Exclusive information on Kingsley Amis' Proposed Second James Bond Novel in the 1970s

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
edited November 2018 in Literary 007 Posts: 12,488
I was doing some searching over at another James Bond forum as I remembered the forum member Mark Hazard had told me over on AJB in 2005 that he had cuttings from a newspaper that had referred to Kingsley Amis as Robert Markham writing a follow-up to Colonel Sun (1968) which would no doubt have been published in the early 1970s (possibly 1971 or 1972) given the dates from newspaper sources. Below you will find quotes from posts made by my good friend Jeremy Duns (aka spynovelfan). There is also another quote from another forum member called Trident. I'd really love to hear more of your views on this subject matter as I see it's never been discussed before here on MI6 Community. If any member here know more about the projected second Kingsley Amis novel, I'd love to hear from them. This is a subject that surely cries out to be written about at some point in the future and I intend to do just that.

FIRST QUOTE- SPYNOVELFAN

"Incidentally, for those interested in COLONEL SUN - yes, we were discussing that, a long time ago! - in 2005, there was a very detailed 12-page article about it in Issue 47 of OO7 magazine by Hank Reineke. Reineke traced the history of Amis' involvement with Bond, and quoted at length from many of the (mostly somewhat negative) reviews the novel received. Reading the article again now, I see that Amis' appointment to write the novel was announced to the press on April 24 1967. On April 13 1967, Ann Fleming wrote to Lord Campbell saying 'Since Peter Fleming agrees to the counterfeit Bond, I am prepared to accept his judgement.' And on May 21, 1967 Amis mentioned in a letter to Philip Larkin that he had finished his 'Bond novel'.

If Amis' appointment hinged on having Ann Fleming's permission - which I'm not sure it did, mind - this is all rather extraordinary, because Amis had started researching the book in September 1965 - what state was the book in a year and a half later? He can't have finished it in a month, so who was the central character? What would have happened if Ann hadn't given the green light - or had they already given it to Amis without her knowing? Add in the contract with Jenkins and it's a pretty curious state of affairs!

Reineke also discussed two mentions by Amis in The New York Times in 1968 regarding a follow-up to COLONEL SUN to be set in Mexico, featuring an assassination on a train: 'I can just see the beginning: Bond had never cared for Acapulco. That's the way to start.'

Not mentioned in the article, and something I suppose I might have mentioned earlier, as it is fairly arcane (I don't believe it has ever been mentioned in Bond articles or books, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong), is that Amis seems to have developed this idea a little more. And it might surprise you who was going to be assassinated. On 24 October 1970, several newspapers around the States ran a very short Associated Press story, with minor variations in some cases. Here's the one that appeared in the Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan, on that date:

'James Bond to Die

(London (AP) - James Bond is about to die for what may or may not be positively for keeps. Kingsley Amis, who succeeded the late Ian Fleming as author of the agent 007 series said today that in the next book his hero will be blasted by a bazooka-wielding bartender on a train in Mexico.'

Quite a headline, no?"

SECOND QUOTE - TRIDENT


"It was mentioned, although only briefly and in a different context in Siegfried Tesche's 'James Bond - Autos, Action und Autoren' (James Bond - Cars, Action and Writers). Tesche writes that this bazooka/Mexico/bartender-affair would have been Amis original idea for a continuation. Most unlikely, as it basically meant to ask Glidrose to slaughter their goose."

END OF QUOTES.
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Comments

  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe S.A.R.A.H.
    edited April 2013 Posts: 10,155
    Thanks for posting this @Dragonpol. I'm currently reading Colonel Sun, and in my years of being a Bond fan, this is the first I have heard about Amis writing a second book. Upon reading about Bond possibly being killed off, I couldn't help thinking of The Killing Zone.

