"Breaking the Ice" - Your views on John Gardner's Icebreaker (1983)?

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Comments

  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited March 30 Posts: 14,779
    =bg= wrote: »
    I loved the book, but felt like I was getting hit over the head (again) with the Saab references. Obvy got paid placement.

    That's an interesting observation and one I don't think I've heard before in relation to the novel. You could be right of course as a deal had to be done with Saab for it to be included in the early Gardner Bond novels. We're of course not privy to the details of that deal from a promotional point of view.

    In the same vein, the comment you do hear much more often is that about Gardner's later Bond novel Never Send Flowers. With that novel people say that Gardner had to include Bond waxing lyrical about past visits to Disneyland as the price to use EuroDisney in the climactic scene with the villain. For some Bond fans this was a bridge too far in terms of the quid pro quo cost of the inclusion of EuroDisney as a real world location in the novel.
  • FatherValentineFatherValentine England
    Posts: 720
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    =bg= wrote: »
    I loved the book, but felt like I was getting hit over the head (again) with the Saab references. Obvy got paid placement.

    That's an interesting observation and one I don't think I've heard before in relation to the novel. You could be right of course as a deal had to be done with Saab for it to be included in the early Gardner Bond novels. We're of course not privy to the details of that deal from a promotional point of view.

    In the same vein, the comment you do hear much more often is that about Gardner's later Bond novel Never Send Flowers. With that novel people say that Gardner had to include Bond waxing lyrical about past visits to Disneyland as the price to use EuroDisney in the climactic scene with the villain. For some Bond fans this was a bridge too far in terms of the quid pro quo cost of the inclusion of EuroDisney as a real world location in the novel.

    I don't want this to be a reductive comment, but I think you have to take the rough with the smooth with Gardner's work. They are not sober novels. They are bonkers in many respects, and the product placement and naffness of including Bond's EuroDisney holiday, are all a part of it. For me, it's this stuff that makes his books fun.

    I think the Unauthorised Guide to Bond (forget the authors right now), point out his obsession with the Cats musical (or is it Les Mis?), and how he always mentions the billboards for the musical whenever he describes a London scene.

    They're not really canonical (if such a thing exists in Bond universe).

    Also, as much as I am told the Saab is crap, I actually quite like it.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited March 30 Posts: 14,779
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    =bg= wrote: »
    I loved the book, but felt like I was getting hit over the head (again) with the Saab references. Obvy got paid placement.

    That's an interesting observation and one I don't think I've heard before in relation to the novel. You could be right of course as a deal had to be done with Saab for it to be included in the early Gardner Bond novels. We're of course not privy to the details of that deal from a promotional point of view.

    In the same vein, the comment you do hear much more often is that about Gardner's later Bond novel Never Send Flowers. With that novel people say that Gardner had to include Bond waxing lyrical about past visits to Disneyland as the price to use EuroDisney in the climactic scene with the villain. For some Bond fans this was a bridge too far in terms of the quid pro quo cost of the inclusion of EuroDisney as a real world location in the novel.

    I don't want this to be a reductive comment, but I think you have to take the rough with the smooth with Gardner's work. They are not sober novels. They are bonkers in many respects, and the product placement and naffness of including Bond's EuroDisney holiday, are all a part of it. For me, it's this stuff that makes his books fun.

    I think the Unauthorised Guide to Bond (forget the authors right now), point out his obsession with the Cats musical (or is it Les Mis?), and how he always mentions the billboards for the musical whenever he describes a London scene.

    They're not really canonical (if such a thing exists in Bond universe).

    Also, as much as I am told the Saab is crap, I actually quite like it.

    Yes, that's right, the authors of The Bond Files - Andy Lane and Paul Simpson - do indeed refer to John Gardner's seeming obsession with the Andrew Lloyd-Webber Cats musical. He does refer to it in a few of his 90s Bond novels, I believe. Sometimes even more than once within the one novel!

    Those that know a little of the biography of Gardner (perhaps not a plentiful number nowadays) won't be too surprised by this. Gardner gave lecture tours on Shakespearean production in the United States and even visited Moscow with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was also the theatre critic for the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald local newspaper before he became a full-time author of fiction with firstly the Boysie Oakes spoof spy novels in the 1960s. Early in his writing career he wrote several plays that never really went anywhere. He also later wrote the book Every Night's a Bullfight (1971) about the internal dramas of the theatrical world and staging productions of plays. The novel was later reworked by Gardner and published as The Director (1981).

