OT: Bujold uterine replicators (Was Re: Re Newest Bujold, Big Spoilers

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Aug 15 01:01:49 EDT 2002

On Wed, 14 Aug 2002 18:34:25 -0700 (PDT), Kale wrote:

>> Melissa wrote about uterine replicators

>> it.  (Did you also notice that the social 
>> implications changed from _Shards
>> of Honor_, in which the U.R. is unique and used 
>> rarely on Beta Colony, to
>> _Barrayar_ where suddenly it's the hip thing to 
>> do and everyone's doing it,
>> and if only we had galactic technology on dear 
>> old Barrayar?  Somewhere in
>> those five years she changed her mind.  Hmmmmm.)>
>Are you sure you meant to say "used rarely on Beta
>Colony"?  The copy I'm quoting from is the omnibus,
>_Cordelia's Honor_, but remember in _Shards of Honor_
>when the uterine replicators first landed into the
>Barrayaran's hands courtesy of the Komarrans?  "They
>use them all the time at home," is what Cordelia says
>when Aral is marvelling over them in a deeply troubled
>way.  So I'll have to ask for textev that explicitly
>states that UR technology is unique and not widely
>used galactically. 

I can't speak for the omnibus edition, but in the first edition _Shards of
Honor_, page 205, the line is "They use them all the time at home, **for
medical emergencies**."  *Not* as a matter of course.  Horror stories to the
contrary, most pregnancies are not medical emergencies--and thus even using
them "all the time" in this context would still qualify as rare usage.  It's
also implied that Beta Colony is THE cutting edge of technology--in fact
it's a key part of the plot that Beta Colony has stuff other planets
don't--so if it's unusual there, I would have to surmise that it's unusual
throughout the galaxy.  There's no suggestion in my text that anyone uses
uterine replicators just for kicks.

On the other hand, if you quoted the line from _Cordelia's Honor_ without
truncating it, that suggests that Bujold chose to do a little editing to
bring the history into line.  (I have the third printing, which came out in
1993 and contains the text of the original edition, but _Cordelia's Honor_
was published in 1999 and I've never compared the texts.)  Just omitting a
few key phrases would make a big difference.  And, since I'd bet a lot of
people just discovering Bujold are reading the series chronologically, it
would be a valuable change to make.

Melissa Proffitt

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