Your thoughts on the Sound Torture scene in John Gardner's Licence Renewed (1981)?

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
edited September 2016 in Literary 007 Posts: 12,304
Fotolia-26710073-S--hearingchallenged-com_14696_g.jpg

I'd like to ask you for your thoughts on the sound torture scene in John Gardner's Licence Renewed (1981)? In the scene in question the villain Dr Anton Murik and his assistant Mary-Jane Mashkin apply white noise to Bond's ears in a white tiled torture chamber.

What did you think of it?

Have you any praise for it or criticisms of it?

Was it too tame (as some commentators have said) or something refreshingly different?

How would you rank it alongside the other torture scenes by Ian Fleming, Kingsley Amis and John Gardner himself?

As always, I'd love to hear from you! :)

D.

Comments

  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 2,935
    I actually thought it was quite good. Unusual, which was probably why I liked it. Something I'd never heard of being done before. The thought of going on an imaginary trip all in your head just from sound is really quite scary. Is there such a thing as this in real life? Although, I would most certainly like to have this happen to me as opposed to having my balls whipped with a carpet beater.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 1,864
    I thought this sequence was quite good. The torture is unusual and the author puts the reader into the unique experience along with Bond. One of the better scenes in the debut 007 Gardner novel.

    The book improved in the second half. Especially from the Saab escape until the chase on foot through the French village. I found this book disappointing overall - the first half is slow and the whole book is full of exposition particularly from Murik. He is also wantonly risky and stupid in absorbing a mercenary (Bond undercover) into his life mere days before a world changing catastrophe. It's all too convenient and the reader isn't given the opportunity to discover the plot for himself - the inelegant reveal of every plot point drains tension from the book. The female characters are particularly poorly written (Q'ute is downright embarrassing!) but Gardner does well in describing a couple of those suspenseful chase scenes.
  • saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
    Posts: 987
    It's a few years since I've read this and had completely forgotten the torture scene, that in itself speaks volumes as both Fleming's and Amis wrote unforgettable torture scenes. I guess that those authors scenes directly influenced the inclusion of the sound torture as Licence Renewed stands unique in the Gardner series for borrowing heavily from previous books rather than Gardner following his own style (It could be argued that the poorly written female characters are a legacy of Fleming).
    As for the torture, maybe when I read this my younger self felt less worried about mental manipulation than actual physical pain, now the idea of the frailty of the mind carries far more pathos.
    This topic has rekindled my interest to return to the Gardner books and I wonder how much more effective the sound torture will be than remembered, for Gardner wasn't one to shy away from the gruesome (Nobody Lives Forever's Der Haken's demise springs to mind).
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited January 12 Posts: 12,304
    Thank you very much for all of the replies so far. They're very much appreciated. I hope to write up an article soon on this torture scene that will give my views on it in the fullest possible sense. It always helps me greatly to know what other fans think of things
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited September 2016 Posts: 9,117
    So long since I read it but I remember enjoying it and feeling it was in the grand tradition of Fleming and Amis.

    I also liked the white clinical torture room as a juxtaposition between the usual dark and miserable dungeon you might expect.

    LR easily in my top 3 Gardner books as it did at least try to keep to the Fleming template more before Gardner's double and triple crossing and teams of fellow agents started dominating his books.

    The reason I can cut the SP torture scene a lot of slack (despite stepbrothergate) is that we had the torture from CS (which I never thought we'd see) and this Gardner reference was an extra little bonus.

    When I first saw this scene in the cinema I was buzzing. It's only after the comedown from that initial high that you start to see all the flaws but still a scene I enjoy and I can even live with Bond recovering so quickly as Blofeld does say 'if the needle hits the right spot.' We must just assume that Blofeld isn't that proficient at it.

    Although it would be way better if Bond was groggy and it was Madeline who does the lions share of getting them out of there and shooting the goons.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Thanks very much for all of the replies so far. I'll go into more detail on this soon.

    I wonder if we can compile a list of all of the tortures in the James Bond novels, films, comics etc.?

    Here are some I can think of:

    Ian Fleming, Casino Royale - carpet beater torture [in 2006 film too]
    Ian Fleming, Thunderball - cigar and ice cubes torture of Domino [in 1965 film too]
    Kingsley Amis, Colonel Sun - head skewer torture [2015 Spectre film]
    Christopher Wood, James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me - electrodes on genitals torture
    John Gardner, Licence Renewed - Sound Torture
    John Gardner, Icebreaker - Ice Water Torture
    John Gardner, Brokenclaw - O-kee-pa initiation ceremony/torture
    DAD PTS Torture - various methods

    Doers the TWINE antique neck-breaking device count as a torture scene I wonder?

