OT: New Bujold Story

deborah deborah at suberic.net
Mon Mar 15 18:46:02 EST 2004

On Mon, 15 Mar 2004 minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

|Anita wrote
|>The only bit of information I've kept on that thread says:
|>> I have just learned that the library in a small town in Queensland has
|>> removed Ethan of Athos, Komarr, Cetaganda and Barrayar from its
|>> shelves on the grounds that: "it was felt by some that they were
|>> propaganda promoting an alternative lifestyle, and were otherwise
|>> devoid of literary content."

[lots of good commentary from Minnow asking exactly what is being

Not to mention that Bujold doesn't praise *any* lifestyle choice to the
stars, except possibly parenting (she does get a bit worshipful of
parenting).  Not only is Athos presented as very very broken, along with
such cesspools as Jackson's Whole, but both Beta Colony and Barrayar are
*intensely* flawed in her worldview.  They both have good ideas, and the
potential to work toward something beautiful, but they are both flawed
places inhabited by flawed humans.

Aside from a certain live-and-let-live liberalism, a strong sense of
personal responsibility, the aforemention parenting thing, a respect for
life, and a form of deism, I don't know what philosophy I could draw
from Bujold's novels.  Let alone that's she'd be propagandizing.

Moreover, I don't think she ever allows her live-and-let-live approach
to slide in to *approval* of all possible lifestyles.  She may believe
that an it harm none, do as thou wilt, but I don't think that any of her
characters would take that attitude for *themselves*.  Or their loved
ones, or anyone they held respect for.  Plus she defines "harm" pretty
broadly.  In fact, the climactic scene in _Memory_ has a pretty strong
condemnation of people who define harm narrowly.

I don't suppose that I have ever been so happy.  No; was it happiness?
Something wider and darker, more like knowledge, more like the night: joy.
				- Ursula Le Guin, "The New Atlantis"

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