Discussion:
Secret governments in SF
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a***@gmail.com
2020-01-26 07:32:12 UTC
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In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.

It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.

Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.

I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.

Abhinav Lal

"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-01-26 07:40:08 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the
Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments?
If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know
much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
There is the Babbage Society in a number of Michael Flynn's books,
The Department of The Interior in the Liaden books and reaching further
back, but perhaps the ultimate example is found in Jack Vance's "Dodkin's Job".
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
a***@gmail.com
2020-01-26 08:21:16 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the
Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments?
If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know
much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
There is the Babbage Society in a number of Michael Flynn's books,
The Department of The Interior in the Liaden books and reaching further
back, but perhaps the ultimate example is found in Jack Vance's "Dodkin's Job".
In each of these cases, do they benefit humanity - are they heroes or villains? Or are they too complex to judge either way.

Abhinav Lal

"The creator and destroyer are one"
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-01-26 09:09:13 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the
Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments?
If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know
much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
There is the Babbage Society in a number of Michael Flynn's books,
The Department of The Interior in the Liaden books and reaching further
back, but perhaps the ultimate example is found in Jack Vance's
"Dodkin's Job".
In each of these cases, do they benefit humanity - are they heroes or
villains? Or are they too complex to judge either way.
The Babbage Society is generally portrayed as a negative as is the DOI.
Dodkin is a neutral of sorts.
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
a***@gmail.com
2020-01-27 04:20:30 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the
Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments?
If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know
much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts
control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
There is the Babbage Society in a number of Michael Flynn's books,
The Department of The Interior in the Liaden books and reaching further
back, but perhaps the ultimate example is found in Jack Vance's
"Dodkin's Job".
In each of these cases, do they benefit humanity - are they heroes or
villains? Or are they too complex to judge either way.
The Babbage Society is generally portrayed as a negative as is the DOI.
Dodkin is a neutral of sorts.
If you want to be a positive influence on society, why hide your activities? Perhaps it is easier to manipulate people in secret. Are people willing to sacrifice freedom for security and wealth?

I want transparency and accountability in government. The responsibility is on the media to keep the authorities honest.

In these books what reason is given for keeping their organisation's activities secret?

Abhinav Lal

"Who benefits?"
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
a***@yahoo.com
2020-01-26 20:08:45 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Golden State By Ben Winters
The (visible) government expects a slavish attention to the truth. But what is behind them...
b***@dontspam.silent.com
2020-01-26 23:18:38 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
There is the Overgovernment in James H. Schmitz stories in the Hub.
Wolffan
2020-01-26 23:38:14 UTC
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Post by b***@dontspam.silent.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene
Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in
the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about
it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
There is the Overgovernment in James H. Schmitz stories in the Hub.
The Overgovernment ain’t secret. Some of its parts are secret, but the
Overgovernment itself is very much not secret.
p***@hotmail.com
2020-01-27 00:52:16 UTC
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Post by b***@dontspam.silent.com
Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
There is the Overgovernment in James H. Schmitz stories in the Hub.
Not exactly secret; Ticos Cay and Nile Etland speculate about it
at length as they are on the run from the Parahuan invaders of the
water world Nandy Cline in _The Demon Breed_ (AKA _The Tuvela_).
Later the reader is privy to internal discussions by the senate
in the aftermath of the incursion, and Cay's and Etland's comments
seem to have been quite accurate.

On the other hand, the Federation's Psychology Service seems almost
like a rogue agency in some stories.