    Some of Gardner's theatre buff credentials even spilled over into his Bond novels as well. Witness the villain David Dragonpol's partly holographic theatre museum within his Rhine castle home, Schloss Drache. So Gardner's obsession with musical theatre doesn't seem so out of place in the light of these facts from his background. In some ways it was to be expected that it would leach into his Bond novels at some point or other. One writes of what one knows, as they say, and Gardner certainly knew a lot about theatre.
  • FatherValentineFatherValentine England
    Posts: 720
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    =bg= wrote: »
    I loved the book, but felt like I was getting hit over the head (again) with the Saab references. Obvy got paid placement.

    That's an interesting observation and one I don't think I've heard before in relation to the novel. You could be right of course as a deal had to be done with Saab for it to be included in the early Gardner Bond novels. We're of course not privy to the details of that deal from a promotional point of view.

    In the same vein, the comment you do hear much more often is that about Gardner's later Bond novel Never Send Flowers. With that novel people say that Gardner had to include Bond waxing lyrical about past visits to Disneyland as the price to use EuroDisney in the climactic scene with the villain. For some Bond fans this was a bridge too far in terms of the quid pro quo cost of the inclusion of EuroDisney as a real world location in the novel.

    I don't want this to be a reductive comment, but I think you have to take the rough with the smooth with Gardner's work. They are not sober novels. They are bonkers in many respects, and the product placement and naffness of including Bond's EuroDisney holiday, are all a part of it. For me, it's this stuff that makes his books fun.

    I think the Unauthorised Guide to Bond (forget the authors right now), point out his obsession with the Cats musical (or is it Les Mis?), and how he always mentions the billboards for the musical whenever he describes a London scene.

    They're not really canonical (if such a thing exists in Bond universe).

    Also, as much as I am told the Saab is crap, I actually quite like it.

    Yes, that's right, the authors of The Bond Files - Andy Lane and Paul Simpson - do indeed refer to John Gardner's seeming obsession with the Andrew Lloyd-Webber Cats musical. He does refer to it in a few of his 90s Bond novels, I believe. Sometimes even more than once within the one novel!

    Those that know a little of the biography of Gardner (perhaps not a plentiful number nowadays) won't be too surprised by this. Gardner gave lecture tours on Shakespearean production in the United States and Russia. He was also the theatre critic for the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald local newspaper before he became a full-time author of fiction with firstly the Boysie Oakes spoof spy novels in the 1960s. Early in his writing career he wrote several plays that never really went anywhere. He also later wrote the book Every Night's a Bullfight (1971) about the internal dramas of the theatrical world and staging production of plays. The novel was later reworked by Gardner and published as The Director (1981).

    Some of Gardner's theatre buff credentials even spilled over into his Bond novels as well. Witness the villain David Dragonpol's partly holographic theatre museum within his Rhine castle home, Schloss Drache. So Gardner's obsession with musical theatre doesn't seem so out of place in the light of these facts from his background. In some ways it was to be expected that it would leach into his Bond novels at some point in other. One writes of what one knows, as they say, and Gardner certainly knew a lot about theatre.

    Top knowledge, @Dragonpol
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,779
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    =bg= wrote: »
    I loved the book, but felt like I was getting hit over the head (again) with the Saab references. Obvy got paid placement.

    That's an interesting observation and one I don't think I've heard before in relation to the novel. You could be right of course as a deal had to be done with Saab for it to be included in the early Gardner Bond novels. We're of course not privy to the details of that deal from a promotional point of view.

    In the same vein, the comment you do hear much more often is that about Gardner's later Bond novel Never Send Flowers. With that novel people say that Gardner had to include Bond waxing lyrical about past visits to Disneyland as the price to use EuroDisney in the climactic scene with the villain. For some Bond fans this was a bridge too far in terms of the quid pro quo cost of the inclusion of EuroDisney as a real world location in the novel.

    I don't want this to be a reductive comment, but I think you have to take the rough with the smooth with Gardner's work. They are not sober novels. They are bonkers in many respects, and the product placement and naffness of including Bond's EuroDisney holiday, are all a part of it. For me, it's this stuff that makes his books fun.

    I think the Unauthorised Guide to Bond (forget the authors right now), point out his obsession with the Cats musical (or is it Les Mis?), and how he always mentions the billboards for the musical whenever he describes a London scene.

