In Praise Of Colonel Sun

13

Comments

  • edited July 2013 Posts: 4,622
    I enjoy Colonel Sun as a good continuation novel, not only penned in the Fleming timeline, but also contemporary to the Fleming period, as was Pearson, which is why I am happy to place both the Amis and Pearson efforts on my shelf alongside the Flemings.
    However, like Khan, I can't compare any of the continuation efforts to the originals. In fact I am reluctant to even rank the Fleming novels. I honestly can't do it. They all effectively tie for first place, even Spy and Golden Gun.
    The Fleming oeuvre is one organic whole of Flemingism, far greater than the sum of its parts.
    The Fleming canon illuminates as a sun source, the star at the centre of the Bond Literary Solar System. All continuation efforts, as worthy as some may be, can only emanate as rays from the brightly burning celestial source, much the way other Bond films, must be content to bask in the glow of the original-era Connery/Lazenby classics.

    Where Fleming and Connery live:
    glowing-sun-sun-pr_16157_600x450.jpg
  • Posts: 2,483
    =P~

    Heh. I hope they have a pitcher of cool lemonade.
  • Posts: 802


    Sorry, but even the most ardent Flemingista must acknowledge that CS is head and shoulders above TMWTGG, YOLT & DAF - to name but three?
    [/quote]

    Not a bit of it. YOLT is a very good Bond novel, and if not the best, certainly the most fascinating. DAF, while hardly Fleming's best, is probably a bit underrated and certainly tops a good 95% of thrillers ever published by anybody. Gun is the weakest of the lot, but was still livelier than CS, and with far more interesting characters. The section at Sav la Mer alone blows CS out of the water. IMO, of course.

    [/quote]
    I admire your loyalty to the great man but several dry Martinis could not persuade me that DAF or TMWTGG are better, in any regard, than CS but Bondoligism is a broad church!

  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 7,218
    timmer wrote:
    I enjoy Colonel Sun as a good continuation novel, not only penned in the Fleming timeline, but also contemporary to the Fleming period, as was Pearson, which is why I am happy to place both the Amis and Pearson efforts on my shelf alongside the Flemings.
    However, like Khan, I can't compare any of the continuation efforts to the originals. In fact I am reluctant to even rank the Fleming novels. I honestly can't do it. They all effectively tie for first place, even Spy and Golden Gun.
    The Fleming oeuvre is one organic whole of Flemingism, far greater than the sum of its parts.
    The Fleming canon illuminates as a sun-source, the star at the centre of the Bond Literary Solar System. All continuation efforts, as worthy as some may be, can only emanate as rays from the brightly burning celestial source, much the way other Bond films, must be content to bask in the glow of the original-era Connery/Lazenby classics.

    Where Fleming and Connery live:
    glowing-sun-sun-pr_16157_600x450.jpg
    Quoted for posterity. What an eloquent and brilliant tribute to Fleming my good man! I am little embarrassed to admit that I've never read Colonel Sun. I read Gardner in my youth and was turned off. Perhaps I should revisit him as I was very biased against anyone who wasn't Fleming writing Bond back in those days. I think I will start with Colonel Sun though, just to see what all the fuss is about.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,950
    timmer wrote:
    I enjoy Colonel Sun as a good continuation novel, not only penned in the Fleming timeline, but also contemporary to the Fleming period, as was Pearson, which is why I am happy to place both the Amis and Pearson efforts on my shelf alongside the Flemings.
    However, like Khan, I can't compare any of the continuation efforts to the originals. In fact I am reluctant to even rank the Fleming novels. I honestly can't do it. They all effectively tie for first place, even Spy and Golden Gun.
    The Fleming oeuvre is one organic whole of Flemingism, far greater than the sum of its parts.
    The Fleming canon illuminates as a sun source, the star at the centre of the Bond Literary Solar System. All continuation efforts, as worthy as some may be, can only emanate as rays from the brightly burning celestial source, much the way other Bond films, must be content to bask in the glow of the original-era Connery/Lazenby classics.

