Rank your continuation Bond authors.

saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
edited April 2011 in Literary 007 Posts: 987
It's generally agreed that Fleming's novels are the best, but who do you prefer out of the continuation novelists? Do you think Kingsley Amis is brilliant? Is Christopher Wood the greatest? Is John Gardner the very best? Is Sebastian Faulks just outstanding? Is Charlie Higson really amazing? Is Raymond Benson (spit!) not completley sh*t? Well here is the discussion thread to list your rankings for all to see!

<B>saunders rankings</B>

1. Ian Fleming
2. Sebastian Faulks
3. Christopher Woods
4. Kingsley Amis
5. John Gardner
6. Charlie Higson
7. Raymond Benson (spit!)
«134

Comments

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 15,748
    Based on the little bits of non-Fleming material I've read, here's my list:

    1) Fleming












    2) Gardner
    3) Benson


    Haven't read anything else...
  • Posts: 116
    1. Gardner (some of my favorite Bond stories, a really good light prose stylist, in the English crime fiction tradition)
    2. Amis (nicely done, well penned)
    3. Benson (terrible writer but he at least knew Bond...)
    4. Faulks (hated every bloody word)

    I have a feeling that Deaver's going to shoot straight to the top of that list, tho...

    Should I be reading Higson? The concept turned me right off, maybe I'll reconsider...
  • saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
    Posts: 987
    Interesting observations MrSpy I know what you mean about Gardner's 'good light prose' and I'm sorry you didn't appreciate Faulks attempt, though your not alone it seems the general consensus is that he failed, but personally I really enjoyed his writing style.
    Not sure if you would like Higson or not, I think he writes well, knows his subject and keeps the character in the correct era, but something about a James Bond who doesn't smoke, drink, have sex or carry a gun just doesn't seem to work for me.
  • Posts: 562
    1. Ian Fleming
    2. John Gardner
    3. Kingsley Amis
    4. Raymond Benson
    5. Sebastian Faulks
    6. Charlie Higson
  • Posts: 116
    Quoting saunders: I'm sorry you didn't appreciate Faulks attempt, though your not alone it seems the general consensus is that he failed, but personally I really enjoyed his writing style.
    Faulks is an amazingly gifted author; I'd give my good eye to be able to write sprawling, complex, literary novels, win all the awards & make a living from it. Good on him! However, he was the wrong choice for Bond, knowing nothing about the character beforehand, and having no previous interest in Bond; ditto for the whole genre.

    I will say this: 2009 was the worst time of my life, and I read DMC in the tiny, one-room bookstore I worked in at the time; it was contained in a 200 year old building and reeked of mold, so I was always feeling sick there. Maybe I'll give it another try one day, when the horrific vibes from that time in my life have faded away...but I think Deaver is the first idea for a continuation author that makes real sense since Gardner.
  • Posts: 117
    My ranking

    1. Ian Fleming (obviously)
    2. Kingsley Amis
    3. Charlie Higson (that little snippet of the "adult" Bond at the end of Double Or Die "felt" very Flemingy - I hope he gets to write Bond's WW2 exploits)
    4. Chris Wood
    5. Ray Benson
    6. John Gardner (he's only not no.5 because of the way he screwed up LTK)
    7. Jim Hatfield
    8. Seb Faulks (spit!)

    Have I forgotten anyone? I wonder where Jeff Deaver will fit in this ranking in a month's time...
  • saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
    Posts: 987
    Quoting Gaz1961: Seb Faulks (spit!)


    Now that's just being plain rude! :-D
  • Posts: 117
    Sorry. Can't stand him.
  • saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
    Posts: 987
    Since we now have Carte Blanche I thought I'd update my listings, also I've just had a continuation novel marathon and have drastically reevaluated my opinion on the various authors (don't worry, I still think Benson is cr*p!):

    1. Ian Fleming
    2. John Gardner
    3. Jeffrey Deaver
    4. Sebastian Faulks
    5. Christopher Wood
    6. John Pearson
    7. Kingsley Amis
    8. Charlie Higson
    9. Raymond Benson.


  • Posts: 562
    Update on my rankings now that I've read Carte Blanche and recently re-read Devil May Care and Colonel Sun.