    They're not really canonical (if such a thing exists in Bond universe).

    Also, as much as I am told the Saab is crap, I actually quite like it.

    Yes, that's right, the authors of The Bond Files - Andy Lane and Paul Simpson - do indeed refer to John Gardner's seeming obsession with the Andrew Lloyd-Webber Cats musical. He does refer to it in a few of his 90s Bond novels, I believe. Sometimes even more than once within the one novel!

    Those that know a little of the biography of Gardner (perhaps not a plentiful number nowadays) won't be too surprised by this. Gardner gave lecture tours on Shakespearean production in the United States and Russia. He was also the theatre critic for the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald local newspaper before he became a full-time author of fiction with firstly the Boysie Oakes spoof spy novels in the 1960s. Early in his writing career he wrote several plays that never really went anywhere. He also later wrote the book Every Night's a Bullfight (1971) about the internal dramas of the theatrical world and staging production of plays. The novel was later reworked by Gardner and published as The Director (1981).

    Some of Gardner's theatre buff credentials even spilled over into his Bond novels as well. Witness the villain David Dragonpol's partly holographic theatre museum within his Rhine castle home, Schloss Drache. So Gardner's obsession with musical theatre doesn't seem so out of place in the light of these facts from his background. In some ways it was to be expected that it would leach into his Bond novels at some point in other. One writes of what one knows, as they say, and Gardner certainly knew a lot about theatre.

    Top knowledge, @Dragonpol

    Thank you, @FatherValentine. As may be clear by now, I find John Gardner a fascinating man and subject both from a Bond and wider literary perspective. :)
  • FatherValentineFatherValentine England
    Posts: 720
    Would you say his heart was in Bond by the end, or had he already had his career and the contract to keep producing them was essentially his pension?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited March 31 Posts: 14,779
    Would you say his heart was in Bond by the end, or had he already had his career and the contract to keep producing them was essentially his pension?

    I'm sure his heart must've been in it or he wouldn't have signed the next three book contract with Glidrose. I know fans like to speculate about how committed to Bond Gardner really was as the series continued but there's no real evidence he had lost heart. Perhaps the charges of losing inspiration or repeating himself a bit with later books could be levelled at him. Gardner himself once said on an update to his website that he had obviously found an affinity with Bond after writing about him for so long. Due to something Gardner had written on the Bond part of his website around 2002 the belief that he hadn't in fact ever liked Bond had gained credence online. Gardner responded to this on his website update that it was a particularly a stupid canard doing the rounds at the time and he obviously refuted it. That said, writing the official Bond continuation novels obviously brought him a good supplementary income to his own novels. He said the money paid was fair for the job but not huge as some had speculated.

    We also have to remember that Gardner was pretty ill with two separate bouts of cancer and other ailments including heart attacks while he was writing the Bond novels in the later stages (from about 1990 onwards) and that this could have left the impression that he was just doing it for the money. Of course, as he said in interviews around the time that his new novel Bottled Spider was released in 2002, when you have a big operation in the US, where he lived up until November 1996, they do a thing called a "walletectomy" as well. So he definitely needed the money and had to continue writing Bond until he was quite literally dying. The US medical bills for his oesophageal cancer treatment in 1996 cost $250,000, almost his entire life savings, as he said in an interview with the Financial Times in June 2001. Gardner was nearly left bankrupt and his wife Margaret sadly died of cancer herself, in February 1997, shortly after their return to England.

