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Funny / Vorkosigan Saga

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  • What the Shopping Trip from Barrayar is to Awesome, the Dinner Party from A Civil Campaign is to Funny.
    • "Mother, father, I'd like to introduce you to — she's getting away!"
    • "Here, buggy buggy..."
      Aral: Now...that cries out for an explanation.
    • Particularly when the guests start to leave:
      Lord Dono: Thank you, Lord Vorkosigan, for a most memorable evening.
      Aral: Who was that? Looks familiar somehow...note 
    • And then...
      Cordelia: Pym! I seconded you to look after Miles. Would you care to explain this scene?
      Pym: (after a thoughtful pause) No, Milady.
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    • As Miles retreats in utter disarray:
      Aral: Miles, are you drunk?
      Miles: Not yet, sir. Not nearly enough yet.
  • Of course, since A Civil Campaign has the secondary title: "A Comedy of Manners and Biology", the above are but a few of many. For example:
    • For some reason, Mark's line earlier in the book never fails to make me laugh every time I read it:
      Mark: I wasn't questioning her fitness. That was merely a random noise of surprise.
      • In fact, both Mark and later Cordelia both remark that Miles made Ekaterin sound like a horse, not a potential partner.
    • A popular (among Tropers) character-defining moment for Miles, when Simon Illyan visits Ekaterin a few days after the Party:
      Simon: Do you know all those old folk tales where the count tries to get rid of his only daughter's unsuitable suitor by giving him three impossible tasks?
      Ekaterin: Yes.
      Simon: Don't ever try that with Miles. Just...don't.
    • Ivan bludgeoning his way through Miles' guards to deliver a list of chores from Lady Vorpatril.
      Ivan: My strength is great because my cause is just. My mother has sent me a list of chores for you as long as my arm. With footnotes.
      Miles: Your determination is relentless because you're more afraid of your mother than you are of my guardsmen.
      Ivan: So are you. So are your guardsmen.
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    • "Who in the world could [Nikki] be calling on the comconsole?"note 
    • "Twit."
    • Ekaterin and Gregor's ironic, outlandish solution to a subplot that's mentioned twice in the entire book. She proposes the solution, he makes it an Imperial Decree.
      Miles: We want to be out of the chamber before he reaches the second page.
      (From inside the chamber a few moments later): DOWRIES! A hundred and eighteen dowries!
    • Miles grandstanding as he resolves the problem with Dr. Borgos' extradition to Escobar.
    • Kareen Koudelka wondering why her parents are so uncomfortable with the presence of an old sofa in Lady Vorkosigan's study:
      Kareen's Thoughts: They looked like nothing so much as two guilty teenagers Like two guilty teenagers caught screwing on the living room couch, actually.
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  • Also from A Civil Campaign, when Dono discovers how much it hurts to get kicked in the balls.
  • Miles's attempt to a yes-man for Emperor Gregor in Memory, which consists of him answering everything with "Yes, Sire," until Gregor (who is, fortunately, also Miles's foster brother) tells him to stop.
  • Miles suffering from an outbreak of limericks in the middle of an official poetry-recitation ceremony in Cetaganda probably also qualifies.
  • Miles suffering from an outbreak of Richard The Third on fast forward after being doped to the eyeballs with fast-penta. And in general Miles's... interesting reactions to fast-penta.
  • In The Vor Game, Miles has been tasered into unconsciousness by cops and sold onto an indentured servant ship in the middle of a mission far from Barrayar. he has a variety of exciting hallucinations. Then he comes to and sees his foster brother, Gregor, on the same ship with him:
    A face wavered into view. A familiar face.
    "Gregor! Am I glad to see you," Miles burbled inanely. He felt his burning eyes widen. His hands shot out to clench Gregor's shirt, a pale blue prisoner's smock. "What the hell are you doing here?"
    "It's a Long Story."
