The ninth and final book in Lisanne Norman’s thrilling long-running science fiction series, Sholan Alliance, a saga of alien contact and interspecies conflict
It’s been a long journey, taking Kusac Aldatan, his family, and allies over countless light-years and to numerous planets and space stations.
Finally it is the time for Kusac and his allies to deal with the threat of the warrior Valtegans on their world of M’zull. Will he work to rehabilitate them using tools given him by the Touiban scientists, or will his calling as the Avatar of Justice take over and destroy all of his foes?
Isolated on M’zull, Kusac—with his clan of Sholans and Humans—works to destabilize the Valtegan society, posing as the avenging spirit of the long-dead, legendary hero Zsadhi. Is it a ruse to fool the M’zullians, or is Kusac becoming more and more like the first Valtegan king with every passing day? If so, can he escape that destiny and chart his own course?
His mission will take Kusac and his clan into mortal danger. Even his young son Shaidan, supposedly safe on a far-distant world, has, unbeknownst to his father, become bound up in the whole plan to destroy the martial spirit of the M’zullians. Can Kusac navigate these dangerous waters and bring all of his family safely home while at the same time ending the M’zullian threat forever? Or will the price of victory prove too great even for the Avatar of Justice?
Lois Bujold Mailing List Plot FAQ
Last-Modified: 18 September 2006
Compiled and maintained by: Michael Bernardi and Nancy Barber (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Other Lois Bujold FAQsLois-Bujold Mailing List FAQ (list etiquette and conventions, links, merchandising)
Lois-Bujold Mailing List Administrivia FAQ (how to subscribe, set list options, filter mail)
Answers which begin LMB are information from Lois McMaster Bujold, either in direct answer to the specific question on the Lois-Bujold list, or in other public on-line forums.
WARNING: This FAQ covers events in all of Bujold's books, and thus may contain spoilers for plot points.
Some book names are abbreviated in this FAQ--see the Vorkosigan Chronology for the key.Lois McMaster Bujold and her works
- Where can I find more information about Lois McMaster Bujold?
- What has Bujold written? Who has illustrated her works?
- In what order should I read the Vorkosigan stories?
- Which authors can I read once I've re-read all Bujold's stuff?
- Will there be any more books in the Vorkosigan series?
- Can Cordelia return to Beta to visit her mother, or are the charges in Shards of Honor still out standing?
- How old is Cordelia's mother? Will we ever meet any of her other relatives?
- In the beginning of Ethan of Athos, is the "Elizabeth Naismith" who co-wrote the article Ethan read in a medical journal, Cordelia's mother?
- In Barrayar, Cordelia was very keen to have lots of children. Miles's problems stifled this need. However couldn't she have had a daughter?
- Was Aral's first wife Vice-Admiral Ges Vorrutyer's sister?
- Did something happen in Miles's sex life between TWA and "Mountains of Mourning", age 18 and 21 or so?
- Is the Arde Mayhew who helped Cordelia Naismith escape Beta Colony the same Arde Mayhew who joined Miles when the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet was created?
- Is Vorsmythe, the dead Imperial Auditor, the same as Vorsmythe, the industrialist that Mark talks to at the end of Mirror Dance?
- Are Illyan's "ers" when mentioning Henri Vorvolk -- "Gregor's, er, special friend Count Vorvolk" -- possibly to be read as an indication of Gregor being bisexual?
- How are all the Vor related to each other? Especially the Vorbarra and Vorkosigan families?
- How high up are the Vorrutyers on the Vor circle?
- Are there other people with the surname "Vorkosigan?"
- Are all the Lord Vorwhatsisnames directly related to a Count Vorwhatsisname? How closely related is Ivan to Count Vorpatril?
- When Miles is talking to Nikki in Komarr and mentions a 10-year-old courier, is this supposed to be a reference to Lilly Durona, Jr.?
- Does Byerly Vorrutyer have any training for his ImpSec role?
- In Barrayar, Aral says that the naming rule for the firstborn son is "a strict custom". However, many counter examples can be observed-- Gregor, for one--with no explanations given.
- In The Warrior's Apprentice, Cordelia comments, "...ever since Lord Vorpatril died she's (Alys) been expecting him (Aral) to stand in loco parentis to that idiot Ivan." This reads as if Padma Vorpatril had died after Ivan's birth. However, in both Barrayar and Mirror Dance, Padma's death was prior to Ivan's birth.
- In The Warrior's Apprentice it is noted that Count Vorhalas' son and heir "had been executed in turn for his treason". But in Barrayar he was killed during The Vordarian Pretendership.
- How long is the Barrayaran year?
- Barrayar's moon(s) - Number? Name(s)? Size? Colour?
- Does the soletta orbit Komarr, Komarr's sun, or what?
