- "I'm a Komarran. I have to be [a practical businessperson]. Without the value-added, from our trade, labor, transport, banking, and remanufacturing, Komarr would dwindle again to the desperate subsistence -- and less-than-subsistence -- level from which it rose. And seven out of ten of us would die, one way or another."
- ―Laisa Toscane on Komarrans[src]
Komarr had particularly great strategic importance to Barrayar because its local space contained the single known wormhole into their space.
- Capital City: Solstice.
- Government: Komarr was ruled by the Barrayaran Imperium, but had its own dominant class of oligarchs. The planet was divided into twenty equal-sized sectors, each with responsibilities for regional government. The government was organized as a share-holding business, with votes allotted according to a "one share, one vote" system. In addition to one vote guaranteed to each Komarran by birth, there were many shares that could be inherited, purchased, and generally accumulated.
- Size/Population: Komarr had many large domed metropolis-sized cities, including Solstice, Serifosa, Olbia, Equinox, and Green Park. Solstice, the Sector where Komarran standard time was based, was three hours ahead of Serifosa. The domes were not circular, but rather were composed of thousands of interconnected structures of all shapes. About two dozen of the domes were large enough to have spaceports. The total population is not given in the books of the Vorkosigan Saga; it is only known that a population of 1 million (that of Sergyar) was "even smaller" than Komarr's. Word of God says Komarr's total population is "maybe 1/10th of Barrayar's", which is given in the same source as being somewhere in the range of 50-500 million. See Behind the Scenes at bottom of page for reference.
- Economy: Komarran economy was based upon trade, both by their own fleets and by charging tariffs to ships that passed through their space. Due to the large number of jump points in their system, trade passed through it on a regular basis, creating quite a bit of revenue for Komarr. Reinvestment of this income centered on sending out trade fleets; these were generally sent on 5-12 month long trade runs to many areas throughout the galaxy, often returning with very large profits. Komarr's economy was dominated by the oligarch families, who generally owned large trade fleets; companies not controlled by Oligarchs existed, but had to "eke out a living in the few insterstices left by the big Komarran family firms."
- Terrain: Rather dry, very cold; it was a Mars-like planet with a roughly 19 hour day and gravity that was almost 0.9 Earth. A soletta provided extra sunlight as part of the major Terraforming Project. There were large crater lakes in the Southern Hemisphere resulting from when a few comets were diverted and caused to perform low-impact crashes in order to increase the total amount of water on the planet. The atmosphere had abundant nitrogen, but very little oxygen except in the form of carbon dioxide.
Komarr was particularly rich in wormholes, with six "useful" ones in nearby space:
- one to Barrayar
- one with a branch leading to Sergyar and then to Escobar and another branch leading to Rho Ceta
- one to Pol and then to the Hegen Hub
- three unspecified others, probably including one that was useful for reaching Tau Ceti.
There were also several wormholes that led to no known useful destination.
Discovered 400 years prior to the time of Miles Vorkosigan, Komarr was undergoing a major terraforming project to make the outside air breathable. During this centuries-long program the Komarrans were confined to domed cities, with controlled air supplies.
60 years prior to Miles's birth, Barrayar was invaded by the Cetagandan Empire. As the only entrance to Barrayar was through Komarr, the Cetagandan empire bought Komarran cooperation. Cetagandan forces occupied Barrayar for twenty years but were eventually driven out of Barrayaran space. After about 30 to 40 years of recovery and technological regrowth, Barrayaran forces poured through the wormhole to invade Komarr for three main reasons:
- Control of their entrance - The Barrayarans wanted to be able to control their own wormhole entrance so Komarr couldn't repeat itself by letting enemy forces into Barrayaran space.
- Control of Komarran trade - The Barrayarans understood that Komarran trade would be very helpful in regaining revenue for the Barrayaran Imperium. In particular, with control of the wormholes, Barrayarans could escape the 25% tariffs that had been being charged by the Komarrans against all trade through their space. Also, this would allow Barrayar to contend with other powerful galactic markets, such as that of Beta Colony, or the Hegen Hub.
