[LMB] Miles, Ekaterin and the Orb

Corrina Lavitt corrinal at cox.net
Fri, 14 Nov 2003 15:10:06 -0500


> Corinna wrote:
> > 1. Ekaterin has no real emotional upset over Tien's death.
>
> Don't react - turn into stone.  That's how she's been trained.
>
> >2. Ekaterin taking Nikki for treatment just after Daddy's dead.
>
> I'm going to agree here with the other poster who said she had to try to
> grab that opportunity for treatment while the window was open.

Yes, I agreed with that too. I wasn't even contesting those points. I was
just saying I, as a reader, had to puzzle through them to understand what
was going on. But, ultimately, it does work for me.
>
> >3. Nikki's reaction and Ekaterin's reaction to Nikki's emotions of the
> death
> of his father.
>
> Ah, this hadn't bothered me.  I see it that as Ekaterin learned don't
> react, turn to stone, so Nikki has learned.  He's been watching her, after
> all, and has seen how she's reacted to Tien's rages and such.

Has he? He's learned from watching her with Tien but he's also learned to
differently in his interactions with Ekaterin. There's some nice interplay
with him mom in the beginning. What I'm arguing is that the character of
Nikki, as presented before Tien's death, is not going to have the same
emotional reaction as his mother to his father's death. And that should have
been something that was considered in the text.

>And kids DO
> see that sort of thing, and learn from it.  I assumed he was reacting,
only
> keeping it inside.  That's what I'd expect from his family situation.  I
> think little signs poke up here and there, that there are reactions, and
> they're being brutally suppressed until another time.  I think the
bathroom
> incident is the biggest of them.

But it's over fast. He's calm during that incident. He lets Miles in, no
problem. There's no 'what should I listen to you, you're not my father.'
It's not suppressed, it's just non-existent.
>
> I think this goes with the type of family mentality that teaches that
> concept of "don't react, turn to stone" - an associated meme is "maintain
> normality at all costs." Keep the regular routine, look normal to the
> outside world, it's a defensive reaction.

Yeah, but that's maybe how Nikki learned to deal with Tien, not with his
mother. In CC, Nikki gets whiny and unhappy when he can't go play with the
younger Pym. Now part of this is that he's more mellow in the Vorthys
household--but if you're going to argue that Ekaterin has long term issues
due to her exposure with Tien that will take years to work through and that
Nikki is going to react like his mother because of his exposure to his
father in "Komarr," then Nikki also would have long-term issues due to Tien
and wouldn't be so gregarious and well-adjusted in CC.

So either Nikki is more well-adjusted than his mother, so he wouldn't be
surpressing so much in "Komarr" or Nikki is just as badly messed up as his
mother, in which case, he would have more issues in CC.


> For instance, when I finally left the relationship that was the Tien in my
> life, I managed it all in one evening.  Managed to get my stuff, get out,
> get childcare set up, get into another place to stay, EVERYTHING.  The
next
> day I was back at work, and my son was starting daycare.

Right, again I'm not arguing Ekaterin's reaction. Or saying that real life
people can't react like this. But I'm just going with Nikki on the page in
"Komarr" and it doesn't compute for me.

Nikki's nine. He would react much, much differently than a toddler who
needed daycare. Nine-year-olds get death. Toddlers don't.

> I suspect it's the kind of thing that if you come from this type of
family,
> or have known them, it fits perfectly - and if you haven't encountered
> them, it doesn't.

Well, I also suspect if you haven't lost your parent at nine-years-old, then
it's hard for me to get you to see what I'm talking about. And, yes, child
reactions ARE different than adult reactions.
>
I think what's coming into play here is that I'm not arguing Ekaterin can't
have this reactior or that reaction or Nikki can't have this reaction or
that reaction because they happen in real life. I'm just saying the
characters, especially Nikki, as presented on the page, are not consistent
to me.

**********************
Victoria said:
Me:
You're forgetting that Nikki bonded with Miles over the ship models.

--->Uh, several hours of playing one night does not a best friend for life
make. Maybe if Nikki was a toddler, yes.

Victoria also said:
 Children are the ultimate mimics. It's a survival
technique left over from way, way back. Kids also  internalize examples and
lessons and don't share their personal views easily.

Kids don't react like an adult would. Most 8-12 year old children in real
life, are cautious around strange new people--especially the ones their
parents/family introduce them to[1].

--->So which is it that you are saying? That they are mimics or they react
differently?

Kids watch how you jump, and then they follow along, even if they don't
understand why you're doing what you do.

--->Nope. Kids have distinct personal reactions to events that will not
always mimic a parent's or each others. I have four kids. Not one of them
would react the same to my death or my husband's death in the same manner. I
agree with your second statement, that kids react differently to adults,
that Nikki is in a different position, he's a different person than Ekaterin
and would react differently.

*********************

This is really a writing craft issue to me, rather than a "I think Ekaterin
is awful or that kids can't react like Nikki" issue. The explanation for
Nikki's lack of reaction is not on the page sufficiently for me and it could
be.

I think with a few changes here and there, Nikki's reaction to his father's
death could have been improved and also Ekaterin's concern for his son's
reaction to losing his dad could have been improved. For instance, when
Ekatern's going up to pick up Aunt Vorthys, she think she's glad to be
alone. She thinks Nikki would have liked being on a ship but she needs to be
alone. Which is very valid. But she doesn't think "Gee, I hope Nikki doesn't
have a delayed breakdown concerning his father's death while I'm away for
three days." I'm not talking about the text or altering personality. Just a
few changes here and there would have made a big difference to me.

Being a writing craft geek, I tend to get heavily into this stuff. What I
was hoping was that someone would have an explanation for Nikki or
Ekaterin's behavior extrapolated from what was on the page that would help
me get past the mental block and enjoy "Komarr" and Ekaterin's journey in it
more.

Again, I apologize if I raised anyone's hackles over the issue.

Corrina
leaving the subject and wondering if anyone's figured out the ranking in the
Imperial Service yet. Because it seems to me Army and Navy ranks are all
mixed together and I can't sort them out......Miles get a promotion to
Captain from Lt. but that's an Army rank, yet he started out as an Ensign,
which is a Navy rank. And there's generals and colonels (Army ranks) and
also commanders and admirals...and I can't sort out which branch of the
service belongs to which ranking.