Reading Rangers #4: The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold

27 Nov

Hello, Rangers! In this installment of Reading Rangers, Paul, Trish, Kate and special guest, Anne Lyle, tackle the fourth book (internal chronology) of the Vorkosigan Saga — The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold. Kate’s the only new one this time, so the old hats do their best not to spoil anything for her! They discuss Gregor’s responsibilities and the concept of noblesse oblige, the disappointment of the two dimensional femme fatale character, and why the original novella, Weatherman (otherwise known as the first six chapters of The Vor Game), is so good compared to the novel as a whole. They also ponder the very real possibility that George R.R. Martin found quite a bit of inspiration in Miles.

Next time, we’ll be discussing Cetaganda. Miles has defeated them once, but will he be able to navigate their world? Find out next time!

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):


Reading Rangers #4 — Download (MP3)

Vor Game Cover

Show Notes:

Our new intro music comes “The Launch” by Chronox (CC BY 4.0), which has been slightly modified to include sound effects and for length purposes.

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week

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One Response to “Reading Rangers #4: The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold”

  1. trishmatson December 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

    One thing that we talked about after the recording, which several of us said we had meant to bring up during the discussion, was how sexual misconduct was addressed several times in the book. I want to explore that now. SPOILERS!

    1. Elena says that Tung should have realized Oser wouldn’t respect his oaths because Oser tried to have an extramarital (to her) affair with her. She’d reported it to Tung, who thought she should be flattered and told her to drop it. Unfortunately, this is a reflection of a very common “what’s all the fuss” mindset in real life.

    2. Gregor and Cavilo: The Barrayaran Emperor is taken by Randall’s Rangers, led by Commander Cavilo. Miles is told later that they’re in love and Gregor is going to make her his Empress. He’s unsure for a while whether she’s really seduced Gregor, but it turns out he saw through her all along. Gregor is pretty quiet about what happened between them, except for one wry response to Miles (“You stopped the invasion single-handed!” “Oh, it took BOTH hands.”) But whether he planted this idea in Cavilo’s head, or just went along with it, the other most likely alternatives were that he would be sold to the Cetagandans or simply held for ransom. So whatever sexual relations they may have had were coerced to some extent.

    In Bujold’s “Barrayar,” Princess Kareen might have liked Vordarian once, but after his coup, Cordelia believes she’s not resisting him because she just wants to survive and dance on his grave. In “A Civil Campaign,” Bujold writes sympathetically about some of the hard choices women had to make during the Cetagandan occupation of Barrayar, and whether some relationships might have been forced, or truly loving, or to protect other people, or just making the best of a bad situation, or some mixture of those factors. One of the things I adore about the Vorkosiverse is how nuances are acknowledged.

    3. Sometimes it’s not nuanced. Near the end of the book, after Cavilo and her second-in-command Metzov were taken, imprisoned, escaped, hid, and ambushed Miles, Metzov is about to kill him, when Cavilo picks up his blaster and says, obviously quoting him, “Open your legs to me, you bitch, or I’ll blow your brains out!” She blows his brains out. So that had been a flat-out rape by Metzov, and Cavilo waited for an opportunity and got her revenge. I was on board with it; Metzov was completely bad, and although some of my fellow podcasters found Cavilo a bit two-dimensional as a character, I found her interesting, and would have liked to see a short story or novella about her further adventures sometime.

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