    1. Ian Fleming
    2. John Gardner
    3. Jeffery Deaver
    4. Sebastian Faulks
    5. Kingsley Amis
    6. Raymond Benson
    7. Charlie Higson

  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    1. Fleming


    2. Gardner
    3. Amis
    4. Pearson




    5. Wood
    6. Benson







    7. Faulks (vomit)

    Havent read Deaver yet or Higson but I would imagine that Higson would slot in above Wood at 5 and Deaver will at the very least finish above Faulks even if his writing process was to take the pages to a zoo every day and give them to a chimpanzee to smear its own faeces all over.
  • Posts: 6,838
    1. Ian Fleming
    2. Kingsley Amis (brilliant one of actually being truthfull to the Fleming time)
    3. John Gardner (some great novels, some passables and some readable)
    4. Christopher Wood (should have written more original tales would have been 2.)
    5. Jeffrey Deaver (want to see a 2nd one)
    6. Charlie Higson (5 excellent tales of young Bond, I prefer a grown up)
    7. Raymond Benson. (decent tales, didn't like the treatment of some old friends)
    8. Sebastian Faulks

  • Posts: 265
    Fleming
    Higson
    Amis
    Deaver
    Wood
    Gardner
    Benson





    Faulks
  • Posts: 1
    1. Fleming (of course)
    2. Amis/Markham (cracking continuation; pity it was a one off)
    3. Higson (enjoyed the Young Bonds far more than I ever expected to)
    4. Gardner (pretty good books, but never quite read like 100% authentic Bonds to me)
    5. Deaver (liked his debut Bond, if he does more he might well ascend my list)
    6. Wood (the Spy novelisation was great, but I couldn’t bring myself to read Moonraker due to my antipathy towards the film)
    7. Faulks (his effort came across more like the novelisation of one of the weaker Daily Express strips than the work of literature you might have expected)
    8. Benson (read the first few, but gave up on his run – not for me, I’m afraid)

    An honourable mention for Kate Westbrook’s excellent Moneypenny Diaries too.
  • 1. Fleming
    2. Deaver'
    3. Higgins
    4. Benson
    5. Faulks




    6. Gardner
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    1. Fleming
    2. Deaver'
    3. Higgins
    4. Benson
    5. Faulks




    6. Gardner

    Ludicrous.
  • Posts: 4,622
    Well first of all, I appreciate all of the continuation authors. All 9 of them. I very much appreciate that IFP licensed them to continue the characters' literary adventure. I love having Bond books to read and all of the author's work is quite readable. None have comitted any meaningful blasphemy.
    None, mind you come close to Fleming, with the possible exception of John Pearson, but he only wrote one book.
    But none of them are Fleming who was indeed a unique sort, so we work with what they got.

    I'm rating them thusly

    1. John Gardner. He got the job done; 14 original titles and 2 screenplay novelizatons. All very enjoyable reads. He created his own very interesting little contemporary Bond milieu. He gets top marks for keeping at it and clearly enjoying the work.

    2. John Pearson's Authorized Biography: a unique and very interesting twist on the legend

    3. Christopher Wood's two screenplay adapations. Good hard edged Bond adventure that compliment the film narratives

    4. Samantha Weinberg's Moneypenny Diaries. She stays true to the Fleming timeline and continuity, and puts her own interesting take on Bonds adventures from OHMSS and beyond.

    5. Charlie Higson's Young Bond stories. They are kinda way over the top for an adolescent - even Bond as adolescent. But they are good reads, and that's really all I ask.

    6. Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun. Picks up where Fleming left off. A good read but its a bit of a plod as well. There was no mistaking that Fleming was no longer writing the books.

    7. Raymond Benson's original work and screenplay adaptations. He got a little carried away with his attempts to link with iconic characters from the Fleming era, but he at least cranked out quite readable material, even if he seemed to be trying too hard sometimes.
    Thank you for making the effort.

    8. Jeffrey Deaver. Carte Blanche was quite readable and I would be happy to be served up another Deaver offering if only to keep the Bond-book train rolling. CB is maybe a little too Deaver mystery thriller, but no major complaints. I enjoyed it, even if I reserve the right to pick it apart.

