[LMB] Piotr and "the mutant."

Jonadab the Unsightly One jonadab at columbus.rr.com
Tue Aug 30 00:48:53 BST 2016

Pat Mathews <MATHEWS55 at msn.com> writes:

> And the reasons for killing muties was made quite clear in Mountains
> of Mourning - people living on the ragged edge of survival could not
> afford to keep people alive who would be a drain on their resources.

That's part of it, but I think the larger part, at least during the Time
of Isolation, was the perceived danger that the mutations, if allowed to
survive and reproduce, would spread throughout and corrupt the entire
genome and ultimately destroy the entire colony.  This explains for
example the symbolic importance of cutting, specifically, as a means of
executing mutants, because their genetic material was being excised from
the genepool.  (Besides the Mountains of Mourning, I think this may also
be mentioned in Komarr, and possibly elsewhere as well.)  Similarly,
there is wording to the effect that killing the mutants is a cleansing
or purification.  What is being cleansed or purified?  The genome.

Remember too that Barrayarans historically viewed all mutations as a
nasty consequence of whatever that "through the fire" (presumably,
radiation-related) disaster was, early in the Time of Isolation (I've
always wondered if it might've been some direct consequence of the
manner in which the only then-known wormhole ceased to exist, but I
suspect that nobody on Barrayar or anywhere else, by the time in which
the stories are set, knows the exact truth of it).  There's even at one
point a reference to mutations being a judgment, though I don't recall
that it says what wickedness it was a judgment _for_.

> Ma Mattulich resented the existence - the survival of the "mutie lord"
> bitterly.

That's also partly because it represents her own sacrifice, in killing
so many of her own children, being rejected as unnecessary.  After doing
something like that, a typical person would become (if they weren't
already) rather highly emotionally invested in whatever the cause was
that formed the argument, back then, for why they had to do so.  She's
probably spent the last few decades convincing herself that it was in
fact absolutely necessary.  And now she's old and set in her ways, so
changing her opinion on the matter would take quite a bit of doing.

Nathan Eady
jonadab at columbus.rr.com

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