    Thankfully he was successfully cured of his cancer but he had lost nearly all of his money. When he returned to England he had to live in the end house of a row of (I think) 17th century almshouses. He there started writing his last series of books featuring policewoman Suzie Mountford in World War II set crime novels. The fact that after his last Bond novel Cold (1996) he went on to have success with the novel Day of Absolution (2000), five Suzie Mountford novels (six novels were planned) and the last of the Moriarty Journals, Moriarty (2008), suggests that Bond wasn't really his pension nor was his writing career over with Bond. Of course it may have seemed that way to Gardner at the time considering the litany of life-threatening illnesses he faced at that time. So, with all of this in mind, and not being privy to all the details I don't think we can begrudge Gardner wanting to continue writing the Bond books and getting everything of his wrapped up for the next Bond author. Perhaps he did view Bond in the end as necessary labour. It was a means of sustaining himself and his wife. It would be pretty mean-spirited to deny him that income after all he'd done to keep the literary Bond flame alive over the years.
  • Dragonpol wrote: »
    We also have to remember that Gardner was pretty ill with two separate bouts of cancer and other ailments including heart attacks while he was writing the Bond novels in the later stages (from about 1990 onwards) and that this could have left the impression that he was just doing it for the money. Of course, as he said in interviews around the time that his new novel Bottled Spider was released in 2002, when you have a big operation in the US, where he lived up until November1996, they do a thing called a "walletectomy" as well. So he definitely needed the money and had to continue writing Bond until he was quite literally dying. The US medical bills for his oesophagal cancer treatment in 1996 cost $250,000, almost his entire life savings, as he said in an interview with the Financial Times in June 2001. Gardner was nearly left bankrupt and his wife Margaret sadly died of cancer herself, shortly after their return to England, in February 1997.

    Thankfully he was successfully cured of his cancer but he had lost all of his money. When he returned to England he had to live in the end house of a row of almshouses.
    He there started writing his last series of books featuring policewoman Suzie Mountford in World War II set crime novels. The fact that after his last Bond novel Cold (1996) he went on to have success with the novel Day of Absolution (2000), five Suzie Mountford novels and the last of the Moriarty Journals, Moriarty (2008), suggests that Bond wasn't really his pension nor was his writing career over with Bond. So, with all of this in mind, and not being privy to all the details I don't think we can begrudge Gardner wanting to continue writing the Bond books and getting everything of his wrapped up for the next Bond author. Perhaps he did view Bond in the end as necessary labour. It was a means of sustaining himself and his wife. It would be pretty mean-spirited to deny him that income after all he'd done to keep the literary Bond flame alive over the years.

    That's terrible. I knew of his battles with cancer but had no idea of the financial straits it had left him in. Medical treatment should not cost people their life savings. That's just not the way the world should operate.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 2,907
    Thanks for these interesting background informations @Dragonpol.
    I'll try to finish Icebreaker soon. The middle section bored me a bit and I put it away for a month.
  • FatherValentineFatherValentine England
    Posts: 720
    Thanks for these interesting background informations @Dragonpol.
    I'll try to finish Icebreaker soon. The middle section bored me a bit and I put it away for a month.

    When I first read this I thought you meant the middle part of @Dragonpol's post!

    Thanks for the rundown anyway.

    I vaguely remember some of this now you have mentioned it (the illnesses), but didn't know he wrote that much after Cold.

    Thanks again for the information.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited March 31 Posts: 14,779
    Thanks for these interesting background informations @Dragonpol.
    I'll try to finish Icebreaker soon. The middle section bored me a bit and I put it away for a month.

    When I first read this I thought you meant the middle part of @Dragonpol's post!

    Thanks for the rundown anyway.

    I vaguely remember some of this now you have mentioned it (the illnesses), but didn't know he wrote that much after Cold.

    Thanks again for the information.

    It's of course my pleasure to share some background information about Gardner, @goldenswissroyale and @FatherValentine.

    I'm sure he could be forgiven for thinking that. I was perhaps a little long-winded in my post. Happily of course he was referring to Icebreaker itself. :)

    Yes, Gardner obviously received a second wind after surviving his illnesses with great fortitude. After having of course stopped for a few years after he was ill and being treated he returned to writing after he was cured and completed seven more books before his death on 3 August 2007. Both Day of Absolution (2000) and Moriarty (2008) (originally to have been titled The Redemption of Moriarty) were planned to have been written in the mid-1990s and the 1970s respectively but illness and a mix-up with the contract meant that each novel wasn't completed at the time. In fact, the ideas for both novels were originally conceived in the 1970s.

