Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Last Temptation III

More curious features of James Blish's "A Style in Treason" (Anywhen, New York, 1970):

(i) Some professional traitors are valuable because they can never have an identity crisis but Simon is High Earth's most distinguished traitor because he has them regularly (p. 15). I am not sure what this means.

(ii) "'...Gro's own horns...'" (p. 54) ER Eddison's Gro was a member of a horned race, as far as I remember, although this cannot be true of the Traitors' Guilds' Lord Gro.

(iii) Lord Gro writes that the question why entrust traitors with important information should never be answered but he writes this in The Discourses which therefore are not public documents?

(iv) Simon's original mission was simply to bribe the Boadacean Traitor-in-Chief, Valkol, but, when this failed, he had to devise an alternative plan. However, I am still not clear how offering Valkol documents damaging to High Earth, then adding further documentation for a Boadacea-High Earth alliance when Valkol was not expecting this was supposed to work.

(v) Gro writes that traitors should have no personal loyalty to rulers because it "...tears the economic tissue..." and that "For the professional, loyalty is a tool, not a value." (p. 28) But Simon is motivated throughout by obligation to High Earth and hatred of the Green Exarch, not by economics, and the story would have taken a strange turn if he had suddenly accepted a large payment from Boadacea and hidden from High Earth, as Da-Ud suggests.

(vi) Did Simon come to Boadacea to bribe, " gull..." or to forge an alliance? (p. 29)

(vii) High Earth has ways of showing displeasure with "...failed traitors..." (pp. 38-39) So they expect him to forge an alliance with Boadacea, not to sell them out, even though he is a "traitor" with no personal loyalty to them?

There may be more but that is it for now.

28/4/13: (viii) Why will Simon be no further use to High Earth after his experience on Boadacea?

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