origin of Kou's name

Multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Lois McMaster Bujold is creator of the Miles Vorkosigan universe and the world of Chalion.

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origin of Kou's name

Postby E Pericoloso Sporgersi » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:51 pm

It seems I found where Lois got the name Koudelka.
She must have been impressed (as was I) by reports about Prague's Spring events in 1968.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Koudelka
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Re: origin of Kou's name

Postby voralfred » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:00 am

Well, Wikipedia mentions three Czech people, the photographer and two sporstmen, plus a drummer of unidentified citizenship, called Koudelka, in addition to a few more people whose name is spelled Kudelka. But the photographer is indeed, quite probably, the one that attracted LMB's attention.
Conversely, there seems to be no source for Drou's name.
I found this website, where someone did research and the best he unearthed is "a Soviet actor called Yuri Druzhnikov".
Though I don't think this research was so great. For "Allegre" he mentions that it means ‘joyful; happy’ in french. This is indeed true, but the fact that Allegre and Haroche both first appear in Memory clearly shows that she picked two famous french scientists of the time. In 2012 Serge Haroche received the Nobel Price in Physics, but he was already well known in the mid-90's; in the mid 70's, I actually was one of his students, believe it or not ! But at that time he was just a lecturer (instructor ? - certainly a research associate,who had to teach us in addition to his research job, poor guy), only 9 years older than I was. In 1997 Claude Allegre became minister for education, research and technology, but this also happened after Memory was published. But as a french scientist I can assure you they were both well-known in the scientific community, around 1995. So though she changed the first names, there is absolutely no doubt that these are the people she meant. Where else could she have heard of the name "Haroche" ?
Also he suggests for "Vorsoisson" the possible origin "poisson" (=fish) while clearly she meant to use Soissons, a city in northern France, best known for its vase. After all those centuries, probably during the Time of Isolation, the final "s" got dropped...
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