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Tony Grist

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Halfway Through [Jan. 31st, 2010|07:07 pm]
Tony Grist
We're half way through Life's Handicap now- and the stories are getting shorter and slighter.

"The Mutiny of The Mavericks" is about an attempt by an international terrorist group to infiltrate and subvert an Irish Regiment. We're not told what I.A.A means, but I'm guessing one of those 'A's stands for Anarchist. It's a rollicking yarn in Kipling's richest vein of pitch-black jocularity. The moral I draw is that our great-great-grandparents were less rattled by terrorists than we are.

"The Mark of the Beast" was once notorious for its brutality. By the standards of today's torture porn it's a mild little thing, but it ruffled feathers in the 1890s. A white man- Strickland of the police- uses heated gun barrels and loops of fishing line on an oriental- how utterly unheard of!  For all that its shock value has faded, it is still pretty damn amazing.

"The Return of Imray"  features Strickland again- a character with Holmes-like characteristics, to whom Kipling returned- at intervals- all through his writing career. Here he solves a not very challenging murder mystery. There is also a remarkably convincing ghost. 

[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2010-02-01 07:35 pm (UTC)
I skimmed "Mutiny of the Mavericks" last night and I'm not sure it was a terrorist group -- more like a bunch of revolutionaries, and a sad sack bunch of revolutionaries, at that. I think we're a little more rattled by terrorists, at least over here, because they were successful in using airplanes full of innocent civilians as weapons of mass destruction. It is indeed a rollicking yarn, though, and one that reminds me of the tales of Stalky & Company. The moral of the story that I draw is "let the fly who deems himself a spider beware."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-02-01 10:25 pm (UTC)
I think these guys are anarchists. I believe I.A.A. stands for International Association of Anarchists- or something like that. They put me in mind of the equally useless anarchist cell in Conrad's The Secret Agent- which sends an idiot boy to blow up the Greenwich Observatory.

Terrorists- anarchists- revolutionaries- they're all much the same thing- and most of them are sad sacks. I think it's very good strategy to laugh at them.
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