[LMB] That line

Lois Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Fri Jan 22 18:04:52 GMT 2021


"Was bisexual.  But now he's monogamous."

Yeah I've been getting reader confusion and heat, but no light, about 
that line for years now, all post-internet when/after the conversions on 
the subjects of assorted sexualities expanded across the culture.

Just for the record, that line was actually written in 1983, in the part 
of the original draft of /Shards of Honor/ that got cut off the end and 
went to my attic (in a single carbon copy) for several years, till I got 
the idea of using it to jump-start what became /Barrayar./  Which, at 
the time, was a matter of adding a new chapter one, tidying up the next 
several chapters till just after the soltixin attack (which is where the 
old material had broken off), and going on to the book you see now. 
/Barrayar/ would have been written in 1990 for its Oct. 1991 release.

That said, at the time I wrote it, I meant it to be taken as referring 
to behavior not orientation, and many readers also did so.  That it 
could be misread as either Cordelia or me thinking that Aral had changed 
what is now called his orientation never crossed my mind.  The latter 
misreading/misunderstanding was never my writerly intention, but it has 
since become apparent over the years -- 38 of 'em by now -- that a lot 
of other readers have done so, happily or unhappily depending on their 
own views.

The book has had enough reprintings and reissues by now that chances to 
change that line have come across my desk, but I am very leery of 
altering what is, in effect by now, almost grown to be another writer's 
work, a very personal sort of historical revisionism.  (Of which 
Bowdlerization is the most egregious example.)  It's possible that 
persons who are not writers do not understand this as an ethical dilemma.

Anyway, if the line really bothers you, feel free to mentally edit to 
"Yes.  But now he's monogamous."  Or ink it in on your page, or swap out 
your pixels, whatever.  I almost did, last few times through assorted 
reissues, but I wouldn't expect anyone but another writer to understand 
how icky it would make me feel, in a way that has nothing whatsoever to 
do with the putative content.

"Yes.  But now he's monogamous."

Sure, why not.

Ta, L.



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