The World That You Need

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: The World That You Need
Author(s): Dira Sudis
Date(s): 05/2010 - 04/2015
Length: 14 stories, 88,500 words
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga
External Links: series on AO3

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Spoiler Warning: This article or section may contain spoilers. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.

The World That You Need is a Vorkosigan Saga fic series by Dira Sudis. It depicts a poly relationship between Aral Vorkosigan, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, and Lieutenant Jole. When the series began Lieutenant Jole was a very minor character in canon who only appeared in a handful of scenes, but the relationship was unexpectedly Kripked when Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen came out several years later. This news was met with a lot of excitement; the fact that many fans loved "The World That You Need" and had gotten used to the Cordelia/Aral/Jole pairing or even adopted it as headcanon definitely influenced how fandom reacted to that canon revelation.[1] The new book inspired Dira to add new stories to the series after a two-year break.

Recs and Reviews

This is a Vorkosigan-verse series, up to about 50,000 words total, set during the first half of Vor Game, about how Cordelia Vorkosigan talked her husband into seducing his (male) secretary, because his happiness delights her. It is the best exploration of what it means to be homosexual on Barrayar that has ever been written; it is one of the best stories about poly relationships that I have seen in fandom, period; it is just a really good story about Cordelia and Aral and their marriage, and about Jole, the minor canon character that Dira has given amazing depths to; and it is just full of joy and love, even as it delves into some really dark and painful things on the way to happy-ever-after. This fic is now canon to me, but I really recommend it even to people who aren't Bujold fans, if you like reading fic that addresses LGBT themes deeply - it's just that good, and I want it to go on forever. I have read it about six times since it was posted.[2]
Everyone recced this by saying, oh, it's such a wonderful poly fic. The thing is, I have issues with some poly fic. There's this trope where the woman is the puppet master (author) who pulls the strings of a couple of adorably clueless boys (author's slash OTP) and without that woman those dumb boys would never have figured it out. I thought that's what this story is.

And the weird thing is, it almost is that, except it is that in an intelligent way. This group of stories is magnificent and layered and complex. Cordelia does notice that Aral and his secretary Jole are both crushing on each other. But none of this is squishily adorable. This is the reality of the closet, the risks, the power the state has, that a single individual can have over other people. This is how DADT is not the important issue. This is also a fab romance across generations, a beautiful poly relationship that is adult and complicated. This story is fantastic.

Can be read without knowing canon.[3]
Aral is bisexual. And although he is very thoroughly indoctrinated with Barrayaran sexual ideals about monogamy and heteronormativity, Cordelia is not. It's not a betrayal if everyone is happy about it. This series does a wonderful job of exploring what it might be like to be gay on Barrayar, particularly in the military. It also does a wonderful job of exploring Aral and Cordelia's relationship, and taking an extremely minor character (Aral's aide, Lieutenant Jole) and fleshing him out to a wonderfully three-dimensional person. It's engrossing and well-done (as if it could be anything else with Dira writing it). And, of course, there are a lot of complications: it's not enough to say "hey, let's all get together!" There is a lot of time spent feeling each other out and misunderstanding and negotiating what exactly is going on and what will happen, and making sure it's all safe, sane, and consensual. It sounds dry when you put it like that, but oh, it's not. It is so wonderfully angsty and hopeful and when they finally work through all the issues it makes you want to cheer.[4]
Fantastic poly series. I love how they negotiate their relationships, I love their relationships - Cordelia and Aral, Aral and Jole, Cordelia and Jole etc. - and I love the explorations of how people might deal with homosexuality on Barrayar (Schneefink)[5]


  1. ^ Is this, I asked repeatedly, real life? by Dira Sudis, 2015-04-06
  2. ^ Five things make a post? by melannen, 2010-11-24
  3. ^ Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga by facetofcathy, 2011-04-22
  4. ^ Crack Van: The World That You Need by Dira Sudis (Explicit) by Beatrice Otter (accessed 23 June 2016)
  5. ^ schneefink: Vorkosigan Saga recs part II (accessed 24 June 2016)