- Does Beta Colony have a breathable atmosphere?
- When did re-vivication technology advance so that some accidental deaths could be "cured"?
- It seems clear that Bujold's universe assumes that although complex life is pretty common in the universe--native ecologies on Barrayar and Sergyar, for example--intelligent life is quite rare. Why?
- What was the Third Cetagandan War? (For that matter, what were the first two?)
- What was the "Fire" that the Firsters had to pass through?
- How much time passed between the end of the Time of Isolation and the beginning of the Cetagandan invasion?
- What was the Incendiary Cat Plot?
- It's clear that Cordelia is religious, and that her religion is either some form of Christianity or arises from a Christian tradition. Can we have details?
- Where were the Founding Fathers of Athos motivated by, theologically/philosophically speaking? And do you think they'd be happy with the current social/sexual system on Athos?
- Is a groat a coin or a kernel of grain?
- What shades of brown and silver make up the Vorkosigan house colors?
- Is Zap the Cat (Memory) a solid black cat, a black tabby, a little black and white imp or what?
- How do you pronounce Barrayan names?
- What does "vor" mean?
- What does "-yar" mean, as in Barrayar and Sergyar?
- What does Mark mean when he thinks "basil alert!" while talking to Tsipis in ACC?
- How do you pronounce Chalion names?
- What is a vest cloak?
- How many provinces are there in Chalion?
- Is the castle on the U.S. cover of CoC based on a real one?
- What is the basis of the U.S. cover of Paladin of Souls?
- Are there maps for CoC and Paladin of Souls? Is there a map for The Hallowed Hunt?
- What does the gesture for the five-fold blessing look like?
- What inspired the descriptions of GalacTech (Falling Free)? Did you have friends or family working for an EnormousTechCorp?
- Where did the ideas for Miles' personality come from?
- Is Ivan going to make his mother happy by settling down with a nice girl (Vor or no) and raising little Vorpatrils? Has he considered adopting a pet and at least giving his mother a grandpuppy or grandkitty?
- Will Vorberg ever find out who really cut his legs off?
- What drives you the craziest when you are trying to write?
- As commercial writers go, you're perhaps just a little bit on the slowish side. Is this because of other demands on your time, or do you just write a bit slowly?
- When you started writing the Miles Vorkosigan series, did you plan on a finite number of books, or did you plan on writing until you ran out of ideas?
- Do you like classical music? Do you imagine any particular classical (or otherwise) piece as a suitable soundtrack for Barrayar or any particular character or situation?
- What is the source of the quote that Miles uses in "Borders of Infinity"?
- Who has been Tuckerized in Bujold's writings?
Lois McMaster Bujold and her works
1. Where can I find more information about Lois McMaster Bujold?
Awards she has won
2. What has Bujold written? Who has illustrated her works?
Full English-language bibliography
listed by artist
3. In what order should I read the Vorkosigan stories?
The Vorkosigan books can be read in publication order or in internal chronological order--either method has its proponents.
4. Which authors can I read once I've re-read all Bujold's stuff?
This is a personal list compiled by Michael Bernardi. Authors at the top are closest to Bujold in style and content. The list ranges from SF to fantasy, though some authors write both.
David Weber, Steve White, Elizabeth Moon, Catherine Asaro, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, William R Forstchen, David Feintuch, Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald, early Robert A. Heinlein, A. C. Crispin, David Brin, Anne McCaffrey, Brian Daley, Lisanne Norman, Doris Egan, C. J. Cherryh, Peter F. Hamilton, Tara K. Harper, Chris Claremont, Iain M. Banks, Gregory Benford, Allen Steele, S. M. Stirling, Larry Niven, James H. Schmitz, Steven Brust, Mercedes Lackey, Jody Lynn Nye, Carole Nelson Douglas, Katherine Kurtz, Jane Lindskold, Barbara Hambly, Patricia C. Wrede (Mirror Dance and Shards of Honor dedicatee), Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip and Tanya Huff.
Non SF & F authors Georgette Heyer, T. E. Lawrence, C. S. Forester, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels).
See also a book list compiled from suggestions from listees.
5. Will there be any more books in the Vorkosigan series?
In July 2006 Lois announced that she signed had a contract with Baen Books for a future book in the Miles Vorkosigan series. The new book will not be started until mid-2007, as she has a current writing commitment to Eos/HarperCollins for what will probably be a second duology in The Sharing Knife series. The first book in this new series, The Sharing Knife, vol. 1: Beguilement, will be published October 10, 2006, and The Sharing Knife, vol. 2: Legacy is planned for around June 2007. The writing of the second duology, with a working title of Wide Green World, is in progress in mid-2006.
The timing of a new Vorkosigan book depends on a host of variables. If it was started in mid-2007, it would likely be turned in late in 2008 for publication sometime in 2009.