Peter Wezeman
anti-social Darwinist
Wolffan
2020-01-26 23:56:58 UTC
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In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene
Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in
the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it
by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Department H in Mack Reynolds’ stories. His visible kinda United Nations
explicitly has a souped up Star Trek Prime Directive: Thou Shalt Not
Interfere With How The Locals Run Their Planets, No Matter How Stupid The
Locals Might Be. Dept H exists, quietly, to subvert local governments and
mold them into something a tad more reasonable. It’s all in a good cause,
of course; there’s this dead alien which was found drifting in a wrecked
ship. That’s bad enough, as the kinda UN doesn’t know of any aliens.
What’s worse is that his ship is more advanced than anything available to
humans, and that it was wrecked in combat, meaning that either the aliens are
fighting amongst themselves or there are at least _two_ sets of aliens,
apparently with better tech than humans as humans would have had to work at
it to do the observed damage. Dept H was set up to get all humanity on a war
footing, and to goose humanity’s tech, whether local governments would
rather live at low tech levels and without armies or not. Of course, Dept H
doesn’t know how long the wrecked ship had been drifting, where it drifted
in from, or anything except it’s alien and wrecked and humans couldn’t do
it. Yes, they’re that paranoid. Officially Dept H is there to _enforce_ the
Super Prime Directive, which gives it all kinds of power and makes it easy to
subvert locals... My fav Dept H stories were Amazon Planet and Code Duello. I
particularly liked the duel with Macedonian pikes and the one involving
Cretean-style bull fighting. (Okay, so they weren’t really duels, but...)
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-01-27 03:55:25 UTC
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Permalink
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene
Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in
the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it
by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Department H in Mack Reynolds’ stories. His visible kinda United Nations
explicitly has a souped up Star Trek Prime Directive: Thou Shalt Not
Interfere With How The Locals Run Their Planets, No Matter How Stupid The
Locals Might Be. Dept H exists, quietly, to subvert local governments and
mold them into something a tad more reasonable. It’s all in a good cause,
of course; there’s this dead alien which was found drifting in a wrecked
ship. That’s bad enough, as the kinda UN doesn’t know of any aliens.
What’s worse is that his ship is more advanced than anything available to
humans, and that it was wrecked in combat, meaning that either the aliens are
fighting amongst themselves or there are at least _two_ sets of aliens,
apparently with better tech than humans as humans would have had to work at
it to do the observed damage. Dept H was set up to get all humanity on a war
footing, and to goose humanity’s tech, whether local governments would
rather live at low tech levels and without armies or not. Of course, Dept H
doesn’t know how long the wrecked ship had been drifting, where it drifted
in from, or anything except it’s alien and wrecked and humans couldn’t do
it. Yes, they’re that paranoid. Officially Dept H is there to _enforce_ the
Super Prime Directive, which gives it all kinds of power and makes it easy to
subvert locals... My fav Dept H stories were Amazon Planet and Code Duello. I
particularly liked the duel with Macedonian pikes and the one involving
Cretean-style bull fighting. (Okay, so they weren’t really duels, but...)
I read a couple of these. Was there ever a wrap-up where we face the aliens
more or less united?
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
p***@hotmail.com
2020-01-27 04:47:58 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Wolffan
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene
Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in
the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it
by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control
over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Department H in Mack Reynolds’ stories. His visible kinda United Nations
explicitly has a souped up Star Trek Prime Directive: Thou Shalt Not
Interfere With How The Locals Run Their Planets, No Matter How Stupid The
Locals Might Be. Dept H exists, quietly, to subvert local governments and
mold them into something a tad more reasonable. It’s all in a good cause,
of course; there’s this dead alien which was found drifting in a wrecked
ship. That’s bad enough, as the kinda UN doesn’t know of any aliens.
What’s worse is that his ship is more advanced than anything available to
humans, and that it was wrecked in combat, meaning that either the aliens are
fighting amongst themselves or there are at least _two_ sets of aliens,
apparently with better tech than humans as humans would have had to work at
it to do the observed damage. Dept H was set up to get all humanity on a war
footing, and to goose humanity’s tech, whether local governments would
rather live at low tech levels and without armies or not. Of course, Dept H
doesn’t know how long the wrecked ship had been drifting, where it drifted
in from, or anything except it’s alien and wrecked and humans couldn’t do
it. Yes, they’re that paranoid. Officially Dept H is there to _enforce_ the
Super Prime Directive, which gives it all kinds of power and makes it easy to
subvert locals... My fav Dept H stories were Amazon Planet and Code Duello. I
particularly liked the duel with Macedonian pikes and the one involving
Cretean-style bull fighting. (Okay, so they weren’t really duels, but...)
I read a couple of these. Was there ever a wrap-up where we face the aliens
more or less united?
In _Dawnman Planet_, serialized in _Analog_ as _Beehive_, during the period
when Ronald Bronston, Sid Jakes, and the other operatives are still active,
human explorers find the home world of the aliens. It is a dead planet,
recently rendered uninhabitable by even more dangerous aliens.

