The Man With The Golden Gun-Some Thoughts

edited February 2012 in Literary 007 Posts: 68
I didn't realize until now why people felt TMWTGG was such a sub par effort until after reading all of the Bond novels in order. Disregarding the external circumstances of the novel (Fleming being sick) the novel seems adrift. It was kind of like Fleming had to bring Bond back but didn't have a strong story to do it. However, it seems that there was a good story here. Fleming mentions that Bond chases Scaramenga around the Caribbean and just missed him each time. Rather than spend time at the hotel, I think it would have made a better story had we seen Bond chase Scaramenga and barely miss him, somewhat like the movie version. It would have made Scaramenga more threatening. As a villain Scaramenga comes off weak compared to other villains. He doesn't seem to posses a threat outside of just being good with a gun.
Finally I have to question M's motive in sending Bond after Scaramenga. Is M extracting revenge on Bond for trying to kill him by sending him on a mission that is sure to kill Bond?
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Comments

  • I liked the novel but have to agree that it seems rushed and forced at times and i do think he didn';t do all of the book....
  • Another question: did Mary Goodnight color her hair blonde? In OHMSS she is described as a brunette, but by TMWTGG she is described as a blonde. I assume its one of those inconsistencies in the Bond novels.
  • Posts: 297
    Finally I have to question M's motive in sending Bond after Scaramenga. Is M extracting revenge on Bond for trying to kill him by sending him on a mission that is sure to kill Bond?

    Some time ago it occurred to me that for the first and only time Bond isn't briefed by M. Tanner comes to him and explains the assignment! Not even sure if Bond is back at HQ, I suspect he's still tucked away somewhere else. Would only be the logic step to keep the head of service' would-be killer away from his target.

  • I'm like 2/3 into the book and I have to say... it's not the best but because so many sad it's the weakest, I'm positively surprised. Even though it seems rushed and even uninspired at times. Some thing are explained way to quick or almost not at all, which left me wondered. It's like Fleming had no interest anymore for that specific detail at times. Also Scaramanga sometimes looks like a complete fool imo.
    But I still like it so far.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 5,867
    Fleming didn't have the time to finish the book and add his trademark detail, or so the thinking goes.

    I do think it is unbelievable that Scaramanga hires Bond. Shades of a similar plot hole in GF.
  • Wasn't this novel released after Fleming's death? I could be wrong, but I've always had the feeling they just found a manuscript for this at GoldenEye, unfinished, with bits and pieces not written yet, or not worked out yet. So another writer finished some of those, and they published it.
  • Posts: 1,817
    It is of course an outlier of the novels. Not polished but enjoyable perhaps because we know it's Fleming's last one.
  • Posts: 7,653
    Wasn't this novel released after Fleming's death? I could be wrong, but I've always had the feeling they just found a manuscript for this at GoldenEye, unfinished, with bits and pieces not written yet, or not worked out yet. So another writer finished some of those, and they published it.

    Kingsley Amis name has been mentioned very often as the one polishing TMWTGG, and under the name Robert Markham he did write Colonel Sun.
  • DB5DB5
    Posts: 408
    I feel the same way about TMWTGG. The beginning is actually a preety good sequel to YOLT. Then it essentially becomes "Hotel Jamaica." Really not much of a story, I much prefer the other two Jamaica stories (DN and the last third of LALD).
  • Posts: 7,653
    That said I prefer TMWTGG as it is better than ending it with YOLT.

    I like the last page where James looks back and forward.
  • To be honest, I've always thought that TMWTGG is the most underrated of all the Fleming texts. Yes, it's uneven and at times falls prey to severe subtext (there are several excellent articles on CommanderBond that explain this far better than I could) but it's one of the novels I find myself returning to the most. Anything after the Blofeld Trilogy was going to seem like a letdown, and it didn't help that Fleming was in poor health when writing it, but it's far from the disaster some claim it to be.
  • edited October 2012 Posts: 267
    Fellow Agents,
    TMWTGG is certainly fare from IF's best.
    It was published postheoumously in 1965 and I can remember rushing out with my mother's hard earned wonga to buy the first edition and being hugely disappointed. YOLT had been a let down after the fabulous OHMSS and expectations had been high for TMWTGG particularly as it was rumoured to have been finished off by the great Kingsley Amis. Critics were less than kind and with good reason.
    Looking back, although I remain a huge IF fan and regard him as an icon, I have to acknowledge that his work varied significantly in terms of quality. To imagine that TSWLM came from the same pen as FRWL is sometimes difficult.
    IN my humble opinion, out of the 12 full length Bond novels only 5 achieved true greatness namely: FRWL, OHMSS, TB, GF, DN.
    When you compare that hit rate with other authors with great series characters it can be best described as irratic. Personaly when you read Andrew Lycett's biography I think the IF's variable output is explained by his meloncholy character and the fact that he was constantly in and out of love with Bond.
    Albeit, when you write five as great as the aforementioned perhaps you can afford to rest on your laurels?
    Regards,
    Bentley
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Reading TMWTGG next.

    I hope to leave some thoughts.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,661
    Bentley wrote:
    IN my humble opinion, out of the 12 full length Bond novels only 5 achieved true greatness namely: FRWL, OHMSS, TB, GF, DN.

    How can you *possibly* leave MR out of that particular list?? :-??
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,635
    chrisisall wrote:
    Bentley wrote:
    IN my humble opinion, out of the 12 full length Bond novels only 5 achieved true greatness namely: FRWL, OHMSS, TB, GF, DN.

    How can you *possibly* leave MR out of that particular list?? :-??

    Indeed. MR is my personal favourite of them all.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited May 2013 Posts: 9,117
    Dragonpol wrote:
    chrisisall wrote:
    Bentley wrote:
    IN my humble opinion, out of the 12 full length Bond novels only 5 achieved true greatness namely: FRWL, OHMSS, TB, GF, DN.

