The GOBSMACKING SHOCK CLIMAX came as no shock, but only because I've remembered it these past four decades. Wonder whether my eleven-year-old self was floored. I'm guessing not, though it probably woke me up some after the pages devoted to parliamentary procedure, Air Force One flight plans, and the technical details of underwater gas system tower types.
Anyway, you gotta wonder just how President Blank's October Surprise would work in his favour. Wouldn't it destabilize… well, everything? Throwing the world into political and economic crises hardly seems like a good re-election strategy.
I was more interested in Bob Porter. I'm pretty certain we're meant to think of him as a real leader, but I'd lost faith by page six – and that's before he starts in on how Canada hasn't treated the Americans all that well, and how they kinda own our natural resources 'cause they found them.
Who voted for this guy? His friends, I suppose. The Governor General, a party supporter, is his old boss; the terrorists are old friends, as is the editor of the Toronto Star. Staff Sergeant Ray of the North-West Territories? Porter knew him, too… and his family.
Funny to think that Trudeau, prime minister in 1973 (when Ultimatum was published), was the actual prime minister in October 1980 (when the novel takes place). Rohmer was right in predicting that there'd be a Democrat in the White House, but Jimmy Carter wasn't anything like President Blank.
The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline was never built.
Wonder how a fella from Georgia would've felt about that.