[LMB] The evil anti-Ivan

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Sep 22 05:29:45 BST 2013

> From: Eric Oppen <technomad at intergate.com>

> Some of us here on the list don't like Ivan Vorpatril; they can't  
> forgive him for his behavior as a teen.

He was a bit of a cheerful lout. At least on the outside. I can 
forgive him a lot for the way he speaks about his first lover, 
he's grateful and affectionate. Ivan grows up, and grows up well.

> In my omnivorous reading (hey!  Omni-VOR-ous!  I made a funny!) I ran  
> across a real life person that could serve as a "mirror universe"  
> late-Victorian-era counterpart to Ivan, named Carlyle W. Harris.
> Like Ivan, he was good-looking, socially prominent and raised by an  
> ambitious smother-mother, but without an "Aunt Cordelia" or "Uncle  
> Aral" around to inject some sanity into the proceedings.  He grew up  
> charming, very handsome, a promising medical student...and,  
> apparently, a sociopath with very little common sense about it (having  
> just read _Confessions of a Sociopath,_ I do differentiate between  
> high-functioning sociopaths who can stay out of trouble and the other  
> kind we all know and, well, know).

Ivan has a strong sense of right and wrong, 'That's just wrong'. 
And he acts on that feeling - as with the kitten tree, and when 
Miles said he could rely on Mark to do what Miles wanted, but he
didn't tell Ivan about the seizures because Ivan would do what was
right. To me, a sociopath wouldn't be like that (although it's so not
my area of expertise, so I'm just going on general knowledge here.)

> He ended up in the electric chair after having been convicted of  
> poisoning his secret wife; a lot of stuff came out at his trial that  
> made it pretty clear that if he'd walked, he would probably have done  
> a lot more damage before being laid by the heels, if he ever _was_  
> caught.
> Reading about him, I thought "There but for a lot of luck could go Ivan."

I can see Ivan fitting in well with an entire class of entitled, wealthy
trust fund kids from just about any era. But he chooses to work, and
work well, instead of being a town clown. There's some political
reasons for that, but also his Vor background, and his own sense of
what's right. Ivan actually has more morals than Miles (now, if you're
looking for several kinds of -path, there's a place to start).  And ethics.
And common sense. And sense of self-preservation.... 


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