Which Bond novel are you currently reading?

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  • hullcityfanhullcityfan Banned
    Posts: 496
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    007InVT wrote:
    I'm having hard time tracking down Colonel Sun at libraries without buying it. Suppose I should really.

    Yes, go out and buy it second hand. It's worth every penny.

    Didnt it influence Die Another Day or something or had something to do with it?

    Yes, well it influenced the kidnapping of M in The World is not Enough and the character of Colonel Tan-Sun Moon as the villain, named after Colonel Sun Laing-tan from Colonel Sun. These are the main connections between the novel and the film series.

    Never read that book before only made it through one whole Bond book and that was Dr. No.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,871
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    007InVT wrote:
    I'm having hard time tracking down Colonel Sun at libraries without buying it. Suppose I should really.

    Yes, go out and buy it second hand. It's worth every penny.

    Didnt it influence Die Another Day or something or had something to do with it?

    Yes, well it influenced the kidnapping of M in The World is not Enough and the character of Colonel Tan-Sun Moon as the villain, named after Colonel Sun Laing-tan from Colonel Sun. These are the main connections between the novel and the film series.

    Never read that book before only made it through one whole Bond book and that was Dr. No.

    Oh, you're missing out as book Bond is far superior to film Bond.
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 388
    Finished For Your Eyes Only and Thunderball this week.

    Every one of the short stories is enjoyable in some way.
    FAVTAK has an interesting, low-key plot, a good (and believable) relationship between Bond and Mary Ann Russell, and a nice angle on the story due to the tension between Bond and Colonel Schreiber of SHAPE.
    FYEO was the most disappointing of the bunch and Judy Havelock doesn't really work for me as a character (also a bit of a retread of Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger) but it's made up for by the briefing with M in which he reveals the enormous pressure he's under as head of the Secret Service and weighs up whether it's right to send Bond out on a personal revenge mission.
    QoS is maybe the biggest treat of the bunch. It's the first Bond story with Bond as just a supporting character and Fleming writes in a very different style as he channels W Somerset Maugham. The story of Philip Masters and Rhoda Llewellyn rings very true and has a nice little twist at the end.
    Risico feels rather by-the-numbers but the twist regarding the real villain of the piece is very good and Enrico Colombo is a great character (and much more distinct than his film version.) It's a shame that he wasn't saved for a full novel, in fact.
    THR is another little experiment for Fleming, featuring Bond on holiday. Milton Krest is a great character - very well conceived - and the final act and unresolved mystery are good fun.

    TB is the best-plotted novel since FRWL but it feels a bit too lean after the epic, if sprawling, GF. The conception of SPECTRE is very good and Blofeld is a wonderful creation but it's a shame he only appears for a short section in the middle of the story and then disappears. Largo's a strong character but we barely get to meet him (Bond spends only about 45mins in his company at the most) and despite being great when he appears he certainly ranks in the second tier of Fleming villains. Shame, in a way, that he and Blofeld weren't combined. Domino's the best Bond girl since Tatiana but the coincidence that she's Petacchi's sister is a crazy stretch (improved upon in both film adaptations.) Love the sequence which she discusses her "hero" on the Player's packet. Nice little gambling scene where Bond goes after Largo. The whole Shrublands sequence is great fun - it's utterly batty and quite irrelevant -the whole lot could be removed with no effect on the rest of the story - but a very good read. Perhaps it was originally intended as a short story? One of the most dated sequences in any of the novels though (possibly just for English readers.) The fact that SPECTRE sub-agent Lippe happens to be staying at the same health clinic is another big coincidence. Special love for the scene where Bond goes a bit mad:
    "This was all M's fault. M was mad. He would have it out with him when he got back to Headquarters. If necessary he would go higher - to the Chiefs of Staff, the Cabinet, the Prime Minister. M was a dangerous lunatic - a danger to the country. It was up to Bond to save England."

    Next up, the controversial TSWLM.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Good precis @Sir_James_Moloney - I agree about Shrublands, enjoyable but out of place and over long. I found TB less enjoyable but I think I will read again another time when my mind is more on the job with less distraction.

    I love the short stories. I'm partial to FYEO because I live in Vermont where the majority of it is set.

