Saturday, 16 August 2014

Before we let go of Starmageddon, I think it should be noted that Captain Bart Steen is the biggest idiot in Rohmer’s stable of powerfully-bodied men.

When he catches and disposes of the spy, he must know that his ship's cover is blown. As if further evidence is needed, two Soviet destroyers chase down the Gray, forcing it to stop. Confronted by the captain of one, Steen learns that the Soviets are aware of his identity:
Steen was started. How in hell did the Russian know who he was? Then he realized the answer was very simple. The destroyer crew had simply tracked the ship’s name and flag through their computer and come up with the registration information – the country of registration (the flag) and the name of the owner.
Note to self: In future, do not use real name.
Steen was sure that, because of his high profile as a former U.S. Navy nuclear submarine commander, Soviet intelligence would have a full dossier on him.
Hey, that guy I killed an hour ago… Could he have been a Soviet spy?
They would know – and the destroyer captain would know – that he had specialized in the Soviet Union’s research and development of its own Strategic Defense System [sic] during his assignments at the Pentagon, at naval headquarters in Brussels and, finally, as naval attaché at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.
Now that I think about it, maybe it would've been better to have had someone less conspicuous lead this mission. Should I abort? Not on your life! I've fooled those Commie bastards with my hidden control panel. Good thing I saw that old Rocky and Bulwinkle Show. Boy, I sure got those Ruskies fooled!

The man is an idiot; every bit the dim bulb as chatty Lieutenant Commander Mike Doyle.

It’s a wonder the Soviets didn’t win the Cold War.


  1. He had a pretty high profile as a submarine commander, but I'll always remember him best for his work in insurance.

    But I see your point. The CIA could have put the spy ship in some other guy's name. Incompetents! This would have never happened with Rommel in charge.

    1. Someone deserves a good slapping from Old Blood and Guts.

  2. Too bad this wasn't a speculative "what if?" story where Patton didn't die in the 40s, but was instead still alive and kicking at age 100+.

    Can I also add that Steen also has the most forced romantic interlude with the much-younger Ann we've see yet?

  3. The slim-hipped General whathisface reminds the President of Patton, so it's the next best thing.

    Read HTWAB$ for the theory and practice of obligatory sexy stuff. All will become clear.

    1. I've already hit that chapter - "Cuss Words and Sex". Made me wonder if the editor cut some "physical cavorting" between Steen and Ann.

  4. I am nearly done HTWAB$ - wow.

    I was thinking of making a list of examples where he, Rohmer, doesn't take his own advice, but I don't have time to go back through the last dozen books.

    Again - wow.

  5. You mean like where he warns you not to make dialogue sound like someone's giving a lecture?

    The best part for me was the advice about making sure your title is accurate, in a book called How to Write a Best Seller that's about 85% about business and 15% about writing.

    How to Write a Best Seller
    Get a hot idea. Hire a researcher. Read his research into a tape recorder, leaving one detail out until what you imaging is the last page. Reveal that detail on the last page. Hire a typist and a copy editor. Get an agent and a publisher who assigns you an editor. Don't take any crap from anyone, including the people who design the cover and write the jacket copy. Go on a book tour. Equals best seller. He's chummy about it, though. You have to admit that.

    1. Chummy and encouraging! Anyone can do it. You can do it. I can do it. Stan can do it. And so can all our neighbours, the guy who reads the meter and B. Dringdusdy. But if we all do it… Well, there are only ten spots on that best-seller list, right?

  6. It's chummy because it's obviously dictated, so it's like you're sitting around with him hearing this out loud.

    It' s like an interview with the questions erased.