    Where Fleming and Connery live:
    glowing-sun-sun-pr_16157_600x450.jpg

    Very well said, @timmer. I concur.
  • Posts: 267
    Bentley wrote:
    Fellow Agents,
    . It is as relevant today as it was then and I certainly hope that William Boyd reads it as part of his research because, if set in '69, his book will chronologically follow this gem of a mission and if he learns from the late, great Amis, this will be no bad thing !
    Meanwhile, whilst you are waiting for the next continuation novel, do yourself a favour, read the best and let me know what you think.
    Regards,
    Bentley

    What a difference eighteen months makes!
    Back then, we had hope. Clearly Boyd didn't learn a thing from Amis' fabulous book and went on to deliver an absolute clunker that was about as thrilling as watching paint dry.

  • edited November 2013 Posts: 2,543
    Colonel Sun while relatively enjoyable is overrated in the Bond community I reckon. There are certainly some interesting situations but I find it on the dull side and the ending which is too short is somewhat of an anti climax. Sun's character isn't developed enough either. From reading CS I can confirm that Amis is a great writer but his style to me seems more suited to dramas than suspenseful thrillers. I prefer Gardner's early Bond books to CS.
  • Finally read Colonel Sun recently after years of wanting to give it a go. Loved it. In fact, I actually preferred it to a couple of the Fleming books (as I see some people have already suggested). Really great read. Loved the political angle to the plot, something that often wasn't really explored by Fleming.
  • Posts: 4,622
    Bounine wrote:
    Colonel Sun while relatively enjoyable is overrated in the Bond community I reckon. There are certainly some interesting situations but I find it on the dull side and the ending which is too short is somewhat of an anti climax. Sun's character isn't developed enough either. From reading CS I can confirm that Amis is a great writer but his style to me seems more suited to dramas than suspenseful thrillers. I prefer Gardner's early Bond books to CS.
    I may have said this before, but yes CS, which I did read as an adolescent, shortly after consuming all of the Flemings, by comparison did come across as dull. It was a different animal.
    I do prefer many of the Gardners. I also found CS a little off. Amis, via the Ariadne character, romanticizes her marxist leanings. This comes out in the very final pages, during the discussions with Bond and the Soviet types. I thought it was a little off. I don't think Fleming had any delusions about the harsh reality of Marxism. Amis - I am not so sure.
    What distinguishes Colonel Sun though from the other continuation novels, is that it is the only book of the bunch that was actually written in Fleming's time. ie it's a product of the '60s.
    The Pearson book I think gets similar disctinction, as it was also written by a Fleming contemporary and was able to exist in both real time and the Fleming time-line.

  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited December 2013 Posts: 14,950
    timmer wrote:
    Bounine wrote:
    Colonel Sun while relatively enjoyable is overrated in the Bond community I reckon. There are certainly some interesting situations but I find it on the dull side and the ending which is too short is somewhat of an anti climax. Sun's character isn't developed enough either. From reading CS I can confirm that Amis is a great writer but his style to me seems more suited to dramas than suspenseful thrillers. I prefer Gardner's early Bond books to CS.
    I may have said this before, but yes CS, which I did read as an adolescent, shortly after consuming all of the Flemings, by comparison did come across as dull. It was a different animal.
    I do prefer many of the Gardners. I also found CS a little off. Amis, via the Ariadne character, romanticizes her marxist leanings. This comes out in the very final pages, during the discussions with Bond and the Soviet types. I thought it was a little off. I don't think Fleming had any delusions about the harsh reality of Marxism. Amis - I am not so sure.
    What distinguishes Colonel Sun though from the other continuation novels, is that it is the only book of the bunch that was actually written in Fleming's time. ie it's a product of the '60s.
    The Pearson book I think gets similar disctinction, as it was also written by a Fleming contemporary and was able to exist in both real time and the Fleming time-line.

    Well, as confirmation of this, Amis was moving from being a Socilist voter to non-Tory voter to Tory around this time. Amis had even been a Communist in his younger days. I agree that I doubt that Fleming would have ever went down this route as he had been fairly (and rightly, in my view) harsh on the Soviets up until TB at least; he mostly stayed clear of politics though it's interesting to note that the Bond films from TSWLM onwards also showed a softer side to the Soviets through characters such as Major Anya Amasova and the long-running Head of the KGB, General Gogol.
  • edited December 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Well, as confirmation of this, Amis was moving from being a Socilist voter to non-Tory voter to Tory around this time. Amis had even been a Communist in his younger days. I agree that I doubt that Fleming would have ever went down this route as he had been fairly (and rightly, in my view) harsh on the Soviets up until TB at least; he mostly stayed clear of politics though it's interesting to note that the Bond films from TSWLM onwards also showed a softer side to the Soviets through characters such as Major Anya Amasova and the long-running Head of the KGB, General Gogol.

