[LMB] new Bujold podcast interview up at Smart Bitches

alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca
Sat Jun 12 05:08:16 BST 2021

Thanks for the link, Lois. Good interview! (I must admit I read the 
transcript because I don't have the time to listen right now.)

What I found particularly interesting was the discussion of 
"the worst possible thing I can do to these characters?"

Lois: "I’m very glad you asked that question because of his, the line has 
been much, much quoted and much misunderstood out of context. And I’m 
grateful for a chance to try to – you know, it’s the internet; nuance 
never flies, but let’s try. What I was trying to get at with that 
statement was something about how plot and character have to fit together. 
For a particular character, there’s a particular quintessential plot that 
explores that character most beautifully, completely, the way you want, 
you know. It shows you what you want to learn about him or her – or it, 
depending, ‘cause science fiction sometimes – rather than, you know, 
saying, what’s the worst thing I can do to this character, I think it 
might be better recast as, what is the most revealing thing I can do to 
this character?

[...] So it’s, it’s meant to be, you know, this, this is the scalpel 
by which we lay them open, you know. The plot is, plot is what you use to, 
you know, do exploratory surgery on a character. For every character, 
there will be a different, different most-revealing thing.

[...]It changes with every character, so it, it’s not, you know, it’s not 
an invitation to pile on horrors."

I found that very enlightening, especially having just read Lois' 
afterword to Cordelia's Honor. There Lois talks about the price of 
becoming a parent, and particularly how Cordelia undergoes a fearsome 
transformation -- even laying down her cherished Betan principles 
(including, I would, say killing Vordarian) -- to bring her child to life.

Bearing and saving and rearing Miles wasn't the worst thing that could 
have happened to Cordelia but it certainly was the most revealing.


Alayne McGregor
alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca

What we need is a tough new kind of feminism with no illusions. ... We
need a kind of feminism that aims not just to assimilate into the
institutions that men have created over the centuries, but to infiltrate
and subvert them. -- Barbara Ehrenreich

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