This thread rather does what it says on the tin. I like keeping things simple and writing in as plain English as possible. :)
I wanted to ask members here about what things/elements/characters etc. you felt did not belong in a James Bond novel (this covers the original Bond novels by Ian Fleming and the Continuations since 1968 to the present day)?
A few ones that are obvious to me from reading fan opinion in fanzines and Internet discussion forums like this ones and articles and so on are:
- The doped ice cream plot device in John Gardner's For Special Services
- James Bond visiting and liking Euro Disney in John Gardner's Never Send Flowers
- The o-kee-pa torture endured by James Bond at the end of John Gardner's Brokenclaw
- 'Operation Cream Cake' as an operation title in John Gardner's No Deals, Mr Bond
- James Bond thinking of the phrase 'Dickbrain' in John Gardner's Never Send Flowers
- James Bond visiting (and donating to!) a sperm bank in Raymond Benson's The Facts of Death
-The Saab 900 Turbo in the John Gardner novels
- James Bond masturbating/voyeurism in William Boyd's Solo
Now these are all examples taken from the James Bond continuation novels, but of course the Fleming Bond canon can be included as well. It's just that I'm really at a loss to think of any examples from there!
By the way, I don't necessarily agree with each and every one of these, but they are ones that have come up more than once in my reading of books, articles and fan opinion on various Bond fora over the years.
Now it's over to you to ruminate on the other things that you feel didn't belong in a James Bond novel. Feel free also to agree or disagree with my examples quoted above. Please also give your reasons for your choices, on why you feel the way you do about something in the Bond novels.
Thanks for reading! :)
that always felt off to me - Bond ought to be timeless.
You mean not Raymond Benson, but John Gardner here.
But thank you for your contribution, @octofinger!
I wondered recently if these were actually a "thing" or not? I really don't know! :D
She is a glorious Swiss beauty cannot be mentioned enough.
Similarly, his follow-up Goldfinger felt very off for me. There are probably a number of reasons why, but one of the things that stood out to me the most was Bond becoming Goldfinger's personal secretary. It just felt like a very bizarre thing for both characters, and for Fleming himself to concoct.
Many more instances in the continuation novels. Seems rather strange, for instance, that virtually every character in Gardner's books, from the villains to the girls to M to minor side characters to Bond himself, likes thinking about and quoting in conversation classic poetry. Definitely a tic of Gardner's that he used a little too frequently.
Another instance would be Bond creeping around that lady's house for no real reason while she's showering in Solo. Definitely not Bond-like.
The incredible number of traitor in Gardgner period is out place to, especially Norman Murray in No Deals, Mr Bond.
Finally, the incredible stupidity of Bond when he choose to take the two girls of Nobody Lives for Ever with him, instead of leaving them on the side of the road, having suspicions about their loyalty (when he has a bounty in his head) ! Nobody Lives for Ever is for me the worst continuation novel of all time due to this...
The giant squid sequence in Dr.No was a little bit fantasy. At least for the time the books where written.
TMWTGG beginning, with despite what happened, M basically intentionally sending Bond to his death was always an odd one too.
Agreed. Really dumb.
Most of the things that don't belong are in the Gardner books.
Unfortunately, yes. I noticed that when I started compiling my list, and I say that as a big Gardner fan and defender! :)
Those both sound horrible.
Plus 1. Gardner was a clown.
They were. I enjoyed Benson's first couple efforts as sort of fan-fictiony, heavily movie Bond influenced adventures, but he lacked literary chops and it showed over time. It's funny to think how harsh he was in his reviews of Gardner's novels, which read virtually on par with Fleming's by comparison with Benson's own.
Agreed - embarrassing misstep in Gardner's work. I realised as I read him that he's good with suspense and action scenes, average with plots and awful with dialogue. His female characters suffer from this the worst in Licence Renewed.
I meant to add the doped ice cream one into my list above. Can't believe I forgot that one but I'll add it in now as I did mean to include it there!
I don't mind an occasional bit of metafiction--Andress in the book was the equivalent of "This never happened to the other fella" in the movie. I liked the giant squid in Dr. No too. The lead-up to it--the eyes appearing from the depths and rising toward the Bond, the questing tentacle--is great action writing.
Stuff that shouldn't be Fleming? That line about "half rape" in TSWLM is definitely out of place in a book that's otherwise sensitive to women's issues. And Bond's use of the N-word in DAF is definitely out of character--he never used it in LALD. It's only there to set up that stupid "jegro" joke. That "sweet tang" line in CR is also OOC and seems to be there only for shock value. The anti-Korean sentiments in GF are also unnecessary--why was Fleming so hard on them yet so taken with the Japanese, whose war record was far worse?
Good points all around (and looking for logic in racism is a fool's quest).
Edit: Still not sure about the squid though. I'll have to reconsider this the next time I read the book.
In fact, I hate to see the recent book like Trigger have fallen in the politically correct (in Goldfinger Bond hate the Koreans and homosexual, but in TM, set 2 weeks after GF, there are no racism remark about Sin who is Corean , and 007 have an homosexual friend ; non-sens).
Interesting. Will avoid those like the plague then! Really defeats the purpose of the exercise, doesn't it.
@PropertyOfALady will be interested in this too I'm sure.
DMC: Julian Burton, Transworld reverting to Universal Exports (just makes no sense), Loelia Ponsonby coming back is ok but Faulks seems to dismiss Mary Goodnight without a mention in his offhand remark about a series of mousy secreataries. Without some of these silly aspects DMC would have been a great little novel.