  • Not that Cordelia finds it funny, but this troper had to put down Barrayar and laugh for a good five minutes at the Barrayaran doctor's advice after she's just surgically given birth, hiked across a good amount of countryside while on the run from an enemy faction that wants to kill her and her family. Her feet are bloody, she has scars from her surgery, and she's severely malnourished and dehydrated. His advice?
    "Have you considered starting an exercise program, Lady Vorkosigan?"
    • A little later in the same novel, Cordelia combines a Moment of Awesome with CMOF by "going shopping."
    • Several books — and roughly thirty years in-story — after Cordelia's CMOA, Ekaterin suggests to Miles that they go shopping. Miles can only quip, "That's an offer seldom made to the son of my mother..."
    • Jole brings it up to Cordelia in Gentleman Jole, and she essentially retorts that she brought one body part back from a trip once and people have never stopped bringing it up.
  • From Falling Free:
    Bannerji: What are you doing with that, Dr. Yei?
    Dr. Yei: Applying psychology. (Whacks Van Atta on the back of his head with a wrench.)
    Bannerji: Dr. Yei, if you're trying to knock a man out you've got to hit him a lot harder than that.
    Dr. Yei: I didn't want to risk killing him...
    Bannerji: Why not?
    • Also, the reason she gave for borrowing the wrench in the first place: "To adjust an attitude."
  • Miles' debut as Imperial Auditor in Memory is worth several chuckles.
    • When Gregor sees Miles for the first time following a major epiphany, Miles is decked out in his house uniform and all of the medals he's earned over the years. Gregor's immediate action is a choked, "Good God."
    • When Ivan finds out:
      Ivan: (indicating the elaborate gold chain and seal around Miles' neck) My God. Is that real?
      Miles: You want to try to peel off the foil wrapping and eat the chocolate inside?
    • As Miles arrives at ImpSec headquarters:
      Miles: (to the gate guards) Good afternoon, gentlemen. Please get on your comconsole and tell General Haroche that the Imperial Auditor is here. I request and require him to meet me in person at his front gate. Now.
      Guard: Aren't you the same fellow we threw out of here this morning?
      Miles: Not exactly, no. Note, please, that I am not trying to enter your premises. I have no intention of throwing you into the dilemma of trying to choose whether to disobey a direct order, or else commit an act of treason. But I do know it takes approximately four minutes to physically get from the Chief's office to the front gate. At that point, your troubles will be over.
      (Four minutes, twenty-nine seconds elapse.)
      Miles: Good afternoon, General.
      Haroche: Vorkosigan. I told you not to come back here.
      Miles: Try again.
      Haroche: (staring at the Auditor's chain and seal) That can't be real.
      Miles: The penalty for counterfeiting an Imperial Auditor's credentials is death.
      Haroche: (voice cracking) My Lord Auditor.
    • Shortly afterwards in Haroche's office, Haroche comments on Miles' Bling of War:
      Haroche: (somewhat plaintively) Vorkosigan, tell me — is that really a Cetagandan Order of Merit?
      Miles: Yeah.
      Haroche: And the rest of it?
      Miles: I didn't clean out my father's desk drawer, if that's what you're asking. Everything here is accounted for, in my classified files. You may be one of the few men on the planet who doesn't have to take my word for it.
      • To understand why Haroche was so intimidated, understand that for a junior Barrayaran officer (actually, ex-Barrayaran officer by this point) to have a Cetagandan Order of Merit would be like a junior US officer having a Hero of the Soviet Union award.
    • And then, later on, Miles and Illyan take a boat out fishing. When they are unsuccessful, they decide to use a stunner rejiggered into an improvised bomb.
      • And in Komarr, Miles ponders on waiting for inspiration, and how it is less like hunting and more like fishing. Then he remembers the last time he went fishing.
    • Simon had earlier voiced suspicions about the piscine population of the lake:
      Simon: Do you suppose all the fish in your lake have been stolen?
      Miles: They'd have to catch 'em first.
  • In Komarr, after Miles and Ekaterin have their Take My Hand moment into the pond:
    Ekaterin: (faintly) Oh, drat.