    I'm sure that there are other torture scenes that I have missed.

  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited September 2016 Posts: 9,117
    LALD - finger being slowly broken and keel hauling.
    MR - Krebs 'persuading' Bond and touching up Gala.
    DAF - Brooklyn stomping.
    DN - Obstacle course.
    GF - Ciruclar saw.*
    YOLT - The pressure room.*

    *Do these two count given Bond does not actually come to any physical harm?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited September 2016 Posts: 12,304
    LALD - finger being slowly broken and keel hauling.
    MR - Krebs 'persuading' Bond and touching up Gala.
    DAF - Brooklyn stomping.
    DN - Obstacle course.
    GF - Ciruclar saw.*
    YOLT - The pressure room.*

    *Do these two count given Bond does not actually come to any physical harm?

    Great stuff, @TheWizardOfIce. What can I say? It was late. I was tired. I forgot a few of those when I was busy wracking my brains. Just the kind of obvious ones jumped out at me first.

    Yes, Wiz, I'd say that the last two scenes you mention do count as psychological torture, rather than the usual psychological torture.

    I wonder are there any torture scenes in the Raymond Benson Bond novels and the other continuation novels?

    Also, what about the Bond comic strips?
  • edited October 2016 Posts: 2,174
    I can't believe it. I've read License Renewed two or three times and can't even remember the torture scene.

    Bond was whipped in Zero Minus Ten if I remember correctly. Can't remember if there were any torture scenes in the other Benson books.
  • Bond is faced with mathematical torture in Benson's The Facts of Death when he must resolve an equation to unlock the equivalent of Blofeld's YOLT "exploder button" to save the day. And that sounds like the worst possible kind of torture to me. ;)

    Been awhile since I've read Licence Renewed. I've read it at least twice before and remember a couple of scenes—Bond being pitted in hand-to-hand combat against the henchman with medieval weapons?—but I have zero recollection of sound torture. There are a few of Gardner's I'd like to revisit in the near future: Nobody Lives Forever and Win, Lose or Die. I may have to include Renewed as well.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Does anyone else want to give their views on the Sound Torture in Licence Renewed?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    All done then?! :)
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Could someone possibly compile a list of all the torture scenes in the novels from Faulks to Horowitz for me?

    I see that each Bond author from Fleming on seems to have a torture scene in their first Bond novel.

    Maybe for the continuation novels it is considered mandatory? What do we think?
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 2,935
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Could someone possibly compile a list of all the torture scenes in the novels from Faulks to Horowitz for me?

    I see that each Bond author from Fleming on seems to have a torture scene in their first Bond novel.

    Maybe for the continuation novels it is considered mandatory? What do we think?

    I can try.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Could someone possibly compile a list of all the torture scenes in the novels from Faulks to Horowitz for me?

    I see that each Bond author from Fleming on seems to have a torture scene in their first Bond novel.

    Maybe for the continuation novels it is considered mandatory? What do we think?

    I can try.

    Thanks in advance! I have this torture scene first novel theory, you see. Carte Blanche is the one I'm not sure about, however.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 2,935
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Could someone possibly compile a list of all the torture scenes in the novels from Faulks to Horowitz for me?

    I see that each Bond author from Fleming on seems to have a torture scene in their first Bond novel.

    Maybe for the continuation novels it is considered mandatory? What do we think?

    I can try.

    Thanks in advance! I have this torture scene first novel theory, you see. Carte Blanche is the one I'm not sure about, however.

    So you want me to look through Carte Blanche?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited January 13 Posts: 12,304
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Could someone possibly compile a list of all the torture scenes in the novels from Faulks to Horowitz for me?

    I see that each Bond author from Fleming on seems to have a torture scene in their first Bond novel.

    Maybe for the continuation novels it is considered mandatory? What do we think?

    I can try.

    Thanks in advance! I have this torture scene first novel theory, you see. Carte Blanche is the one I'm not sure about, however.

    So you want me to look through Carte Blanche?

    If you like. I can't recall if it had a torture scene or not.
Sign In or Register to comment.