    How can you *possibly* leave MR out of that particular list?? :-??

    Indeed. MR is my personal favourite of them all.

    Hear, hear.

    Some rare Bondian literary taste from you Draggers ;)
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,635
    Dragonpol wrote:
    chrisisall wrote:
    Bentley wrote:
    IN my humble opinion, out of the 12 full length Bond novels only 5 achieved true greatness namely: FRWL, OHMSS, TB, GF, DN.

    How can you *possibly* leave MR out of that particular list?? :-??

    Indeed. MR is my personal favourite of them all.

    Hear, hear.

    At last we agree on something, @TheWizardOfIce!
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,661
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    chrisisall wrote:
    Bentley wrote:
    IN my humble opinion, out of the 12 full length Bond novels only 5 achieved true greatness namely: FRWL, OHMSS, TB, GF, DN.

    How can you *possibly* leave MR out of that particular list?? :-??

    Indeed. MR is my personal favourite of them all.

    Hear, hear.

    At last we agree on something, @TheWizardOfIce!
    "Drinks all around!"

  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,635
    jamez007 wrote:
    the film is roger moore's worst by far

    I think it's actually one of his better ones, actually, as I think it's quite Flemingesque in places.
  • Posts: 14,755
    It is not Fleming's best novel but I found it an enjoyable read nonetheless. I do think it is quite original too, the henchman being the main villain, something that even the movie adaptation could not pull.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    The last chapter is worth reading alone. The middle sags as Bond is almost left out for large parts.

    The violence is strong through, almost too graphic. You can tell Fleming was battling at that point.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Last paragraph - Genius at work.

    "At the same time, he knew, deep down, that love from Mary Goodnight, or from any woman, was not enough for him. It would be like taking 'a room with a view'. For James Bond, the same view would always pall."
  • Posts: 2,483
    The novel is derivative of Fleming's earlier novels. I think he knew he didn't have much time left, and wanted to crank out one final Bond, but didn't have enough fresh material to produce a novel of his usual standards. Consequently, he had to slap bits and pieces of earlier material together in order to produce Gun.

    Even still, it's a very good thriller. Bond's attempted assassination of M, Bond's meeting with Scaramanga at Sav La Mer, the hood's soiree with the striptease, and the conclusion on the train and in the swamp are all noteworthy highlights and fully up to scratch Fleming.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Well put @Perilagu_Khan

    Still better than many thrillers in the genre even today.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    I'd definitely put Scaramanga up there as Fleming's nastiest villain. What a piece of work!
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    jamez007 wrote:
    the film is roger moore's worst by far

    Christopher Lee's presence makes it's watchable.
  • Posts: 2,483
    007InVT wrote:
    I'd definitely put Scaramanga up there as Fleming's nastiest villain. What a piece of work!

    Most of Fleming's villains are nasty in the extreme. Julius No, Red Grant, Mr. Big, Sluggsy Morant, and Hugo Drax are all repulsive, but yes, Scaramanga ranks right up there with 'em.

  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,635
    007InVT wrote:
    I'd definitely put Scaramanga up there as Fleming's nastiest villain. What a piece of work!

    Most of Fleming's villains are nasty in the extreme. Julius No, Red Grant, Mr. Big, Sluggsy Morant, and Hugo Drax are all repulsive, but yes, Scaramanga ranks right up there with 'em.

    I like the idea of how Scaramanga stands out as a villain as he was a henchman-type who became the main villain - a Fleming experiment noted by one of our members here - can't remember who exactly, but it is so very true.
  • Posts: 14,755
    Dragonpol wrote:
    007InVT wrote:
    I'd definitely put Scaramanga up there as Fleming's nastiest villain. What a piece of work!

    Most of Fleming's villains are nasty in the extreme. Julius No, Red Grant, Mr. Big, Sluggsy Morant, and Hugo Drax are all repulsive, but yes, Scaramanga ranks right up there with 'em.

    I like the idea of how Scaramanga stands out as a villain as he was a henchman-type who became the main villain - a Fleming experiment noted by one of our members here - can't remember who exactly, but it is so very true.

    It was me.;-) Red Grant could be considered the main villain in FRWL, but he had to share screen, so to speak, with with Rosa Klebb and to a lesser extend Grubozaboischikov. I am not complaining, FRWL was great and this was the novel's originality. But TMWTGG, with all its flaws, and while it is a lesser novel, also has its originality. In TMWTGG, Scaramanga is a henchman, yet much more independent and very much his own man. Reading it, it reminded me that henchmen could be so much more than the big muscular guy.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,635
    Ludovico wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    007InVT wrote:
    I'd definitely put Scaramanga up there as Fleming's nastiest villain. What a piece of work!

    Most of Fleming's villains are nasty in the extreme. Julius No, Red Grant, Mr. Big, Sluggsy Morant, and Hugo Drax are all repulsive, but yes, Scaramanga ranks right up there with 'em.

    I like the idea of how Scaramanga stands out as a villain as he was a henchman-type who became the main villain - a Fleming experiment noted by one of our members here - can't remember who exactly, but it is so very true.

    It was me.;-) Red Grant could be considered the main villain in FRWL, but he had to share screen, so to speak, with with Rosa Klebb and to a lesser extend Grubozaboischikov. I am not complaining, FRWL was great and this was the novel's originality. But TMWTGG, with all its flaws, and while it is a lesser novel, also has its originality. In TMWTGG, Scaramanga is a henchman, yet much more independent and very much his own man. Reading it, it reminded me that henchmen could be so much more than the big muscular guy.

    Sorry. I knew it was a regular posted. I just didn't know who!
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