Re: Disapprove?

James V. Doody (
Thu, 19 Mar 1998 12:29:47 -0500

I loved the early Flandry novels but must have lost track of some newer
ones. Did he eventually die?

To tell you the truth, I don't see much parallel between "fantasy: spy
figures, including Flandry but also de Griz and Retief and even Bond, and=

the kind of quasi-realistic tension generated in the Sandbaggers characte=
and plots.

I'd compare Sandbaggers more to Le Carre's figures and plots with maybe a=
admixture of Quiller. It has many uniquenesses, of course, which derive
from neither but I see it as somehow "serious" whereas Flandry, Retief, d=
Griz, and Bond are all pretty frivolous: fun but frivolous.

It's funny! Of the frivolous spy-heroes, I liked Retief the best. =

Possibly that's because he personally takes his "ultimate" or "greater" j=
seriously even when he circumvents, ignores, or even mocks the CDT
bureaucracy. If I have a cavil against Laumer's series, it's that he mak=
Retief just a little TOO much a Superman figure; somehow Jame always
guesses the enemy trickery in advance and makes just the right
preparations; he is somehow big, strong, and athletic enough to win every=

physical contest; he learns all the alien languages and develops
astonishing insights into their culture with little information; he's jus=
a little TOO good. On the other hand, maybe that's an aspect of Laumer's=

whole parody of the diplomatic service.