    "Amis had even been a Communist in his younger days." That explains it then. Good for his sake that he grew out of it then.
    However,I honestly don't think he had delusions about the harshness and brutality of the Soviet regime. He and Fleming I'm sure would have been on the same page there. But based on his end-of-book musings, Amis did seem somewhat hookwinked by the Marxist ideal. It doesn't seem that he had completely let go of the idealism. Fleming on the other hand, I don't believe was ever seduced by the phony idealism of the infamous and thorougly discredited Karl Marx.

    Re Anya, TSWLM etc. Yes, but these films were somewhat cartoonish. They were playing with fanciful notions of detente.The Russians are just people. It's the ideology that their society was burdened with for so long, which was vile.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited December 2013 Posts: 14,950
    Well yes, Amis certainly did have a communist/socialist background whereas Fleming was merely (I'd say) a One Nation Tory, given his political views in some of his journalistic pieces that I've had the chance to read. So that definitely did inform his writing of Ariadne's character in CS - and many see this as a forerunner to Anya and Bond in the film TSWLM, as there was no Fleming precedent for this approach (he was of course writing at a time when the Cold War was rather hotter than it was in the late 1970s) unless you include Tatiana Romanova in FRWL, of course that was a different matter and involved a classic "honey trap" for Bond, albeit one with the twist that Tatiana actually did love Bond. So perhaps there was a Fleming source for this. It's debatable.
  • edited December 2013 Posts: 4,622
    My thoughts are this. Amis in 1968, did use Ariadne as an idealistic Marxist mouthpiece, albeit only at the end of the book during the post-mission musings, because it does appear, as you point out, that Amis did at the time dabble with fanciful notions of Marxist altruism (silly man). Fleming was clearly a far more level-headed thinker, not susceptible to such delusions.

    I do think the Mi6 detente stuff with Anya and Gogol, circa 1977, was simply a reflection of the times. The cold war was still very much in force, but there was a softening of attitudes. Words like detente had entered the popular geo-political vernacular, so Eon had some fun with it.
    I was a teenager when Spy was released. I don't remember the accommodation with the Soviets to be terribly schocking. I do remember Anya though as the lamest poorest excuse for a so-called deadly agent. And @luds was right. She does look like an alien.
    Even Bianchi as Tatiana, 14 years eariler, was way scarier than Agent XXX.



  • timmer wrote:
    Even Bianchi as Tatiana, 14 years earlier, was way scarier than Agent XXX.
    And way hotter.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,950
    LeighBurne wrote:
    timmer wrote:
    Even Bianchi as Tatiana, 14 years earlier, was way scarier than Agent XXX.
    And way hotter.

    Well, I can't disagree wirth that - she was the first Bond girl to be seen in nude after all!
  • edited December 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Bach had minimal acting range, but she was still pretty slinky. She filled out the desert evening dress very nicely.
    Bianchi on the other hand was a classic beauty. She was Miss Universe runner-up.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited December 2013 Posts: 14,950
    timmer wrote:
    Bach had minimal acting range, but she was still pretty slinky. She filled out the desert evening dress very nicely.
    Bianchi on the other hand was a classic beauty. She was Miss Universe runner-up.

    I think they are both pretty nice. In order words, I'm tactfully sitting on the fence.
  • edited December 2013 Posts: 2,543
    Tatiana and Solitaire, especially the literary versions, are the two Bond girls who have always interested me more than the others with the exception of the dearly departed Tracy. Had Fleming remained alive for a few more years and continued writing Bond novels, I really would have liked to have seen both these characters return in separate books as Bond's allies would. Fleming never had any Bond girls make a re-appearance. This trend has been followed in the films. I've always wanted to see one of them step back into Bond's life. I'm not suggesting that Bond marries them but perhaps it could be stretched as far as a relationship that doesn't last. The closest Fleming got to this was the reference to Bond's recent break up with Tiffany Case at the beginning of FRWL which of course Pearson expanded on in his excellent Bond biography. She never made an appearance in FRWL though.

