[LMB] Being Betan

Karen Hunt huntkc at gmail.com
Mon Jun 5 11:38:30 BST 2017

I feel like coming in on all sides of this one...

On Sun, Jun 4, 2017 at 11:51 PM, Damien Sullivan <phoenix at mindstalk.net>

> On Mon, Jun 05, 2017 at 02:27:19AM +0000, Pat Mathews wrote:
> > Beta doesn't admit it, but they seem to actually have what I'd call an
> > empire in all but name. A trade empire, of course, but they are the
> > great power everyone looks up to. And they do not need the crude
> What do you base calling it an empire on?
> > Galactics who come to Barrayar seem to end up falling in love with it,
> > at least those who land in the upper reaches of Barrayaran society.
> > Even though there is a temptation to cry "Help! I've fallen into a
> > Regency Romance and can't get out!"
> Very small sample size.  Xav's wife, Cordelia, the Vervani ambassador
> from Cetaganda... and we don't know if the first or third every really
> fell in love with Barrayar, rather than a particular Barrayaran.  As
> Cordelia did.  The depth of her love for *Barrayar* may be measured in
> her distance from it in the latter part of her life, safely ensconced on
> Sergyar.

Xav's wife wasn't particularly happy (Shards of Honor, chapter 2):
Was your grandmother happy on Barrayar?" Cordelia estimated Vorkosigan's
school days were perhaps thirty years ago.
"I don't think she ever adjusted completely to our society. And of course,
Yuri's War . . ."

Mind you, it's a bit unfair - they were very backwards in those days (still
backwards in Miles' adult days, but much less severely so).

> Conversely, Elena fled Barrayar on adulthood, and Elli's visit didn't
> make her fall in love with the place.

Indeed. And it deserves a fair amount of their scorn, too.

> Mark is essentially a galactic, and while he keeps ties there, doesn't
> seem to be spending much time on planet, nor Kareen with him.

Mark appears not too unhappy with it. I'm not inclined to list him under a
"current haters of Barrayar" list. Judging from the paper he wrote while on
Beta colony, he thinks there's hope for the place (A Civil Campaign,
chapter 16):
"The galactic exchange rates on the Barrayaran Imperial mark have been
improving steadily since the War of the Hegen Hub," Mark started to
explain. He'd written a paper on the subject last term; Kareen had helped
proofread it. He could probably talk for a couple of hours about it.

I think the reference to galactics falling in love with Barrayar is mostly
to folks like Dr Canaba, Enrique, and Tej and her family. I admit not
thinking that "fall in love" is their primary emotion in that regard.
Mostly, it's "these people aren't as crazy/backwards/militaristic as I'd
thought." A compliment, but not a very strong one.... Except for Tej, none
of these folks got to join the Vor class.

Karen Hunt

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