Which Bond novel are you currently reading?

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  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited December 2021 Posts: 15,393
    Yes, a bit like OHMSS in the films, Fleming's TSWLM has been rehabilitated by both Bond fans and critics alike. I think it's a bold, different and worthy addition to Fleming's Bond oeuvre along with the likes of 'Quantum of Solace' and 'Octopussy' and showed Fleming's range as a writer.

    It's also a useful barometer of Fleming's thoughts on his own creation by having him seen through the eyes of another and in how the detective at the end deconstructed his character and offers a cautionary tale to younger, more impressionable readers. To top it all off, it's also the most semi-autobiographical of all of the Fleming Bond novels.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,038
    Fair enough. I don't think it deserved the backlash it got. It was still a decent read.

    I agree completely.
  • edited December 2021 Posts: 620
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    It's also a useful barometer of Fleming's thoughts on his own creation by having him seen through the eyes of another

    Isn't that how Danny Boyle wanted to do Bond 25? I seem to recall his vision of Bond 25 wouldn't have Bond show up until well into the film.

    Birdleson wrote: »
    Fair enough. I don't think it deserved the backlash it got. It was still a decent read.

    I agree completely.

    Not to mention Horror was the basis for Jaws. About the only thing taken from the TSWLM novel.

  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited December 2021 Posts: 15,393
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    It's also a useful barometer of Fleming's thoughts on his own creation by having him seen through the eyes of another

    Isn't that how Danny Boyle wanted to do Bond 25? I seem to recall his vision of Bond 25 wouldn't have Bond show up until well into the film.

    Birdleson wrote: »
    Fair enough. I don't think it deserved the backlash it got. It was still a decent read.

    I agree completely.

    Not to mention Horror was the basis for Jaws. About the only thing taken from the TSWLM novel.

    I'd not heard that about Danny Boyle but then I didn't follow the Bond 25 production too closely as I was trying to avoid spoilers. In any event, it sounds interesting and I hope he still gets a chance to direct a Bond film in the future.

    Yes, Horror's steel capped teeth fed into the Jaws character. The only other thing that I can think of as an influence is Sluggsy hiding in the wardrobe like Jaws later did on the train in the 1977 film.
  • edited December 2021 Posts: 620
    Take this with a MASSIVE grain of salt, but the top comment on this reddit thread was where I heard about it.

    "word on the street is this script would involve Bond being held captive by the villain for almost the entire movie and we’d be introduced to Bond’s female protégée through flashbacks of Bond training her who would ultimately come to his rescue."

    https://www.reddit.com/r/JamesBond/comments/qc01hh/concept_art_made_for_danny_boyles_abandoned_bond/

    Not sure where the guy got that from, but that's where I heard it.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 10,084
    Read You Only Live Twice during travel last week. Always enjoyable, pretty simple tale, I lived in Japan for 5 years so that adds to it.

    Funny to read about the characters with black maskos. As I sat on my flight wearing my own black maskos. Never to be repeated hopefully.

    He could see over the high fortress wall and across the park to the towering black-and-gold donjon of the castle. It was ten o'clock. There were figures in blue peasant dress with high boots and long staves moving busily about the grounds. They occasionally seemed to prod into the bushes with their staves. They wore black maskos over their mouths.
    BK-Book-club-1964-300.jpg
  • edited December 2021 Posts: 620
    I just finished YOLT and TMWTGG. About to start OP and TLD.

    YOLT was a bit slow, but it picked up at the end. I liked it overall. Bond's final confrontation with Blofeld felt much more deserved than Craig's in NTTD.

    What are critics talking about with TMWTGG being not really a good book? I liked it. A simple tale of redemption and ends in a lighthearted way to end the series. I read it in 2 sit downs.

    OP and TLD will be the palate cleanser before I start Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day.

    After Horowitz I will jump to Colonel Sun, then Devil May Care, (skip Carte Blanche for now), Solo, then back to the "rebooted" Bonds of Gardner, Benson, and Deaver.

    I decided I wanted to read them in a rough chronological order with the Fleming's being first and uninterrupted (as Fleming intended).
  • Posts: 9,148
    Take this with a MASSIVE grain of salt, but the top comment on this reddit thread was where I heard about it.

    "word on the street is this script would involve Bond being held captive by the villain for almost the entire movie and we’d be introduced to Bond’s female protégée through flashbacks of Bond training her who would ultimately come to his rescue."

    https://www.reddit.com/r/JamesBond/comments/qc01hh/concept_art_made_for_danny_boyles_abandoned_bond/

    Not sure where the guy got that from, but that's where I heard it.

    weird I dont think that would of been better
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,170
    I just finished YOLT and TMWTGG. About to start OP and TLD.