- Retribution/Revenge - The Barrayans wanted revenge against Komarr's actions during the Cetagandan war and sought to pay Komarr back for allowing the invasion force through to Barrayar.
The Barrayaran invasion was successful, but with a complication – the Solstice Massacre.
At the end of the invasion, 200 prominent citizens, including members of the oligarchy, were held captive by Barrayarans in Solstice, the capital city of Komarr, having been promised safety by Admiral Aral Vorkosigan. In Vorkosigan's absence, the prisoners were all murdered on the orders of his political officer. In retribution, and to regain his honor, Admiral Vorkosigan killed the political officer with his bare hands. As the suspected perpetrator of the massacre, Vorkosigan was afterward known as the "Butcher of Komarr".
About four years into Aral Vorkosigan's Regency, the Komarran population revolted against Barrayaran rule. The revolt lasted two years before dying down.
Later state of affairs
By the end of the Vorkosigan Regency, Komarr was controlled peacefully by Barrayar, modulo a few caveats:
- In the Komarr Soletta Incident, a group of freedom fighters tried to break free by collapsing the Barrayaran wormhole. It is not known whether such an action was actually feasible.
- A Kibou-daini cryocorp tried to take over Komarr by manipulating the planetary voting share system. This attempt was discovered and dealt with.
A number of Komarrans managed to reach high rank in the Imperial military as part of the Komarr integration scheme, and Emperor Gregor married Dr Laisa Toscane, an heiress of a major Komarran oligarch family.
Nevertheless, the very highest levels of government of Komarr were filled more by Barrayarans than by Komarrans.
People from Komarr
- Ser Anafi
- Lena Foscol
- Duv Galeni: Formerly known as David Galen, he worked in ImpSec and by the time of A Civil Campaign had been promoted to Head of Komarran Affairs within ImpSec.
- Rebecca Galen: Sister to Ser Galen
- Ser Galen: Father to Duv Galeni, he created Mark Vorkosigan as part of a baroque plot to free Komarr from Barrayar.
- Group-commander Husavi
- Vigo Imola
- Senior Cargomaster Molino
- Barto Radovas
- Madame Radovas
- Group-patroller Rigby
- Dr Riva: The best five-space physicist in the Imperium, she worked at the University of Solstice
- Lieutenant Solian
- Administrator Soudha
- Anna Toscane: aunt to Laisa
- Laisa Toscane: Empress of Barrayar as of A Civil Campaign, she was the principal heiress to the Toscane family of Oligarchs.
- Marie Trogir
- Dr Yuell: A very good mathematician from the University of Solstice.
- Ser Venier
- Liz: Worked for the Terraforming Project; her peat bogs were doing well.
- Philip: Worked for the Terraforming Project; he tracked bacteria and wanted to bring in higher plants and animals.
- Lars: moved to Earth and worked under Ser Galen
- Mok: moved to Earth and worked under Ser Galen
Behind the scenes
- The author has stated that the proto-model for Komarr was taken from Venice, Italy; see Casus belli.
- The references in Komarr to times such as 2100 hours are typos.
- See Goodreads answer for details on relative population of Barrayar versus Komarr.
Notes and references
- Komarr chapter 3
- Captain Vorpatril's Alliance chapter 6
- Captain Vorpatril's Alliance chapter 4
- Komarr chapter 7
- Komarr chapter 17
- Komarr chapter 4
- Shards of Honor
- Cetaganda chapter 7
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen chapter 2
- The Vor Game
- Brothers in Arms chapter 4
- Komarr chapter 2
- Memory chapter 5
- The Vor Game chapter 4
- Brothers in Arms
- Shards of Honor chapter 5
- Brothers in Arms chapter 7
- Komarr chapter 13
- Komarr chapter 20
- Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
- Diplomatic Immunity chapters 2,4,8
- Komarr chapters 16,18,20
- Diplomatic Immunity
- Komarr chapter 18,20
- Mirror Dance chapter 10
- Komarr on Wikipedia