Saturday, 14 July 2018


Dominic Flandry:

"What you'll find worst, though, is the risk of having to sell out your own comrades, name them to the enemy, so he will keep confidence in you. Are you brave enough to sacrifice twenty lives for a world?"
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters Of The Sky Cave" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 301-149 AT XIII, pp. 249-250.

I would not. And there would be very few, if any, occasions when the choice was as stark and simplistic as twenty lives for a world. See here. I remember that, if an Asimov robot was forced to choose between killing ten people and killing twenty, then it would kill the ten, then go insane, having broken First Law.

IN SM Stirling's Black Chamber, an American agent infiltrating a German spy ring kills French agents trying to kidnap a German scientist. Why not kill the German spy that she is with and help the French? She is by no means certain that staying with the German will yield a positive result.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And, fortunately, Kit did not need to betray her friends to the Ardazirho invaders of Vixen. She only had to "betray" Flandry, because he told her to do so, as a means getting into the enemy HQ. Risky, but as we know, it paid off!

I'm a slow reader, so I'm still in the early chapters of Stirling's BLACK CHAMBER.


S.M. Stirling said...

To maintain a cover, you have to act as the cover would. Luz has been tasked with penetrating the German plot of which Horst (and von Bulow, the scientist) are a part, and to do that she absolutely has to maintain her cover. The French agents are just unlucky... 8-).