    In terms of the Craig films, I'd like to see Camille return and not just because she's the only one who can :) as the rest of them were killed off aside for Moneypenny but she doesn't count (I don't classify her as a Bond girl in the traditional sense). Camille was a damaged, determined girl who was both vulnerable but capable of holding her own to an extent without being a trained clichéd field agent like MP, Wei Lynn and Jinx. I find her more interesting than a good few of the other cinematic Bond girls over the 50 years. On a side note, it's a shame what happened with the QOS script. It had real potential but fell short as did TWINE. Action replaced what could have been the development of story and characters for certain reasons and in the case of TWINE, cheesy, lacklustre dialogue in parts too.

    No, Bach can't act but I do find her attractive in that unconventional model style. I'd pick Bianchi over her though...obviously in terms of acting skills but also in looks.
  • edited December 2013 Posts: 97
    Now, Colonel Sun is a book I definitely need to re-read. I read it once when I was about 13. I remember loving it and thinking it had to the same or a very similar tone to Fleming. This thread has inspired me to pick it up again :-)

    ...and that torture scene is up there with the wicker chair IMHO!
  • edited February 2014 Posts: 2,361
    Bounine wrote:
    Tatiana and Solitaire, especially the literary versions, are the two Bond girls who have always interested me more than the others with the exception of the dearly departed Tracy. Had Fleming remained alive for a few more years and continued writing Bond novels, I really would have liked to have seen both these characters return in separate books as Bond's allies would. Fleming never had any Bond girls make a re-appearance.

    Not quite--Mary Goodnight is introduced (albeit in a minor role) as Bond's secretary in OHMSS and later becomes the heroine of TMWTGG.
    Tatiana would be difficult to reintroduce--Bond tells us her likely fate will involve resettlement in Canada, and presumably an exit from the world of espionage. Solitaire's fate is less certain, but unless she hooked up with more gangsters it's hard to imagine a plausible scenario where she'd end up running into Bond on a mission. And to be honest, while I think Tatiana is one of Fleming's best heroines, Solitaire has always felt less-dimensional to me.
    One Bond girl I would have liked to see more of is Trigger from The Living Daylights. What if Bond was wrong, and his shot hadn't badly injured her? It would be fun to have Bond team up with the Russians' finest female assassin...

    On to Colonel Sun...
    I agree with most of the praise. It's easily the most convincing of the continuation novels. Why? Because you never get the feeling that you're reading a pastiche of the movies. Amis was defiant about avoiding such influences. Yet he might have gone too far in austerity--Colonel Sun feels even lower-tech and lower-scale than most of Fleming's novels. Even the weaponry dates back to WWII. And the climax doesn't have the explosive feel one wants from Bond (the film of FYEO, which was also set in Greece, featured a rock-climbing climax that felt suitably Flemingian and climactic).

    The book also lacks "the Fleming sweep"--the writing is solid and straightforward, but it doesn't have Fleming's propulsive force. That's partly why the book sags in the middle. Another reason is that way too much of the book consist of deliberative dialogue (Amis is not an action novelist). And aside from the excellent villain, the book doesn't have the little bizarre/quasi-surrealistic touches that Fleming applied to his books. Lastly, given how deftly Amis examined the disturbing side of Bond and M's relationship in The James Bond Dossier, it's surprising that the characters' interplay doesn't have the emotional charge one would expect.

    But that's the extent of my carping. You can tell that this book was written by a skilled writer who happened to be a student of the original books--a fan out to reclaim the Bondian elements he personally loved. For instance, in the Bond Dossier, Amis complains that outcry from the critics forced Fleming to drop the bravura torture scenes from his novels. So in CS he devises a torture worthy of Casino Royale, one that makes the reader squirm with not only pain but also sexual discomfort. Amis is also on record as admiring Dr. No, both for its setting and antagonist, and in CS we have have Bond journeying in a boat toward the island lair of a sadistic Asian villain.

