Sunday, 7 December 2014

Fight Scenes

When I was only a few years old, I was a great admirer of fight scenes in films and on TV, realizing that such scenes always had to be carefully choreographed. (There were many "Western" series on TV in the early 50's.)

Anyone filming Poul Anderson's works would find that many of the fight scenes had already been choreographed for them. For example, while the Terran agent Flandry tries to capture the Ardazirho Clanmaster Temulak alive, the Vixenite hunter Emil Bryce must quickly and efficiently kill Temulak's escort. Anderson takes two pages to describe every move in the fight:

Flandry glides from an alley behind some Ardazirho who are returning from HQ to barracks but they immediately turn;
he tries to punch Temulak's face with a knuckleduster but Temulak ducks, so that the steel hits his helmet, and draws his blaster;
Flandry chops Temulak's wrist, making him drop the blaster;
Temulak's howl will be heard in both HQ and barracks;
Flandry karate kicks Temulak's jaw;
Temulak staggers but grabs Flandry's ankle and they go down together;
Temulak's steel-reinforced fingernails go for Flandry's throat;
Flandry fights back and Temulak bites his wrist;
Flandry rabbit punches and throttles him;
Bryce has been firing cyanide darts into exposed flesh but one Ardazirho has jumped him;
Flandry shoots that Ardazirho with Temulak's dropped blaster...

I have skipped over some details here but I am sure that you get the idea! It is well after midnight and I must get to bed.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

And one detail I remember from Flandry and Bryce's capturing of Temulak was how the former poured gasoline or kerosene on the ground to thwart Ardazirho attempts to track Temulak and his captors by scent.


Paul Shackley said...

Yes. I should have ended with that but I got too tired!

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

No problem! I simply thought the gasoline poured out by Flandry an ingenious little touch. And all this recent discussion of WE CLAIM THESE STARS have gotten me started on rereading that work. Esp. since I've finished rereading Stirling's THE SKY PEOPLE.

This time around I paid particular attention to Lady Diana Vinogradoff, as she and Flandry were going to the Crystal Moon to attend the feast and ball given by Ruethen, the Merseian ambassador to the Empire.

One comment by Lady Diana in Chapter 1 of WE CLAIM THESE STARS reminds me of Lord Hauksberg and his beliefs (as seen in ENSIGN FLANDRY): "Can't you lay all this feuding [with the Merseians] aside, just for a little while, and be friends with them ? I mean, we're all beings, in spite of these silly rivalries." And a bit later, Flandry replied, in part: "They can radiate all the virile charm they need," said Flandry. For an instant his light tone was edged with acid. "But destroying the Terrestrial Empire is a full time job."

A few reflections comes to mind. Here we see Lady Diana was not entirely an empty headed socialite, but had some awareness of serious ideas and issues, even if wrongheaded. And the momentary edge of acid in Flandry's reflects his frustration with how so many of his people simply refused to take the danger from Merseia seriously.