    YOLT was a bit slow, but it picked up at the end. I liked it overall. Bond's final confrontation with Blofeld felt much more deserved than Craig's in NTTD.

    What are critics talking about with TMWTGG being not really a good book? I liked it. A simple tale of redemption and ends in a lighthearted way to end the series. I read it in 2 sit downs.

    OP and TLD will be the palate cleanser before I start Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day.

    After Horowitz I will jump to Colonel Sun, then Devil May Care, (skip Carte Blanche for now), Solo, then back to the "rebooted" Bonds of Gardner, Benson, and Deaver.

    I decided I wanted to read them in a rough chronological order with the Fleming's being first and uninterrupted (as Fleming intended).

    I don't get that either, it's one of my favorites, especially when Bond meets Scaramanga and the ending. The atmosphere is so tense. I also love the fact that Bond has an easy way out but knowingly lets the moment pass.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,038
    No argument form me on the merits of TMWTGG.
  • I just finished YOLT and TMWTGG. About to start OP and TLD.

    YOLT was a bit slow, but it picked up at the end. I liked it overall. Bond's final confrontation with Blofeld felt much more deserved than Craig's in NTTD.

    What are critics talking about with TMWTGG being not really a good book? I liked it. A simple tale of redemption and ends in a lighthearted way to end the series. I read it in 2 sit downs.

    OP and TLD will be the palate cleanser before I start Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day.

    After Horowitz I will jump to Colonel Sun, then Devil May Care, (skip Carte Blanche for now), Solo, then back to the "rebooted" Bonds of Gardner, Benson, and Deaver.

    I decided I wanted to read them in a rough chronological order with the Fleming's being first and uninterrupted (as Fleming intended).

    I don't get that either, it's one of my favorites, especially when Bond meets Scaramanga and the ending. The atmosphere is so tense. I also love the fact that Bond has an easy way out but knowingly lets the moment pass.

    Not to mention Scaramanga eating a raw python. Was he really that desperate for food, knowing he was moments away from death? Gross lol.
  • Posts: 9,148
    i feel the same way about Diamonds... loved the book hated the film
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe Given the circumstances
    Posts: 7,338
    Not currently reading a Bond book but want to start from the beginning and read all the fleming books again in 2022.
    This may be controversial but personally I prefer the earlier, shorter books, because I feel like Fleming was at his sharpest then. I think he lost some discipline and some of the later novels are a bit baggy, especially Goldfinger. The best Bond novels for me are really tight and compact.

    I can still remember when my dad got a copy of diamonds are forever in a newspaper giveaway years ago. I already the loved the series, so naturally was curious about how the books compared. But reading the first page and visualising the scorpion rustling along in the desert, flemings way with words just blew me away. I was about 12 - 14 at the time, so it was the perfect age really, but I've never been so enraptured by a writers style before or since.
  • Just finished Forever and a Day and Trigger Mortis (in that order.) Just started Devil May Care.

    I liked Horowitz’s entries but somehow they just felt less special than Fleming. Dare I say fan fiction? All the continuations will probably make me feel that way, but it won’t stop me from reading and enjoying them.

    Forever and a Day was pretty good but I didn’t like how Horowitz felt the need to explain that Bond got all his habits from a 45 year old woman. Kinda makes Vesper seem less important in what would be the book proceeding it.

    Trigger Mortis was cool. Being a fan of F1 I enjoyed the racing aspect. I also felt that Pussy Galore was shoehorned into the story and added nothing other than to say “Hey! This book is after Goldfinger!”

    Looking forward to With A Mind To Kill, what will be the third “sequel” to TMWTGG.
  • KenAustinKenAustin United States
    Posts: 226
    I read most of them years ago from my father's stash...recently though my wife started picking up the books for me...I recently finished reading Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, and The Man With The Golden Gun...getting ready to read Moonraker next
  • Just finished You Only Live Twice. Really interesting novel and far more thematic than the other books in the series. I love the way it uses the death of Tracy as a subtle backbone to a story that’s *all* about death, be it the suicides in Japan or Bond and Tanaka’s discussions about the death of their respective empires. Since Bond is such a stoic character, even though we get access to his thoughts, Fleming uses these external elements to give us a window into Bond’s true mental and emotional state. And of course Blofeld is the perfect embodiment of death itself for Bond to have to conquer so he can move on with his life.