    You will find that I have edited a few details in the posts I made above. This is just to ensure accuracy as I was largely depending on memory when I wrote them. After double checking my sources I made a few small corrections or added a little bit here and there. I strive to get these details right as I think accuracy is very important. I think Gardner Bond fans are a little hamstrung as there's not an awful amount of information about him out there or if there is sometimes you really have to dig for it. Good job that I'm a digger, then. I suppose that's all part of the fun of being a fan though. It's all about the challenge of slowly trying to unpick the mosaic of truth.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited April 2 Posts: 14,779
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    We also have to remember that Gardner was pretty ill with two separate bouts of cancer and other ailments including heart attacks while he was writing the Bond novels in the later stages (from about 1990 onwards) and that this could have left the impression that he was just doing it for the money. Of course, as he said in interviews around the time that his new novel Bottled Spider was released in 2002, when you have a big operation in the US, where he lived up until November1996, they do a thing called a "walletectomy" as well. So he definitely needed the money and had to continue writing Bond until he was quite literally dying. The US medical bills for his oesophagal cancer treatment in 1996 cost $250,000, almost his entire life savings, as he said in an interview with the Financial Times in June 2001. Gardner was nearly left bankrupt and his wife Margaret sadly died of cancer herself, shortly after their return to England, in February 1997.

    Thankfully he was successfully cured of his cancer but he had lost all of his money. When he returned to England he had to live in the end house of a row of almshouses.
    He there started writing his last series of books featuring policewoman Suzie Mountford in World War II set crime novels. The fact that after his last Bond novel Cold (1996) he went on to have success with the novel Day of Absolution (2000), five Suzie Mountford novels and the last of the Moriarty Journals, Moriarty (2008), suggests that Bond wasn't really his pension nor was his writing career over with Bond. So, with all of this in mind, and not being privy to all the details I don't think we can begrudge Gardner wanting to continue writing the Bond books and getting everything of his wrapped up for the next Bond author. Perhaps he did view Bond in the end as necessary labour. It was a means of sustaining himself and his wife. It would be pretty mean-spirited to deny him that income after all he'd done to keep the literary Bond flame alive over the years.

    That's terrible. I knew of his battles with cancer but had no idea of the financial straits it had left him in. Medical treatment should not cost people their life savings. That's just not the way the world should operate.

    I totally agree with that sentiment, @Some_Kind_Of_Hero. It's certainly not the way the world should operate. Draconian medical bills are an iniquitous thing in a civilised society, all the more so when they decimate someone's life savings and bring them to the very brink of bankruptcy. Gardner had health insurance but unfortunately the costs of life-saving medical treatment still stripped away most of his life savings. It is surely an indictment on the United States that as the richest country in the world it still can't provide a healthcare system that is free to all at the point of use. Political arguments about it being "socialism" be damned. It's one area where the United Kingdom has the advantage over the United States. Clearly root and branch reform of the healthcare system is desperately needed in the United States. I suppose that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was a first step in that direction, though.

    Of course had Gardner been back in England at the time of his illness he'd have gotten his healthcare free on the NHS. That's the tragedy of it all but at least he still had his life and the chance to keep on writing novels and delineating new characters for the next decade or so until his death, aged 80, in August 2007.
  • Posts: 2,312
    During the past 40 years the costs of education, housing, and medical care in America have skyrocketed far more than necessary. In the meantime the rich have grown ultra-rich and corporations have dodged more and more taxes.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,779
    Revelator wrote: »
    During the past 40 years the costs of education, housing, and medical care in America have skyrocketed far more than necessary. In the meantime the rich have grown ultra-rich and corporations have dodged more and more taxes.

    Yes, and as Jack Jersawitz was famous for saying on his Atlanta public-access TV show in the early 2000s, "That's the way it goes."
  • FatherValentineFatherValentine England
    Posts: 720
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    We also have to remember that Gardner was pretty ill with two separate bouts of cancer and other ailments including heart attacks while he was writing the Bond novels in the later stages (from about 1990 onwards) and that this could have left the impression that he was just doing it for the money. Of course, as he said in interviews around the time that his new novel Bottled Spider was released in 2002, when you have a big operation in the US, where he lived up until November1996, they do a thing called a "walletectomy" as well. So he definitely needed the money and had to continue writing Bond until he was quite literally dying. The US medical bills for his oesophagal cancer treatment in 1996 cost $250,000, almost his entire life savings, as he said in an interview with the Financial Times in June 2001. Gardner was nearly left bankrupt and his wife Margaret sadly died of cancer herself, shortly after their return to England, in February 1997.