    QOS is great too, a nice change of style.

    I'm reading TSWLM in a week or so too.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,907
    Finished Licence Renewed earlier, and I enjoyed re-reading it. I can appreciate that Garnder didn't try to mimic Fleming or become influenced by the film, instead building up his own Bond world. I also like the Saab as a Bondmobile, that poor poor Saab.
    And every time Caber showed up, I couldn't help but think of Magnus Armstrong from The Operative: No One Lived Forever.

    01. Moonraker - Ian Fleming (1955)
    02. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming (1963)
    03. From Russia With Love - Ian Fleming (1957)
    04. You Only Live Twice - Ian Fleming (1964)
    05. Casino Royale - Ian Fleming (1953)
    *****06. Licence Renewed - John Gardner (1981)*****
    07. The Living Daylights - Ian Fleming (1966)
    08. The Spy Who Loved Me - Christopher Wood (1977)
    09. For Your Eyes Only - Ian Fleming (1960)
    10. Thunderball - Ian Fleming (1961)
    11. Quantum Of Solace - Ian Fleming (1960)
    12. Live And Let Die - Ian Fleming (1954)
    13. From A View To A Kill - Ian Fleming (1960)
    14. Risico - Ian Fleming (1960)
    15. Moonraker - Christopher Wood (1979)
    16. Colonel Sun - Robert Markham (1968)
    17. The Property Of A Lady - Ian Fleming (1966)
    18. The Hilderbrand Rarity - Ian Fleming (1960)
    19. Dr No - Ian Fleming (1958)
    20. The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming (1962)
    21. Octopussy - Ian Fleming (1966)
    22. The Man With The Golden Gun - Ian Fleming (1965)
    23. Goldfinger - Ian Fleming (1959)
    24. Diamonds Are Forever - Ian Fleming (1956)
    25. 007 In New York - Ian Fleming (1966)

    Next up: For Special Services
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 388
    Finished TSWLM today and I enjoyed it. It's certainly Fleming's most experimental novel - a first person narrative told from the perspective of Vivienne Michel in which James Bond is a supporting character, "the spy who loved me", who comes to her rescue.

    It's easy to see why the novel proved so controversial amongst fans at the time. One only needs to read the "Bond 24 Timeline" on this forum to see how Bond fans are still keen to get their next fix. Imagine if Bond 24 was a story about a Canadian traveller in which Bond didn't appear until 2/3's of the way through...

    Fleming writes quite convincingly as Viv, changing his voice just as dramatically as he did for "Quantum of Solace", albeit not quite as successfully. Viv is a great character with a very detailed biography. In fact, she's the most three-dimensional of all the Bond girls and her relationship with Bond is portrayed in a believable manner. There's clearly quite a bit of Fleming in Viv too, particularly in her work for a local newspaper, the Chelsea Clarion, and a German news agency (the bits of his own life he didn't use for Bond.) Her relationships with Derek and Kurt are well-sketched out although I imagine a female writer would have made more of her friendship with her flatmate. The details of her North American travels ring very true - particularly the passages in which she carefully budgets each day's expenditure (something all former backpackers will recognise!)

    Horror and Sluggsy are very frightening villains and certainly more impressive than the Spangs but not in the league of Blofeld, Dr No, Red Grant, Goldfinger or Mr Big.

    Bond makes a few elementary mistakes here and wonders at one point if he's losing his touch. It's interesting to view Bond through the eyes of another character - Viv thinks he's another gangster when she first sees him but his smile immediately gives him away as a 'good guy'. It's the warmest portrayal of Bond we've had so far in the novels.

    As with almost all Fleming's stories TSWLM is very well-structured. It's broken up into three parts - "Me" (a brief autobiography of Viv up to the start of her adventures), "Them" (her time at the motel and the evening that Sluggsy and Horror arrive and mistreat her) and "Him" (the arrival of James Bond and how he saves her from the gangsters.)

    Certainly nowhere near as bad as its reputation suggests - I'd place it near the bottom of my own personal rankings but above DN and comfortably above DAF.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Just started TMWTGG.

