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Myth-ter Bond: Myth and Reality in the Spy Game

#4
I planned a novel series where the surviving Soviet Union (to offset the American world police mentality) alongside an upsurge in terrorist activities leads the UN to form a global anti-terrorism task force called UN-WATCH (World Anti-Terrorism and Communications Headquarters).
 

David Flin

I am not a security blanket
#5
I planned a novel series where the surviving Soviet Union (to offset the American world police mentality) alongside an upsurge in terrorist activities leads the UN to form a global anti-terrorism task force called UN-WATCH (World Anti-Terrorism and Communications Headquarters).
I rather suspect that's likely to be on the Man from UNCLE side of the reality/myth balance.
 

Alex Richards

With his appurtenances
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
#6
Forgotten the link there, Andy. It's another excellent article anyway. I've been taken by that lebanon story and the picture it paints since David first used it in his troubles story.
It's precisely the sort of thing that would usually be missed, but is also absolutely crying out for a film adaptation because its got all the right elements (danger, possibility of romance, moral conflict etc.)
 

David Flin

I am not a security blanket
#7
It's precisely the sort of thing that would usually be missed, but is also absolutely crying out for a film adaptation because its got all the right elements (danger, possibility of romance, moral conflict etc.)
I'm a little curious. What's the moral conflict? The operation was to get helpless bystanders out of a Hell-hole and find a safe location for them. Granted by illegal means, and granted it was just a drop in the ocean of people who needed help, and granted there was a quid pro quo involved, but I'm struggling to see a moral conflict. Innocent bystander gets moved from Bad Place to Better Place, without anyone getting hurt.

I guess there's a moral conflict in choosing who gets out and who doesn't, because this was a case where demand exceeded (by a considerable margin) the capacity to meet that demand.
 

Alex Richards

With his appurtenances
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
#8
I guess there's a moral conflict in choosing who gets out and who doesn't, because this was a case where demand exceeded (by a considerable margin) the capacity to meet that demand.
There's that element, the potential for some sort of 'are we really doing right by them' musings brought on by getting more emotionally involved with a particular case. That moral element would probably work best in terms of somebody outside the immediate situation objecting and our 'hero' defending it while also feeling some degree of 'should we be doing more' guilt.
 
#12
Very nice article @David Flin I only wish it was longer. I imagine you have a lot to say on the subject.

Between the Beruit thing and the Israeli seaside resort I think from now on I'm going to assume that every single member of staff at a holiday destination is working for someone from now on.


Though in terms of Bond and super spies and the like. Wasn't that influenced by the SOE and OSS and early CIA who really bought into blowing shit up, killing people and working with resistance groups and sexy stuff like that (and consequently kept fucking up completely when against the Soviets and regimes who weren't as widely hated and spread thinly as the Nazis) in the time period Fleming was writing in?
 

David Flin

I am not a security blanket
#13
Though in terms of Bond and super spies and the like. Wasn't that influenced by the SOE and OSS and early CIA who really bought into blowing shit up, killing people and working with resistance groups and sexy stuff like that (and consequently kept fucking up completely when against the Soviets and regimes who weren't as widely hated and spread thinly as the Nazis) in the time period Fleming was writing in?
Pretty much, as I understand it.

If memory serves, Fleming in Casino Royale goes out of his way to make the point that for all of Bond's cowboy heroics, it was the secretary patiently carrying files around who was the effective one at getting information.

I guess it's a distinction between spying in war and in peace. There's a lot of overlap, obviously, but in the first, the objective is to interfere with and damage what the other side are up to, while in the latter, it's much more focused on finding out what the hell the other side is up to.

Between the Beruit thing and the Israeli seaside resort I think from now on I'm going to assume that every single member of staff at a holiday destination is working for someone from now on.
The Commodore Hotel in Beirut, like the Europa in Belfast, or the Continental in Dhaka, became what was basically a secure neutral base for outsiders. When there's major troubles going on, those outsiders are generally not there for the good of their health, and a disproportionate number of them will have specialist interest. Spies, assassins, journalists, aid workers, gun runners, drug smugglers, people traffickers, missionaries, bombers, war lords and crime bosses, and Mrs Cartwright who thinks that the young people on the beach are being a bit noisy today. Once you chance upon the bolt hole (which is normally known as being such by all parties in the trouble spot, and most of the time regarded as neutral territory), pretty much every guest there has some specific reason to be there. Sometimes it's freelance, sometimes corporate, sometimes Government, but you can reckon that they're not tourists.
 

Makemakean

Rootless Rōnin
#15
It's precisely the sort of thing that would usually be missed, but is also absolutely crying out for a film adaptation because its got all the right elements (danger, possibility of romance, moral conflict etc.)
Personally, I would put it as the opening premise of a spy murder-mystery story.

Let's say that eight years ago or something like that, these people were evacuated, and they've been writing their letters on time since forever, and the MI6 thinks that this is all boring and useless. And then, during the scope of two months, a number of them die under unusual circumstances. The way that they die, and the short timespan during which they die, convinces the agency that these obviously have to be connected, and there's got to be something greater than just a single person doing all the killings. Thing is though, as far as MI6 is able to tell, there is no good reason for killing them whatsoever. They haven't proven to be particularly useful assets in the first place, and as far as the agency can tell, other than them being evacuated at approximately the same time, there's really nothing connecting them.

And so, the story begins.
 

David Flin

I am not a security blanket
#16
Hey, @David Flin , you wouldn't be able to offer more resources on the whole Beirut people-smuggling operation? It sounds very intriguing. :)
I covered it somewhat in my Ulster Troubles TL (The Death of Lt Arthur Windsor). Unfortunately, that TL is no longer available for viewing, for reasons that are not important.

I've considered turning it into a story - there is so much about the Commodore Hotel crying out for being used in a story. The trouble is, for this site at least, there's basically no alternate history. It's just history. As a collection of long vignettes, there are dozens of tales to be had, of which the people trafficking/spy element was just one. Some are just hard for the brain to comprehend (like the time Yasser Arafat was at a party, gave a talk from the stage, and after, did a swan dive into the crowd who caught him and returned him to the stage where he sang "My Way". It was somewhat surreal, but so much of Beirut in 1976 was surreal). There's the little tricks (how to get past guards), the host of characters, and so much.

But it's not alternate history.
 

Balaur

Active member
Location
Australia
#19
Though in terms of Bond and super spies and the like. Wasn't that influenced by the SOE and OSS and early CIA who really bought into blowing shit up, killing people and working with resistance groups and sexy stuff like that (and consequently kept fucking up completely when against the Soviets and regimes who weren't as widely hated and spread thinly as the Nazis) in the time period Fleming was writing in?
To be honest, Bond and other super-spies make far more sense to me when thought of as a one man special forces team than as anything resembling an actual spy.