Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The War

When I was growing up in Britain in the 1950s, the War and the Coronation were major recent events. For how much longer will contemporary fiction continue to have characters who were alive during World War II? I will mention just three examples.

Poul Anderson's Manse Everard was born in 1924 (see here) so he was in the War. Recruited into the Time Patrol in 1954, Everard is then able to travel to the War and indeed to anywhen else but my immediate interest in Everard focuses merely on the fact that, having been born when he was, he lived through the War, and indeed participated in it, before he became a time traveler.

Ian Fleming's James Bond had been in the War although Fleming presents two contradictory accounts of this earlier period of Bond's life. In the 1960s, Bond works with the Head of the Japanese Secret Service, who had volunteered for kami-kaze.

Stieg Larsson's Henrik Vanger reaches his eighty-second birthday and shortly afterwards informs Mikael Blomkvist and thus us that he was born in 1920 - earlier than Everard! Thus, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, published in 2005, is set in 2002-'03. Fiction set in the twenty-first century would previously have been sf. And we are now in 2017 so, if a character in a novel set in this year was born in 1939, then he is now seventy-eight, ten years older than me. It can still be done but not for much longer.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

James Bond working with the chief of the Japanese Secret Service would be an example of former enemies reconciling to become allies. And OO7 and the Chief even became friends.