Which Bond novel are you currently reading?

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  • I'm currently listening to William Boyd's Solo and I'm approaching the end. Not terrible but it feels dated to me (even more so than the Flemings) and the plot is a bit thin. I really like the flashbacks to the war though, and I think the characters are well portrayed, except from M who I think was characterised slightly off. An interesting read.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2021 Posts: 15,081
    I'm currently listening to William Boyd's Solo and I'm approaching the end. Not terrible but it feels dated to me (even more so than the Flemings) and the plot is a bit thin. I really like the flashbacks to the war though, and I think the characters are well portrayed, except from M who I think was characterised slightly off. An interesting read.

    The fact that you think Solo feels dated is an interesting observation considering the novel was only published as recently as 2013. Of course it's one of the period set Bond novels, this time set in 1969.

    Perhaps the attempt to write the novel in a time long past and ground it firmly and convincingly in the period also helps on the other hand to immediately date the story? I've always said that I preferred the tried and tested approach of Fleming, Amis, Gardner, Benson and Deaver of placing the Bond novels in a contemporary setting. That way you get the authentic feel of the times without the attendant rather artificial period set approach which can help to date the novel much more quickly.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    I'm currently listening to William Boyd's Solo and I'm approaching the end. Not terrible but it feels dated to me (even more so than the Flemings) and the plot is a bit thin. I really like the flashbacks to the war though, and I think the characters are well portrayed, except from M who I think was characterised slightly off. An interesting read.

    The fact that you think Solo feels dated is an interesting observation considering the novel was only published as recently as 2013. Of course it's one of the period set Bond novels, this time set in 1969.

    Perhaps the attempt to write the novel in a time long past and ground it firmly and convincingly in the period also helps om the other hand to immediately date the story? I've always said that I preferred the tried and tested approach of Fleming, Amis, Gardner, Benson and Deaver of placing the Bond novels in a contemporary setting. That way you get the authentic feel of the times without the attendant rather artificial period set approach which can help to date the novel much more quickly.

    I’d prefer Bond in a contemporary setting. Writing a Bond novel set in the past often shows how the author is desperate to become the next Ian Fleming. The only author who got adult Bond right by setting it in the past was Anthony Horowitz.

    By the way, I’m reading Octopussy and the Living Daylights. A short read it seems.
  • MaxCasino wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    I'm currently listening to William Boyd's Solo and I'm approaching the end. Not terrible but it feels dated to me (even more so than the Flemings) and the plot is a bit thin. I really like the flashbacks to the war though, and I think the characters are well portrayed, except from M who I think was characterised slightly off. An interesting read.

    The fact that you think Solo feels dated is an interesting observation considering the novel was only published as recently as 2013. Of course it's one of the period set Bond novels, this time set in 1969.

    Perhaps the attempt to write the novel in a time long past and ground it firmly and convincingly in the period also helps om the other hand to immediately date the story? I've always said that I preferred the tried and tested approach of Fleming, Amis, Gardner, Benson and Deaver of placing the Bond novels in a contemporary setting. That way you get the authentic feel of the times without the attendant rather artificial period set approach which can help to date the novel much more quickly.

    I’d prefer Bond in a contemporary setting. Writing a Bond novel set in the past often shows how the author is desperate to become the next Ian Fleming. The only author who got adult Bond right by setting it in the past was Anthony Horowitz.

    By the way, I’m reading Octopussy and the Living Daylights. A short read it seems.

    I'm now listening to Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Finished Octopussy and The Property of a Lady so far and I really enjoyed both.
  • Dragonpol wrote: »
    I'm currently listening to William Boyd's Solo and I'm approaching the end. Not terrible but it feels dated to me (even more so than the Flemings) and the plot is a bit thin. I really like the flashbacks to the war though, and I think the characters are well portrayed, except from M who I think was characterised slightly off. An interesting read.

    The fact that you think Solo feels dated is an interesting observation considering the novel was only published as recently as 2013. Of course it's one of the period set Bond novels, this time set in 1969.

    Perhaps the attempt to write the novel in a time long past and ground it firmly and convincingly in the period also helps om the other hand to immediately date the story? I've always said that I preferred the tried and tested approach of Fleming, Amis, Gardner, Benson and Deaver of placing the Bond novels in a contemporary setting. That way you get the authentic feel of the times without the attendant rather artificial period set approach which can help to date the novel much more quickly.

