Friday, 11 August 2017

Marius Of Marseilles


Marius is important in history and in Poul Anderson's fiction. What I had not known was that "Marius" is also apparently a typical French name. Ian Fleming deploys that fact to comic effect:

"There was a stage-type Marseilles taxi-driver to meet Bond, the archetype of all Mariuses, with the face of a pirate and the razor-sharp badinage of the lower French music-halls."
-Ian Fleming, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (London, 1965), Chapter 23, p. 202.


"...his name turned out in fact to be Marius..." (ibid.) (!)

Another comical encounter with another taxi-driver highlights a point about former enemies (see here and here):

"Bond hired a taxi, and he and the taxi-man, who had been a Luftwaffe pilot during the war and was proud of it, tore round the town together..." (Chapter 26, p. 231)

Bond looks for and buys an engagement ring. Then:

"...the two men went off to celebrate at the Franziskaner Keller, where they ate mounds of Weisswurst and drank four steins of beer each and swore they wouldn't ever fight each other again." (ibid.)

More seriously, an observation about former enemies had been made earlier:

"...the memories of ancient enemies, the French, the Dutch, the Spaniards, even the Americans. All gone, all friends now with one another." (Chapter 20, p. 181)

But, of course, Bond goes on to think about "...the enemies of today..." (ibid.) and the world has changed again since Bond's "today." So I hope that Earth will be one in a science fictional future and not just to fight Merseians!


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Alas, we still have problems, dangers, and enemies today! Such as fanatical Muslim jihadists, Kim Jong Un in North Korea and his increasingly menacing nuclear blustering, and other rogue regimes like the theocrats in Iran. And I see no reason not to expect similar dangers in the remote future.


S.M. Stirling said...

German and British soldiers (originally Bond was in the British forces in 1939-45) had the advantage that they fought each other on other people's territory and usually more or less by the rules, so it was easier to develop camaraderie afterwards.

My grandfather was gassed at Passchendaele and my father was a career soldier (1939-64) and, and my father-in-law fought in WW2 as well (BAR gunner in the 2nd Infantry, Normandy to Czechoslovakia), and all three had a profound professional respect for their German opponents. My father-in-law once referred to the ones he fought in NW Europe as "another bunch of poor unfortunate bastards like us, doing their jobs and trying to stay alive".

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Even the Draka military had a deep professional respect for German soldiers--and wanted to enroll them in their Janissary legions. But the Draka were still abominable as a people and culture!