    Miles: (mildly, after a meditative pause) Madame Vorsoisson, has it ever occurred to you that you may be just a touch oversocialized?
  • Also from Komarr: When Tien's creditors call Ekaterine, Miles blithely jumps into the call and forwards them to ImpSec to get rid of them.
    Ekaterin: Now, was that nice?
  • This exchange from Cryoburn:
    Miles: My case budget allows for a lot of discretion, you know.
    Vorlynkin: Then I wish you'd buy some!
  • Aso in Cryoburn after Roic saves the day stunning a hostage taker at point blank.
    Leiber: You're pretty free with that thing.
    Roic: It's all right. I have a license to stun.
    Leiber: I thought that was supposed to be a license to kill.
    Roic: That, too. But you would not believe all the forms that have to be filled out, afterward.
  • In one of the books, Ivan gripes about the trouble Miles causes for "innocent bystanders." Miles asks if he considers himself part of that class. Ivan sighs, "God knows I try to be."
  • The entirety of Ivan and Tej's Citizenship Marriage.
    • "Unhand Lady Vorpatril!"
    • Moments beforehand (as Immigration, the local cops, and the landlord are tring to get past the barricaded apartment door):
    Ivan: I, Ivan Xav Vorpatril, being of sound mind and body-
    By: That's for wills, Ivan. I thought you said you knew this stuff?
    Ivan: Do take thee, uh... what did you say your name was, again?
    By: *buries his face in his hands*
    • Byerly pecking Tej on the cheek en route to the door is a brief, but brilliant, detail.
    • A couple of minutes before that, Tej is weighing the desirability of marrying Ivan vs. jumping out of the window...
    Ivan: I am not a Fate Worse than Death, dammit!
    • And a couple of minutes before that, when Ivan's superior is insistently trying to call his wristcom and is not taking no for an answer, Ivan flings said wristcom into the fridge to get it to shut up.
    • Later, when Tej describes the circumstances of her Citizenship Marriage with Ivan to Miles and Gregor, Miles tries his very very best not to laugh, instead making some funny noises and crinkling his eyes. Ivan is not amused, telling him to stop laughing when he's not actually laughing.
    • Gregor is confused when Ivan relates throwing his combadge into the fridge when Desplains was calling. Miles assured Gregor it makes perfect sense.
  • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance when Ivan goes to Count Falco Vorpatril to get out of his emergency marriage of convenience with Tej:
    Falco: Do either of you accuse the other of adultery?
    Ivan: There's hardly been time, sir!
    • Even better, when Falco asks Tej if Ivan's been... less than satisfactory in bed, Tej resorts to open praise of Ivan's bedroom abilities in a Barrayaran court. Falco murmurs, "Lucky man". Later, Ivan gets a card from a female lawyer, who tells him to call her after his marriage has been dissolved.
    • When Ivan, Tej and Rish are trying to come up with a way to get divorced, adultery is brought up. Ivan is against the idea of Tej sleeping with By, and especially at the idea of him sleeping with By; Rish expresses a definite interest in the latter pairing. When a foursome is broached, Ivan finally retorts no one is sleeping with By (save Rish). Then there's Tej's "No. Just... No" Reaction to the idea of her sleeping with Illyan.
    • Also, this:
    Admiral Desplains: May I ask why, if Lady Alys Vorpatril wishes to know what is going on in her only son's life, she applies to me and not to you?
    Ivan Vorpatril: Experience?
  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance has a whopper of one at the climax. Beginning with, "Guy...has ImpSec HQ always been sort of... tilted up on one side?", and ending with Simon's total failure to disguise his glee at learning that ImpSec HQ will have to be replaced.
    • And made even funnier by the brief summary of the events in the novel in the timeline at the end of the book: "ImpSec Headquarters suffers a problem with moles."
  • From The Vor Game:
    "Damn," said Elena in a hushed voice. "If I didn't know you, I'd think you were Mad Yuri's understudy. The look on your face... am I reading too much into all that innuendo, or did you in fact just connive to assassinate Gregor in one breath, offer to cuckold him in the next, accuse your father of homosexuality, suggest a patricidal plot against him, and league yourself with Cavilo — what are you going to do for an encore?"
