Thursday, 10 November 2016

Flandry And Bond II

It might be thought that sex is another parallel between Flandry and Bond. However, there are more differences than similarities. Ian Fleming, describing not the sexual act but at least the preliminaries, was banned as pornographic at the school that I attended in the 1960s whereas there was no such reason to ban Poul Anderson. Indeed, Fleming was a household name because of popular British paperback editions and films starring Sean Connery whereas Anderson's name was known only to a handful of sf readers.

Flandry enjoys sex whereas Bond finds the process of seduction tedious but perseveres because each successful seduction is a conquest. He also regards sex as a reward for the dangers of his profession. His approach is aggressive and impersonal. The phrase "cold passion" is used. To our surprise, it turns out that casual affairs leave him with a guilty conscience so he marries with fatal consequences for his wife. By contrast, Flandry loves two women but is under a curse that prevents him from having them. Nevertheless, he eventually marries his mentor's daughter whereas the concluding paragraph of the Bond canon informs us that love from any woman is not enough because:

"For James Bond, the same view would always pall."
-Ian Fleming, The Man With The Golden Gun (New York, 1965), p. 158.

For me that sentence, not the films or the sequels by other authors, ends the Bond series whereas Flandry's summation is more cheerful:

"'Who knows? We play the game move by move, and never see far ahead - the game of empire, of life, whatever you want to call it - and what the score will be when all the pieces at last go back into the box, who knows?'"
-Poul Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (Riverdale, NY, 2012), p. 453.

‘Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.
-copied from here.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I like this linking up of THE GAME OF EMPIRE with the RUBAIYAT. Very apropos!