    Thankfully he was successfully cured of his cancer but he had lost all of his money. When he returned to England he had to live in the end house of a row of almshouses.
    He there started writing his last series of books featuring policewoman Suzie Mountford in World War II set crime novels. The fact that after his last Bond novel Cold (1996) he went on to have success with the novel Day of Absolution (2000), five Suzie Mountford novels and the last of the Moriarty Journals, Moriarty (2008), suggests that Bond wasn't really his pension nor was his writing career over with Bond. So, with all of this in mind, and not being privy to all the details I don't think we can begrudge Gardner wanting to continue writing the Bond books and getting everything of his wrapped up for the next Bond author. Perhaps he did view Bond in the end as necessary labour. It was a means of sustaining himself and his wife. It would be pretty mean-spirited to deny him that income after all he'd done to keep the literary Bond flame alive over the years.

    That's terrible. I knew of his battles with cancer but had no idea of the financial straits it had left him in. Medical treatment should not cost people their life savings. That's just not the way the world should operate.

    I totally agree with that sentiment, @Some_Kind_Of_Hero. It's certainly not the way the world should operate. Draconian medical bills are an iniquitous thing in a civilised society, all the more so when they decimate someone's life savings and bring them to the very brink of bankruptcy. Gardner had health insurance but unfortunately the costs of life-saving medical treatment still stripped away most of his life savings. It is surely an indictment on the United States that as the richest country in the world it still can't provide a healthcare system that is free to all at the point of use. Political arguments about it being "socialism" be damned. It's one area where the United Kingdom has the advantage over the United States. Clearly root and branch reform of the healthcare system is desperately needed in the United States. I suppose that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was a first step in that direction, though.

    Of course had Gardner been back in England at the time of his illness he'd have gotten his healthcare free on the NHS. That's the tragedy of it all but at least he still had his life and the chance to keep on writing novels and delineating new characters for the next decade or so until his death, aged 80, in August 2007.

    It's just utterly unfathomable to me that anyone wouldn't want universal health care.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited April 3 Posts: 14,779
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    We also have to remember that Gardner was pretty ill with two separate bouts of cancer and other ailments including heart attacks while he was writing the Bond novels in the later stages (from about 1990 onwards) and that this could have left the impression that he was just doing it for the money. Of course, as he said in interviews around the time that his new novel Bottled Spider was released in 2002, when you have a big operation in the US, where he lived up until November1996, they do a thing called a "walletectomy" as well. So he definitely needed the money and had to continue writing Bond until he was quite literally dying. The US medical bills for his oesophagal cancer treatment in 1996 cost $250,000, almost his entire life savings, as he said in an interview with the Financial Times in June 2001. Gardner was nearly left bankrupt and his wife Margaret sadly died of cancer herself, shortly after their return to England, in February 1997.

    Thankfully he was successfully cured of his cancer but he had lost all of his money. When he returned to England he had to live in the end house of a row of almshouses.
    He there started writing his last series of books featuring policewoman Suzie Mountford in World War II set crime novels. The fact that after his last Bond novel Cold (1996) he went on to have success with the novel Day of Absolution (2000), five Suzie Mountford novels and the last of the Moriarty Journals, Moriarty (2008), suggests that Bond wasn't really his pension nor was his writing career over with Bond. So, with all of this in mind, and not being privy to all the details I don't think we can begrudge Gardner wanting to continue writing the Bond books and getting everything of his wrapped up for the next Bond author. Perhaps he did view Bond in the end as necessary labour. It was a means of sustaining himself and his wife. It would be pretty mean-spirited to deny him that income after all he'd done to keep the literary Bond flame alive over the years.

    That's terrible. I knew of his battles with cancer but had no idea of the financial straits it had left him in. Medical treatment should not cost people their life savings. That's just not the way the world should operate.

    I totally agree with that sentiment, @Some_Kind_Of_Hero. It's certainly not the way the world should operate. Draconian medical bills are an iniquitous thing in a civilised society, all the more so when they decimate someone's life savings and bring them to the very brink of bankruptcy. Gardner had health insurance but unfortunately the costs of life-saving medical treatment still stripped away most of his life savings. It is surely an indictment on the United States that as the richest country in the world it still can't provide a healthcare system that is free to all at the point of use. Political arguments about it being "socialism" be damned. It's one area where the United Kingdom has the advantage over the United States. Clearly root and branch reform of the healthcare system is desperately needed in the United States. I suppose that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was a first step in that direction, though.

    Of course had Gardner been back in England at the time of his illness he'd have gotten his healthcare free on the NHS. That's the tragedy of it all but at least he still had his life and the chance to keep on writing novels and delineating new characters for the next decade or so until his death, aged 80, in August 2007.

