How are we supposed to address inconsistences among the Fleming novels?

edited August 2013 in Literary 007 Posts: 686
I am working on a essay on a controversial topic that I hope that I will be to present in one form or another regarding the Fleming Bond. Right now it is 2400 words and growing. The people who have read the Fleming Bonds are aware the inconsistences among the novels. Pearson's novel added a birthday, which I am assuming is no longer relevant to William Boyd's Solo. It appears that Boyd will accept the You Only Live Twice meme that Fleming Bond was born in 1924 as opposed to 1920. This contradicts Fleming's Moonraker which by information aggregation we determine that Bond was born in 1917.

Are we also supposed to consider the short-stories a part of the canon?

Comments

  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Isn't it part of the charm of Bond that there are various versions of the same character? I wouldn't call things like 'birth dates' and 'canonical continuity' inconsistencies, I would say they were irrelevances. They don't inform anything other than the whims of a few OCD sufferers who need everything neatly aligned and delicately compartmentalised. To all extents and purposes I've always read the Fleming novels as standalone adventures, which is how I always assumed Fleming intended them to be. There's a level of character progression and the Blofeld arc adds a level of connection, but I don't 'have' to read TB before I've read OHMSS. Fleming had no great masterplan, there was no end goal, he just took it one book at a time and so I forgive him any inconsistencies. As I've said, in the grand scheme of things they are utterly inconsequential. If we were to go back, in the style of one George Lucas, and tweak all the apparent inconsistencies it wouldn't make them any better would it? Therefore any such similar 'inconsistencies' since then, should be viewed as the irrelevancies they are, I would say.

  • Posts: 13,739
    Yes the short stories should be canon as they are from Fleming. On TSWLM may not be Canon as Fleming I believe did not want it to be part of the series as he.disliked it. Regarding the inconsistencies, they can be disregarded like they are for many.iconic characters.
  • Posts: 7,652
    TSWLM is canon as it was written by Fleming about his character by the name of James Bond.
    I do like most short stories as written by Fleming and do not see how they would not be considered part of 007's professional life as it is longer than 15 years.
  • ggl007ggl007 www.archivo007.com Spain, España
    Posts: 2,493
    ALL Fleming is Canon.

    The rest is not.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 686
    ggl007 wrote:
    ALL Fleming is Canon.

    The rest is not.

    Okay. I agree. Then how do we address inconsistences among the Fleming novels?
  • oo7oo7
    Posts: 1,068
    inconsistencies?
  • Posts: 13,739
    Perdogg wrote:
    ggl007 wrote:
    ALL Fleming is Canon.

    The rest is not.

    Okay. I agree. Then how do we address inconsistences among the Fleming novels?

    Easily: retcon. There were inconsistencies in the Sherlock Holmes canon too, and early on.
  • ggl007ggl007 www.archivo007.com Spain, España
    Posts: 2,493
    Talking about inconsistences, Ian Fleming cited Shakespeare once... :-\" ;)

    He knew he wasn´t writing masterpieces (in his opinion), so he probably never put all of his attention on them...
  • Posts: 13,739
    ggl007 wrote:
    Talking about inconsistences, Ian Fleming cited Shakespeare once... :-\" ;)

    He knew he wasn´t writing masterpieces (in his opinion), so he probably never put all of his attention on them...

    In Sherlock Holmes, Watson was wounded in the arm at first in A Study in Scarlet, then in The Sign of Four it is suddenly the leg. Hos name goes from John to James. He does not know about Moriarty in The Final Problem, yet in The Valley of Fear, set a few years before, he does.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 6,396
    Inconsistencies are slightly annoying but I'm not overly bothered so long as I'm
    immersed in the story. Kind of reminds me of FRIENDS when Chandler and Rachael are introduced to each other for the first time in the very first episode but in a later season it flashes back to when they were younger and they already know each other!
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 20,780
    IMO we aren't supposed to deal with it. The inconsistencies you mention, @Perdogg, refer to continuity issues. As with the films, I doubt we should value continuity so much.

    The late Arthur C. Clarke mentioned in the foreword to some of his novels that he was fully aware of deliberately creating continuity errors because when writing he cared about the story of the book more than about the larger whole of the book series. In other cases he knew that he would introduce inconsistencies unknowingly, but then he wasn't going to 'study' his previous books to make sure that every single fact or detail would follow the previous book(s) meticulously.

    I think Fleming was like that to some extent.

    Either way, @Perdogg, will we get to read your essay when it's finished? :-)
  • Posts: 686
    DarthDimi wrote:
    IMO we aren't supposed to deal with it. The inconsistencies you mention, @Perdogg, refer to continuity issues. As with the films, I doubt we should value continuity so much.

    The late Arthur C. Clarke mentioned in the foreword to some of his novels that he was fully aware of deliberately creating continuity errors because when writing he cared about the story of the book more than about the larger whole of the book series. In other cases he knew that he would introduce inconsistencies unknowingly, but then he wasn't going to 'study' his previous books to make sure that every single fact or detail would follow the previous book(s) meticulously.