    Would they really have killed Bond off? I think they'd let the character fade away, that way they could always bring the character back a few years later.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Hi MajorD. Thanks - I've done a search on my computer and found some old stuff from AJB with Mark Hazard from 2005 - he had additional details on this from a newspaper article. I'd really like to write something up on this. If anyone here has any further information on this, I'd be very glad to hear from you in this thread. I remember an article on the now-defunct 007Forever site on this second projected Amis novel. It was titled "Bond Had Never Liked Acapulco" and was written by the great Nick Kincaid (what happened to him, eh?) in 2001 or so. I even remember that there was a forum for a while - I remember this from 2002 or so, but I was never a member there. Perhaps this forum became the nucleus of another James Bond forum under another name - I don't know for sure, but I remember a member there called uncleagent. That's about all, although I still have some much-treasured print outs from that era in my James Bond collection. That time was the crucible of great ideas in world Bondology, something that, given the chance, I would like to recreate on The Bondologist Blog.
  • Posts: 13,180
    Do you have more of the same @Dragonpol? This is really good, very valuable information. Thanks so much.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Yes, I've just today come across an old file of a thread on AJB from 2005 with Mark Hazard. I'm currently reading through the contents at the moment and will get back to you. I have just started to renew my private research on this area as I want to write an article on it all at some point - this is the type of thing that I specialise in at The Bondologist Blog afterall. Any further information from the great knowledge base of the members here on our community would be much appreciated in the sake of community spirit. I know that such spirit exists here.
  • Posts: 13,180
    Wonderful news. I'll be sure to keep an eye out @Dragonpol.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Samuel001 wrote:
    Wonderful news. I'll be sure to keep an eye out @Dragonpol.

    Thanks for your interest. This is the closest to Bondian "hidden history" I've ever really got, bar a few other items.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe S.A.R.A.H.
    edited April 2013 Posts: 10,155
    @Dragonpol, I have already bookmarked your website, keep up the good work.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    From the JBIFC Update Email, 2 May 2013:

    "Son of Sun?

    While on the subject of 007 book continuity authors, one of the Bond discussion forums recently carried some interesting speculation about the possible sequel plans of author Kingsley Amis, who had penned the first post-Fleming Bond book Colonel Sun, under the pseudonym ‘Robert Markham’. Amis, who was a big Fleming and Bond fan, had shown his love of the character in two non-fiction books, The James Bond Dossier and the more light-hearted The Book of Bond, a guide for budding spies supposedly written by Bill Tanner. Amis was commissioned by Glidrose Publications to write the first Bond continuation adventure, which was published in March, 1968. The recent forum discussion focused on whether Amis had considered writing a second James Bond adventure, or whether this was just rumour. It would now appear that there may have been something to this, in the sense that Amis briefly contemplated writing not another novel but a short 007 story instead. Earlier in 1968, Amis had visited Mexico, travelling from St. Louis to Mexico City by train. Amis had remembered that Fleming had enjoyed placing his secret service hero on trains and, according to his correspondence (Amis was a prolific letter writer), Amis considered a short Bond story involving an incident on a train in Mexico, possibly with an assassination attempt on Bond’s life. Alas, there is no evidence Amis took this any further."
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Any further interest/information on Robert Markham James Bond Continuation Novel II? I, for one, find it all very fascinating!
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Is it really the case that no-one else here on MI6 finds this topic as interesting as I do? Surely not?!
  • Posts: 1,154
    I would love to know about this mysterious second novel by Amis. Keep us posted Dragonpol. This is all very intriguing.

    Let's face it, the Amis novel is really the only time anyone has ever really come close to capturing Fleming, and his book was released straight after Fleming passed away. Since then no one has come remotely close, and don't get me started on the recent efforts. DMC was nothing short of embarrassing, and Carte Blanche wasn't much better.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Yes, I have some other stuff on this one. Perhaps one day it will make up an article on The Bondologist Blog.
  • edited May 2013 Posts: 1,154
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Yes, I have some other stuff on this one. Perhaps one day it will make up an article on The Bondologist Blog.
    Just taken a look at your site...nice!!

    And your James Bond film rankings is pretty damn close to mine.

    :-bd

  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Yes, I have some other stuff on this one. Perhaps one day it will make up an article on The Bondologist Blog.
    Just taken a look at your site...nice!!

    And your James Bond film rankings is pretty damn close to mine.

    :-bd

    Well, that's good. Dip in and read the articles and leave comments if it pleases you so to do.
  • Posts: 1,154
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Yes, I have some other stuff on this one. Perhaps one day it will make up an article on The Bondologist Blog.
    Just taken a look at your site...nice!!

    And your James Bond film rankings is pretty damn close to mine.

    :-bd

    Well, that's good. Dip in and read the articles and leave comments if it pleases you so to do.

    Will do. Looks like lots of good content on there, from what I've browsed over.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Yes, and lots more to come, hopefully soon. The blog celebrates its first birthday on 28 May 2013.
  • Posts: 2,782
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Yes, and lots more to come, hopefully soon. The blog celebrates its first birthday on 28 May 2013.

    Bookmarked and hats off to you. Dedication to the mission. Fascinating read, thank you.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Yes, and lots more to come, hopefully soon. The blog celebrates its first birthday on 28 May 2013.

    Bookmarked and hats off to you. Dedication to the mission. Fascinating read, thank you.