Peter Wezeman
anti-social Darwinist
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-01-27 05:43:28 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene
Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use
mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG
manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed
sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in
the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much
about it
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control
over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Department H in Mack Reynolds’ stories. His visible kinda United Nations
explicitly has a souped up Star Trek Prime Directive: Thou Shalt Not
Interfere With How The Locals Run Their Planets, No Matter How Stupid The
Locals Might Be. Dept H exists, quietly, to subvert local governments and
mold them into something a tad more reasonable. It’s all in a good cause,
of course; there’s this dead alien which was found drifting in a wrecked
ship. That’s bad enough, as the kinda UN doesn’t know of any aliens.
What’s worse is that his ship is more advanced than anything available to
humans, and that it was wrecked in combat, meaning that either the
aliens are
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
fighting amongst themselves or there are at least _two_ sets of aliens,
apparently with better tech than humans as humans would have had to work at
it to do the observed damage. Dept H was set up to get all humanity on a war
footing, and to goose humanity’s tech, whether local governments would
rather live at low tech levels and without armies or not. Of course, Dept H
doesn’t know how long the wrecked ship had been drifting, where it drifted
in from, or anything except it’s alien and wrecked and humans
couldn’t do
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
it. Yes, they’re that paranoid. Officially Dept H is there to
_enforce_ the
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Super Prime Directive, which gives it all kinds of power and makes it
easy to
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
subvert locals... My fav Dept H stories were Amazon Planet and Code
Duello. I
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
particularly liked the duel with Macedonian pikes and the one involving
Cretean-style bull fighting. (Okay, so they weren’t really duels, but...)
I read a couple of these. Was there ever a wrap-up where we face the aliens
more or less united?
In _Dawnman Planet_, serialized in _Analog_ as _Beehive_, during the period
when Ronald Bronston, Sid Jakes, and the other operatives are still active,
human explorers find the home world of the aliens. It is a dead planet,
recently rendered uninhabitable by even more dangerous aliens.
Thanks, I'll put that on my list, though it sounds like it is open-ended as
well.
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
m***@sky.com
2020-01-27 05:18:46 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Many of R.A.Meluch's books have a space-borne Roman Empire that stayed hidden from the apparent fall of the Roman Empire until the colonisation of space became practical.

In E.E.Smith's Lensman series, the Arisians (rather like the Second Foundation) influence human affairs secretly, because coming out into the open would be counter-productive.
Johnny1A
2020-01-29 05:41:30 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Abhinav Lal
"Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely"
Your definition requires a cut-off point to work. Even in real life, there _are_ groups and organizations that are at least shadowy, and influence governments and the economy and society, but are they 'hidden governments'?

Also, what constitutes 'secret'?

The _existence_ of the Mafia, for ex, is no secret, and it certainly exercises an influence on government. But the _existence_ of the Bene Gesserit was not a secret in Paul Atreides' time, either. Ditto the Second Foundation, at least up until the First mistakenly believes they've destroyed it.

Likewise, the networks of political donors the fund both big U.S. parties is not a secret, but their size, exactly composition, and exact activities are often shadowy. They have a _lot_ of semi-hidden influence.

How much influence is needed to qualify, and how secret?
Sea Wasp (Ryk E. Spoor)
2020-02-15 15:33:34 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Harry Potter and the Ministry of Magic.

Charles Stross' Laundry and all the related organizations, at least
until Case Nightmare Green started and the weird came out in the open.

In the Fall of Veils series by my wife Kathleen and myself, the
supernatural world is organized as a shadow government behind the real
ones and tied to it. All the top levels of all governments are connected
to it in one way.

