Thursday, 10 March 2016

Unpredictable Blogging

My rereading of Poul Anderson's For Love And Glory was interrupted by a return to Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium future history which I appreciate in itself and also compare to Anderson's Technic History. After rereading all of The Mote In God's Eye (with Larry Niven) and most of King David's Spaceship, I was diverted to Ian Fleming's Casino Royale which I appreciate in itself and also compare to Anderson's Flandry series. Comparing Bond with Flandry then led to comparing both with Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner and Alan Moore's V For Vendetta.

Will Casino Royale be followed by the rest of the James Bond series or by a return to the CoDominium? For the time being, the latter. However, my point is that I do not know where the blog is going any more than anyone else does - except that almost anything can in some way be compared to or connected with Poul Anderson.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

You have been discussing fictional spies like Dominic Flandry and James Bond. Another author, the late William F. Buckley, Jr has written a series of novels featuring Blackford Oakes, an agent of the CIA. I would be curious to know what you thought of the first two novels: SAVING THE QUEEN and STAINED GLASS, if you ever find those books. My view is the Blackford Oakes books are worthy of being compared the Flandry and Bond volumes.


David Birr said...

With regard to Buckley's *Saving the Queen*, I'd like to point out that it counts as an alternate-world story, too, because, to quote a review from '76:

"The Queen, named Caroline (the real royal family having been disposed of by a fortuitous air crash some time before the action begins), is the most engaging character in these proceedings, irreverent of her country's institutions yet jealous of her prerogatives...."

The action of the story takes place in 1952, and I don't now recall if Elizabeth was stated to have been briefly Queen (though not yet crowned) before that air crash and the accession of Cousin Caroline.

I didn't read the later books, so I don't know if THEY diverged from history in any interesting ways.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

Yes, you are right! I should have remembered how the sovereign we see in SAVING THE QUEEN was not Elizabeth II but a hypothetical Queen Caroline. That turns the book into an alternate history novel. And I agree with what the reviewer you quoted said about Caroline: engaging, unconventional, yet watchful of her constitutional prerogatives.

I admit to being biased, but I firmly believe the later Blackford Oakes books are very much worth reading. And commentators have esp. praised STAINED GLASS.

And in some ways Blackford Oakes reminds me of Dominic Flandry: something of a hedonist, aware of his society's failings, yet still believing it to be worth serving.