    Yes, I think it's the fact that it's set 44 years before it was actually written that contributes a lot to the dated feel for me
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    I'm currently listening to William Boyd's Solo and I'm approaching the end. Not terrible but it feels dated to me (even more so than the Flemings) and the plot is a bit thin. I really like the flashbacks to the war though, and I think the characters are well portrayed, except from M who I think was characterised slightly off. An interesting read.

    The fact that you think Solo feels dated is an interesting observation considering the novel was only published as recently as 2013. Of course it's one of the period set Bond novels, this time set in 1969.

    Perhaps the attempt to write the novel in a time long past and ground it firmly and convincingly in the period also helps om the other hand to immediately date the story? I've always said that I preferred the tried and tested approach of Fleming, Amis, Gardner, Benson and Deaver of placing the Bond novels in a contemporary setting. That way you get the authentic feel of the times without the attendant rather artificial period set approach which can help to date the novel much more quickly.

    I’d prefer Bond in a contemporary setting. Writing a Bond novel set in the past often shows how the author is desperate to become the next Ian Fleming. The only author who got adult Bond right by setting it in the past was Anthony Horowitz.

    By the way, I’m reading Octopussy and the Living Daylights. A short read it seems.

    I'm now listening to Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Finished Octopussy and The Property of a Lady so far and I really enjoyed both.

    Doesn’t Tom Hiddleston narrate the book?
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    Octopussy is one of my favourite Fleming short stories.
  • MaxCasino wrote: »
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    I'm currently listening to William Boyd's Solo and I'm approaching the end. Not terrible but it feels dated to me (even more so than the Flemings) and the plot is a bit thin. I really like the flashbacks to the war though, and I think the characters are well portrayed, except from M who I think was characterised slightly off. An interesting read.

    The fact that you think Solo feels dated is an interesting observation considering the novel was only published as recently as 2013. Of course it's one of the period set Bond novels, this time set in 1969.

    Perhaps the attempt to write the novel in a time long past and ground it firmly and convincingly in the period also helps om the other hand to immediately date the story? I've always said that I preferred the tried and tested approach of Fleming, Amis, Gardner, Benson and Deaver of placing the Bond novels in a contemporary setting. That way you get the authentic feel of the times without the attendant rather artificial period set approach which can help to date the novel much more quickly.

    I’d prefer Bond in a contemporary setting. Writing a Bond novel set in the past often shows how the author is desperate to become the next Ian Fleming. The only author who got adult Bond right by setting it in the past was Anthony Horowitz.

    By the way, I’m reading Octopussy and the Living Daylights. A short read it seems.

    I'm now listening to Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Finished Octopussy and The Property of a Lady so far and I really enjoyed both.

    Doesn’t Tom Hiddleston narrate the book?

    Yes he does, brilliant reading
  • Octopussy is one of my favourite Fleming short stories.

    Yes it's exceptional. I understand that it was difficult to adapt a conversation between Bond and Dexter-Smythe for a whole film, but it was so atmospheric. The way that Fleming manages to create that deep atmosphere in practically no time demonstrates how good an author he was. The audiobook only runs for 1 hour 23 minutes.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I love the line Bond says about " he was a father to me when I needed one "
  • I love the line Bond says about " he was a father to me when I needed one "

    +1
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    Pity it wasn't used in Spectre. When I first read the plot, I was expecting a more emotional scene.
  • Pity it wasn't used in Spectre. When I first read the plot, I was expecting a more emotional scene.

    Yes, the Oberhauser link in Spectre could have been covered a lot more emotionally, Craig is perfect for that.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    I just finished Octopussy and the Living Daylights. I enjoyed them all, and I think they could adapted as a stage play, like Casino Royale.
  • MaxCasino wrote: »
    I just finished Octopussy and the Living Daylights. I enjoyed them all, and I think they could adapted as a stage play, like Casino Royale.

    That would make sense. I am currently listening to Licence Renewed.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    Now I’m reading The Spy Who Loved Me. I’ve heard so many bad things about it that I actually want to get it out of the way. I’ve read the Daily Express comic, now I actually want to read actual novels.
  • DoctorNoDoctorNo USA-Maryland
    Posts: 742
    TSWLM reads to me like a drawn out short story from FYEO... so if you like the short stories and have no set expectations, it is possible to enjoy it.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,081
    DoctorNo wrote: »
    TSWLM reads to me like a drawn out short story from FYEO... so if you like the short stories and have no set expectations, it is possible to enjoy it.