There's some element of that present in most of the "supernatural's all
over but it's a secret" works.

In my own _Princess Holy Aura_, for instance, the OSC is a
world-girdling organization that does its best to hide and neutralize
any supranatural threats to the world, and does so with any means
necessary, including erasing and changing memories of those involved
(including other government agencies). They are of course a direct expy
of the SCP Foundation.

There was an elitist version of it, IIRC, in Pohl and Kornbluth's
Search the Stars, where Earth was populated by mostly idiots who THOUGHT
they ran things, but was actually controlled by a small number of
smarter people who kept the idiots from killing themselves. I think that
one is actually not uncommon in Golden Age SF.
--
Sea Wasp
/^\
;;;
Website: http://www.grandcentralarena.com Blog:
http://seawasp.dreamwidth.org
Robert Carnegie
2020-02-15 16:47:45 UTC
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Post by Sea Wasp (Ryk E. Spoor)
Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
Harry Potter and the Ministry of Magic.
Charles Stross' Laundry and all the related organizations, at least
until Case Nightmare Green started and the weird came out in the open.
In the Fall of Veils series by my wife Kathleen and myself, the
supernatural world is organized as a shadow government behind the real
ones and tied to it. All the top levels of all governments are connected
to it in one way.
There's some element of that present in most of the "supernatural's all
over but it's a secret" works.
In my own _Princess Holy Aura_, for instance, the OSC is a
world-girdling organization that does its best to hide and neutralize
any supranatural threats to the world, and does so with any means
necessary, including erasing and changing memories of those involved
(including other government agencies). They are of course a direct expy
of the SCP Foundation.
There was an elitist version of it, IIRC, in Pohl and Kornbluth's
Search the Stars, where Earth was populated by mostly idiots who THOUGHT
they ran things, but was actually controlled by a small number of
smarter people who kept the idiots from killing themselves. I think that
one is actually not uncommon in Golden Age SF.
I think that the idea was more of a secret organisation
secretly controlling the visible government - while the
Ministry of Magic, for instance, just regulates magical
people and things, or those in the UK anyway - I consider
this vague but unless the "Fantastic Beasts" films say
otherwise, there doesn't seem to be regulation of other
countries, which probably manage in their own way.
There is a scene in HP where the UK Prime Minister meets
the Magic Minister, initiated by the latter, and unusual.
My headcanon is that both of them, at least theoretically,
answer to the monarch, but certainly in practice and by
choice the wizards live apart from the rest of the world.
Hagrid says it's because the normals kept bothering
wizards and witches to get magic done for them, but
a lot of the information from Hagrid is not accurate.

There was the ultimate authority of the universe in
Douglas Adams' _The Restaurant at the End of the Universe_
- not a god because probably this way works better.
(Had we done him?)

The "Lost Stars" novels by "Jack Campbell" deal with
a couple of senior administrators in the "Syndicate"
evil space empire's Midway star system who launch a
popular revolt, democratic reforms, and personal legal
rights, while also making sure that they themselves
still have absolute power when they want it.