    I can understand this book not gelling with some Bond fans considering it’s not even remotely trying to be a thriller until the final few chapters, but the themes, feeling of pervasive ennui, and travelogue elements are fascinating enough to make up for the lack of thrills. Lots of credit goes to the character of Tanaka who is easily one of the best allies Bond has had; part teacher, part friend, part antagonizer, Fleming created a surprisingly compelling mouthpiece to represent Japan and needle Bond about his own system of values. Their many conversations spur a more interior sense of conflict and tension that stand as a stalwart substitute for car chases, fist fights, and other action beats.

    Fortunately the ending largely delivers on the thriller elements one would hope to get in a Bond book with his infiltration into the Castle of Death. It has a surreal and nightmarish quality to it that heightens the action and perfectly matches the more interior qualities of the rest of the book — it’s certainly the creepiest stretch of a Bond book since Dr. No. I still would have wished for a little more curveballs and difficulties in Bond’s mission to despatch Blofeld, and in that sense though very good it’s still probably not among the absolute finest of the books as pure thriller (Live and Let Die, From Russia With Love, and Dr. No being my trifecta in that capacity). But I will always remember the imagery that Fleming conjures within the Garden of Death.

    Finally the book ends on the perfect button of disquiet; Bond it seems gets to live more than twice, but perhaps it would have been better had he not.

    Sigh, only one more Fleming novel to go. Fortunately I’ve saved both the short story collections as serving size Bond treats for the end to make up for the fact I’ll never get to read these books for the first time again.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,038
    That gets me sad often, I’ll never experience them new again. The short stories generally take place between Goldfinger and Majesty’s. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but you might want to read POAL before TMWTGG, because earlier in the novel there is a small plot point that carries over. In fact it is the only time I can think of when one of the short stories crosses over with one of the novels.

    And if you haven’t read COLONEL SUN yet, I find it a nice way to come down and gently wean myself off of the world of Fleming.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    edited January 16 Posts: 4,797
    I just finished The Man with the Golden Gun again, the first time in years.

    This time I tried to appreciate the aspects of Fleming that are present, as opposed to the details that are absent. The opening (of course), the backstory of Scaramanga, and the train/swamp sequences are all highlights. (I had forgotten the bizarre meal that Scaramanga makes of the snake. It, along with the elephant, hint at a very interesting and different antagonist for Bond.)

    There's ample room for an adaptation here, maybe a "most dangerous game" kind of hunt, and of course the duel between the two we never got in the movie.

    Still, there's really not much of a story here, and the unfinished hotel plot in the middle is quite a muddle.

    But the beginning and ending, down to the final line, make this one worth seeking out.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    edited January 16 Posts: 1,038
    You point out many of my favorite pieces, but I would include the first meeting of Bond and Scaramanga at the brothel/bar. I love that, with the birds and so on. Also the dinner conversation between Bond and Goodnight, as it is one of the few bits of the novel (along with Scaramanga's backstory) to make it to the film more or less intact.

    I agree, best to appreciate what Fleming did do, rather than fret on the missing components, which are absent due to matters beyond his control (health).
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,455
    This year, I’m hoping to finish both Ian Fleming’s and Roger Moore’s books. I have The Blofeld trilogy and TMWTGG for Fleming and One Lucky Bastard and À Bientôt for Moore. Those are my planned James Bond reading for this year.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,038
    MOONRAKER. Actually I'm cheating; I'm listening to the audio book as I walk my dog. Over the past decade I've reread the series three times chronologically (when I first read them, in the early seventies, it was whatever order I could find the paperbacks in) . For the time being I have just decided to read them as I feel the inclination.

    This one is the best. It is perfect in every way. When people ask what is so special about MR, that is the only answer I can give. Bond doesn't get married, it's not the first, there are no stunning twists. Fleming just does everything right. Every aspect of Fleming's work that I admire and love is on display here, and there is nothing close to a misstep, or even a shade mediocrity. This is great.
  • ThunderballThunderball playing Chemin de Fer in a casino, downing Vespers
    Posts: 738
    I had begun From Russia With Love way back in August, but I put it down for months, and I'm not sure why. Guess I was busy. Anyway, I just finished it and it was outstanding.

    My ranking of the Fleming novels I've read so far:
    1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    2. From Russia With Love
    3. You Only Live Twice
    4. Moonraker
    5. Casino Royale
    6. Thunderball

    Understand that FRWL, YOLT and MR are virtually tied. Gun to my head, this is my ranking. I wonder if OHMSS will ever be topped.
    Though I have every Fleming book on the book app on my iPad, I miss reading physical books. So, I ordered Dr. No and Diamonds Are Forever as published by Pan in the '60s, with those wonderful Raymond Hawkey covers. I always wanted all 14 of Fleming's in that style. They won't arrive until the end of March, though, so I might finally crack open Trigger Mortis, like I've been meaning to do ever since I read Forever and a Day. We'll see.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 2,770
    I'm missing just one of the Hawkey covers, Dr No. (They're my favourites.)

