[LMB] OT: Imperial Tropes and fair criticism

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Thu Jun 23 04:28:39 BST 2011

A pair of authors(Bunch & Cole) who wrote an "eternal emperor" SF series 
wrote it deliberately to blow up a certain SF trope....

-----Original Message----- 
From: Tel
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 7:26 PM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
Subject: Re: [LMB] Imperial Tropes and fair criticism

On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 1:24 PM, Thad Coons <tocoons at gmail.com> wrote:
>   One of the more or less standard tropes of SF&F, although I couldn't
> find it "TV Tropes", is the "Benevolent and enlightened monarch". I
> can think of numerous examples going back at least to Aragorn, in
> LOTR; and Aral as regent, and Gregor as emperor of Barrayar,
> Iselle dy Chalion, to name only a very few.   What these have have
> in common is that they are exceptionally virtuous, noble, wise,
> just, heroic, and committed to the peace, prosperity, and general
> welfare of their kingdoms and subjects.

Or, to phrase it another way, their intimates are -telling- us they
are exceptionally virtuous, noble, wise, just, heroic, and committed
to the peace. Which any government claims, even (especially) the very
bad ones.

>   Authors of SF regularly use such tropes as staple incredients
> in their concoctions, and it's acceptable literary criticism to
> recognize them. ...
I don't think Lois cheats in the political/social arena. I think she
picks her POVs very carefully, and that Barrayar would look very
different through the eyes of (say) Elli Quinn, who's had words to say
about it. One of the things I'm looking forward to with the new book
is the potential to get an outside perspective on some of this stuff.

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