Miles, Memes, and MP4s

I’m a huge Lois McMaster Bujold fan. It’s the only SF I really read anymore. This landed in my world via my friend Stephanie Leary (an awesome WP author to boot), and she and I and many of my awesome friends have a love of Bujold.

And this? This is hilarious.

what if the Imperium had a modern internet

no but just imagine

Barrayarans and Komarrans* making jokes and memes and mashup videos and reaction gifs of their celebrities and politicians just like we do

*Sergyarans do it too, occasionally, when they’re not too exhausted from fighting vampire balloons and hexapods

and the Imperium is very cautiously trying out this “free speech” thing so they let it go and astonishingly enough making fun of the counts actually seems to releasepublic tension instead of heighten it (who knew!)

ImpSec keeps a “best of” collection and they tape up pictures of the fanart and the entire text of a fanfiction based on that photo of two ImpSec officers being chased by a flock of swans

some of the agents have even been known to secretly contribute submissions to the ongoing Sire I Have Bad News contest

there’s this one newsvid of some ambassador being interviewed and the Emperor is standing around in the background talking to people when one of his armsmen comes up and says something quietly

and Gregor’s face rapidly flickers from a polite smile to omfg what did they do this time to what the fuck to how is this even my life back to a polite smile as he excuses himself from the conversation

somebody made an incredibly popular reaction gif of it, and then someone else started a contest: what did the armsman say to him? “Sire, I have bad news—”

all-time favorites include

  • “Sire, I have bad news, the Cetas have challenged us to a fashion contest”
  • “Sire, I have bad news, there’s an alien fleet in orbit and they are urgently demanding all our supplies of cheese”
  • “Sire, I have bad news, the monument of Emperor Dorca has stepped off its plinth and is now marching on the Residence”

then of course it is discovered that Lord Auditor Vorkosigan offers to give away kittens to everyone he meets and that blows up into a huge meme

Cordelia sends her son her favorite variations and Lady Alys rolls her eyes and says he deserves it for trying to push kittens on people like a drug dealer, honestly

(poor Nikki just wants to die of embarrassment)

there is, of course, the transphobic bullshit that constantly comes up when Count Dono Vorrutyer’s name is mentioned, but the subjects who have seen the fortunes of their entire District change dramatically under his rule spontaneously form something of a furious defensive internet mob, to the point where Countess Olivia suggests just firing their PR people because the bloggers are doing a much better job

the Komarrans are amazed to discover that the person responsible for the original gif of Galeni being hit with a pie seems to be alive and well and not in prison

emboldened, they modify the gif to include all kinds of random objects instead of the pie

ImpSec Komarr’s official page briefly—very briefly— changes the official photo of Galeni to one where he’s holding an umbrella and a catcher’s mitt before someone with less of a sense of humor takes it down, but it’s too late, the screencaps are everywhere

no one knows how the story got out, but it’s common knowledge that the Minister of the Treasury forgot that the Empress has a PhD in economics and tried to talk down to her and she tore him to shreds

a member of the Imperial Household staff who prefers to remain anonymous swears he saw the Minister hiding in the bathroom and crying

for a couple of weeks, public opinion of Komarran-Barrayaran relations is at an all-time high— nobody likes the Minister of the Treasury

(someone please write me fic of Laisa smiling sweetly and making a Barrayaran politician cry)

no one pays attention to that picture of Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan drunkenly exploding vampire balloons because come on, it’s clearly photoshopped, how the hell do those stupid Sergyarans expect us to believe that actually happened

Credit: as civil as an orange

That gif montage of Lord Ivan Vorpatril getting wine thrown in his face by women, to the tune of a classic old-Earth song “Benny Hill” absolutely has to happen.

Meanwhile as Miles gets more and more Internet access to the Dendarii hillmen, they start blogging about their lives. The blog “A Day In The Life of a Hillman” brings critical acclaim to to it’s teenaged author, whose books become the “Little House on the Prairie” of it’s time.

A fashion blog detailing Lady Alys’ goings on, and providing critical reviews of any musical entertainment she happens to partake, is wildly popular.

Dowager Countess Cordelia starts a blog (hosted on Beta Colony) detailing what she thinks Barrayar could do better. When a ballsy reporter asks the Emperor what he thinks about it, he replies, “I have never found myself to disagree with the wisdom from my foster mother.” This may or may not be related to the work Count Lord Auditor Vorkosigan is doing on admitting women into the military.

ImpSec has its hands full debunking the “Count Vorkosigan is Admiral Naismith!” websites, and finally decide to the only way to win is to make it more and more ridiculous. They get hundreds of photos of Miles-as-Naismith (real photos no less) and even take a picture of his closet. Then they send out minions to point out how obviously photoshopped those are. It works, and everyone finds the idea of Count Vorkosigan ever being a mercenary to be hilarious. Miles and Mark have a blast reenacting scenes from their past.