1960s U.N.C.L.E. novel cited in New Yorker commentary

David McDaniel's The Dagger Affair

David McDaniel’s The Dagger Affair

This blog doesn’t do politics. However, a political commentary in The New Yorker does utilize spy fiction to make its case about the U.S. presidential election. Specifically, it cites The Dagger Affair, one of the 1960s Ace paperback novels based on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series.

The novel was written by David McDaniel, who came up with an origin for Thrush, the villainous organization opposed by U.N.C.L.E.

The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik, while not referencing The Dagger Affair nor McDaniel by name, uses the novel’s plot to illustrate the commentary about the election.

Here’s the key excerpt, which is the first (long) paragraph of the essay.

Somewhere in a paperback novel from the nineteen-sixties inspired, or willed into existence, by the “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” television series, the brave men of the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement find themselves actually sharing lunch with old enemies as they make a temporary alliance with the evil forces of THRUSH (the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity—really) in order to defeat an outsider dangerous to both. They have joined forces, despite a century of enmity and countless encounters involving rogue agents and femmes fatales, because together they recognize that both sides—indeed, mankind itself—are threatened by a mad nihilist. (If a twelve-year-old’s memory serves, the nihilist, a super-scientist, has built a machine that negates energy itself.) Everything else, they agree, comes second to this threat. They make a toast, and a truce, to coöperate until the nihilist is defeated.

It should be noted that McDaniel’s novel isn’t canon. In the 1964-68 series, Thrush was just Thrush. However, many U.N.C.L.E. fans have adopted McDaniel’s version. The writer linked Thrush to Professor Moriarty, arch-foe of Sherlock Holmes. But Thrush as an acronym exists only in the Ace paperbacks, not on the show.

The main point of The New Yorker article concerns the relationship between Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the Republican nominees for president and vice president. If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE.

NY Daily News offers U.N.C.L.E. paperbacks as contest prize

The Daily News, the New York tabloid newspaper, is offering 1960s Man From U.N.C.L.E. paperbacks as the prize for a contest.

For the full story, CLICK HERE. Or you can check out this excerpt:

Yes, dear reader, write the winning entry and you’ll receive eight vintage “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” novels, plus a bonus: a “Girl From U.N.C.L.E.” novel by the legendary Michael Avallone, a writer described by novelist Bill Pronzini as “of all the bad writers of the century, pre- eminently top of the heap – the Big Guy.”
(snip)
Which brings us back to “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” A child of the kiss-kiss-bang-bang years of James Bond, I adored all matters cloak-and-dagger, including the adventures of Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum—yes, Dr. “Ducky” Mallard on “NCIS”) that aired on NBC from September 1964 to January 1968. With the initial success of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” came the inevitable novelizations, packaged by Ace Books.

The article by Vince Gosgrove discusses novelizations of movies and television shows more broadly. Michael Avallone wrote the initial U.N.C.L.E. Ace novel and was followed by various authors, including David McDaniel, an U.N.C.L.E. fan favorite. The Ace books weren’t actually novelizations of televiswion episodes but original stories. Anyway, for the contest, entrants have 250 words to explain why they should get the books being offered. The Deadline is April 11 and entries should be e-mailed to manfromuncle@nydailynews.com