1. Can Cordelia return to Beta to visit her mother, or are the charges in Shards of Honor still out standing?
LMB) Some time between Shards of Honor and The Warrior's Apprentice, Cordelia's troubles with the Betan authorities got ironed out, but I don't know just when or how. (April 1995)
2. How old is Cordelia's mother? Will we ever meet any of her other relatives?
LMB) Cordelia's mother is about 30 years older than Cordelia. We might meet some of her other relatives if I ever write a story set on Beta Colony; no such tale is immediately planned, though Mark on BC is fraught with possibilities. (April 1995)
3. In the beginning of Ethan of Athos, is the "Elizabeth Naismith" who co-wrote the article Ethan read in a medical journal, Cordelia's mother?
LMB) Yes, Elizabeth Naismith is Cordelia's mom. (April 1995)
4. In Barrayar, Cordelia was very keen to have lots of children. Miles's problems stifled this need. However couldn't she have had a daughter?
LMB) After Miles, Cordelia chose not to have a daughter on Barrayar because she thinks it's a lousy place for women (and other human beings). After Aral's death, and her ultimate return to Beta Colony, she might have Miles's sister a la replicator. (April 1995)
5. Was Aral's first wife Vice-Admiral Ges Vorrutyer's sister?
LMB) It does not appear in any published text, so the decision isn't fixed yet, but I rather think so. It makes a lot of sense to me. (June 1997)
6. Did something happen in Miles's sex life between TWA and "Mountains of Mourning", age 18 and 21 or so?
LMB) Oh, I'm sure. Not that Academy cadets get very many opportunities, and Miles likely got fewer than most, but they doubtless made the most of their chances. One or two experiments on Miles's part with letting Ivan "fix him up" were doubtless not wholly satisfactory in result. (In fact, the mind might well boggle. Feel free.) Later, in his earlier "Admiral Naismith" years, there must also have been a few experiments. For example, Miles's first year on Beta Colony, at age 15, was a disaster, but all the times he must have passed through later, changing ships and stopping in to see relatives, he would have had the drill rather better figured out, don't you think? (Remember the L.P.S.T.'s.) I figure Miles was very good about keeping his personal and professional life separated in his early years, only slipping down the slope with Elli and Taura in mid-career, as the secret stresses began to build up.
Memory is a target I've been aiming for for a very long time. Just like the blind Zen archer. (June 1997)
7. Is the Arde Mayhew who helped Cordelia Naismith escape Beta Colony the same Arde Mayhew who joined Miles when the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet was created?
LMB) Yes, it is the same Arde Mayhew. I don't know if he ever finds/found an RG ship. When last seen he was employed as a Dendarii shuttle pilot, so at least he has health insurance. (April 1995)
8. Is Vorsmythe, the dead Imperial Auditor, the same as Vorsmythe, the industrialist that Mark talks to at the end of Mirror Dance?
LMB) No. Doubtless related, though. Vorsmythe the industrialist is much younger, later thirties-early forties, maybe. (June 1997)
9. Are Illyan's "ers" when mentioning Henri Vorvolk -- "Gregor's, er, special friend Count Vorvolk" -- possibly to be read as an indication of Gregor being bisexual?
LMB) I don't think that "er" was a noise of doubt on Illyan's part about Henri's sexuality, but rather, his brains. Henri is a rather pleasant fellow with a bit of Ivan's approach to life about him, especially when younger. He seems to have matured, lately. Gregor doubtless finds him restful, after the intensity of the Vorkosigans. There are sufficient canonical bisexual and other-sexual folks in these stories, we don't have to tap them all, y'know. (June 1997)
10. How are all the Vor related to each other? Especially the Vorbarra and Vorkosigan families?
A diagram showing likely interrelations of Dorca, Ezar, Aral, Padma, Gregor, Miles, and Ivan and a brief article on the same appears in Dreamweaver's Dilemma entitled (pompously) "Towards a Genealogy of Lord Miles Vorkosigan and Other Persons of Interest." (Suford Lewis)
Gregory Hennessy has created a Web site called The Family of Miles Vorkosigan, a fairly comprehensive genealogy of the Vorkosigan family, and Greg Carlill offers A Vor Genealogy (122 kb PDF file).
11. How high up are the Vorrutyers on the Vor circle?
LMB) High. First circles. Right up there with the Vorkosigans. (June 1997)
12. Are there other people with the surname "Vorkosigan?"
LMB) Yes. None are close relatives. Piotr may have had sisters with surviving progeny, but no brothers. The generations above him will have had some Vorkosigan offshoots from assorted younger sons. Piotr's mother, by the way, was a Vorrutyer, the eldest daughter of Count Pierre Vorrutyer. [See ACC]
13. Are all the Lord Vorwhatsisnames directly related to a Count Vorwhatsisname? How closely related is Ivan to Count Vorpatril?
