For Special Services - question

Hi everyone ! I have a question about the novel For Special Services by John Gardner (1982). I posted a comment yesterday but it disappeared due to mishandling.

First of all, I know the concept of contaminated ice cream is weird/crazy, but as long as it serves the plot, I have no problem with it.

Just a quick reminder for those who don't remember. SPECTRE wants to capitalize on the current lead of the US in the race for space military armament. The project consists in infiltrating NORAD to steal the files containing all the details about the US satellite network. The ice cream made by Bismaquer contains a neuroleptic supposed to brainwash everyone who ingests it, and given there are people working at NORAD who don't like ice cream, they'll be killed.

But isn't it hard to believe the US government will never learn about what happened ? Even if SPECTRE manages to make the bodies disappear, some people will probably report dozens of their colleagues are missing. Then we can guess the FBI will investigate and eventually understand the network could have been hacked, possibly leading the President to suspend the program and its development, which goes against SPECTRE's expectations. Furthermore, we don't know whether the files are supposed to be stolen or simply copied on site. The way it is written let us think it will be stolen, so it's unlikely that nobody will ever notice the theft, leading to similar consequences...

Perhaps I did misunderstand the plot and perhaps the inconsistencies I previously exposed are not valid. If so, can you help me to clarify it guys ? Thanks.


  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

    This is a mission for @Silhouette Man

  • SeanIsTheOnlyOneSeanIsTheOnlyOne Posts: 413MI6 Agent

    @Silhouette Man can you help me to make it clear ? Or anyone else who has read the novel (the main elements of the plot are mentioned in my post) ? @Barbel any idea ?

    It would be a little bit frustrating to have created this topic for nothing...

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,957Chief of Staff

    I agree with what chrisno1 said above- this is definitely a mission for @Silhouette Man, our resident Gardner expert.

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent
    edited April 2023

    Thank you, @chrisno1 and @Barbel for your faith in me regarding John Gardner.

    This is an interesting question you raise regarding For Special Services, @SeanIsTheOnlyOne, but I'm afraid it's been too long since I last read the novel (tut tut, I know!) for me to provide an answer. I will read through the relevant parts of one of my Coronet paperback editions of this novel though and get back to you with a hopefully more substantive answer at that point. Hopefully that will be acceptable to you? 😊

    I had a quick look through my well-thumbed copy of The Bond Files (2nd edition, 2000) to see if it threw up any answers but unfortunately I drew a blank.

    I do remember enjoying this novel from Gardner and I have read it a few times. Something that sticks in my mind about the latter part of the novel is Bond hiding below the stage where I think Walter Luxor makes a speech on SPECTRE's plans for the Space Wolf particle beam weapon. Come to think of it just now, that part is actually quite reminiscent of Bond hiding below the model of Fort Knox in the film version of Goldfinger.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • SeanIsTheOnlyOneSeanIsTheOnlyOne Posts: 413MI6 Agent

    @Silhouette Man thanks your for your answer :)

    Don't worry, I just wanted to underline some inconsistencies that came to my mind after reading this one for the second time. Although the novel is enjoyable (I don't know why I confused its title for many years with Role of Honour), I must say there are many questionable choices from Gardner and I don't appreciate the way he portrays Bond, who appears like some sort of super cop/action man mainly using his gun and his muscles. The fact Bond has no idea about the real identity of Nena Bismaquer makes me feel he's not very smart. I need to have Bond using his brains, finding a clue, unraveling some mystery or at least thinking...otherwise the character looks empty. The story reminds me OHMSS, with Bismaquer's ranch replacing Piz Gloria and the contaminated ice cream replacing Blofeld's brainwashing. But while Fleming's Bond acts cleverly (the fact he asks Ruby the name of the girls and where they come from, and writes it down before escaping), Gardner's Bond doesn't seem to think ahead.

    Your memories are perfectly correct, there is indeed a part with Bond hiding below the stage where Luxor exposes SPECTRE's plans, exactly the same way Goldfinger tells the mafiosi about Operation Grand Slam, as you mention it rightly. That's precisly the part I have problems with.

  • IstvanTheHun007IstvanTheHun007 Posts: 75MI6 Agent

    If I remember correctly, SPECTRE was going to be able to control the entire satellite network long enough to extort it back to the US military.

  • SeanIsTheOnlyOneSeanIsTheOnlyOne Posts: 413MI6 Agent

    SPECTRE is betting on the current lead of the US in the race for space military armament. Perhaps I'm wrong but I didn't spot any blackmail mention like in Thunderball for instance. Nena Blofeld just intends to take control of the weapons to dominate the world. As far as I remember, Gardner doesn't go further with it.

Sign In or Register to comment.