Friday, 7 August 2015

Villains

Interesting villains are an important aspect of popular fiction. I have posted about them on other blogs. Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry has Tachwyr and Aycharaych.

When SMERSH is disbanded, some of its members join SPECTRE which Bond destroys twice before killing its founder and chairman, Blofeld. However, Bond must then fight Scaramanga in order to undo the harmful consequences of his final showdown with Blofeld. Thus, from SMERSH to SPECTRE to Blofeld to Scaramanga.

There is a comparable progression of villainy in Anderson's Time Patrol series:

the Nine who discover time travel in 19352 want to change the past but are prevented by the Danellians;
Rozher Schtein (Stane) from 2987 is an individual  time criminal;
the two-hundred-fifth millennium is an age of "Neldorian" bandits;
two Neldorians change history but the Patrol changes it back;
thirty-first millennial Exaltationists are more sophisticated than Neldorians;
even though the Exaltationist leader, Merau Varagan, has been apprehended, his clone-mate, Raor, remains at large;
even when the remaining Exaltationists have been killed or captured, the Patrol must fight against temporal chaos;
chaos is focused through the new concept of a personal causal nexus, a man who, tragically, is not a villain but must be eliminated by the Patrol;
thus, from the Nine to Stane to Neldorians to Exaltationists to Varagan to Raor to chaos to Lorenzo de Conti.

Aycharaych and Varagan join the august band of Moriarty, Carl Peterson, Blofeld, Zala and Max. For these last two, see here. They are all later joined by SM Stirling's Count Ignatieff.

6 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    To begin with the works of Poul Anderon, I far preferred the Merseians and their master spy Aycharaych as villains than SPECTRE and Blofeld in Fleming's later James Bond books. It did not seem CONVINCING to me to have a "free enterprise" gang of criminals engaging in terrorism. SMERSH as an agency of the Soviet KGB was far more plausible. And its motivations made more sense to me: to execute the will of the Politburo and further the ambitions of the USSR. Which is why I considered Fleming's FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE one of his best Bond books.

    All things considered, I prefer Anderson's stories of the Terran Empire (not all of whom features Dominic Flandry) to Fleming's Bond books. I'm currently rereading "A Message in Secret."

    And, I agree, Count Ignatieff is worthy of being included in the list of villains you gave here! If Stirling had decided to have Ignatieff somehow surviving, then that might have been a hint he contemplated writing another Angrezi Raj story.

    Sean

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  2. Money isn't a "convincing" motivation for terrorism? It makes a lot more sense than murdering in the name of "the Compassionate, the All-Merciful" or "the Prince of Peace," as too many extremists do. (When 9-11 happened, satirical "news-site" *The Onion* ran an article about an imagined press conference in which God angrily clarified that when He said, "Thou shalt not kill," He MEANT it.)

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    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Of course I agree that illicit acquisition of money is the motivation for all non ideological/religious crimes. NONETHELESS, we still see fanatical Muslims waging jihad and committing atrocities in the name of "the Compassionate, the All Merciful." Most recently in the Islamic State kidnaping of HUNDREDS of Christians (who will almost certainly be massacred, raped, tortured, or forced to become Muslims).

      It still seems to me true that RATIONAL criminals prefer to make money by less extreme means: loan sharking, prostitution, drug trafficking, plain old robber, etc. It's true believing fanatics who commit the worse horrors, whether for political or religions reasons.

      Sean

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    2. I beg your pardon, David! I addressed my comments above to the wrong person. I can only plead I wrote in haste, because I had to go to work.

      Apologetically! Sean

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  3. I have extended the list of Time Patrol villains.

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    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Yes, I noticed the longer list of time villains. And I'm glad you stressed that the unfortunate Lorenzo de Conti was by no means a villain. A tragic accident of chaos caused him to become a vital nexus point.

      Sean

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