[LMB] GJ&RQ - Chapter 5

Pat Mathews MATHEWS55 at msn.com
Fri Aug 5 15:45:03 BST 2016

The nicest thing about this novel is that all the problems - and they are ones that would have me screaming and running in circles - are all either domestic, or on a municipal scale, for all she's Vicereine of an entire world.

I don't know what Sergyar's population is, but Cordelia could get together with our mayor (half a million people) and governor (about two million) and have a nice crying-in-your-beer session with them and all sides would feel quite comfortable.

("Contractors? Let me tell you about the company .... and this woman had her carpets cleaned on the Public School's money and the invoice was altered about the way one of her second-graders would have changed their report card... and my brother-in-law came down from Truchas and started telling me how to run my business and my family.....") Oh, yes! I can just see it now.

From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>
Sent: Friday, August 5, 2016 6:31 AM
To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
Subject: [LMB] GJ&RQ - Chapter 5

Cordelia and Jole meet some adventurous local kids - and it's an interesting mix.
The General's daughter, a couple of other base brats, some Kareenburg kids, and
the son of the Cetagandan consul. Points to the younger generation for being less

You have to feel sorry for those kids. Of all the people to rescue you, they get the
top two on the planet. Ohhhh dear. But Oliver is very good about the stolen plasma
arc - and just think of all the ways that could have been a problem. Those kids don't
realise how lucky they are.

Freddie is the ringleader - that girl will have an interesting career, in whatever she
chooses. (For a given value of interesting that involves regular disasters and a
steamroller attitude to life, of course.)

I love Cordelia's view of the Cetagandan - Bean Plant No. 3. Ah how the dread enemy
has fallen.

The General is facing the horror of raising a teenage girl, and the poor man is feeling
very undertrained for it. Oliver may have been wise to decide on boys only. And now
the poor man is going to be confined to quarters for weeks with a resentful teen.
Running the base must seem so simple by comparison.

After all the felons have been collected Oliver and Cordelia go visit the embryos
(wow what a great date it's been!) and then head home.

Cordelia thinks about the alternate path she could have taken, the guy who used her
and cheated her out of her first command, and promised babies but never got around
to it. But because that creep broke her heart and her trust, she went on to have Aral,
and Miles, and all the rest of her loved ones, and being a Vicereine (among many
other things) and now six more babies. Pain leads to joy - this novel is all about
turning points, decisions that take you down one path or another. Cordelia and Oliver
face one big decision after another, mostly between almost equally good options,
but definitely leading to one or another very different lives. Choose carefully, then
live with it.

And once again a reminder of Aral's long reach - he's still delivering on promises to
her. He's still a presence in this book, still having an impact.

Jole's aide had her date interrupted by the teen disaster, but she's prepared to give
ghem Soren another chance. She's not quite as unbiased as the kids, but she's way
more open to social mingling than the previous generation. Although mostly because

she thinks she's Mata Hari.

Speaking of mingling, ghem Soren had a Barrayaran great-grandmother. And didn't SHE
make a life-altering choice. You have to wonder how many Barrayaran brides were taken
back to Cetaganda, and what their lives were like.

And there's another theme - Oliver is busy with meetings and planning, to support

some unknown hero in the future who'll need this preparation. Like Cordelia
moving the capital, it's a gift to unknowns in the future who will benefit without
ever knowing how much was done for them. It's a responsibility to the future -
like having and training children. The future, and the past, are big presences here.

If Cordelia or Oliver ever totally lose it and channel Piotr, it'll be on Plas-Dan and the

other contractors. Small, mundane evil will drive you crazy faster than the bigger stuff.

Cordelia is wondering who'll be the next Vicereine (or Viceroy). I vote for Simon and
Alys - they could do the job, no worries. And it would give Gregor a break from
wondering what Simon will do next. Plus it'd give Cordelia some friends on planet.

It's almost the three-year anniversary of losing Aral. Still hurts. Oliver lets his mind
wander a little, wondering about planning a sailing day with Cordelia. And more. It
was different with Aral, and impossible without him, but that was three years ago.
They're not the same people as they were then.

But he decides to go for it. Brave man.

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