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Ghem (Cetaganda)

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The Ghem are the lower aristocracy of the Cetagandan Empire in American writer Lois McMaster Bujold's science fiction series, the Vorkosigan Saga

The Ghem are the military caste and the lower aristocracy of Cetaganda. The main way for Ghem males to gain prestige and recognition is to serve with distinction in the military forces of the Empire (though not all Ghem males are in the army). For Ghem females, it is to perform genetic engineering on species other than humans with success (manipulation of human genetics is reserved for the ladies of the Haut).

A distinguishing feature of the Ghem is their use of face-paint. The exact usage depends on the individual's clan, status, and the activity they are pursuing. In particular, there are painting patterns associated with military missions.

In the novel Cetaganda, it is revealed that among the younger generation of Ghem, fashion dictates that the face paint is reduced to a painted patch on one cheek.

See also[edit]


Other articles of the topic Novels : Fictional characters in the Southern Victory Series, Meg: Primal Waters, Anti-Ice, List of spacecraft in the Culture series, Rasputin (Card novel), Orbital (The Culture), Special Circumstances
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  • The Haut of Cetaganda
  • The Ba of Cetaganda



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