[LMB] Are we still reading Gentleman Jole and the the Red Queen?!

pouncer at aol.com pouncer at aol.com
Wed Oct 26 01:27:36 BST 2016

Matthew George says:

>Given the sort of transportation that seems to be 
>endemic in the Vorkosiverse, I don't think that 
>proximity to any  kind of resource is actually that 
>much of an issue.  There's no real absolute need to 
>have refineries close to sources of ore, for >
example, ... trains never developed on Barrayar ...
> because antigrav made it redundant.  So shipping 
>people and material is cheaper with antigrav tech 
>than it is with [RW] trains.If people need to go 
>across a planet, they can do so quite easily.  But 
>they wouldn't need to go for most things, because 
>communication is so simple.

As Ivan exploited for his "embassy" job on Ylla. Yes.  
Good point.  Ivan, though, was the first Barrayaran 
assigned there to notice.  Ivan was off-world by age 
17, has had other postings short and longer to other 
worlds than Barrayar, and in general falls more into 
what I've called the "Spacer" mindset than what Quinn 
calls "Dirt Suckers."  (I will continue to verbally 
disparage the folks I'm logically defending just to 
show neutrality.)  The Ylla example suggests to me
that many Barrayarans are more, hmm, 'territorial'. 

>So whether the local conditions are desirable is 
>ultimately the primary consideration as Chaos Colony 
>develops.  And there's nothing desirable about 
>Kburg's locale. 

We are going to lure Nick Rosen out any minute,
I swear.

The terraforming effort -- reducing numbers of
plague worms and vampire balloons, conditioning
soil for what Enrique would call "Earth descended
vegetable matter" and the rest of us call "crops" -
and just establishing neighborhoods and communities
of people who share an experience of PLACE and
of SWEAT and ACCOMPLISHMENT -- can't help but have
resulted in consequences desirable and valuable. 

>The more I think about it, the more I think all the 
>people who invested in Kburg instead of locations 
>elsewhere with development  potential really ARE

Call them that to their faces and see how quickly 
they change their minds.  Or if they modify their value 
systems; or surrender their emotional attachment to 
purely sentimental places and landmarks and burial 
sites and fruit trees and that door jamb carved
with the marks showing Junior's annual growth

And, by the way, during the three decades prior to 
the clever and enlightened management of the 
Vorkosigans -- exactly where on the planet Sergyar 
was this hypothetical location with development 
potential?  A place so distant from the military base 
(and the personnel forming a market for goods and 
services); the space port (a trading hub and 
warehouse location for goods, if not services); the 
location right under the geosynchronous satellite I 
am equally able and justified to imagine as your 
"elsewhere"; and oh, yes, the volcano? 

>Kareenburg ought to be something similar, a 
>temporary resource that is useful within the next 
>lifetime or two but can be abandoned without regrets 
>when needed.

Interesting word, "ought".  Maybe military commanders  
"ought" to approach dirt-sucking civilians with a 
different set of arguments if the first ones don't 
work.  There's a Betan quote in there, somewhere.  
Something about "insanity" and "repeating what didn't 
work" ... 

I revert to considering the discussion as fic:
Cordelia -- This site is dangerous.

Mayor  -- We aren't frightened.

Cordelia -- Your courage or cowardice doesn't enter 
into it.  Anyone here is at risk. 

Mayor -- Life is a risk.  Anyone here might be killed 
in a traffic accident, or a shuttle crash ...

Cordelia -- Preventable risks are different.  Nobody 
can prevent a volcano.

Mayor -- True.  But the risk _I'm_ concerned about is 
very controllable; whether or not this move destroys 
my markets, my business, my children's inheritance...

Cordelia -- Are you really more worried about your 
children's future funding than their adult lives?

Mayor -- Are you really discounting all my father's 
gift to me, and my own towards my children's heritage 
as a matter of coins; a mess of pottage? 

I see people talking past each other.   Particularly 
as Cordelia tried talking down to an elected official 
using the same approach she's tried and tested on 
school children.  Even if, maybe especially if, the 
lesson is the same, trying to TEACH an adult is 
usually rather less effective than a more Socratic 
approach in eliciting a desired conclusion from one's 
dialog partner via a flexible set of questions: 

Cordelia -- I'm wondering what we'll do about the 
volcano; has the town got plans the military might 

Mayor -- "Do" ?  What can anybody "do" about a 
volcano?  Why do we have to "do" anything?

Cordelia -- Isn't that our job?  Plan, lead, save our 
people, our children, from, well, you know, at least 
the foreseeable problems.  

Mayor -- I'm sure the military AND the town have more 
immediate problems.

Cordelia -- Maybe more immediate, but I can't think 
of a bigger one. Deserving of more planning.  Can 

Mayor -- Housing prices, labor rates, where do we put 
the galactic immigrants to minimize frictions with 
Imperial subjects ...

Cordelia -- Just so.  Where?  We could build new 
housing, for example, higher up the sides of the 
volcano; but is that wise? 

Mayor -- Surely not!  Downslope, of course. 

Cordelia -- In the valleys?  Where the lava will 
flow? For that matter, where the caves drain in the 
bigger storms?

Mayor -- That happened ONCE, and before my time or 
yours.  Still, fine. Storms happen.  Further along 
the ridge to the south then. 

Cordelia -- Farther from the base and port, then? 

Mayor -- Transportation is cheap.  At least, compared 
to construction. Or flooding. 

Cordelia -- You are right again, Mr Mayor. But by 
that reasoning, we might go farther still. You have 
obviously devoted some thought to the matter.  How 
far can new housing, or new business for that matter, 
be from the base before the time and costs of 
transportation begin to affect operations? 


Cordelia -- [after more Socratic-ing]  But it would 
be equally true, would it not, that we could move the 
base, and the port, just so far from the existing 

Mayor -- That would be the most extreme case; and a 
barely tolerable one.  And we wouldn't want to do 
that, even for the volcano.  It wouldn't be far 
enough, for your scenario. We'd have to be at least a 
quarter of the planet away, at which point time zones 
are as much a factor as travel times. The ships could 
lift and escape but the port and the commuter hub 
would be ruined.  If we're going to be ruined anyway 
we might as well leave things where they are. 

Cordelia -- Or move things all together. Or, in 
stages. Would you suppose the new immigrant housing 
-- who have no investment here, after all -- could 
move in the first stage?  Or would the older settlers 
be up for another ground breaking?

Mayor -- WHY US? Why the civilians at all, I mean? 
Why don't you order your military to move, first? 

Cordelia -- Well, I suppose I could ...


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