    "Depends on the straight lines. I can hardly wait to find out," Miles panted.
  • Arde Mayhew's horrified realization, in The Warrior's Apprentice, that Miles' almost manic energy was his normal state, and not the result of the stimulant drink the two had been sharing. This is magnified by the fact that Elena, who knew Miles from infancy, did not notice anything odd about his behavior when chugging amphetamines for days on end save for a degree of insomnia.
  • Gregor going awooing in Memory. His tactics include planning a luncheon four days in advance, and having the ideal horse for Laisa to ride flown in from three districts over. Miles's snarky internal commentary implies that the horse is doped up to prevent it from acting out and ruining the show, the animal itself was shampooed to within an inch of its life before Gregor let it anywhere near Laisa, and the Emperor is possibly using the excuse of giving her a boost into the saddle to cop a feel.
  • Ivan reflecting on Simon Illyan's only secret vice, so to speak:
    They had somehow got on to just what Illyan did and did not recall or miss from his memory chip, at which point Ivan had learned just where the largest and most arcane pornography collection on Barrayar had been secreted...
    It's not as if I acquired most of it on purpose, Illyan had protested. But the damned chip didn't allow me to delete anything, whether I picked it up inadvertently or in a moment of bad mood or bad judgment or bad company, and then I was stuck with it forever. Or in the line of work, oh, God, those were the worst. Do you have any idea how many truly appalling surveillance vids I had to review in forty years...?
  • In the epilogue of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Mark buying the former ImpSec HQ and turning it into a tourist trap.
  • The opening scene of Diplomatic Immunity, where Miles is looking at "baby pictures" of Aral and Helen in their replicators. The only problem is, Miles is basically watching his sperm go into his wife's egg, which manages to be simultaneously heartwarming, hilarious, and just a little bit creepy.
    Ekaterin: Ah, admiring your sperm again, I see.
    Miles: And your excellent egg, my lady!
  • In Memory Miles intrudes on the convalescent Simon Illyan sharing breakfast with a startlingly deshabille Lady Alys in his bedroom and completely fails to draw the obvious conclusion - possibly because he thinks of them as 'Aunt' and 'Uncle'. Or maybe because neither is at all embarrassed. Even funnier is when the penny finally drops as he watches the couple dance several evenings later.
    Good God. Illyan is sleeping with my aunt.
    • And then later, Ivan's reaction to his mother's new...paramour:
      Miles: You don't need to bellow.
      Ivan: I am not bellowing. I'm being firm.
      Miles: Could you please be firm at a lower volume?
      Ivan: No. Simon Illyan is sleeping with my mother, and it's your fault!
  • In The Warrior's Apprentice, Tung accuses "Admiral Naismith" of having delusions of grandeur:
    Tung: Who do you think you are? Lord Vorkosigan? note 
  • Cordelia accidentally setting her hair on fire in Shards Of Honor.
    • Cordelia is in a cell when the ship she's on is attacked, and the artificial gravity cuts out along with the lights. After getting turned around, she finds a corner and huddle there until it's over or the ship goes down. The ship does not go down. She, on the other hand...
    Then the ship groaned about her, and the lights came back on.
    Oh hell, she thought, this is the ceiling.
    • Later, when she escapes Beta Colony, she bluffs her way onto a ship claiming she's on a secret mission. When asked why she's wearing slippers, she says, essentially, "Uh... it's classified."
  • During his recounting of the Tau Verde War at the end of The Warrior's Apprentice, Miles pauses to take some antacid. His father borrows the flask and takes a hearty swig himself. One gets the impression that this will not be the last time that Miles will cause this reaction...
  • The Running Gag of "What the hell, Simon?" in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, culminated by Gregor himself.
    • You have to wonder if Gregor secretly enjoyed the opportunity to be sarcastic behind closed doors with Illyan - Illyan sure thinks he did.
