Did John Gardner really get help to write Cold/Cold Fall (1996) (or not as the case may be)?

DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
edited May 1 in Literary 007 Posts: 14,005
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Ah, this is a bit of a strange one, but please bear with me. :)

ACE, of CBn Forums:
The first few Gardners are great. I even like COLD because Gardner (et al who helped write it) got a chance to experiment with structure.

Link to the quote above in context: http://debrief.commanderbond.net/topic/63165-top-10-continuation-novels-poll-added/page-3 (Quote above is located at post # 63 in the link)

The above post was made by the well-respected CBn member ACE (as Ajay Chowdhury he is co-author of the superlative and highly-recommended Bond film history tome Some Kind of Hero, pub. 2015) on 10 April 2015. ACE is therefore not in my opinion someone who reveals such details lightly. I assume he has some literary Bond insider knowledge here. As you can see, it intimated that John Gardner had help with writing his final James Bond continuation novel Cold (which was titled Cold Fall in the US) by one or more persons unnamed and unknown who apparently helped him. ‘Et al’ of course means ‘and others’ in Latin and is a common scholarly abbreviation. It indicates that more than one person may have been involved in helping Mr Gardner write Cold.

Now I have been interested in this post since it first appeared on the (now) old CBn Forums. Obviously, it was the first time I had ever heard anything of this and so I thought I would create this thread now to see if we can tease out any more of the details. I think that the veracity of such a statement must be tested fairly on an open forum. After all, why make a statement of doubt as to true authorship if you can't stand over it? That is only right and just in my view.

We do know that in Mr Gardner was in rather poor health around the time of Brokenclaw in 1990 when he had prostate cancer and that later on around the time of Cold in 1996 he was suffering from oesophagal cancer, both of which he was thankfully cured of in the US where he lived during that period. So, bearing these medical facts in mind, could Mr Gardner have needed help in finishing his final Bond novel, Cold, and if so what form did this help take, beyond that of the general editorial help he would have received on any of his Bond novels or his own non-Bond novels? Could his health troubles have been the reason for the help he apparently received in the writing of Cold? These are the key questions and my essential reason for creating this thread.

I wonder if ACE (if he happens to be reading now or at a future time) or anyone else here who may know more details about this could possibly elaborate on the quote above as I find it most fascinating? A CBn fellow member (and friend) Major Tallon was equally fascinated by this revelation by ACE and was also keen to learn more about it. I'm sure he too would like answers on this issue. I asked ACE to tell us more about this revelation. Sadly, I was stonewalled. My post showing this there has sadly been recently deleted by the CBn mods. So, again sadly, no further information was forthcoming at that time [April 2015]. As I was still so intrigued by his almost throwaway revelation, I then of course asked ACE in a private message about this but he said he did not want to comment on it any further than what he had already said on the CBn Forums thread quoted from above. I'm not at all sure why this was however. As there was no follow-up reply of any kind from ACE beyond his initial revelatory post citing more details or corroborating evidence I have created this thread.

By the way, in case you are wondering, I did create a thread on this very subject over on the new CBn Forums: 'Quarterdeck' but was banned for the trouble for the heinous crime of being the returning previously banned member SILHOUETTE MAN. I assume this was the real reason and not that I had uncovered some sort of literary Bond conspiracy(?!) Oh well, you have to at least try, don't you? As a writer, I detest being edited. The heirs of SMERSH have long memories it seems...

I hope someone out there can help me with this important query. Thank you for indulging my Gardner Bond obsession by reading! I really want the truth to come out - and I hope that John Gardner did indeed write all of Cold himself and only got the usual editorial help he always did on his Bond novels. :)

So, let's try to put this one to bed, once and for all.

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Comments

  • Posts: 19,339
    No,he was a lovely man and a damn good writer,he didnt need help..
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    Posts: 14,005
    barryt007 wrote: »
    No,he was a lovely man and a damn good writer,he didnt need help..

    I agree, so what do you think ACE was on about in that quote?! I did try asking the man himself, but...
  • Posts: 19,339
    John was a popular (imo the best ) Bond writer,and any slice of the pie helps....why would John need help when he knew Bond so well and wrote brilliant Bond novels (not sure about Brokenclaw,i did tell him i didnt like the ending in that).
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    Posts: 14,005
    barryt007 wrote: »
    John was a popular (imo the best ) Bond writer,and any slice of the pie helps....why would John need help when he knew Bond so well and wrote brilliant Bond novels (not sure about Brokenclaw,i did tell him i didnt like the ending in that).

    Well, exactly, and I'm a very big Gardner fan and defender both online and offline. But why then did ACE make the statement that Gardner had help writing Cold, his last Bond novel? It's an intriguing question that remains unanswered well over two years later. Maybe this thread will garner at least some of the answers? Here's hoping.
  • Posts: 19,339
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    barryt007 wrote: »
    John was a popular (imo the best ) Bond writer,and any slice of the pie helps....why would John need help when he knew Bond so well and wrote brilliant Bond novels (not sure about Brokenclaw,i did tell him i didnt like the ending in that).