    Where you rate this in the cannon @Sir_James_Moloney?
  • It's been a long time since I've read it @007InVT and it's the only Fleming novel I've only read once. I remember thinking at the time that it was very disappointing. I enjoyed the opening chapters (with the Hard Man and the Soft Man) but as soon as Bond got to Jamaica it became a bit of a retread of LALD and DN but without any of their best features. Scaramanga is the only villain I can think of who was improved upon in the films.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts on it as I will be coming back to it very soon (have OHMSS and YOLT coming up first though)
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Yes, I enjoyed the opening. I'm now in Jamaica with all the gangsters assembling. It does seem tired on Fleming's part but there is still enough enjoyment to be had and I do like Scaramanga as a villain. I'm going to read LALD soon as a comparison.
  • hullcityfanhullcityfan Banned
    edited June 2013 Posts: 496
    In TMWTGG didn't he hear than Honey Ryder got married to a Phildelphian doctor or something and had children?
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    I must say, the final chapter in TMWTGG is a doozy. Marvelous stuff.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Can't decide whether to read YOLT, FRWL or DAF next.

    Any opinions for continuity's sake?
  • hullcityfanhullcityfan Banned
    Posts: 496
    Still reading Casino Royale nearly finished what next? TND, MR, TLD & OP ?
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    edited June 2013 Posts: 13,907
    007InVT wrote:
    Can't decide whether to read YOLT, FRWL or DAF next.

    Any opinions for continuity's sake?

    If you're reading them in order of publication, then after TMWTGG, you should read the OP&TLD collection of short stories. If not, and you have not already read them, then i'd recommend: MR, OHMSS, FRWL, CR & YOLT, which make up my top 5.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    I've not read OP&TLD but will need to wait to buy it.

    I have read CR, MR and OHMSS (loved them) and have DAF, FRWL and YOLT from the library, so will probably go in respective order.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,459
    Oh, FRWL is a great read! But take the way Fleming writes about the treatment of women as a total bunch of b.s. and toss it out of your mind ... then you can enjoy the rest. It is quite well written and has some marvelous scenes and lines.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Started FRWL. Wow, Red Grant is a real SOB. Already absorbing.

    I'm actually looking forward to YOLT, since I like Japan and it seems the most mis-understood of all Fleming novels. The movie also bears no resemblance either to the book, which is encouraging.
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 4,622
    How did 007 In New York,The property of a lady and the living daylights come out if he was dead by then?
    Fleming wrote these stories well before he died. From wiki:"The Living Daylights" had first appeared in The Sunday Times on 4 February 1962; "The Property of a Lady" was published in November 1963 in a Sotheby's publication, The Ivory Hammer, whilst "007 in New York" first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1963.

    Octopussy was written in early 1962, but I don't think it was published until Glidrose released it posthumously in 1966, but I could be wrong here. I am not sure when OP first hit the streets. Could very well have been 1966.
  • Posts: 2,400
    I'm not reading one at the moment, but I've got my mom reading my copy of OHMSS as it's her favourite Bond film.
  • hullcityfanhullcityfan Banned
    Posts: 496
    timmer wrote:
    How did 007 In New York,The property of a lady and the living daylights come out if he was dead by then?
    Fleming wrote these stories well before he died. From wiki:"The Living Daylights" had first appeared in The Sunday Times on 4 February 1962; "The Property of a Lady" was published in November 1963 in a Sotheby's publication, The Ivory Hammer, whilst "007 in New York" first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1963.

    Octopussy was written in early 1962, but I don't think it was published until Glidrose released it posthumously in 1966, but I could be wrong here. I am not sure when OP first hit the streets. Could very well have been 1966.

    Oh I've got the Octopussy and Living daylights books why is it in one? Or I think its classed as 007 in New York.
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Glidrose published TMWTGG posthumously. As a final Fleming entry, they packaged OP with re-prints of TLD and POAL which hadn't hitherto been published in book form. Actually POAL was added later. The original editions only included OP and TLD.

    Someone can correct me here if they want, but as far as I can tell OP was virgin to Bond readers in 1966 or was it? It it was, then it becomes the last Fleming story to be published, thus giving the book some heft with Fleming fans, with the inclusion of this previously unreleased story, even though it was penned in 1962.

