Rank your continuation Bond authors.

124

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  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    From what I read:

    1. Christopher Wood (great)
    2. Kingsley Amis (mediocre)
    3. John Gardner (same)
    4. Sebastian Faulks/Anthony Horowitz (awful)
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited March 2021 Posts: 15,548
    I'd have to go with (and I'm basing this on some pretty foggy memories!):

    1. Amis
    2. Higson
    3. Horowitz
    4. Boyd
    5. Gardner
    6. Deaver
    7. Faulks
    8. Wood
    9. Benson

    The top three are all really very good, the next four are pretty much fine, the last two should never have been writing novels.
    I'm not sure I really count Pearson as such, but I do remember enjoying his book.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,288
    Relating the authors to movie people, history seems to repeat itself. Here’s my consensus, based on others on these boards. Enjoy!

    Ian Fleming-Richard Maibaum, Terence Young, Sean Connery. They defined James Bond forever, and the role models for all of the people who make James Bond materials.

    Kingsley Amis-Peter Hunt, George Lazenby. They learned from the best, and it showed. It’s a bit sad that they didn’t get a second Bond adventure.

    John Gardener-Lewis Gilbert, Guy Hamilton, Roger Moore, John Glen, Michael G. Wilson. They may have stayed on the series too long. They also made the series too silly. However, they deserve credit for helping keeping the series alive.

    Raymond Benson-Judi Dench, Roger Spottiswoode, Pierce Brosnan, Barbara Broccoli, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Sam Mendes. They helped modernize Bond, but their styles and themes could be a bit cringe-worthy at times.

    Sebastian Faulks-Lee Tamahori, Marc Forster. They didn’t get or even like James Bond. What were the higher level people thinking of hiring these overdramatic art-house hacks? Thankfully, we got a better follow up because of them.

    Jeffery Deaver-Michael Apted, Bruce Feirstein. They gave a more humanized Bond, with feelings and emotion about others. They also gave us some great female villains. I’m personally biased towards them as TWINE was the first Bond movie I watched, and CB was the first Bond novel I read.

    William Boyd-Timothy Dalton. Solo could have been TD’s final film. Their portrayals of Bond are very similar. Flawed, but could be seen as aging well for everyone to look at in more ways than one.

    Anthony Horowitz-Martin Campbell, Daniel Craig. The true successors to their original people who started the series: Novelists, directors, and actors. They get Ian Fleming and James Bond more than anyone working (and alive). As of now, they have ended on a high note in their time with James Bond.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    From what I read so far:

    1. Christopher Wood (great)
    2. William Boyd (mediocre)
    3. Kingsley Amis (mediocre)
    4. John Gardner (even more mediocre)
    5. Sebastian Faulks/Anthony Horowitz (can t decide who is more awful)

  • edited July 2022 Posts: 2,161
    Amis
    Boyd
    Wood
    Horowitz
    Deaver
    Gardner
    Faulks
    Benson

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    I have yet to read Benson, but it s on my list.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    I have yet to read Benson, but it s on my list.

    And Deaver, I just realized.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,288
    For those that have read Double or Nothing, where does Kim Sherwood fit in your rankings?
  • edited November 2022 Posts: 24
    1. Amis (CS brilliantly written by arguably the best English author to write Bond but... the plot gets a little tired and repetitive in places, if only Amis had devoted 2 or 3 chapters in beginning to describing Bond's mission in Hong Kong in June 1965, that could have added an oriental flavour and Bond's mission there could have been used as a motivation for the villains in the book's subsequent kidnap plot.)
    2. Wood (1st book is great it reads like a Fleming novel written in 1977, 2nd good too)
    3. Boyd (it seems to get better with each read and is a truly decent effort, wonderful use of imagery and well crafted dialogue)
    4. Gardner (1st three quite good, then tails off a little)
    5. Faulks (I quite like the 1st 3rd of DMC but the detail falls off in the rest, SIS changing its cover name back to Universal seems jarring to me and Bond nibbling cheese on a Moscow park bench and then robbing a money van wasn't brilliant...but there are good parts to this novel such as the descriptions of Paris .. if only it had had some further refinement maybe tweaked to be slightly darker and more realistic)
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,999
    1. Amis (CS brilliantly written by arguably the best English author to write Bond but... the plot gets a little tired and repetitive in places, if only Amis had devoted 2 or 3 chapters in beginning to describing Bond's mission in Hong Kong in June 1965, that could have added an oriental flavour and Bond's mission there could have been used as a motivation for the villains in the book's subsequent kidnap plot.)
    2. Wood (1st book great, 2nd good)
    3. Gardner (1st three quite good, then tails off to mediocre from Scorpius on)
    4. Faulks (I quite like the 1st 3rd of DMC but the detail falls off in the rest, SIS changing its cover name back to Universal seems jarring to me and Bond nibbling cheese on a Moscow park bench and then robbing a money van wasn't brilliant...but there are good parts to this novel such as the descriptions of Paris .. if only it had had some further refinement maybe tweaked to be slightly darker and more realistic)

