John Gardner's Introduction to the Armchair Detective Special Edition of Licence to Kill (1989)?

DragonpolDragonpol Writer @
edited April 2016 in Literary 007 Posts: 15,071
I can recall reading a copy someone had typed out of John Gardner's introduction to (I think) the American Armchair Detective Special Edition of John Gardner's novelisation of Licence to Kill (1989) in 2001. The introduction was basically John Gardner's chance to answer his critics as Bond continuation author. I think it may have been on Nick Kincaid's sadly now defunct site 007 Forever or else it was another site. I had a copy of it somewhere but have not been able to locate it to date. I recall John Gardner saying in the introduction that he did the Licence to Kill novelisation as a one-off favour to Cubby Broccoli as he had never had much truck with film novelisations or screenplays due to past experiences of the film industry. Gardner even went as far as to say that he would never write another novelisation but we know he reneged on this and changed his mind to also write the novelisation for GoldenEye (1995).

John Gardner repeated some of the content of his introduction to the novelisation of Licence to Kill on his website in March 2002:

There were those who made fools of themselves in print over my version of Bond, reviewers who committed great howlers such as - 'A computer has no moving parts,’ or ‘all cigarettes are white.’ Again there was one idiot who suggested that I did not have Fleming’s vocabulary - a difficult trick I would have thought.

Taken from:

I'm hoping that somewhere out there has this particular edition of the Licence to Kill novelisation and is willing to either type it out for me (and others) on this thread or perhaps send me scan of the introduction to my email address. I can be contacted by PM in this instance. In return, I can send the member something from my bond collection that they may not have a collection of. I dearly hope that someone out there has this introduction. Thanks very much for reading! :)

Just for your reference here is the edition of the Licence to Kill novelisation that I am referring to and that I believe this introduction is part of:



  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @
    Posts: 15,071
    Update: thanks to Barbel over on AJB007 Forums I've found the text of the Introduction to the Armchair Detective edition of the Licence to Kill novelisation. Here it is in full:


    In 1979, when I was living in the Republic of Ireland, out of the grey skies (you do not get many blue ones in Ireland) I was invited by Glidrose Publications- the literary copyright owners of James Bond- to take up the late Ian Fleming’s mantle and write some continuation James Bond novels.

    Both Glidrose and myself realized that we could fall flat on our faces. We also knew that, as far as those self-appointed guardians of literary taste- the critics (known in the trade as the Sixth through Sixth-Thousand Horsemen of the Apocalypse- we were in a no-win situation. As it turned out, our original deal for three books has grown into eight; I am writing the ninth, and the company who owns me has just signed me for three more.
    While the reviewers appear to dislike the fact that I am not Ian Fleming, the book-buying public seem to have eaten the new Bond novels alive. Nobody could be happier than I, for my job is to entertain, possibly excite, certainly stimulate, and this I appear to have done with the James Bond books: no mean feat when you consider that I have produced an average of one a year, plus one of my own works of fiction a year since 1979 (I am well-known for my natural streak of modesty).

    I apologise for not being Mr. Fleming, just as I apologise for the reviewer who believes that there are no moving parts in a computer, the one who imagines that all cigarettes are white, and the one who thinks the books are sexually tame because his memories of the Fleming novels are that his parents regarded them as dirty books, so he read them in secret. Grow up all of you.

    I do not apologise for the book you are about to read. It is a collectors’ item, for it has absolutely nothing to do with my series of James Bond books. It is unique, being the only book-of-the-film I am ever likely to write.

    Last year, Glidrose was approached by Mr Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli- that wonderful and staunch defender of Bond who has brought all of the Fleming stories from page to screen. Mr. Broccoli asked if I would do a book based on the screenplay of his new Bond movie, License To Kill. I was not keen, having already had truck with screenplays before. On the bare white page, all screenplays are like lyrics without music, or as my old father used to say, like kissing your sister.

    However, Bond prevailed and I spent a number of happy weeks turning Michael G. Wilson’s and Richard Maibaum’s screenplay into the book you hold in your hands. I hope you enjoy it.

    John Gardner.
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