    9. Sebastein Faulks. Nice try but the conceit of "writing as Ian Fleming" didn't work. Still he got the thing written. It was good Bond adventure even it it seemed a little contrived. I appreciated having a fresh adult Bond adventure to read, after the long post Benson interlude.
  • Posts: 32
    1. I liked pretty much all of the Gardner novels, except for Brokenclaw, which was awful. I bought them all as they were released, when they were really the only new James Bond stuff available. The only problem was that they were set in the present, leaving a 15-year gap after the Fleming novels.

    2. Colonel Sun was a competent novel, but not very exciting. I think this was the main reason it was never made into a film, rather than any plot against Kingsley Amis.

    3. Devil May Care was good, but could not really have been a Fleming novel as it was written in hindsight; Ekranoplans were top secret at the time this novel was set.

    4. Raymond Benson's novels were entertaining, but seemed to be based on Peirce Brosnan's screen persona rather than Fleming's Bond. I didn't like the way they ignored developments from Gardner's novels.

    5. John Pearson's biography was also a good read, but by its nature just filled in back-story rather than provide an entertaining spy novel. It also had a silly ending.

    6. I read all of the Young Bond books, but I felt that they lapsed into super-hero territory too often, with cloned fish-men and so on.
  • barryt007barryt007 Defending BrosnanBond against the rabble !!
    Posts: 16,513
    1. I liked pretty much all of the Gardner novels, except for Brokenclaw, which was awful.
    I agree with this,i think he had an off day when he wrote 'Brokenclaw' :

    1. Ian Fleming
    2. John Gardner
    3. Kingsley Amis
    4. Raymond Benson


  • Posts: 5
    after Ian Fleming.

    Kingsley Amis- new Flemings work read "The James Bond Dossier"
    John Gardner - wrote as many 007 novels as Fleming
    Raymond Benson- knew Bond very well- read "The James Bond Bedside Companion" but maybe brought back too many Fleming characters
    Sebastian Faulks- "writing as Ian Fleming" tried to copy his style but something was missing
    Jeffery Deaver-rebooted Bond to be born the year the Moonraker film was released! and seemed to used many English phrases in order to prove Bond's Englishness


    Charlie Higson- I see Young Bond as a separate series
    John Pearson- although I enjoyed "James Bond the authourised biography" i do not consider this to be a Bond novel
    Christopher Wood- entertaining novelisations but not part of the series
  • DB5DB5
    Posts: 408
    I actually enjoy Benson's work more than Gardner's. I'm currently reading "High Time to Kill" and really enjoying it! Then today I was in the library with time to kill and started reading the short story "Live at Five" from the "Choice of Weapons" collection. Very well written, IMHO.
  • Fleming's books are great and fairly realistic. Bond is an actual human being in those novels and Fleming was a great writer.
    I think that Gardner's first six or seven novels were pretty terrific. If you haven't tried any of them check out LICENSE RENEWED, NO DEALS MR. BOND, and especially NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. In my opinion, NOBODY is one of the best, most exciting Bond stories ever told.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Fleming's books are great and fairly realistic. Bond is an actual human being in those novels and Fleming was a great writer.
    I think that Gardner's first six or seven novels were pretty terrific. If you haven't tried any of them check out LICENSE RENEWED, NO DEALS MR. BOND, and especially NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. In my opinion, NOBODY is one of the best, most exciting Bond stories ever told.

    I agree with you about NLF.

    Would love to see EON set up Bond 24 to have Quantum as the SPECTRE of Role of Honour with a big name actor in the role of Rahani (Javier Bardem would be perfect but I guess that's not on so maybe someone like Ben Kingsley).

    Lets have a classic YOLT/MR romp just so Daniel has one on his Bond CV. Girls, big stunts, a few gadgets and maybe a villains lair. It ends with the villains plan being scuppered and him ending up badly injured (having him wind up totally crippled in a wheelchair and speaking through a Steven Hawking voice box would be nicely creepy).

    Then in Bond 25 we go back to an emotional story which Dan excells at with (as to introduce May at this stage would be contrived) Moneypenny and M kidnapped as a ruse to trap Bond.