    Welcome aboard, @HoagyCarmichael. Good to see Amis, Wood and Gardner ranked so highly in your list of Bond continuation authors. You are obviously someone of consummate good taste. :)
  • edited November 2022 Posts: 24
    Thanks @Dragonpol I've also done an edit to include my thoughts on Boyd who I put at number 3. I havn't read Benson or the others yet. Apart from The Moneypenny Diaries which I thought were pretty decent but like most continuation attempts seem to exist in their own vacuum universe which can be frustrating for people like me who ideally want to see the sequel to Colonel Sun. I don't suppose Martin Amis would care to have a go....
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,999
    Thanks @Dragonpol I've also done an edit to include my thoughts on Boyd who I put at number 3. I havn't read Benson or the others yet. Apart from The Moneypenny Diaries which I thought were pretty decent but like most continuation attempts seem to exist in their own vacuum universe which can be frustrating for people like me who ideally want to see the sequel to Colonel Sun. I don't suppose Martin Amis would care to have a go....

    Martin Amis would be great but he pretty much ruled himself out of the Bond continuation authorship back in 2007 on Amis, Amis and Bond (BBC Radio 4). On that programme I think he told the host Charlie Higson that he'd only do the job if he had a brain aneurysm!
  • Posts: 2,161
    @HoagyCarmichael I’m with you on the top three, after those I really have little interest in the remaining writers.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,288
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    For those that have read Double or Nothing, where does Kim Sherwood fit in your rankings?

    Same question as above.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 3,141
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    For those that have read Double or Nothing, where does Kim Sherwood fit in your rankings?

    I'd put her pretty high. Below Horowitz; not as good a writer as Amis but who is?; level with Boyd and Deaver for readability, characterisation and excitement.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    edited November 2022 Posts: 4,288
    Agent_99 wrote: »
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    For those that have read Double or Nothing, where does Kim Sherwood fit in your rankings?

    I'd put her pretty high. Below Horowitz; not as good a writer as Amis but who is?; level with Boyd and Deaver for readability, characterisation and excitement.

    Good to hear! I trust her with writing future stories. I do like both Deaver and Boyd writing about Bond as well.
  • 1. Horowitz
    2. Amis

    The rest are just... bad. (NOTE: I have not read Higson or Boyd.) Faulks' abomination was definitely the worst.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 15,548
    Well I don't know, as that article has the hyperlink name of being about the best novels, and Higson's isn't really a novel! :)
    They are promoting it as a 'story' so I guess it's a little unfair to compare with those guys, who did all produce considered full-length novels. Hopefully it will whet ours and Higson's appetites for more though.

    I generally agree with their ranking, but putting Faulks at the top is the main misstep for me too. His was a pastiche and felt hollow to me. I'd probably replace him there with Horowitz now, as I thought he did a very good job.
  • MaxCasinoMaxCasino United States
    Posts: 4,288
    https://www.ianfleming.com/new-editions-interview-mark-pearson/

    A great short interview. I consider The Authorized Biography canon with Fleming/Horowitz. He should be considered a continuation novel author.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 6,109
    MaxCasino wrote: »
    https://www.ianfleming.com/new-editions-interview-mark-pearson/

    A great short interview. I consider The Authorized Biography canon with Fleming/Horowitz. He should be considered a continuation novel author.

    I'm with you on that.

    I really need to give Wood a go--I have a really beat-up version of TSWLM.

    Beyond that I like Amis (although CS is a bit overrated), and I read all the Gardners back in the day. I will say this about Gardner: he wasn't afraid to go his own way, with both interesting and awful results. I'm not sure he ever had a great Bond novel, though.

    I don't rate Benson as more than fanfic, and I haven't tried all the flavor-of-the-month authors since him. I'm mildly interested in Horowitz. I watched the Alex Ryder TV show, didn't care for it (he basically riffs on OHMSS like Nolan) and wonder if he is yet more Fleming-pastiche.
  • JGFan007JGFan007 Somewhere in the Midwest
    Posts: 12
    I will have to give this some thought. I've enjoyed all the continuation novels that I've read so, except for Jeffrey Deaver's, and I am a big fan of John Gardner. Gardner would be tops on my list but, after that, I'm not sure.

    I don't despise Benson's work. I have a certain amount of appreciation for the respect he paid to certain details. He seemed to have a keen understanding of what Fleming would and would not have done. But all of his original work has the feel of a movie tie-in or a screen play. Benson lives and dies by Fleming old line that Bond's stories should be "improbable, but not impossible."