    I know I could just go on eBay and buy one but I've built my collection up over the years by lucky finds in bookshops and I want to wait for that final piece of luck to drop into my life!

    Also on the hunt for a film tie-in TMWTGG to complete that set too...
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    edited February 20 Posts: 1,038
    I had that TMWTGG cover when I was a kid, when the film had just come out. I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it just now. Like everything from my childhood, I have no idea what happened to it. I know I had the Signet cover first, and I believe I found that used just before the film came out.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,455
    Not really a Bond novel, but One Lucky Bastard by Sir Roger Moore. I imagine that they’ll be some Bond stories in it!
  • ThunderballThunderball playing Chemin de Fer in a casino, downing Vespers
    Posts: 738
    c4vjfBq.jpg

    They finally came in the mail! They’re more beautiful than I could have imagined and they smell wonderful. Nothing like old books.
    I plan to buy more from the same helpful guy in Canada I ordered these from. Just started reading Dr. No. We’ll see where it ranks for me among Fleming’s so far.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,038
    Very nice.
  • Posts: 979
    Just finished You Only Live Twice. Really interesting novel and far more thematic than the other books in the series. I love the way it uses the death of Tracy as a subtle backbone to a story that’s *all* about death, be it the suicides in Japan or Bond and Tanaka’s discussions about the death of their respective empires. Since Bond is such a stoic character, even though we get access to his thoughts, Fleming uses these external elements to give us a window into Bond’s true mental and emotional state. And of course Blofeld is the perfect embodiment of death itself for Bond to have to conquer so he can move on with his life.

    I can understand this book not gelling with some Bond fans considering it’s not even remotely trying to be a thriller until the final few chapters, but the themes, feeling of pervasive ennui, and travelogue elements are fascinating enough to make up for the lack of thrills. Lots of credit goes to the character of Tanaka who is easily one of the best allies Bond has had; part teacher, part friend, part antagonizer, Fleming created a surprisingly compelling mouthpiece to represent Japan and needle Bond about his own system of values. Their many conversations spur a more interior sense of conflict and tension that stand as a stalwart substitute for car chases, fist fights, and other action beats.

    Fortunately the ending largely delivers on the thriller elements one would hope to get in a Bond book with his infiltration into the Castle of Death. It has a surreal and nightmarish quality to it that heightens the action and perfectly matches the more interior qualities of the rest of the book — it’s certainly the creepiest stretch of a Bond book since Dr. No. I still would have wished for a little more curveballs and difficulties in Bond’s mission to despatch Blofeld, and in that sense though very good it’s still probably not among the absolute finest of the books as pure thriller (Live and Let Die, From Russia With Love, and Dr. No being my trifecta in that capacity). But I will always remember the imagery that Fleming conjures within the Garden of Death.

    Finally the book ends on the perfect button of disquiet; Bond it seems gets to live more than twice, but perhaps it would have been better had he not.

    Sigh, only one more Fleming novel to go. Fortunately I’ve saved both the short story collections as serving size Bond treats for the end to make up for the fact I’ll never get to read these books for the first time again.

    Reading your post has me wondering whether Apocalypse, Now ! was influenced in any way by the YOLT ending. Surreal events in a strange setting, with a man who - while not necessarily mentally fit to begin with - is slipping into madness but remains formidable.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    edited March 2 Posts: 1,038
    Coppola based APOCALYPSE NOW on Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS (1899), which features a similar character type.
  • ThunderballThunderball playing Chemin de Fer in a casino, downing Vespers
    Posts: 738
    Finished Dr. No today. Fantastic read. Now I'm going to read Diamonds Are Forever. Should be interesting going from the villain being offed by bird shit to an insulting, absurd take on us Americans. And people always say Fleming's book were harder edged and more serious than the movies. 🙄

    My Ian Fleming ranking thus far:
    1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    2. From Russia With Love
    3. You Only Live Twice
    4. Moonraker
    5. Dr. No
    6. Casino Royale
    7. Thunderball

    Getting there!
    I also ordered a couple more Pan printings with those fabulous Hawkey covers, The Man With The Golden Gun and OHMSS, which, though I've read the book already, I just adore that cover (my favorite of Hawkey's designs and my favorite book thus far). After that, at some point I plan to scoop up The Spy Who Loved Me and Live And Let Die. I'm buying these two at a time.
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