    TMWTGG though is Fleming's final Bond writing.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2013 Posts: 17,871
    timmer wrote:
    Glidrose published TMWTGG posthumously. As a final Fleming entry, they packaged OP with re-prints of TLD and POAL which hadn't hitherto been published in book form. Actually POAL was added later. The original editions only included OP and TLD.

    Someone can correct me here if they want, but as far as I can tell OP was virgin to Bond readers in 1966 or was it? It it was, then it becomes the last Fleming story to be published, thus giving the book some heft with Fleming fans, with the inclusion of this previously unreleased story, even though it was penned in 1962.

    TMWTGG though is Fleming's final Bond writing.

    'Octopussy' was posthumously serialised in the Daily Express newspaper, 4–8 October 1965.

    'Octopussy' was also first published in Playboy magazine in March 1966.

    See here:

    http://illustrated007.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/octopussy-playboy-illustration.html

    'Octopussy' was found in a drawer in Fleming's London office, I believe, after his death.
  • Posts: 42
    I'm reading You only live twice at the moment. 65 pages in. Haven't read it before. Better than I thought it would be. Low expectations though
  • edited June 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Dragonpol wrote:
    'Octopussy' was posthumously serialised in the Daily Express newspaper, 4–8 October 1965.

    'Octopussy' was also first published in Playboy magazine in March 1966.

    See here:

    http://illustrated007.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/octopussy-playboy-illustration.html

    'Octopussy' was found in a drawer in Fleming's London office, I believe, after his death.
    That's helpful then, so OP was indeed Fleming's last published work, published in the Daily Express, 6 months after Golden Gun.
    When OP & TLD was first published in hardback in 1966, it was at least an opportunity for Bond fans to add these two stories to their book collection as opposed to tracking the original periodicals.
    Glidrose was sneaky even back then about getting Bond fans to spend money. It was the paperback edition that added POAL, thus causing core fans to buy twice, to get the new story. :) Some things never change.
    It wasn't until 2002 btw, that Penguin added "007 in New York" to the collection as a 4th story.
    Unbelievably, even circa 2002, I still hadn't got around to reading this Fleming story. But not wanting to have to buy the book again, just to read this one final unread-by-me Fleming tale, I read the story unpurchased right there in the bookstore.
    I then left the store, now content in the knowledge that I had finally finished the complete works of Fleming's Bond, although somewhat embarassed that I hadn't made any effort to find this story, until it was finally plopped right in front of my nose in the bookstore. Until then I couldn't honestly say that I had read the complete works of Fleming's Bond. Shameful.
    "007 in New York" is still the only Fleming Bond-story not on my shelf.
    One day though, I will get off my wallet and purchase the 4 story edition of "OP" and the collection will be complete, or maybe I will buy Thrilling Cities, which I haven't read either.
    Must think of my heirs down the road. Don't want to be leaving an incomplete Fleming collection. I can just hear them, " And he fancied himself a Bondphile."


  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,907
    That's For Special Services finished.
    FSS is one of the Gardner books that I had already read, so I was aware of Nena Bismaquer. Yet, Gardner did such a good job in hiding Blofeld's real identity, by keeping the focus on Bismaquer & Luxor as the potential big bad, that I started to second guess my memory that Nena Bismaquer was Nena Blofeld.

    It was nice to have the Saab back in action, following that nasty encounter with the drainage ditch in Licence Renewed. Now, the all important bit, the ranking updated for FSS:


    01. Moonraker - Ian Fleming (1955)
    02. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming (1963)
    03. From Russia With Love - Ian Fleming (1957)
    04. You Only Live Twice - Ian Fleming (1964)
    05. Casino Royale - Ian Fleming (1953)
    *****06. For Special Services - John Gardner (1982)*****
    07. Licence Renewed - John Gardner (1981)
    08. The Living Daylights - Ian Fleming (1966)
    09. The Spy Who Loved Me - Christopher Wood (1977)
    10. For Your Eyes Only - Ian Fleming (1960)
    11. Thunderball - Ian Fleming (1961)
    12. Quantum Of Solace - Ian Fleming (1960)
    13. Live And Let Die - Ian Fleming (1954)
    14. From A View To A Kill - Ian Fleming (1960)
    15. Risico - Ian Fleming (1960)
    16. Moonraker - Christopher Wood (1979)
    17. Colonel Sun - Robert Markham (1968)
    18. The Property Of A Lady - Ian Fleming (1966)
    19. The Hilderbrand Rarity - Ian Fleming (1960)
    20. Dr No - Ian Fleming (1958)
    21. The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming (1962)
    22. Octopussy - Ian Fleming (1966)
    23. The Man With The Golden Gun - Ian Fleming (1965)
    24. Goldfinger - Ian Fleming (1959)
    25. Diamonds Are Forever - Ian Fleming (1956)
    26. 007 In New York - Ian Fleming (1966)

