What Advice Would Sam Mendes Give William Boyd ?

edited October 2012 in Literary 007 Posts: 267
Fellow Agents,
After the promise of CR and the complete misstep that was QOS, there were a number of parallels between Mendes' cinematic mission and Boyd's literary assignment.
Firstly, before Sebastian Faulkes went down the pub and lost all semblance of interest, the first 60 pages of DMC held promise. Not to the level of Martin Campbell's CR but promise nonetheless . The published novel was a mess but during those first pages, the embers burned and literary 007 fans had hope.
Two years later Deaver crushed any glimmer of promise when he delivered an unrecognisable Jimmy Bond in the most hopeless piece of Americana ever to grace our bookshelves — we even had our rebooted 007 in "Oakley" sunglasses for God's sake! Truly a gigantesque abortion of a book and the qualitative equivalent of Marc Foster's QOS.
In the film world, eon had the wisdom to recognise that they had their backs to the wall after QOS and recruited the fabulous Sam Mendes who, as we all know by now, has delivered the most beautiful, well balanced and thrilling Bond outing ever to grace our screens. Mendes turned out to be a trulely inspired choice. He delivered in spades and has succeeded in raising the Bond cinematic bar out of sight.
IFP do not have a discussion forum on their site. Probably because they don't want to hear any advice or indeed even learn what their hard put upon readers think.
Even so, trawling Mi6 and reading a few Amazon reviews would leave them in little doubt the lacklustre Faulks and Deaver rubbish have left the adult book Bond not with his back to the wall but well and truly seated in the literary latrine awaiting for the next abomination to run through him!
The mission falls to one William Boyd to rescue him and get our hero out of the literary crapper and back to the top of the spy fiction tree.
Is he an inspired choice?
Well, he is certainly a literary heavyweight but, then again, so was Faulkes.
When he was announced, some said they would have preferred Charlie Higgson, Charles Cumming or Daniel Silva on the grounds that they either understood Bond and had proved they could deliver (Higgson) or that they were genre experts (Cumming and Silva) who operate at the top of the spy game.
That said, Boyd has the job, will be clearly aware of the challenge and is doubtless trying to do for the 60th anniversary of CR's publication what "Skyfall" has done for "Dr.No's' 50th cinematic birthday!
Perhaps he should phone Mendes? We can only wonder at the advice he would get? Perhaps it would go something like this:
1-Make sure you've got a great story with a beginning, a middle and an end.
2-Mix the Bond cocktail for today's market even if you are writing it as a period piece. The thriller genre moves quicker today and people expect pace and tension that is ramped up off the Richter scale.
3-Respect Fleming's high old tone. His readers want sex, snobbery, violence and glamour from Mr.Bond. Served with style and a dash of humour.
4-Use the supporting cast to good effect-'M', Tanner, May, Moneypenny and Boothroyd all have legs and could play a bigger part.
5-Make sure you've read Kingsley Amis' "Colonel Son". He was the only Bond continuation author to get it completely correct.
6-Don't listen at all to IFP. They have consistently demonstrated that when it comes to the adult Bond, they haven't got a clue!
We live in hope.


  • I'm sure Sam would give WB some good advice and I bet William is more than a little nervous after all the "Skyfall" acclaim after all, his goal has to be to get the adult Bond franchise back on the rails after the complete nonsense from messrs Faulkes & Deaver!
    I've a feeling he's going to surprise us.
  • St_GeorgeSt_George Shuttling Drax's lovelies to the space doughnut - happy 40th, MR!
    Posts: 1,699
    Bentley wrote:
    What Advice Would Sam Mendes Give William Boyd?

    To quote one Gareth Mallory: "Don't cock it up".


    Seriously, though, that would be good advice given the efforts of the most recent continuation novel efforts...
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