Monday, 3 April 2017

Male-Female Teams In Fiction

(This is a cover illustration for Poul Anderson's Flandry Of Terra although it lacks the title.)

I am about to turn in so I am not going to post at length but here is a question to consider. How do male-female teams work in detective or spy fiction? Examples:

Bond and some of his companions;
Flandry and some of his companions;
Modesty Blaise and Willie;
Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander.

Each of these examples is different. The male character with the worst attitude to women is Bond. Read Casino Royale and Goldfinger. He is bored by the efforts first of seduction, then of subsequent disentanglement. Sex is a reward for the dangers of his job. Women should not have been given the vote. Flandry is not that bad!

Modesty and Willie respect each other and also do not have sex with each other. Modesty's attitude to men that she does have sex with is the opposite of Bond's to women that he has sex with. Mikael and Lisbeth are different again but Mikael is unaware of the unhappiness that he causes in several women.

We are told that Flandry does not understand women although he does know what he is doing with them from a very early age. Apart from rating Bond lowest, I am not sure how to assess the other three men in this list. But each is a distinct character whom we get to know by reading the novels.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

It's surprising, but of all the women we see Flandry associating with, only ONE of them, Lady Aline Chang-Lei, was a fellow officer of the Imperial Naval Intelligence Corps. We see Lady Aline in "Honorable Enemies" and she was very impressive. She was as intelligent and determined as Flandry, to say nothing of figuring out how to lie to a telepath like Aycharaych. I'm sorry we only see Lady Aline in this story, "Honorable Enemies."