    It's just utterly unfathomable to me that anyone wouldn't want universal health care.

    Me too, though the vested interests of private healthcare companies would certainly be one lobby group that wouldn't want it to happen.
  • Posts: 1,907
    Would of loved for this novel to have been turned into a movie.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,779
    fjdinardo wrote: »
    Would of loved for this novel to have been turned into a movie.

    Me too of course though in a way small parts of it have already been used in the Bond films such as Count Konrad von Glöda's Ice Palace appearing in Die Another Day (2002). A full faithful adaptation would be great though.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I wonder if there could be a chance of the Team that do the BBC radio Bond plays,
    ever extending their catalogue to cover some of the continuing Novels. Although I
    do enjoy the audiobooks of the J Gardner novels.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    edited April 10 Posts: 2,907
    I finally finished Icebreaker. I didn't like the middle part of the book. A lot of talks in hotel rooms with characters I didn't care (Kolja and Tirpitz). I thought the main villain didn't get enough pages to impress and I didn't like the Nazi plot. As a whole, the book was alright (the last scene with Ryvke was unexpected in the way it ended) but the first Bond book which I probably won't read ever again. Slightly disappointing and a bit boring.
  • Posts: 1,577
    I finally finished Icebreaker. I didn't like the middle part of the book. A lot of talks in hotel rooms with characters I didn't care (Kolja and Tirpitz). I thought the main villain didn't get enough pages to impress and I didn't like the Nazi plot. As a whole, the book was alright (the last scene with Ryvke was unexpected in the way it ended) but the first Bond book which I probably won't read ever again. Slightly disappointing and a bit boring.

    Good to know I'm not alone. Icebreaker seems to be a popular Gardner and I just can't grip why, for many of the reasons you said above. How the ending came about was pretty predictable as they left the loose end that was a common trope of the films.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited April 10 Posts: 14,779
    I wonder if there could be a chance of the Team that do the BBC radio Bond plays,
    ever extending their catalogue to cover some of the continuing Novels. Although I
    do enjoy the audiobooks of the J Gardner novels.

    Yes, that would be great to see. Some members here have speculated that after that team get all of the Ian Fleming novels and short stories done they might well go ahead and adapt Amis's Colonel Sun as well. This would be a more likely bet than most I suppose as it's the first Bond continuation novel and parts of it have already been adapted in the Bond films, most notably the torture scene (including verbatim dialogue) being used in Spectre in 2015. There's also the fact that Colonel Sun is as close as it's possible for a Bond novel to get to being part of the Fleming canon without actually having been penned by Fleming himself. It's at the top of many a literary Bond fan's list as being the best continuation novel of them all and it's certainly at the top of my list too! The decision to adapt part of Colonel Sun in Spectre certainly reinforces this notion and does no harm at all to its continuing good reputation amongst Bond fans. It also ensures that it will continue to be read by future generations of Bond fans as it's woven into the fabric of the Bond films now as well.

    It would be nice to see Colonel Sun adapted for radio and for the team to then go ahead and adapt the John Gardner Bond novels as well. Whether it'll happen or not will all be down to Eon of course and they haven't exactly embraced the continuation novels in the past at least as far as their Bond films are concerned. Perhaps the use of part of Colonel Sun in Spectre has set a precedent though and in the future we will see the continuation novels used more in the films or adapted by other means such as radio plays. Radio adaptations could be the only hope for getting the continuation novels adapted at all. Only time will tell on that one but it could just as easily have been that case that they only used Colonel Sun as they were between a rock and a hard place creatively and needed some last minute old school Bondian inspiration. In fact, that seems to have been what actually happened according to an article on Per Fine Ounce that appeared in MI6 Confidential a few years ago.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 2,069
    Some thoughts on IceBreaker (before I read it, whenever that is).

    Maybe it would have worked better if it was set in or after Fleming’s 50s timeline. The NeoNazis would have been better planned had it been set back then.

    As for a movie, there are some elements that should be used. The ice torture for example.

    A radio adaptation SHOULD be made after Fleming and Colonel Sun, maybe even the first, like Dr. No was.

    All in all, I’m interested in reading this over JG’s other books.

    P.S. as for American Healthcare and political leaders, I am sorry world. People like Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, and quite a few others are to blame, and the people who keep or kept voting them in. There’s no center ground for a while, and I’m sorry that my country is so selfish in its political leaders.
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