    Next up: Icebreaker
  • Just finished OHMSS and have to say it's the cream of the crop. The story is tight and extremely well-plotted, Bond is at his most rounded and the main characters, Irma Bunt, Tracy, Draco, Ruby and Sable Basilisk are all very good. Bond's escape on skis from Piz Gloria is just about the best action sequence Fleming ever came up with. The story loses a bit of momentum in the final third which stretches credibility slightly (why do MI6 have to extradite Blofeld officially? Surely the whole point of the Secret Service is that they exist to achieve results outside of diplomacy) but that's more than made up for by that nasty little sting in the tail.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,698
    Next up: Icebreaker

    Can I thank you enough for these reviews & rankings, MajorDSmythe? This is seriously the most interesting thread for me here at MI6! No one's ever done such a comprehensive yet succinct series of evaluations like this before as far as I know! :-O
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    edited June 2013 Posts: 893
    That's For Special Services finished.
    FSS is one of the Gardner books that I had already read, so I was aware of Nena Bismaquer. Yet, Gardner did such a good job in hiding Blofeld's real identity, by keeping the focus on Bismaquer & Luxor as the potential big bad, that I started to second guess my memory that Nena Bismaquer was Nena Blofeld.

    It was nice to have the Saab back in action, following that nasty encounter with the drainage ditch in Licence Renewed. Now, the all important bit, the ranking updated for FSS:


    01. Moonraker - Ian Fleming (1955)
    02. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming (1963)
    03. From Russia With Love - Ian Fleming (1957)
    04. You Only Live Twice - Ian Fleming (1964)
    05. Casino Royale - Ian Fleming (1953)
    *****06. For Special Services - John Gardner (1982)*****
    07. Licence Renewed - John Gardner (1981)
    08. The Living Daylights - Ian Fleming (1966)
    09. The Spy Who Loved Me - Christopher Wood (1977)
    10. For Your Eyes Only - Ian Fleming (1960)
    11. Thunderball - Ian Fleming (1961)
    12. Quantum Of Solace - Ian Fleming (1960)
    13. Live And Let Die - Ian Fleming (1954)
    14. From A View To A Kill - Ian Fleming (1960)
    15. Risico - Ian Fleming (1960)
    16. Moonraker - Christopher Wood (1979)
    17. Colonel Sun - Robert Markham (1968)
    18. The Property Of A Lady - Ian Fleming (1966)
    19. The Hilderbrand Rarity - Ian Fleming (1960)
    20. Dr No - Ian Fleming (1958)
    21. The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming (1962)
    22. Octopussy - Ian Fleming (1966)
    23. The Man With The Golden Gun - Ian Fleming (1965)
    24. Goldfinger - Ian Fleming (1959)
    25. Diamonds Are Forever - Ian Fleming (1956)
    26. 007 In New York - Ian Fleming (1966)

    Next up: Icebreaker

    High praise for 'For Special Services'. It's good, but #6?

    Goldfinger #24?!
    Dr. No at #20?
    DAF that low in your estimation?
    All below TSWLM? Madness!

    I also think FRWL is good but overrated. Top 10 yes, top 5 no.

    You should also read No Deals Mr. Bond, it's a good one.

    Where's YOLT?
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Oh, FRWL is a great read! But take the way Fleming writes about the treatment of women as a total bunch of b.s. and toss it out of your mind ... then you can enjoy the rest. It is quite well written and has some marvelous scenes and lines.

    Right. Darkko Kerim is hardly Romeo is he?
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,698
    007InVT wrote:
    High praise for 'For Special Services'. It's good, but #6?
    Mileage varies. B-)
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