    Thank you. Yes, this is a very fascinating subject area!
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Is anyone else interested in this or do you know any more about this?
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    Posts: 25,391
    I'm interested, but I have nothing to add. Great work finding this stuff. I consider Amis to be more of a legitimate successor than those that came later. He was a Fleming contemporary and there was some back and forth between them.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Birdleson wrote: »
    I'm interested, but I have nothing to add. Great work finding this stuff. I consider Amis to be more of a legitimate successor than those that came later. He was a Fleming contemporary and there was some back and forth between them.

    Thank you, @Birdleson. I knew you'd be interested in this. I agree that Kingsley Amis holds a special place as Ian Fleming's immediate literary successor.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Earth, spinning in its grave.
    Posts: 30,874
    Very interesting. Thought the idea was to have different authors write under the Markham pseudonym after CS?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Very interesting. Thought the idea was to have different authors write under the Markham pseudonym after CS?

    Yes, that was the idea but nothing ever came of it, though the last three Bond continuation novels of Faulks, Deaver and Boyd seem to be following this approach and Horowitz is next in line.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 4,363
    Anything more on this subject, @Dragonpol?
  • Posts: 6,859
    I figure Anthony Horowitz will use it to make his third film
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Anything more on this subject, @Dragonpol?

    Thank you for reviving this old thread of mine, @RichardTheBruce.

    There's sadly not a lot out there on this rather niche topic, I'm afraid. Since creating this thread in 2013, however, I have followed up a few more references. The Letters of Kingsley Amis (2000), edited by Zachary Leader, has a few references to this novel or short story idea.

    The Wikipedia article on the Robert Markham pseudonym has this further information:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Markham

    Amis had unhappily visited Mexico in January 1968.[11] From this experience grew the idea for another Bond story. According to the New York Times Book Review, "Mr. Amis never moves about by air, and cultivated his own deficiencies - his phrase - he went from St. Louis to Mexico City by train. En route, he remembered that Bond loved trains (From Russia, with Love) and found himself plotting an assassination on a train. Then as his train moved on, there occurred the inevitable sentence, Bond had never liked Acapulco."[12] The plot would centre around tensions between British Honduras and Guatemala over rival claims to Mexico.[12] A syndicated Associated Press story also implied that Amis may kill Bond off for good. According to the article, a bazooka-wielding bartender would blast Bond on a train in Mexico.[13]

    Amis was inconsistent if this would result in a novel or a short story. The 1970 Associated Press story claimed it would be Amis's next book. However, in a 1968 letter to Robert Conquest, Amis clearly states that it would only be a short story.[11] Amis also approached Glidrose with an idea for a Bond short story that would have featured a 70-year-old Bond coming out of retirement for one final mission, but permission was not granted.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Markham

    I was also able to find online copies of some of the short US newspaper articles referred to in the OP. My article on the projected second Kingsley Amis Bond novel remains unwritten, but the file on the Bond novel that never was remains open.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 4,363
    Very interesting, @Dragonpol, even with limited detail. Bazooka-wielding bartender and all.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    edited November 2018 Posts: 12,488
    Very interesting, @Dragonpol, even with limited detail. Bazooka-wielding bartender and all.

    Thank you, @RichardTheBruce. I also find the "what if?" literary Bond projects deeply fascinating. I have a large number of books on or by Kingsley Amis (as you might imagine!) and one of them is a book full of interviews of Amis by various people and publications and there are a few more references there to this second Bond novel or short story idea.

    By rights, I should really collate all of the known information into a new article on the subject. It's on my ever-increasing Bond article "to do" list! In any event, Kingsley Amis remains my favourite Bond continuation author though, of course, John Gardner is a close second!
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Earth, spinning in its grave.
    Posts: 30,874
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Anything more on this subject, @Dragonpol?

    Amis also approached Glidrose with an idea for a Bond short story that would have featured a 70-year-old Bond coming out of retirement for one final mission, but permission was not granted.[/i]

    Was this then to be set in the future?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache ~ Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog
    Posts: 12,488
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Anything more on this subject, @Dragonpol?

    Amis also approached Glidrose with an idea for a Bond short story that would have featured a 70-year-old Bond coming out of retirement for one final mission, but permission was not granted.[/i]

    Was this then to be set in the future?

    I think he came to Glidrose with this idea somewhat later, if my memory serves me correctly. It was to be a Reichenbach Falls type of scenario. So perhaps Bond would be around the 70 mark when the story was written. However, Glidrose blanched at the idea and told Amis not to write a word of it. They evidently didn't like the idea of James Bond being killed off!
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