    Well, exactly, and I'm a very big Gardner fan and defender both online and offline. But why then did ACE make the statement that Gardner had help writing Cold, his last Bond novel? It's an intriguing question that remains unanswered well over two years later. Maybe this thread will garner at least some of the answers? Here's hoping.

    The only reason,and i hate saying this,is that he was getting ill,and things might have needed tidying up re the novel...he loved Bond and would have wanted it to be up to his standard.
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    Posts: 14,005
    barryt007 wrote: »
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    barryt007 wrote: »
    John was a popular (imo the best ) Bond writer,and any slice of the pie helps....why would John need help when he knew Bond so well and wrote brilliant Bond novels (not sure about Brokenclaw,i did tell him i didnt like the ending in that).

    Well, exactly, and I'm a very big Gardner fan and defender both online and offline. But why then did ACE make the statement that Gardner had help writing Cold, his last Bond novel? It's an intriguing question that remains unanswered well over two years later. Maybe this thread will garner at least some of the answers? Here's hoping.

    The only reason,and i hate saying this,is that he was getting ill,and things might have needed tidying up re the novel...he loved Bond and would have wanted it to be up to his standard.

    Yes, that is sadly most likely the reason for the 'et al' in the quote above. I was lucky enough to correspond with Mr Gardner by email for a few years before his sad death in 2007. I'm happy to say I was able to tell him how much he and his books meant to me. Sadly, I never did get a chance to meet the great man, but that was the next best thing for me.
  • Posts: 19,339
    I was asked to read at his funeral as by his family as a long time follower of his work ,but i had serious problems with my eldest daughter (Ewings Syndrome cancer) and couldnt be there..one of the biggest regrets i have ever had....but he knows the contribution he has made to Bond ,and i think the family,as i know them,would let his material be used .
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    edited October 2017 Posts: 14,005
    barryt007 wrote: »
    I was asked to read at his funeral as by his family as a long time follower of his work ,but i had serious problems with my eldest daughter (Ewings Syndrome cancer) and couldnt be there..one of the biggest regrets i have ever had....but he knows the contribution he has made to Bond ,and i think the family,as i know them,would let his material be used .

    @barryt007

    That sounded like a real honour, Barry.

    Did you ever get to meet John Gardner or any of his family? I know a few of them through Facebook and corresponded with John by email.

    I sincerely hope your eldest daughter is better now.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 8,278
    Interesting item addressed.
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    edited May 1 Posts: 14,005
    Interesting item addressed.

    I think, in the end analysis, that it was just an awkwardly worded post that the esteemed author was then unwilling to retract, for whatever reason.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited May 1 Posts: 8,278
    Yes and my original thoughts ran to his health condition at the time contributing to any of the possibilities, @Dragonpol. Enjoyed seeing the connections expressed here.

    I hope and expect Mr. Gardner was comfortable and proud with this body of work and legacy regardless. Bond and otherwise.

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  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    edited May 1 Posts: 14,005
    Yes and my original thoughts ran to his health condition at the time contributing to any of the possibilities, @Dragonpol. Enjoyed seeing the connections expressed here.

    I hope and expect Mr. Gardner was comfortable and proud with this body of work and legacy regardless. Bond and otherwise.

    5021e9794d6531790b6fd9bf52a3cb617d742147.png

    Yes, and I feel bad now for helping to perpetuate this myth about Gardner getting help to write Cold in thread form. However, I felt that I was left with no other option after the original thread on CBn was arbitrarily deleted. That's the way it goes over there although they had help themselves on that occasion.

    I'm sure John Gardner was rightly proud of the literary legacy he left behind but I know he thought that Cold was his worst Bond novel as he was literally dying at the time he wrote it and couldn't get it fixed to how he wanted. That's what he told me back in 2002. So his poor health was definitely at the heart of it even though he didn't have (or indeed need) help to finish it. I think (from what he said in interviews) that he was proudest of his own work such as Boysie Oakes, Herbie Kruger and latterly Suzie Mountford and saw Bond more as a case of rearranging another man's flowers in comparison. He said that he wanted to be remembered for his own novels above all else and not just "bloody Bond," as he put it. Gardner never felt that Bond was legitimately his own character in the same way that his own characters were. That's understandable for an established successful author taking on someone else's well established and famous character. I still think Cold is a good Bond novel though and one of my favourites from Gardner. I like how it neatly wraps up everything from the Gardner era and paves the way for a new continuation author to come along and continue the literary Bond legacy under the new female M.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 8,278
    Oh I took it as an open question bringing Gardner back into the deserved spotlight, @Dragonpol. Putting sunlight on it, nothing negative.

    I do have a question for you regarding your take on the title. Hard to divine from how it's presented in various places mostly as uppercase.

    Am I correct that the UK and US titles are specifically as below.
    • UK: COLD [- not Cold - ]
    Recognizing and acronym Children of the Last Days is in play. Also, checking the inside cover of the hardback Hodder & Stoughton edition, it calls out "Gardner, John 1926-, COLD - (James Bond 007)". Whereas other novels appear this way as "Gardner, John - Win, lose or die".
    • US: COLD Fall [- not Cold Fall - ]
    So I'm expecting the acronym uppercase, and Fall title case. But I don't have my US Putnam versions of the book available to do a similar check.


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