LMB) In addition to the usual Count Vorlastname - Lord Vorlastname - Lord Vorfirstname sequencing for a Count and his immediate heirs, there are a slew of Lord Vorlastnames running around who hold their titles by virtue of being clan heads or for other, idiosyncratic historical reasons. Padma's father (and hence Padma and Ivan) may well have acquired this honor by virtue of marriage to Prince Xav's younger half-Betan princess daughter, or for some prior historical reason.
There is a senior Vorpatril line, and a Count Vorpatril (see ACC) -- I feel, in retrospect, that the Vorpatril liveried retainers we saw at the beginning of The Warrior's Apprentice must have been a courtesy loan from the Count to Alys. There are bunches and bunches of other Vorpatrils in line ahead of Ivan for that Countship; it is in the highest degree unlikely that he'll inherit it at any time, let alone soon. (MilesToGo forum on Baen's Bar, 15 July 1999)
14. When Miles is talking to Nikki in Komarr and mentions a 10-year-old courier, is this supposed to be a reference to Lilly Durona, Jr.?
LMB) The 10 year old courier was a real incident, attached to one of the 35 or so unchronicled Dendarii missions. No, you were not intended to construe her to be Lilly Jr. No, I don't know anything about the rest of the mission at this time. (Lois-Bujold Mailing List, 17 Mar 2003)
15. Does Byerly Vorrutyer have any training for his ImpSec role?
LMB) He has quite a bit of spy training, little "vacations" where he disappears for a few weeks at a time, generally leaving the impression he's rusticating somewhere due to lack of funds -- but no military training per se. Note he does turn in competent written, verbal, and other reports. Usually, his job is to observe, not to act. Not even to pass judgment on the gossip he passes on -- that's the ImpSec analysts' job -- but after several years, he is doubtless developing considerable discernment in his own right. Street smarts, for a narrow value of "street".
By does have his speciality, low dives and high Vor, which is somewhat geographically constrained. But if one of his targets went off-planet, so might he. [MilesToGo forum on Baen's Bar, 27 Nov 2002]
1. In Barrayar, Aral says that the naming rule for the firstborn son is "a strict custom". However, counter examples can be observed-- Gregor, for one--with no explanations given.
LMB) That first name - Paternal G'Da's first name, 2nd name - Maternal G'Da's first name business is a common but by no means universal custom, not an invariant law, folks. I confess, I find it handy to have to make up fewer names... (16 Jun 1997)
2. In The Warrior's Apprentice, Cordelia comments, "...ever since Lord Vorpatril died she's (Alys) been expecting him (Aral) to stand in loco parentis to that idiot Ivan." This reads as if Padma Vorpatril had died after Ivan's birth. However, in both Barrayar and Mirror Dance, Padma's death was prior to Ivan's birth.
LMB) The date of Padma's death is one of those continuity things that help make writing prequels such a fiendish task. Basically, between the writing of The Warrior's Apprentice and Barrayar, the author had a Better Idea. (April 1995)
3. In The Warrior's Apprentice it is noted that Count Vorhalas' son and heir "had been executed in turn for his treason". But in Barrayar he was killed during The Vordarian Pretendership.
LMB) The Author always reserves the right to have a Better Idea. (April 1995)
Vorkosiverse science, technology, and history
1. How long is the Barrayaran year?
LMB) I haven't precisely established the length of the Barrayaran year, though it isn't more than a few weeks off from the Earth year. Barrayar does have a 26.7 hour day. I wish I did too. You can tell all my favorite planets, they always give you at least an extra hour to sleep and and extra hour to get things done. (June 1997)
2. Barrayar's moon(s) - Number? Name(s)? Size? Colour?
LMB) Two. Smaller than Earth's moon. Names and colors not specified. (25 Dec 1998)
3. Does the soletta orbit Komarr, Komarr's sun, or what?
LMB) It would appear to orbit Komarr's sun, and move along with Komarr; how this position is maintained is not specified. Note that really odd things happen to plants when you muck with their daylight and darkness requirements. Text evd does not say if the mirror's apparent position precesses over time. (25 Dec 1998)
[Note: Extensive discussions of the orbital mechanics, size, and effects on insolation of the soletta have taken place on the Lois-Bujold list. Some examples (digest numbers are given for those with numerous soletta mentions, but the discussions are likely to have continued in preceding and following digests): December 1998 (Digests 2042, 2044), July 1999 (Digests 2585, 2586, 2587, 2588, 2589), October 2000 (Digests 3634, 3635, 3637), October 2001 (Digests 4686, 4693, 4696, 4697, 4698, 4705, 4708, 4710)]
