Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Bond And Flandry

Two sexually active secret agents enjoying the good life while killing agents of a foreign/alien dictatorship and other enemies of freedom: these are the obvious similarities between James Bond and Dominic Flandry. Also, Flandry gets neither of the women that he really wants. Bond proposes twice and even marries briefly once but both women wind up dead.

Flandry fights Merseians and their agents of other species, Aycharaych, A'u and Magnusson. Bond has four kinds of adversaries:

Russian Intelligence outfits including, until Kruschev disbands it, SMERSH;
Nazis left over from the War;
North American gangsters;
the independent European organization, SPECTRE, and its founder, Blofeld.

As each enemy is eliminated, the next springs up and this cycle could be prolonged indefinitely. However, whereas Bond never reflects on the society that he protects from the various villains, Flandry learns that Technic Civilization has made wrong choices, has become decadent and will almost certainly be destroyed by its internal contradictions even if not by any of its external opponents. Further, this civilization follows a historical pattern. Thus, Anderson and Flandry see further and deeper than Fleming or Bond.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

As you will recall the type of enemies combated by James Bond which I found most implausible was Blofeld and SPECTRE. Implausible because they did not have any RATIONALE for their crimes, no IDEOLOGY which they served. The only thing that seemed to motivate Blofeld/SPECTRE was pure nihilism, and even that has to deduced, it's not laid out for us.

The Bond books which features the KGB/SMERSH were much more satisfactory to me: because they acted in the name of the USSR and its Marxist-Leninist ideology.

So I prefer Poul Anderson's Flandry series because it was not incoherent. However bad Merseia's ideology of racial supremacy was, at least it made sense. And Aycharaych's motivations for serving Merseia also made sense, however bad were the means he chose for advancing those motivations.

Yes, because of the researches of Chunderban Desai, Flandry discovered John Hord's all too ominously plausible theories on how and why civilizations rise and fall. And that Technic Civilization and the Empire fitted neatly into Hord's pattern. Yes, Anderson and Flandry saw further and more deeply into history than did Fleming and Bond.


Paul Shackley said...

The members of SPECTRE are motivated by greed.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

But it's so DANGEROUS for an organization like SPECTRE to, in effect, wage war on the rest of the world. Rational criminals, even Mexican drug traffickers, prefer not to provoke or attract hostile attention on a truly effective level. I still argue that a real world terrorist organization on the scale of SPECTRE would have to be motivated by beliefs "deserving" of that kind of risk. Current real world examples being the Muslim fanaticism driving the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, etc.