[LMB] A Post-Jole perspective on "Cetaganda"

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 23 07:01:26 GMT 2016


> From: Louann Miller <domelouann at gmail.com>

> I've been re-reading the Vorkosigan series in chronological order, and I've
> gotten as far as ?Cetaganda.? Two major points. One, which struck me even
> at the time it came out, was the unusual lack of any fig leaf over Miles'
> spinal-reflex desire to keep all the plot threads firmly in his hands. He
> doesn't quite say ?look, I'm the hero of this series of books, I'm
> *allowed* to be in charge? but he comes darn close. 

Miles is one of the most unreliable narrators ever. In some ways
he's extremely smart, but in others he's very blinkered. And, as we
find out in later books, in some cases he doesn't have all the 
information, or all the correct information. Like Ivan, he needs a big
brick now and then. I love the books where we get a look at Miles 
from the outside, from someone else's POV. Miles is at the same 
time egotistical and insecure, but when others view him we see the
power of the Vorkosigan charisma in action. And, apart from all 
that, he's a joy to watch. I love him in full forward momentum mode, 
making it up as he goes along, brilliant and breath-taking. And probably
slightly unbalanced, at least by Betan standards. But there's a lot of
people around him making him possible.

Since ?Cetaganda? in
> publication order comes between ?Mirror Dance? and ?Memory,? I think this
> uneasiness-making level of hubris was no accident. I feel very sure LMB
> already knew the major fall he was riding for in the very next (published)
> novel, and was gathering supporting evidence that Miles, at least from the
> standpoint of the people-who-aren't-Miles universe, was riding for a
> catastrophe. (I remember being taken aback by this aspect even when the
> book first came out. Little did I know...)

Ohhh good point. And so true. I was shattered by Memory the first time
I read it, but I didn't think it was unfair or unlikely. 

> Second, Miles' late-book attempts to figure out what message Emperor
> Fletchir Giadja is trying to send, and to who, seem in retrospect to be
> missing a crucial puzzle piece. Miles, perhaps hardened to the
> Lord-Regent-rules regime of his childhood, thinks about what message the
> Cetagandan Emperor is trying to send to Prime Minister/Count Aral. He
> doesn't think about what message Fletchir is trying to send to one of the
> few sentients in the universe he might consider an equal, Emperor Gregor.
.......
Ohhh good point. I'll have to reread Cetaganda now (we really need to do
an in-list discussion of that one. It's glorious and important in so many 
ways.)

Gwynne 


	
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