4. Does Beta Colony have a breathable atmosphere?
LMB) Yes. A bit grainy, but breathable. You'd want protection from sun, heat, wind, and alkalai dust when topside, depending on the season. (25 Dec 1998)
5. When did re-vivication technology advance so that some accidental deaths could be "cured"?
LMB) Re-vivication technology -- they're working on it now, y'know. I imagine it was a fairly early development in Miles's timeline; some early version was doubtless up and running by the end of the 22nd Century. Miles is about the 29th or 30th Century. (April 1995)
6. It seems clear that Bujold's universe assumes that although complex life is pretty common in the universe--native ecologies on Barrayar and Sergyar, for example--intelligent life is quite rare. Why?
LMB) General orneriness. I wanted something to distinguish my "space opera" universe from all the others; the absence of assorted anthropomorphic aliens was an early and conscious selection of mine. No intelligent aliens will be discovered in Miles's lifetime, or for many generations thereafter. I plan instead the explosive speciation of humans, so that umpty-generations down the time-line, the aliens will be us. (June 1997)
7. What was the Third Cetagandan War? (For that matter, what were the first two?)
LMB) The invasion of Barrayar was the first war, and the other two wars were much less serious space-based clashes that didn't touch down on either planet. (April 1995)
8. What was the "Fire" that the Firsters had to pass through?
LMB) Latent background. Pat Wrede and I have very different approaches to how we work out our story worlds. She makes hers up in advance of the plot, analytically; I largely make mine up as I go along, intuitively. I find her method constraining to the point of screaming fits, she finds mine...well, you'll have to ask her. Baffling? Terribly disorganized? Zen? If a point in a story ever comes up where I need to fix more detail about the "Pilgrimage through the Fire", I'll do it then.
The heavy mutation rate on Barrayar, though perhaps contributed to by radiation exposure in the Firsters' population, was mostly due to biological insults -- mutagens, carcinogens, allergens -- in the new and alien envronment in which they found themselves. The radiation released during the Cetagandan occupation was a very late effect. (16 Jun 1997)
9. How much time passed between the end of the Time of Isolation and the beginning of the Cetagandan invasion?
LMB) About 15-20 years. (June 1997)
10. What was the Incendiary Cat Plot?
Unwritten backstory. However, for a possible inspiration for it, check out the book Bat Bomb, by Jack Couffer, on the World War II Incendiary Bat Plot.
11. It's clear that Cordelia is religious, and that her religion is either some form of Christianity or arises from a Christian tradition. Can we have details?
LMB) Cordelia, as I've said somewhere (not in the books), is some sort of Betan Presbyterian, a rather Unitarian-style but definitely Christian-descended religion, which would doubtless make old John Knox spin in his grave at max RPM, ululating in high pitch. (16 Jun 1997)
12. Where were the Founding Fathers of Athos motivated by, theologically/philosophically speaking? And do you think they'd be happy with the current social/sexual system on Athos?
LMB) Purity. And they'd be spinning right along with old John Knox, would be my first guess. Can you imagine how the stalwart elders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony would react to modern Boston? (June 1997)
1. Is a groat a coin or a kernel of grain?
LMB) Actually, in all the places I've used the term "groats" so far, I meant the grain not the coin. (1995)
2. What shades of brown and silver make up the Vorkosigan house colors?
LMB) A deep, medium-to-dark brown; and... does silver have more than one shade? Bright, I suppose. (June 1997)
3. Is Zap the Cat (Memory) a solid black cat, a black tabby, a little black and white imp or what?
LMB) Long haired, solid black. Zap is the evil twin of the late lamented Fuzzy Mae, the sweetest cat I ever owned, who got run over in front of our house just after she got fixed, sometime during the night of my daughter's second birthday. (June 1997)
4. How do you pronounce Barrayan names?
Barrayar - BARR-ah-yar
Vorkosigan - Vor-KOH-si-gan
Vorpatril - Vor-PAT-ril
Aral - AIR-al
Vordarian - Vor-DARE-e-an
Vorbarra - Vor-BARR-ah
A more complete guide of 15 pages of names and pronunciations can be found in Dreamweaver's Dilemma. This guide can also be found at The Bujold Nexus: A Pronunciation Guide to Names and Places
6. What does "vor" mean?
LMB) I never say where "vor" comes from, though I found out (after the fact) that it is Russian for "thief", which I thought quite perfect for a bunch of tax-collecting self-appointed aristocrats. (April 1995) [Note that Bujold uses this in Memory, when Duv Galeni is ranting at Miles about "losing" Laisa.]