  • Miles and Aral's encounter at the end of Memory, when Miles points out that he has acquired one of the few titles (Imperial Auditor) that his father never did, and that neither had any of their ancestors.
    Miles: I'm unprecedented!
  • The GURPS Source Book gets one, at least to those who have already gotten to know and love Miles, in the elegant simplicity with which they sum up his personality in a single aside. They recommend not having Miles Vorkosigan as an NPC. Why not?
    If you include him, he'll try to take over the plot from the PCs. If he doesn't try to take over the plot, you're not doing him right.
    • Bujold cites this exact problem when describing the writing process for Captain Vorpatril's Alliance: the only way to keep Miles from taking over Ivan's book was to send Ivan to another planet. Naturally, when Ivan gets home, Miles calls him — and while Ivan tries to ignore him, Miles uses his Imperial Auditor code to override being placed on hold, then forces Ivan and Tej to meet him and Gregor.
    • Or have Aunt Alys forbid him. When Ivan worries about Miles crashing the Arqua/Vorpatril dinner party, she tells him she's quite capable of controlling her invite list. Not even Miles dares offend Vorbarr Sultana's Grand Dame (and his mother's best friend).
  • The reunion of Miles and Bel Thorne in Diplomatic Immunity is quite amusing, as for the benefit of the onlookers, both of them have to casually pretend they don't know each other; after all, Bel worked with Admiral Miles Naismith for a number of years, but has never met Lord Miles Vorkosigan.
  • In Gentleman Jole, the gentleman in question told a story about the late Count Vorkosigan: After the Hegen Hub War, the Cetagandans kept sending flowery diplomatic notes to him, each anointed with up to a dozen scents, each of which had a hidden meaning, which generally combined to be an elaborate insult. After a while, Aral got sick of it, took the latest note to the bathroom, added his own scent, and had Jole return it. After which the Cetagandans stopped sending insulting notes and actually participated in hashing out a peace treaty.
  • Miles being forced to explain to the quaddies in Diplomatic Immunity that no, the fact that he's referred to as speaking with the Emperor's Voice doesn't mean the Barrayarans think Emperor Gregor's voice is literally coming out of Miles's mouth.
  • When Cordelia buys Mark a ship to head to Jackson's Whole to rescue Miles, Simon - who thinks Mark may try to make sure Miles comes back a corpse - starts arguing with her. Cordelia expertly crushes every one of his statements, essentially saying, "Well, if you think that's true, maybe you should find Miles first?" When Simon hangs up, Cordelia is Genre Savvy enough to know who will be calling in a few moments. She's unsurprised when Emperor Gregor calls her; he bemusedly tells her not to rile up Simon so much (before he lets Mark have his rescue attempt.) Later, Mark tells Miles he missed watching Cordelia thoroughly "annihilate" The Dreaded Spymaster Illyan.
  • Mark is quick to point out that his parents gave his older brother a whole fleet to play with!
  • Cordelia revealed in Gentleman Jole that one of the slanderous rumors about her was her sleeping with Alys. She scoffs that naturally it was untrue, but at least that rumor gave her the virtue of having good taste.
  • During a mostly dramatic scene in Barrayar, as Bothari talks about his childhood, raised by his abusive prostitute mother, Cordelia explains that Licensed Practicing Sexual Therapists on Beta Colony are considered providing a personal service on the level of a hairdresser, and are required to have a degree in psychology. Leading to the line,
    Bothari: "Only on Beta Colony does a whore need a bloody university degree"
  • From Memory, Illyan's list of the motivations of men: "Money, power, sex... and elephants." And the explanation that follows.
  • Ivan is always trying to reassure himself that the problems that arise around him aren't his fault or responsibility, which makes it a Funny Moment in A Civil Campaign when Dono informs him that had he married him while he was still Lady Donna, all of the Vorrutyer succession issues would have been moot. He tells Ivan, "Yes, it's all your fault." Ivan steams that Dono knows him way too well.


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