Saturday, 14 April 2018

Flandry, Bond And Smiley's People

Dominic Flandry operates in the hard sf settings of extrasolar planets.

James Bond operates in exotic Terrestrial locations. (Only one short story is set at the Berlin Wall.)

George Smiley and his colleagues gather intelligence in dismal urban environments. Le Carre focuses on double-dealing and treachery. Catch a guy, turn him, just like that. An unrepentant Nazi works for the East Germans - then for the British when the Brits have caught him committing a murder. We are left feeling that no side is good or right.

M bought some intelligence from SPECTRE. If only Flandry could have turned Aycharaych against the Merseians!

10 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Your comments about George Smiley helps to explain why I've never yet read any of LeCarre's books. I mean the demonstrably false view that the UK and US was no better than the USSR and its satellites. For all their very real faults I still argue these countries were better than the Soviet Union and thus worth defending. A useful corrective or alternative to the apparently depressing Smiley books would be William F. Buckley's novels featuring Blackford Oates.

My chief complaint with Fleming's Bond books was how he replaced the KGB/SMERSH as the villains Bond fought against with the totally implausible SPECTRE in the later stories.

And I like the idea of Flandry turning Aycharaych against the Merseians. Altho I don't see how he could have done that, unless the Empire had somehow expanded to include Chereion within its bounds. And, for all its faults, I do say the Empire was not that bad. And it was certainly preferable to a Roidhunate dominated by an ideology of Merseian racial supremacism. With Merseia still continuing to remind me of Stirling's dreadful Draka!

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
If Aycharaych survived the bombardment of Chereion, then he might afterwards have worked against the Roidhunate.
Paul.

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
Le Carre's novels are very well written and worth reading.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I certainly hope Aycharaych decided Merseia was not worth any loyalty from him after Chereion was bombarded. Albeit, wouldn't he have a grudge against Dennitza and the Empire because of that bombardment?

I have my late mother's copy of LeCarre's A PERFECT SPY. Maybe I will give that book a chance. Despite the criticisms I've seen of Lecarre's works as being bleak and depressing.

Sean

S.M. Stirling said...

Aycharaych is a patriot fighting to protect his country -- granted, he's nuts and he's the last example of his species (someone has to be after all) but it's the same principle.

What le Carre got wrong is the distinction between means and ends. The means are often the same -- shoot a man in the belly and he'll die, usually very unpleasantly. The context is all.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

In fact, at their final confrontation on Chereion, Flandry asked Aycharaych if he was crazy, struggling so hard to protect his dead world and to cover up the fact his race was extinct. Aycharaych denied that, insisting that contemplating the beautiful and splendid heritage of his race (including the "scanning" of many of the most august members of his species) prevented him from going mad. But I wonder, maybe he was insane, albeit a highly functioning lunatic.

Yes, superficially, the fact Western and Soviet Intelligence services used many of the same means and methods might some conclude there was no moral between the two sides. But there was and leCarre erred if the truly believed there wasn't.

Sean

S.M. Stirling said...

Incidentally, I wonder why Aycharaych didn't recreate his species; he undoubtedly had the genetic records and lab facilities to do so.

A civilization may be very old, but no individual is older than their own birth.

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
Maybe there is something to the idea that the Chereinonites did not die out but Went Beyond and, for their own reasons, would not want Aycharaych to recreate them on this plane of existence.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Another possibility is that the Chereionites no longer wanted to live on as a species, because they believed there was nothing more for them to do. Or did advanced, self aware AIs take over so much of the running of Chereionite affairs that the race went extinct from boredom, ennui, despair? We see that happening to the human race in Anderson's GENESIS.

Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

You are right! Aycharaych must have had the lab facilities and DNA materials needed for bringing back his race. He could have used his own body as a source for some of that DNA. Another mystery!

Sean