7. What does "-yar" mean, as in Barrayar and Sergyar?
LMB) It's a real Russian word, I believe -- comes from "Babi Yar", and refers to some geographical feature that escapes my memory at present -- "valley", I think. So Barrayar and Sergyar share that root. (Lois-Bujold Mailing List, 13 May 2003)
8. What does Mark mean when he thinks "basil alert!" while talking to Tsipis in ACC?
This is a reference to a story from Boccaccio's Decameron, about a maiden whose brothers didn't like her suitor and so murder him and bury his head in a pot of basil.
For the long version of the tale, see Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil, by Keats.
1. How do you pronounce Chalion names?
[Note: zh = s in pleasure; oh = o in go; aa = a in as, cat, ah = a in father]
Baocia - Bay-OH-sha
Bergon - Berg-on
Betriz - Bee-TREZ
Cazaril - KAHZ-ah-rill
Chalion - CHAL-ee-on (ch as in church)
Darthaca - DAR-tha-ka
dy Jironal - dee JEER-o-nel
Ferrej - Fer-EZH
Foix - FOY
Gotorget - GOH-tor-get
Ibra - IB-rah
Iselle - Is-SELL
Orico - OAR-ih-ko
Palliar - PAL-ee-are
Roknari - Rock-NAH-ree
A dictionary (with pronunciations) of people, places, and things in the Chalion universe may be found in the Chalion Dictionary. Warning: the Chalion Dictionary contains spoilers for The Curse of Chalion. An expanded version of the Chalion Dictionary with entries for Paladin of Souls was included in the e-book version of Paladin.
2. What is a vest cloak?
LMB) An open-fronted, loose sleeveless coat, of varying length from thigh to floor, variously lined or decorated, designed to be worn over other garments. (Lois-Bujold Mailing List, 14 Aug 2002) The official term may be a sleeveless Renaissance shaube.
3. How many provinces are there in Chalion?
LMB) Chalion has seventeen provinces. (Trinoc*Con, 2002) Named through Paladin of Souls are: Baocia (centralmost), Caribastos (northwest), Guarida (north), Ildar, Labran (north, borders Roknar), Thistan (east of Baocia), Tolnoxo, and Yarrin.
4. Is the castle on the U.S. cover of CoC based on a real one?
LMB) I told them to paint the Alcazar of Segovia, upon which the Zangre was loosely based, and they did. (MilesToGo forum on Baen's Bar, 18 Aug 2001)
5. What is the basis of the U.S. cover of Paladin of Souls?
As spotted by list member Lois Fundis, the Paladin of Souls U.S. cover is inspired by the painting The Immaculate Conception by Giambattista Tiepolo, which is to be found at the Prado in Madrid.
6. Are there maps for CoC and Paladin of Souls? Is there a map for The Hallowed Hunt?
A map of the Ibran peninsula, and a more detailed map of Ista's travels in Paladin are available on the Bujold Nexus. The Ibran peninsula is based on the Iberian peninsula, turned upside down and transplanted to the southern hemisphere of its world. For The Hallowed Hunt, Bujold says, "I didn't make a map of the Weald, but if you perform the same transmutations on a map of Germany as was done for the Iberian peninsula, you'll have the broad outline. Rivers running south across coastal plains to the (North Sea equivalent) from alpine regions that lie between the Weald and the northern coast. (Beyond which lies the Roknari islands.) Darthaca (France) to the Weald's east, early pagan Poland/Lithuania equivalencies to the west. The parallels are loose, not precise, so don't get too carried away, though you can think Lure=Rhine, Stork=Elbe, if you like. The world of Chalion does not seem to have an Italian peninsula nor a former Roman empire as such, however....
The city plan of Easthome is loosely based on Zageb's, because I am parsimonious." (18 Feb 2005)
7. What does the gesture for the five-fold blessing look like?
LMB) The five-fold blessing follows a pattern rather like a check-mark: brief touches to mid-forehead, lips, navel, crotch, and heart, ending with hand over the heart, fingers spread (for a Quintarian). Or mid-forehead, navel, crotch, heart, thumb folded out of sight, for a devout Quadrene. (MilesToGo forum on Baen's Bar, 8 Apr 2004)
On writing: sources, plans, etc.
1. What inspired the descriptions of GalacTech (Falling Free)? Did you have friends or family working for an EnormousTechCorp?
LMB) I have a brother who worked for a Middle-sizedTechCorp, but he was not the source of that particular bit. (He was helpful about the properties of titanium, and is a great proponent of scrounging.) He did put me in touch with a fellow engineer who sent me chapter and verse on explosive formation, though, and the ice-die procedure. I don't recall that I had a specific source for the "use their own paperwork against 'em" trick; I may actually have made that one up out of my own head.