    Reading both Faulks and Boyd's novels, they seem to be written with Daniel Craig's Bond in mind. The sort of macho, man-of-action-and-few-words type of portrayal.

    I am planning on reading Colonel Sun very soon and I have yet to read any of Horowitz's entries. So I will have to wait until I submit my rankings. Deaver will probably be on the bottom, though. The idea of letting him write a Bond novel had to be based entirely on name recognition and profit. He is a great author, he just had no business writing a Bond novel. It's rare when I can't finish reading a book after I start one, but I had to force myself to make if halfway thru Carte Blanche before I gave up lol.

    Even though U.S. dollars have contributed signifigantly to the massive profits Bond books and films have raked in, it is important that 007 remains a British-penned character.
  • JGFan007JGFan007 Somewhere in the Midwest
    Posts: 12
    Someone at the beginning of this discussion mentioned that John Gardner messed up the LTK novelisation. I read it recently, and it seems pretty similar to the movie. A few scenes are different but I saw an old interview Gardner gave in 1993-94 and he said the whole experience of writing the movie tie-in was horrible. He didn't want to write it at first, but he was persuaded to do it. Then he said the script changed constantly and he received endless phone calls during the writing process, telling him to drop that scene, add this scene, etc. Then they would overnight him the new script or screenplay and he would make the necessary changes.

    He was also concerned about continuity, as he had just written SeaFire at the time and included Felix Leiter in the story, with all of his previous injuries and amputations. Gardner wanted to write LTK so it would fit in with his continuation series and not be a stand alone, so he insisted on adding Leiter with his previous shark attack injuries lol. I don't think he was happy with the outcome but he thought it would be ridiculous to write the story and give Felix all of his appendages.

    Afterwards, he swore he wouldn't write another movie tie-in but he did come back for GoldenEye.

    Another interesting tidbit from that interview is that Gardner said he stopped watching the new Bond movies after he took over the continuation series in 1981. He said he didn't want them to distract him from what he was writing.

  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 15,548
    echo wrote: »

    I don't rate Benson as more than fanfic, and I haven't tried all the flavor-of-the-month authors since him. I'm mildly interested in Horowitz. I watched the Alex Ryder TV show, didn't care for it (he basically riffs on OHMSS like Nolan) and wonder if he is yet more Fleming-pastiche.

    I remember a couple of years back I read the then-latest Horowitz, which put me in a good mood, and because I was in Cyprus I decided to pick up Benson's Cyprus-set Facts of Death many years since I first read it: however the difference in literary skill is rather shocking when you read them back to back like that. Basically Horowitz is a very experienced, professional and skilled author, and Benson just reads like a fanfic writer, as you say. I just find him to be appalling.
  • Benson seemed like maybe an ardent member on this website. A megafan of Bond, an ability to analyse the character and what makes it good and bad, even the ability to dream and think up one of the most interesting continuation plots in High Time to Kill.
    Just the descriptions and dialogue feel fake and tacky, and Bond winks and quips in unfunny ways, almost in a way worse than a Roger Moore movie more as a sitcom.
    Mind you Gardner's not immune to this: there are a couple of times where Bond randomly winks in what is supposed to be a charming scenario but his missteps are much more forgettable and paired with at least description and characterisation that is satisfactory
  • brinkeguthriebrinkeguthrie Piz Gloria
    Posts: 1,400

    What is this book about, specifically? The small blurb really doesn't say. Amazon has no listing for a title due out in ten days or so. What is the cost? Hardback or paperback? Kindle version?
  • What is this book about, specifically? The small blurb really doesn't say. Amazon has no listing for a title due out in ten days or so. What is the cost? Hardback or paperback? Kindle version?
    The author, Mark Edlitz, wrote before a book titled The Lost Adventures of James Bond. It focused on unmade or lost Bond projects and even for someone like me who read a lot of unmade Bond scripts, it was still very interesting and informative (even though I find it a shame that certain projects were forgotten). To write his book, Edlitz conducted interviews with people involved, read earlier drafts.

    So I'm looking forward to see how he would tackle the subject of continuation novels. He already interviewed Benson before, so I guess it would be the case again. I'm only speculating but, based on Edlitz's previous book, I assume it will delve into how each author was chosen, their original ideas, how they wrote their books, etc. The Kindle version of The Lost Adventures of James Bond cost me $10 if I remember well.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited December 2023 Posts: 15,548
    It's a good subject for a book; I agree that I'd be keen to know exactly how he's tackling it though.

    I see the Bentley is on the cover; which continuations was that in? Young Bond?
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