    I don't agree that Amis goes easy on the Soviets (nor do I condemn anyone who lived through the pre-WWII depression and might have briefly found Communism attractive, though holding on to that attraction is a different story). Bond and Litsas join in to criticize Ariadne's beliefs to her face, and aside from Ariadne and the bureaucrat at the end, the Soviets are portrayed in extremely harsh light. They maim and kill the Greeks that Bond traded boats with, and Ariadne's boss is presented as not merely incompetent, but also a pederast! True, Amis was naive in thinking the Anglos and Soviets might team up to combat the Chinese, but that prospect might still come to pass...
  • I absolutely loved 'Colonel Sun.' I read it a couple of years ago and it started me off on reading the rest of the continuation novels. For me, Amis' one effort is better than a few of Fleming's and comes second only to OHMSS and MR in my favourite Bond book list. I know own a hardback copy and have a copy of it on my Kindle. I'm planning to read it again when I'm on my summer holidays. Just love the novel.
  • Posts: 802
    I absolutely loved 'Colonel Sun.' I read it a couple of years ago and it started me off on reading the rest of the continuation novels. For me, Amis' one effort is better than a few of Fleming's and comes second only to OHMSS and MR in my favourite Bond book list. I know own a hardback copy and have a copy of it on my Kindle. I'm planning to read it again when I'm on my summer holidays. Just love the novel.

    How right you are. After all these years, CS remains the gold standard and is proof positive that a great Bond novel can be written by somebody who is not called Ian Fleming.
    If only the celebrity trilogy (Faulks, Deaver & Boyd) had studied and learnt from Amis.
    Perhaps IFP should make it compulsory reading for any future continuation candidates?
  • edited June 2014 Posts: 2,543
    @Revelator

    I'm not sure about Trigger reappearing. I like how Bond only saw her and never met her. Keep the mystery there for all eternity.

    As for the other girls I mentioned. I just meant for Bond to run into them in a personal situation. I didn't mean for them to be involved in the plot.
  • For the first time in what feels like my entire lifetime, Colonel Sun is being put back in print: http://www.amazon.com/Colonel-Sun-James-Bond-Novel/dp/1784871451/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448227753&sr=1-1&keywords=colonel+sun

    It's being released in paperback on December 15th. Finally, my chance to pick this thing up and give it a read!
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Has anyone taken the time to cross ref the dialogue in Spectre with that of Colonel Sun, in particularly the torture scene?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Costa Mucho
    Posts: 41,943
    For the first time in what feels like my entire lifetime, Colonel Sun is being put back in print: http://www.amazon.com/Colonel-Sun-James-Bond-Novel/dp/1784871451/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448227753&sr=1-1&keywords=colonel+sun

    It's being released in paperback on December 15th. Finally, my chance to pick this thing up and give it a read!

    Wonder if it is due to you know what?
  • For the first time in what feels like my entire lifetime, Colonel Sun is being put back in print: http://www.amazon.com/Colonel-Sun-James-Bond-Novel/dp/1784871451/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448227753&sr=1-1&keywords=colonel+sun

    It's being released in paperback on December 15th. Finally, my chance to pick this thing up and give it a read!

    Wonder if it is due to you know what?

    Oh, I'm certain it is. For years and years I've waited for Colonel Sun to be put back in print, wondering what kind of an occasion or anniversary it would take. I guess this is all we needed in the end.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited November 2015 Posts: 5,131
    It's one of the best continuation novels and one with which the seemingly authentic writing actually captures the spirit of Fleming. Unlike say Gardner. It's up there with DMK and Trigger Mortis.
  • I very much liked Colonel Sun. Thought it fit in relatively well with Fleming's style too. I don't think it was timing so much as it wasn't Fleming. Remember, most people (and critics) were brutal to George Lazenby and OHMSS as a movie -- mostly because it wasn't Sean Connery as Bond. It's one of the better Bond movies, in fact (IMO). Now you have a new, continuation writer -- not Fleming -- and people shut their minds to it. It is far better than the Gardner or Benson installments (although some of them were a lot of fun too).
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    writer5150 wrote: »
    I very much liked Colonel Sun. Thought it fit in relatively well with Fleming's style too. I don't think it was timing so much as it wasn't Fleming. Remember, most people (and critics) were brutal to George Lazenby and OHMSS as a movie -- mostly because it wasn't Sean Connery as Bond. It's one of the better Bond movies, in fact (IMO). Now you have a new, continuation writer -- not Fleming -- and people shut their minds to it. It is far better than the Gardner or Benson installments (although some of them were a lot of fun too).

    Agreed.
Sign In or Register to comment.