Quite a bit of Leo Graf was based on my father and other engineers in his train who passed through my angle of view, however. (He was a professor of welding and non-destrutive testing engineering at Ohio State, and the editor of _The Nondestructive Testing Handbook_, world reference in its field for twenty years.) Leo's anecdote about the whistle-blowing dude who ended up mysteriously alcoholically dead was loosely based on dim memory of one of my Dad's anecdotes, and Leo's class lecture in, I believe, Chapter 2 is closely modeled on some of the things he said and wrote.
2. Where did the ideas for Miles' personality come from?
LMB) Miles came as real people do -- from his parents. I have a catch-phrase to describe my plot-generation technique -- "What's the worst possible thing I can do to these people?" Miles was already a gleam in my eye even when I was still writing Shards of Honor. For Aral and Cordelia, living in a militaristic, patriarchal culture that prizes physical perfection and has an historically-driven horror of mutation, having a handicapped son and heir was a major life challenge, a Great Test.
Miles has a number of real-life roots -- models from history such as T.E. Lawrence and young Winston Churchill, a physical template in a handicapped hospital pharmacist I'd worked with (the fellow had the height, leg braces, chin tic, and IQ.), and most of all his bad case of "great man's son syndrome", which owes much to my relationship with my father. But with his first book, The Warrior's Apprentice, he quickly took on a life of his own; his charisma and drive, his virtues and his failings -- and he has both -- are now all his. (The Romance Reader interview, 12 Sept 2001, with additions from a Writerspace chat 21 August 2001)
3. Is Ivan going to make his mother happy by settling down with a nice girl (Vor or no) and raising little Vorpatrils? Has he considered adopting a pet and at least giving his mother a grandpuppy or grandkitty?
LMB) His mother has a pet of her own now, heh. [see ACC] Ivan is going to be a little, um, unbalanced about that for a time. I mean, he's spent a good deal of his life locked in an attitude of resistance to a powerful force which has suddenly been removed. Some emotional judo here, I think. (16 June 1997)
4. Will Vorberg ever find out who really cut his legs off?
LMB) I rather think he already has a pretty good idea. He's had some time to digest Illyan's babble (see Memory), and contemplate what happened afterwards. A closed-mouthed lot, those ImpSec couriers. Again, nothing is fixed, because I haven't written it yet. (16 June 1997)
5. What drives you the craziest when you are trying to write?
LMB) 1) Having time to write, and no ideas.
2) Having ideas to write, and no time.
Things like remembering to cook dinner or Miles has taken over the book..
Serious real-life interruptions; people with needs.
The Miserable Middle, when I'm slogging through, when the excitement of starting something new has passed, and the excitement of finishing seems to recede like a mirage with every chapter. The book's focus is un-apparent, and I feel as though I'll never bring this one off...when it all comes together at the end, no one is more astonished than the writer. 100,000-plus words of connected narrative that actually means something that matters is like a miracle, every time. (June 1997)
6. As commercial writers go, you're perhaps just a little bit on the slowish side. Is this because of other demands on your time, or do you just write a bit slowly?
LMB) Yes. Yes. The first time I ever met Jim Baen, in an elevator crush at the Atlanta Worldcon in 1986, he shouted over his shoulder (as he was borne into the elevator with the mob) something to the effect of, "If you can write three novels a year for seven years, I can put you on the map!" To which I replied plaintively, "Can't I just write one novel a year for twenty-one years?" It's been stretching to one every 18 months, lately, but on the other hand, some of them are longer, and there's been a lot of Real Life. One book every 2 years is probably my natural rate. (June 1997)
7. When you started writing the Miles Vorkosigan series, did you plan on a finite number of books, or did you plan on writing until you ran out of ideas?
LMB) I was mumbling under my breath about a deckology even back in '86. I figured to model, structually, on the Hornblower series: a string of essentially independent books which, collected together, made an arc of the main character's biography. (June 1997)
8. Do you like classical music? Do you imagine any particular classical (or otherwise) piece as a suitable soundtrack for Barrayar or any particular character or situation?
LMB) I use music a lot, but very eclectically. I went through a Mannheim Steamroller phase, an Enya phase, Men Without Hats, Bruce Springsteen, Steeleye Span, Paul Simon, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel, Ray Lynch, Loreena McKennitt, this and that over the years...I don't ever have music on while I actually write, but I often use it to kick up ideas and images in the pre-writing phase of story development. With one exception -- "King Henry and the Grisly Ghost" on a Steeleye Span album, which was the source of Taura, in "Labyrinth". I don't steal plots so much as sop up emotional patterns or responses. I then write stories which attempt to recreate those feelings in prose. I think a proper novel should have a quasi-symphonic pattern, underneath.
For a long time when my kids were small I listened to very little music. You have to be able to hear the dangerous silences. (June 1997)
9. What is the source of the quote that Miles uses in "Borders of Infinity"?
It is from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, published in 1678, an allegory about the Christian soul's path to salvation.