    Yes, I like the novel as it's something different from Fleming. It's Fleming at his most autobiographical and we really get to see James Bond "from the other end of the gunbarrel" as he intended. As you imply, it's also the closest Fleming gets to writing a novella in his Bond works.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    Just finished TSWLM. I enjoyed it, there are flaws. Like Casino Royale and Octopussy and the Living Daylights, and a few other short stories, it could make for a good stage play.
  • Currently taking a break from Gardner (I still have Licence Renewed but haven't finished it) as I felt like reading some Young Bond. Currently on the second one, Blood Fever.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    The Harpies by Jim Lawrence.
  • brinkeguthriebrinkeguthrie Piz Gloria
    Posts: 1,207
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,081
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.

    Yes, she was a rare Gardner comeback character who didn't end up killed. In fact, any character who survived Gardner's Cold (1996) probably deserves a medal! :)
  • Dragonpol wrote: »
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.

    Yes, she was a rare Gardner comeback character who didn't end up killed. In fact, any character who survived Gardner's Cold (1996) probably deserves a medal! :)

    Yeah, COLD was basically Gardner killing off previous characters so that other authors couldn't use them :))
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,081
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.

    Yes, she was a rare Gardner comeback character who didn't end up killed. In fact, any character who survived Gardner's Cold (1996) probably deserves a medal! :)

    Yeah, COLD was basically Gardner killing off previous characters so that other authors couldn't use them :))

    Exactly. There would be no continuation of the Gardner Bond continuation novels on his watch. ;)
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.

    Yes, she was a rare Gardner comeback character who didn't end up killed. In fact, any character who survived Gardner's Cold (1996) probably deserves a medal! :)

    Yeah, COLD was basically Gardner killing off previous characters so that other authors couldn't use them :))

    You could say that Gardner was COLD about others using his personal characters.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,081
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.

    Yes, she was a rare Gardner comeback character who didn't end up killed. In fact, any character who survived Gardner's Cold (1996) probably deserves a medal! :)

    Yeah, COLD was basically Gardner killing off previous characters so that other authors couldn't use them :))

    You could say that Gardner was COLD about others using his personal characters.

  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,202
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.

    Yes, she was a rare Gardner comeback character who didn't end up killed. In fact, any character who survived Gardner's Cold (1996) probably deserves a medal! :)

    Yeah, COLD was basically Gardner killing off previous characters so that other authors couldn't use them :))

    You could say that Gardner was COLD about others using his personal characters.


    I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I just think he didn’t want his characters to have a COLDFALL in reception. I’m American and I’m done with the Marvel type jokes.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited July 2021 Posts: 15,081
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Just finished re-read of all the Gardners, and now onto Benson. At least Beatrice didn't get whacked.

    Yes, she was a rare Gardner comeback character who didn't end up killed. In fact, any character who survived Gardner's Cold (1996) probably deserves a medal! :)

    Yeah, COLD was basically Gardner killing off previous characters so that other authors couldn't use them :))

    You could say that Gardner was COLD about others using his personal characters.


    I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I just think he didn’t want his characters to have a COLDFALL in reception. I’m American and I’m done with the Marvel type jokes.

    No, I liked your joke. Goodness knows I make enough jokes here myself! That was just my little fun response to your zinger! :)
  • Finished Thunderball. Definitely a step up from Goldfinger in my estimation but unfortunately still on the weaker side of the series (I liked it about as much as DAF, maybe a little more). It’s funny though because it has a lot of really stellar sequences in it: the hilarious and involving opening in shrublands, Blofeld’s introduction, the octopi in the downed ship, and the the thrilling climax for example. Certainly more enjoyable sections dispersed across it than GF anyway. But it still doesn’t totally work for me. Perhaps it’s the similarity to FRWL, in that we spend a great deal of time with the enemies hatching their plan before we get back to Bond out on a mission, but unlike FRWL there’s not a great deal of either tension or action in the remainder until the very end. Most of the book just feels like waiting around with some light detective work thrown in, and I didn’t even feel like Nassau was particularly well sketched the way Fleming is usually so good with locations (the underwater stuff was great though of course). I think the film made a number of very smart adaptive changes to give the story more urgency, intrigue, and action throughout to really capitalize on its high stakes and grander scope. While certainly not *bad* it does feel like Fleming was in a bit of a slump after Dr No, but from what I hear it at least picks up again for OHMSS and YOLT. In the meantime I’ll tackle his greatest deviation from the formula yet: The Spy Who Loved Me.
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