Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Terra And SHAPE? II

See Terra And SHAPE?

Rereading Ian Fleming's James Bond canon usually generates comparisons and contrasts with Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series.

Bond investigates the murder of the dawn dispatch-rider from SHAPE HQ to a nearby MI6 Station. This story, "From A View To A Kill," was originally conceived as an installment of a James Bond TV series. There was a Bond TV off-shoot called The Man From UNCLE but SHAPE is a real organization.

Flandry works for a unified Terra whereas, in Bond's time, Earth remains lethally divided. One group of "Powers" is allied against another and Fleming shows us internecine rivalries. The SHAPE Intelligence Division includes two Frenchmen and an Italian, the head of Counter-Intelligence and Security is German and Bond reports to an American Chief of Security who doesn't want him there. SHAPE resents MI6 keeping its Station separate from their Intelligence set-up but M is suspicious of NATO Security. Will Earthmen ever unite in a Solar Commonwealth, then a Terran Empire?


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    The problem with an alliance like NATO and its command structure in institutionalized as SHAPE is how cumbersome and awkward it looks to me. How quickly can it ACT in a real crisis? Wouldn't the Allied Powers first insist on consulting each on in any such crisis? The result would seem to be paralysis or too slow a reaction.

    No, I don't expect our real Earth to be unified any time soon in something like Anderson's Solar Commonwealth, replaced after its collapse by the Terran Empire. We do have fanatical Muslims dreaming of conquering the world and setting up a global Caliphate to be run along the lines of Sharia law. A dismal prospect which I'm sure we both regard with horror!


    1. Sean,
      Horror yes but also impossible, I am sure.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      A worldwide caliphate impossible? I hope so! But millions of people might still die in any attempt to set one up. Tom Kratman, in his novel CALIPHATE (which I have not read) imagines both a world such a caliphate arose aspiring to rule the world and how the US evolved into the American Empire to oppose it.

      And some heretical form of Islam with a caliphate is seen in Anderson's OPERATION CHAOS as trying to conquer the world (the Caliph's War).


    3. Sean,
      To succeed, such fanatics would have to impose their will on all non-Muslims and most Muslims. They can't do it although I agree that a lot of harm can be done in the attempt.

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      The pessimist in me would say, rather, I HOPE such fanatical Muslims don't succeed in setting up a global caliphate. And the mere EFFORT can still end up killing millions of people.

      The problem is, the doctrinal basis for a caliphate is deeply embedded in the most authoritative Muslim doctrinal sources. Which means the threat remains permanently latent in Islam. That is why so called moderate Muslims seem so helpless and ineffectual against the fanatics. They have a poor theological basis, in Islamic terms, for opposing jihadist fanatics.

      I've seen Kratman's CALIPHATE in bookstores, I admit I didn't get a copy because it seemed so grimly dystopian. Wasn't Stirling's four Draka books a deep enough dose of dystopianism? A bit chicken of me, I know! I'll just have to get Kratman's book.