The Bujold fragment is from the climax of Part I, in which Christian reaches Heaven.
Here is the quote with some context:
Now upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two Shining Men again, who there waited for them. Wherefore being come up out of the river, they saluted them, saying "We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation." Thus they went along towards the gate.
[Bujold begins to quote here.]
Now you must note that the city stood upon a mighty hill, but the pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms. Also they had left their mortal garments behind them in the river, for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They therefore went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which the city was framed was higher than the clouds. They therefore went up through the regions of the air[,]
sweetly talking as they went, being comforted because they safely got over the river and had such glorious companions to attend them.
(Posted by Betsy Hanes Perry to rec.arts.sf.written, 20 April 1994)
10. Who has been Tuckerized in Bujold's writings?
Tuckerizing is named for Bob "Wilson" Tucker, an early SF author who published professional mystery and sf novels in which he used the real names of fan friends for characters that, of course, bear no resemblance to the real person. Bujold has done this a number of times.
|Pilot Padget||Labyrinth||Scott Padget|
|Sgt. Laureen Anderson||Labyrinth||Lt Cdr Laureen Anderson|
|Trooper/Lt Sandy Hereld||Labyrinth/MD||Sandy Hereld|
|Lt. Durham||Mirror Dance||Peter Durham|
|Trooper(?) Boyd||Mirror Dance||Charles Boyd|
|Tech Vifian||Mirror Dance||John Vifian|
|Medic Norwood||Mirror Dance||Barbara Norwood|
|Trooper Phillipi||Mirror Dance||Colleen Philippi|
|Col. Vorreedi||Cetaganda||Pat Wrede|
|Count Vormuir||ACC||Doug Muir|
|Count Vorharopulos||ACC||Alexandra Haropulos|
|Count Vorfolse||ACC||Stephanie Folse|
|Ensign Plause||The Vor Game||Mitchell Burnside Clapp|
Note that Martin Kosti (Memory) is not a Tuckerization of Martin Kosti, the reporter for (US) National Public Radio. This one is just a coincidence.
Some other names were borrowed from other places.
|Byerly||ACC||Byerly's (a chain of upscale grocery stores in Minnesota), "being similarly decadent" (LMB, 1 April 2004)|
|Vorkosigan||—||Andrei Kosygin, Soviet diplomat in the 1960's (LMB, Vorcon chat)|
|4.2.1||18 Sep 2006-Added new Vorkosigan book plans|
|4.2.0||05 May 2005-Corrected "vor" entry book, added other sources to Tuckerization, Paladin cover source, Chalion maps, five-fold blessing|
|4.1.0||28 Jun 2003-Changed old list archives URLs, edited naming rule wording, added: entries to tuckerizations, Chalion section, 10yo courier, Byerly, -yar, basil alert|
|4.0.2||13 Nov 2002-Changed dendarii.demon.co.uk to dendarii.co.uk.|
|4.0.1||29 Oct 2002-Changed URL for Vorkosigan geneology site.|
|4.0.0||11 Mar 2002-Questions reorganized under topic headings, questions added to cover material from Bio FAQ (which has been eliminated), deleted unanswerable and outdated questions, added Chalion pronounciation, Tuckerizing, and others.|
|3.3.6||28 Aug 2000|
|3.3.5||30 Aug 1999|
|3.3.4||7 Dec 1998|
|3.3.3||30 Jun 1998|
|3.3.2||8 Jan 1998|
|3.3.1||4 Jul 1997-Added answers to questions compiled on the list by Taryn Hearn in June 1997 (full list of those questions)|
|3.3.0||27 Dec 1996-List FAQ split from main Plot FAQ|
|3.2.8||1 Sep 1996|
|3.2.7||30 June 1996|
|3.2.6||9 June 1996|
|3.2.4||5 May 1996|
|3.2.3||9 Apr 1996-Bio FAQ split from main FAQ|
|3.2.2||29 Feb 1996|
|3.2.1||30 Dec 1995|
|3.2.0||14 Dec 1995|
|3.1.3||10 Nov 1995|
|3.1.1||11 Oct 1995|
|3.1.0||14 Sep 1995|
|3.0.1||14 Aug 1995|
|3.0.0||4 Aug 1995-Format change to question-and-answer, and some of the answers are thanks to Greg Slade. Also added answers to questions supplied by Bujold at Confabulation (Eastercon 95).|
|1.2||27 Nov 1994|
|1.1||1 Nov 1994|
|1.0||30 Sep 1994-Questions without answers|
Credits:Material in this FAQ was supplied by Lois McMaster Bujold, Locus, Greg Slade, Suford Lewis, Michael Bernardi, and other members of the Lois-Bujold Mailing List.
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