a Vor street-person is certainly a possibility, tho' it 
requires being cut off from the family/clan support system rather 
thoroughly.  Think impoverished ronin.

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