    I think Fleming was like that to some extent.

    Either way, @Perdogg, will we get to read your essay when it's finished? :-)


    @DarthDimi and @Dragonpol

    I am still working on it and once it done I will post it. I hope it is thought provoking.
  • oo7oo7
    Posts: 1,068
    if this matter is about what year was bond born on then simply re ask it as what year did he die on, it just does not really seem to matter. now from publication date and naval ranks an assumption of age can be made.
    but check this stinker out
    http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/James_Bond_(Daniel_Craig)
    apparently dc bond was born in berlin??!!!! wtf?? where does that stem from, Deaver?
  • Posts: 686
    oo7 wrote:
    if this matter is about what year was bond born on then simply re ask it as what year did he die on, it just does not really seem to matter. now from publication date and naval ranks an assumption of age can be made.
    but check this stinker out
    http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/James_Bond_(Daniel_Craig)
    apparently dc bond was born in berlin??!!!! wtf?? where does that stem from, Deaver?

    IIRC, Craig-Bond was a member of the RMC.
  • oo7oo7
    Posts: 1,068
    you mean in the script he was a member of the SAS
  • Posts: 6,396
    oo7 wrote:
    you mean in the script he was a member of the SAS

    To which script are you referring?
  • Posts: 96
    You continuity guys crack me up. Movies, books, whatever. You just can't seem to let go of this need for everything to line up perfectly in a universe that doesn't actually exist. Do you ever ask yourself why that is?

    In the meantime, some food for thought:

    "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." - Raph Waldo Emerson
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Quarrel wrote:
    You continuity guys crack me up. Movies, books, whatever. You just can't seem to let go of this need for everything to line up perfectly in a universe that doesn't actually exist. Do you ever ask yourself why that is?

    In the meantime, some food for thought:

    "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." - Raph Waldo Emerson

    Splendid post.
  • Posts: 13,739
    Quarrel wrote:
    You continuity guys crack me up. Movies, books, whatever. You just can't seem to let go of this need for everything to line up perfectly in a universe that doesn't actually exist. Do you ever ask yourself why that is?

    In the meantime, some food for thought:

    "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." - Raph Waldo Emerson

    I agree with this, but to a degree. Certain works of fiction were so shockingly noncontinuous they became the object of ridicule. In some it is part of the charm of course (Fantômas comes to my mind). In general, I do think Fleming is fairly consistent.
  • Why do they need adressing? Stuff like that doesn't bug me. My favourite Bond novel is YOLT and that has a pretty big inconsistency.

    In YOLT it says he was born in the year of the rat, 1924. The same book says that Bond was 19 when he became a spy in 1941.

    But I couldn't give a toss about Bond's birthday changing because it's still a thrilling book that has a brilliantly realised setting, great supporting characters, good character development for Bond, a great cliffhanger and my favourite version of Blofeld.
  • oo7oo7
    Posts: 1,068
    oo7 wrote:
    you mean in the script he was a member of the SAS

    To which script are you referring?
    Casino royales script called for his record to be shown at the start of the titles stating he was a member of the SAS.
    I have no idea where that wiki states that bond was born in Germany though.

    But I couldn't give a toss about Bond's birthday changing because it's still a thrilling book that has a brilliantly realised setting, great supporting characters, good character development for Bond, a great cliffhanger

    I hear you!
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Riding a white swan to Matera
    Posts: 12,436
    I agree we just need to overlook the inconsistencies in the Bond canon. Doyle, as rightly already mentioned, certainly had them with Sherlock Holmes. Several authors do.

    Enjoy the stories for what they are, each little nuggets of Bond. Otherwise you can go crazy with background references, timelines, age, etc.
  • Posts: 13,739
    Why do they need adressing? Stuff like that doesn't bug me. My favourite Bond novel is YOLT and that has a pretty big inconsistency.

    In YOLT it says he was born in the year of the rat, 1924. The same book says that Bond was 19 when he became a spy in 1941.

    But I couldn't give a toss about Bond's birthday changing because it's still a thrilling book that has a brilliantly realised setting, great supporting characters, good character development for Bond, a great cliffhanger and my favourite version of Blofeld.

    I think some of the inconsistencies between novels were there to make Bond forever young. And sometimes because Fleming wanted to develop his background.
  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 7,253
    DarthDimi wrote:
    Either way, @Perdogg, will we get to read your essay when it's finished? :-)

    Yes, no doubt. Don't tell us about it if you don't intend to share!

    For the record, I don't let the inconsistencies bother me. I'd rather have a great story and engaging characters than a boring one from a poor writer that gets all the facts straight.
  • Posts: 13,739
    Glaring inconsistencies can get in the way of a story though. But I do not think it is the case with Fleming. They often are between two novels, rarely within one.
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