    Basically mesh the plots of Colonel Sun and NLF - the villain plans to discredit the British at some summit or sonething and as a little bonus claim Bonds head for the events of Bond 24.

    The climax would keep the guillotine sequence and have Bond and an emaciated Ralph and Naomie shooting their way out.
  • Well, here's mine:

    1. Ian Fleming
    2. Kingsley Amis
    3. John Pearson
    4. Jeffery Deaver
    5. John Gardner
    6. Charlie Higson
    7. Christopher Wood
    8. Raymond Benson
    9. Sebastian Faulks
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 2,174
    saunders wrote:
    It's generally agreed that Fleming's novels are the best, but who do you prefer out of the continuation novelists? Do you think Kingsley Amis is brilliant? Is Christopher Wood the greatest? Is John Gardner the very best? Is Sebastian Faulks just outstanding? Is Charlie Higson really amazing? Is Raymond Benson (spit!) not completley sh*t? Well here is the discussion thread to list your rankings for all to see!

    <B>saunders rankings</B>

    1. Ian Fleming
    2. Sebastian Faulks
    3. Christopher Woods
    4. Kingsley Amis
    5. John Gardner
    6. Charlie Higson
    7. Raymond Benson (spit!)

    You ranked Faulks high on the list. What is it that you like about DMC? Faulks is a great writer, I've read a number of his books, but personally I thought that DMC was disappointing.

    My ranking:

    1. Fleming
    2. Pearson
    3. Wood
    4. Higson (if Higson had have written an adult Bond book perhaps he would have outranked Wood)
    5. Gardner
    6. Amis (Amis is a great writer but his prose seems more suited to drama than action I feel)
    7. Faulks
    8. Deaver
    9. Benson

    What I will say in terms of Benson is that his books have colourful, imaginative Flemingsque plots and moments but I have to rank him at the bottom because his writing skills are poor, well, poor for someone who is supposed to be a writer and has books published.

    I haven't included Samantha Weinberg as The Moneypenny Diaries aren't Bond books although her Bond does sound like Fleming's creation and she does a wonderful job in painting that Flemingsque cold war atmosphere so I thought it necessary to give her a mention. She should be asked to write a Bond book. I wonder if she'd be interested in doing it.

    "but I think Deaver is the first idea for a continuation author that makes real sense since Gardner."

    I don't want Deaver anywhere near Bond. He changed the character so much that you can barely even recognise that he is James Bond. I liked the other characters he created however, and the story itself wasn't bad but if he's not going to stay faithful to the actual Bond character then he shouldn't be doing it.

    I'm looking forward to returning to this thread in 2013 and inserting Boyd somewhere in the rankings. Hopefully he'll be near the top.
  • My ranking:

    1. Ian Fleming
    2. Jeffrey Deaver
    3. John Gardner
    4. Charlie Higson
    5. Christopher Wood
    6. Kingsley Amis
    7. Raymond Benson
    8. Sebastian Faulks
  • 1. Ian Fleming (the master)
    2. Charlie Higson ( Fleming's natural heir if ILP had the sense to recognise it).
    3. Kingsley Amis / Robert Markham ( Colnel Sun is up there with Fleming's best).
    4. John Gardner (great writer but Bond was not his best work albeit the first five were good).
    5. Kate Westbrook (the Moneypenny diaries were fabulous)
    6. John Pearson (good writer but dubious idea).
    As for the rest, ILP should be collectively flayed, to within an inch of their lives , with an elephant's foreskin for commissioning and accepting such rubbish !
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    This thread is called 'continuation' authors, so we need to leave the master Fleming out of this.

    1. Gardner
    2. Amis
    3. Deaver
    4. Faulks

    Haven't read the others but imagine they are weak.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 15,775
    007InVT wrote:
    This thread is called 'continuation' authors, so we need to leave the master Fleming out of this.
    1. Gardner
    Interesting. Can you expand briefly on why he's #1 with you?
    I just read a little of his first novel so far, but I found it very engaging, even if a vastly different experience from reading Fleming...
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    I'd say for the Fleming Sweep, attention to detail, common Bond motifs etc if a little forced and obvious. He's not without his faults and the later novels degrade.

Sign In or Register to comment.