Monday, 17 June 2013

Know Your Enemy III

The part of Nicholas van Rijn's career that we know about is bookended by "Margin of Profit" and Mirkheim. Between these two works are fourteen others of different lengths. Of these (in total) sixteen works, van Rijn appears in ten and his adversary, Edward Garver, in two of those ten - Satan's World and Mirkheim.

In Satan's World (New York, 1977), Garver is unflatteringly described thus: short, thinning hair, pugdog face, severe gray tunic, uncommonly wide shoulders, surrounded - almost guarded - by secretarial machines, never married, no personal desk items but many animated wall pictures of himself shaking hands with successive Solar Premiers, Lunar Presidents etc. (p. 65) His title is director of the Lunar Federal Centrum of Security and Law Enforcement. (p. 66) He hates the Polesotechnic League for its intrigue, bribery, corruption, disregard for laws, arrogance, feudalism, capitalism, license and profiteering (p. 67).

Garver thinks that he will be able to charge van Rijn with several serious crimes including even murder but then finds that he cannot. Van Rijn says, just before switching off a communication screen, "'Gloat...'" (p. 83). Maybe I am no true Anderson fan but I cannot help feeling a little sorry for Garver at this point! As Flandry thinks about one of his superior officers, "It can't be much fun being Fenross." (Agent Of The Terran Empire, London, 1977, p. 113) - or Garver.

Both Garver and Fenross are presented to make the reader feel contempt for them and pleasure at their discomfiture, although perhaps some sympathy would be more appropriate, especially for Fenross when Flandry speculates about how the feud between them started. Fenross is not "the enemy," not a Merseian, but he is nevertheless Flandry's personal enemy, sending him on missions to get him killed.

Flandry has no regular "M" equivalent. He takes his orders from Abrams once, Kheraskov once, Fenross twice and Molitor once but otherwise has a roving commission. Meanwhile, I have digressed from love-to-hate-him Garvey but his misdemeanors in Mirkheim will have to wait till a later post.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Actually, I thought Anderson was careful to show some sympathy with Garver as we first see him in SATAN'S WORLD. THEN, as time passes and we come to know more about him, esp. his political views (in both SW and MIRKHEIM), I came to agree with why van Rijn opposed Garver.

And Vice Admiral Fenross did have some reason for detesting Flandry. When they were young cadets together, Flandry had an affair with the girl Fenross cared for. That can make for life long enemies.

I don't think Fenross was contemptible, even if he was unjust to Flandry. As we see him in WE CLAIM THESE STARs, he was a very tired and over worked man. I esp. recall him saying that if he didn't oblige powerful men on minor matters, he would be replaced by a sycophant who would not say no to them when it was really necessary to do so.