Friday, 21 April 2017


I think that a fictional character has become a myth if he is universally recognized even by people who are unfamiliar with the book or other work(s) in which he appears. A measure of mythical status is that a later writer can refer, e.g., to Sherlock Holmes, without having to explain this reference to his readers. We are all too aware that Poul Anderson refers to Sherlock Holmes but here is another such reference:

"'If you wanted James Bond, you sure were mistaken.'
"She gave him a blank glance. 'Who?'
"'Never mind,' he said, largely to cover his own astonishment.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Corridors Of Time, Chapter Two, (Frogmore, St Albans, Herts, 1968), p. 18.

Lockridge has to be astonished at Storm's ignorance of James Bond. He does not yet know that she is a time traveller from a much later civilization.

We can all too readily compare Anderson's Dominic Flandry to Bond (see here) although no such comparison is made in the texts. I recently compared Flandry's Merseian antagonists with Bond's Russian opponents (see here) although SM Stirling commented that the Merseians remind him of classical Japanese.

We cannot escape without a dose of synchronicity. Part II of Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played With Fire (London, 2006) is, for very good internal reasons, entitled "From Russia With Love." Larsson does not really need to tell us that this is:

"...a homage, of course, to Ian Fleming's classic novel." (p. 86)

But it is indeed a classic.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, at least in Western or Westernized nations James Bong has become one of the arch types for spies. Altho I would carp and grumble and say Dominic Flandry was a better, far more competent intelligence agent.

I'm a bit surprised Storm did not know what Lockridge meant by mentioning James Bond. I would have expected her to know what he meant if she had lived and traveled in the US of circa AD 1960.


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Sean!

She had lived and travelled in America of the 1960's to some extent, but she was largely concerned with accomplishing her goals, the goals of the Warden regime. How much time would she have spent reading popular novels, watching movies, or learning just what was behind any allusions to pop culture she came across? She had her "hearing aid" providing her with knowledge of the local language and mores, but presumably it did not have unlimited memory; it would likely not have enabled her to "remember" the answers to all questions she might have about local culture.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

You made good points. It's NOT likely the data base in Storm's "hearing aid" would include much of the minutia of popular culture. That she would have to pick up more or less by chance.