Fridge: Vorkosigan Saga

Fridge Brilliance
  • Fridge Serendipity: The Barrayan Power at a Price stimulant is a little blue pill that makes your soldier stand at attention. Pity the book was published 12 years before Viagra became commercially available.
    • Its just a coincidence. Real-life military amphetamines have come in little blue pills since at least World War II. In fact, the description of the effects and side effects of Barrayaran military stimulants closely matches the military-issue methamphetamine tablets that the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe used to use (and abuse, and become addicted to, which is why they don't use those pills anymore).
  • Cordelia's belief that a glass of champagne will harm the developing Miles in Barrayar is the result of superstitious fears due to her lack of familiarity with in vivo pregnancy.
    • Alternately, this is a reflection of Barrayar's crippling fear of mutations. For these people, even the slightest chance of screwing up the baby is too much.
  • Why are the nobles of Barrayar referred to as the Vor class when 'Vor' is Russian (Which is one of the four common tongues of Barrayar) for 'Thief'? The Vor class started out as the Emperor's tax collectors, who often had to collect taxes at swordpoint during the Time of Isolation. From the perspective of the commoners being shaken down for taxes, they probably looked like thieves.
  • In the denouement of Komarr, pay attention to which conspirators believe Miles' warning that their MacGuffin is fatally flawed and will not work as originally intended, and which do not. You'll note that the less technically educated the conspirator is, the less willing they are to believe Miles' warning that the thing will just blow up in their faces. The Komarran conspirators' relative degree of caution about Murphy and Finagle are in direct proportion to their amount of experience as engineers!note 
  • A cultural reason for the rise of the Vor on Barrayar: The majority of immigrants were stated to be from Britain, France, Russia and Greece, countries which all have some form of noble tradition, so it would be quite easy for them to adapt to a renewed feudal state.
  • Some people have pointed out that in Shards of Honor, in vivo pregnancies are considered a slightly uncommon but ordinary thing, with approximately one in four pregnancies being natural. Fast forward to Komarr, and it seems that use of replicators is so ubiquitous that Nikki being a body birth is viewed as a major eccentricity, and borderline abusive on Tien's part. This may seem like Continuity Drift, but another explanation presents itself as well. Using a replicator guarantees that your children will be free of mutation, making the replicator an answer to a fear so ingrained into Barrayarans as to be practically written into their DNA.
    • On top of this, most of the characters we see strongly favoring replicator birth later in the series- Miles, Cordelia, and Alys - all have extremely strong personal reasons for doing so. Ekaterin in her doormat fashion seems to have adopted the prejudice but clearly feels that she is somehow cheating her children.
  • This one takes a little bit to kick in. In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan states that trying to judge Shiv Arqua without including his wife is like "trying to assess Uncle Aral without including Aunt Cordelia." Who else made this mistake? Ser Galen, in training Mark!
  • Another one that takes awhile to kick in. All the way back in The Vor Game, Miles says, upon seeing an enemy in hostile circumstances, "Now would be a wonderful time to roll up his eyes and pass out, if only he had the trick of it." Five books, a needle grenade to the chest and a cryo-revival later, guess what?
  • The skillful aversion of standard Planet of Hats deserves praise. Serious world building was put into even minor details of each planet, with justification for their cultural beliefs that *make sense*, and due to the small size of habitable space, and the prevelance of technology that make it easier to communicate with anyone on planet, the shared culture of planets make sense.
    • Barrayar: The world was developed intended be a Sword and Sandles world, but how does one justify that in high tech? Strand the world, let them regress, then bring them back to modern technology. Their tech may be nearly up to date, but their *culture* is still stuck in mideval world trying to adapt.
      • The hate of mutants at his home shape every aspect of miles, but why does that hate exist? Imagine a world that is colonized by only a few (by virtue of a world) isolated colonists. Inbreeding becomes a major issue, and thus negative recessive genes will lead to birth defects regularly. This is a world where 'mutations' (depending on how one defines a mutation) occur regularly and the only possible way for the world to survive is infanticide. Think about that, they *HAD* to be willing to kill their own children at the slightest sign of birth defect to even survive. One can imagine how an experience like that would become ingrained into the cultural psychology. Sure, birth defects aren't an issue in present day, but after so many generations of them being real issues it's understandable why a stigma would exist
      • Why do women have so little power? because in a world where people were fighting to survive, and infanticide occurred regularly, women *had* to be breeders. The emphasis on producing children, and protecting women so they could produce children, can be seen in all over the place in policy and practices on the planet. (Note: This also may have had significant influence on the development of gender roles in the real world as well.)
      • Women have all kinds of power on Barrayar, in their roles as reproducers and guardians of the genome and as mistresses of households and estates. They even enjoy certain legal immunities as lieges to their husbands who take the hit for them. Granted these are not kinds of power either men or women are taught to esteem in non-traditional societies.
      • Not So Different: Cetaganda's haut women share the same duties.

Fridge Horror
  • The Vor have a very strictly followed tradition whereby each first-born son is named after his paternal grandfather. Emperor Gregor has no apparent siblings. Gregor's paternal grandfather is named Ezar. Gregor's father Serg was shown to have had women impregnated for his unspecified evil amusement. So, it's quite probable that Gregor had an older brother who was killed by their father.