I've forgotten whose stand-up comedy act included
describing each new U.S. president being shown a film
of John F. Kennedy's assassination that is not one
the rest of us have seen, and told that "Here's how
it is..."
m***@sky.com
2020-02-15 18:17:53 UTC
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(trimmed)
Post by Robert Carnegie
I think that the idea was more of a secret organisation
secretly controlling the visible government - while the
Ministry of Magic, for instance, just regulates magical
people and things, or those in the UK anyway - I consider
this vague but unless the "Fantastic Beasts" films say
otherwise, there doesn't seem to be regulation of other
countries, which probably manage in their own way.
There is a scene in HP where the UK Prime Minister meets
the Magic Minister, initiated by the latter, and unusual.
My headcanon is that both of them, at least theoretically,
answer to the monarch, but certainly in practice and by
choice the wizards live apart from the rest of the world.
Hagrid says it's because the normals kept bothering
wizards and witches to get magic done for them, but
a lot of the information from Hagrid is not accurate.
(trimmed)
Reading this, I am reminded of organizations with considerable political influence which are not quite political parties. In "Shadow of Victory" Weber describes a so-called sports organization with a political side called Sokol, modeled (by both Weber and its fictional creator) on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokol. I am familiar with both https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Order and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_Athletic_Association (My father claimed that his career as a headmaster in N.Ireland stalled because he never joined the Orange Order. I remember Department of Education forms turning up as scribbling paper in school when I was also his pupil, and wonder if that also had something to do with it). Another semi-political organization is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashtriya_Swayamsevak_Sangh.
m***@sky.com
2020-02-22 17:52:59 UTC
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(trimmed)
Post by Robert Carnegie
I think that the idea was more of a secret organisation
secretly controlling the visible government - while the
Ministry of Magic, for instance, just regulates magical
people and things, or those in the UK anyway - I consider
this vague but unless the "Fantastic Beasts" films say
otherwise, there doesn't seem to be regulation of other
countries, which probably manage in their own way.
There is a scene in HP where the UK Prime Minister meets
the Magic Minister, initiated by the latter, and unusual.
My headcanon is that both of them, at least theoretically,
answer to the monarch, but certainly in practice and by
choice the wizards live apart from the rest of the world.
Hagrid says it's because the normals kept bothering
wizards and witches to get magic done for them, but
a lot of the information from Hagrid is not accurate.
(trimmed)
Reading this, I am reminded of organizations with considerable political influence which are not quite political parties. In "Shadow of Victory" Weber describes a so-called sports organization with a political side called Sokol, modeled (by both Weber and its fictional creator) on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokol. I am familiar with both https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Order and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_Athletic_Association (My father claimed that his career as a headmaster in N.Ireland stalled because he never joined the Orange Order. I remember Department of Education forms turning up as scribbling paper in school when I was also his pupil, and wonder if that also had something to do with it). Another semi-political organization is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashtriya_Swayamsevak_Sangh.
My alumni magazine tells me that Stephan van Wyk has given a talk on an organisation that deserves to live (in infamy, and probably disguised) in many a story: Founded in 1918 as a 'cultural organisation' the Afrikaner Broederbond, translated as the Afrikaner Brotherhood, came to play a leading role in the development of Afrikaner nationalism in the 1930s in South Africa. This organisation largely operated in secret and admission to it was by invitation only...
Richard Todd
2020-02-16 17:56:23 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
I've forgotten whose stand-up comedy act included
describing each new U.S. president being shown a film
of John F. Kennedy's assassination that is not one
the rest of us have seen, and told that "Here's how
it is..."
Pretty sure that's from the act of the late Bill Hicks.
p***@hotmail.com
2020-02-16 06:14:03 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
In Foundation, there is the second foundation. In Dune there is the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Secretive organisations guiding humanity.
It's been a long time since I read them. IIRC the second foundation use mental powers to guide humanity out of the dark ages. In Dune, the BG manipulate bloodlines, and manipulate leaders through carefully placed sisters.
Can you give some examples of more recent SF with secret governments? If in the real world there was a secret government, we wouldn't know much about it by definition, since it is a secret.
I use the term government loosely, as an organisation that exerts control over society.
In Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic League series, following a 1958 nuclear war
that destroys civilization, a science of "psychodynamics" is developed,
similar in concept to Isaac Asimov's psychohistory. Psychodynamics allows
its practitioners to recognize the conditions that lead to oppressive
social systems and war. For a few centuries a clandestine branch of the
United Nations uses psychodynamics to guide human culture along paths
that they consider desirable. The best known story from this period
is probably _Un-Man_, which follows an elite corps of United Nations
covert operatives, many of whom are cloned from the extremely capable
Stephen Rostomily. This system becomes defunct over time, and, following
the development of faster than light travel, later stories feature a
relatively loose organization of settled worlds, with the Stellar Union
Coordination Service being the only supra planetary organization shown.

Peter Wezeman
anti-social Darwinist
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