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Bond knew what 'shock' might mean in his profession. "Good," he said without conviction. He smiled at her and went into his office and closed the door.

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The slow breakdown of communications had, of course, involved a constantly increasing infringement of the sacred formulae for international trade. In the heyday of the empire the provinces had been highly specialized for particular forms of agriculture, mining, and manufacture. Specialization had been encouraged by the early world-governments, for individuals, social classes, and peoples. Everything must be done to increase dependence on the imperial organization and the government. No region must be self-sufficient, no individual a person of all-round development. No one must ever be more than a cog in the great machine or a specialized cell in the great body politic. But now the failure of communications forced the peoples to change their whole economy or be extinguished. The great change was of course unplanned or misguided. The paucity of intelligence and the sanctity of the traditional economy made conscious planning impossible. New industries had to sprout in every region; but lack of inventiveness and organizing talent, and the universal condemnation of novelty, forced the pioneers to flounder along under a heavy cloak of subterfuge and self-deception. Inevitably the standard of living in each province deteriorated. Little by little the flood of mass-produced machine-made goods gave place to a miserable trickle of the crudest hand-made makeshifts produced by local craftsmen who were hampered not only by innate obtuseness, but by lack of all traditional technique, and also by the enervating sense that their occupation was sinful.

I have lived much among men by whom the English criticism of the day has been vehemently abused. I have heard it said that to the public it is a false guide, and that to authors it is never a trustworthy Mentor. I do not concur in this wholesale censure. There is, of course, criticism and criticism. There are at this moment one or two periodicals to which both public and authors may safely look for guidance, though there are many others from which no spark of literary advantage may be obtained. But it is well that both public and authors should know what is the advantage which they have a right to expect. There have been critics — and there probably will be again, though the circumstances of English literature do not tend to produce them — with power sufficient to entitle them to speak with authority. These great men have declared, tanquam ex cathedra, that such a book has been so far good and so far bad, or that it has been altogether good or altogether bad — and the world has believed them. When making such assertions they have given their reasons, explained their causes, and have carried conviction. Very great reputations have been achieved by such critics, but not without infinite study and the labour of many years.Under the stress of violent warfare social conditions throughout the two empires inevitably grew worse. On the plea of military necessity legislation to protect labour was repealed, hours were lengthened, wages reduced, food adulterated, and rationed in such a way as to leave the rich the chance of buying substitutes which the poor could not afford. In China, for instance, rice was rationed to a bare subsistence minimum, but a new and more nutritious grain, which was rapidly supplanting rice, was left unrationed. Its price mounted far beyond the poor man’s means. The whole crop was available for the rich. Personal liberty was of course, so far as possible, destroyed. The military could move anyone to any part of the empire, could imprison, kill, or torture at their own pleasure. They did not hesitate to do so. Education was wholly concerned with producing efficient machine-tenders who could be trusted to carry out orders without question. The synthetic faith was inculcated from childhood onwards. Nearly all accepted it outwardly; most people thoughtlessly believed it; a few secretly doubted while they outwardly conformed; still fewer tried to rally the forces of light, and were promptly destroyed; a fairly large minority believed the faith with some degree of conviction; and of these a small number practised it with passion. Hope, they said, might even permit itself a higher though a precarious flight. For some of the most adept forwards had claimed that in their most lucid moments they had seen something more. They had seen that in spite of the precarious existence of the snowflake universes and of the conscious beings within them, these beings themselves, when they attained mature spiritual stature, acquired very formidable powers. The pioneering forwards claimed that, in terms of the inadequate image, they had sometimes seen a brief but dazzling effulgence blaze up within some snowflake, like the brilliance of a new star. So brilliant might this conflagration be that it illuminated the whole wide snowfield. When this happened, the ‘titans’, seemingly terrified by the sudden light, fled in all directions, away from its source. Some of them were even annihilated by the radiance, like the shades of night at sunrise. Clearly, then, the right course for every intelligent world was to strive for that brilliance of the spirit. Clearly this alone could overcome the ‘titans’. Clearly what was most lovely and precious, though commonly so frail, was also, in the fullness of its growth, the mightiest power of all. But this power, intensified to such a pitch that it could destroy the ‘titans’, was not the power of a few individuals exploring in isolation; it was the power of a whole race, of a whole conscious world, perhaps of a whole cosmos, united in most intimate spiritual communion. And such power was not to be attained without the utmost racial dedication. Dinner-the conventional "expensive" dinner of a cruise ship-was as predictable as such things usually are. The waiters brought on the desiccated smoked salmon with a thimbleful of small-grained black caviar, fillets of some unnamed native fish (possibly silk fish) in a cream sauce, a "poulet supreme" (a badly roasted broiler with a thick gravy), and the bombe surprise. And while the meal moved sluggishly on, the dining-room was being turned into a "tropical jungle" with the help of potted plants, piles of oranges and coconuts, and an occasional stem of bananas -this was a backdrop for the calypso band, which, in wine-red and gold-frilled shirts assembled in due course and began playing "Linstead Market" too loud. The tune closed. An acceptable but heavily clad girl appeared and began singing "Belly-Lick" with the printable words. She wore a false pineapple as a headdress. Bond saw a "cruise ship" evening stretching ahead. He decided that he was either too old or too young for the worst torture of all, boredom, and got up and went to the head of the table. He said to Scaramanga, "I've got a headache. I'm going to bed." With this my aunt tied her head up in a handkerchief, with which she was accustomed to make a bundle of it on such occasions; and I escorted her home. As she stood in her garden, holding up her little lantern to light me back, I thought her observation of me had an anxious air again; but I was too much occupied in pondering on what she had said, and too much impressed - for the first time, in reality - by the conviction that Dora and I had indeed to work out our future for ourselves, and that no one could assist us, to take much notice of it.

Despite Mamá’s nonchalance, I could see why the Tarahumara were spooked when Caballo firstcame whisking through their woods. Fantastic feats of endurance under an unforgiving sun haveleft Caballo a little on the savage side. He’s well over six feet tall, with naturally fair skin that hasweathered into shades ranging from pink on his nose to walnut on his neck. He’s so long-limbedand lean-muscled, he looks like the endoskeleton of a bulkier beast; melt the Terminator in acauldron of acid, and Caballo Blanco is what comes out.

The professed aim of the World Government was to secure a right balance of specialization and all-roundness. Thus the more specialized a man’s trade, the more he was encouraged to take up outside activities. Every individual, of course, was educated primarily to be a developed personality and a responsible citizen. He was given an outline of world-history and of the modern world culture. He was also deliberately educated for breadth of sympathy and understanding. Whatever his special capacities, he was trained to some degree of insight into the activities of others. It was constantly urged upon him that his prime duty was twofold, both to develop his own special aptitude and to comprehend and foster so far as possible the special aptitudes of others.

Doctor No's lips compressed into a thin purple line. The eyes were hard as onyx under the billiard-ball forehead and skull. The polite mask had gone. The Grand Inquisitor sat in the high-backed chair. The hour had struck for the peine forte et dure.

Bond went head-over-heels on to the ground amongst the spectators' feet, his legs in the air. The back of the chair splintered with a sharp crack. There were cries of dismay. The spectators cringed away and then, reassured, clustered back. Hands helped him to his feet and brushed him down. The huissier bustled up with the chef de partie. At all costs a scandal must be avoided.