SOLO by William Boyd - Reviews & Feedback

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  • edited May 2014 Posts: 2,585
    I just got my signed copy of the book and I think it look´s really good! I won´t read it yet, ´cause I´m reading them all in the right order!

    You have a way to go man. A fun way however! :)

    I get the impression that IFP wouldn't dare stand up against a well known, successful author like Boyd, Faulks or Deaver which is partly why they should hire less well knowns. Someone, due to their lack of status, might be willing to listen more, employ a greater amount of flexibility and perhaps the most important, someone who IFP might have the balls to stand up to. Select a few to put forward a manuscript, give them an interview, and go from there. They needn't worry too much about hiring a less well known author. The James Bond name coupled with adequate publicity will carry them through. It's not like Steve Cole is that well known.

    Damn, this website has become littered with adverts. Well, I guess where there's money to be made... ;)
  • Posts: 802
    Bounine wrote:
    I just got my signed copy of the book and I think it look´s really good! I won´t read it yet, ´cause I´m reading them all in the right order!

    You have a way to go man. A fun way however! :)

    I get the impression that IFP wouldn't dare stand up against a well known, successful author like Boyd, Faulks or Deaver which is partly why they should hire less well knowns. Someone, due to their lack of status, might be willing to listen more, employ a greater amount of flexibility and perhaps the most important, someone who IFP might have the balls to stand up to. Select a few to put forward a manuscript, give them an interview, and go from there. They needn't worry too much about hiring a less well known author. The James Bond name coupled with adequate publicity will carry them through. It's not like Steve Cole is that well known.

    Damn, this website has become littered with adverts. Well, I guess where there's money to be made… ;)

    @ Bounine, I think you're right in the sense that they have to stand up to their chosen authors but, in truth, I don't think it's that difficult to do. If their contract dictates that they have to sign off on the plot outline and the finished product, it's ultimately down to them if they publish.
    My feeling is that IFP haven't got anybody on their board with a real passion or understanding of what's required and as a consequence they keep getting it dreadfully wrong.
    I would challenge anybody to read the first 50 pages of DMC and not be impressed. Then, Faulks clearly then went down the pub, got pissed, decided he was way too important to sully himself with this, went home and dashed off the biggest load of balderdash!
    IFP's coffers didn't suffer one bit. They didn't demand a re-write and we lined up like lemmings to buy it and they laughed all the way to the bank.
    Ditto with Deaver although he didn't even manage 50 good pages and ditto Boyd who gave us the biggest stinker of the lot. coffers aren't swelling to quite the extent because neither have remotely matched Faulks' sales. Maybe we, the fans, are slowly getting the message?
    That said, I continue to think that the mission is doable but the situation is dire. That's why I constantly urge them to pick Higson. He has shown that he can absolutely do it. They need a another misfire like a hole in the head!
  • edited May 2014 Posts: 4,622
    Yes, @Villiers Higson surely should be handed all future adult-Bond literary projects. He's a proven commodity. Just ride that horse.
    btw I still haven't bought Solo. I am waiting for it to appear in the discount bins. I read a library copy when it came out, which there wasn't even much of a wait for.
    As for DMC and CB; I have both in HC and PB, but with Solo I am taking my time with the purchase. No rush. Eventually I will add the title to both the HC and PB collection, just to keep things complete.
    But if the book was any good, it would already be on my shelves, just as the complete set of Young Bond HC's and paperbacks are, plus Higson's Young Bond Dossier, none of which I wasted anytime purchasing, other than the Dossier, which I eventually picked up in trade PB, but its primarily a reference book, with a bonus YB short story.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    You can listen to Solo read on 'A Book at Bedtime' on BBC radio 4, but the narrator sounds like he's got a tee-time to get to at 2pm!

  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,459
    ... meaning he rushed his reading? I'll try to catch this in a bit; thanks!
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Yes, he sounds rushed and the abridging/editing probably did not help.

    Either way, not impressed. Someone should have called Martin Jarvis.
  • edited May 2014 Posts: 2,585
    007InVT wrote:
    You can listen to Solo read on 'A Book at Bedtime' on BBC radio 4, but the narrator sounds like he's got a tee-time to get to at 2pm!


    Thanks for posting that. Thoroughly enjoyable. My only complaint were the snippets of music. Something more elegant, classical and less like everyday, overheard guitar strumming, would have been warmly welcomed.
  • edited May 2014 Posts: 2,585
    007InVT wrote:
    You can listen to Solo read on 'A Book at Bedtime' on BBC radio 4, but the narrator sounds like he's got a tee-time to get to at 2pm!


    Thanks for posting that. Thoroughly enjoyable. My only complaint were the snippets of music. Something more elegant, classical and less like everyday, overheard guitar strumming, would have been warmly welcomed.
  • Posts: 9,607
    Just finished solo and it was just boring and bad.... Sorry but I just disliked it a lot.
  • Posts: 802
    Risico007 wrote:
    Just finished solo and it was just boring and bad.... Sorry but I just disliked it a lot.
    This stinker is out in UK paperback so doubtless more poor unfortunates will spend four hours or more bored rigid.
    When will IFP ever get the message?

  • Posts: 7,653
    Villiers53 wrote:
    Risico007 wrote:
    Just finished solo and it was just boring and bad.... Sorry but I just disliked it a lot.
    This stinker is out in UK paperback so doubtless more poor unfortunates will spend four hours or more bored rigid.
    When will IFP ever get the message?

    If enough of those "unfortunates" will buy the book it will add to their coffers and they will continue along the lines they have been wandering.

    And the rabid screaming of fans through internet means less and less for writers as more often it seems that only a small amount of folks complain. More people actually seem to like Solo.

    I am curious who will be the next writer that will pick up the challenge.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2014 Posts: 17,294
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.
  • Posts: 7,653
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,294
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.
  • Posts: 7,653
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    So am I, we both have different favorites in the continuation series but that is for me the beauty of all diversity offered.

  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2014 Posts: 17,294
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    So am I, we both have different favorites in the continuation series but that is for me the beauty of all diversity offered.

    Indeed. Fleming himself was in favour of his Bond novels being continued by another author or authors with his idea to auction off the literary rights to the character. A lot of people conveniently overlook this fact in my view.
  • edited June 2014 Posts: 7,653
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    So am I, we both have different favorites in the continuation series but that is for me the beauty of all diversity offered.

    Indeed. Fleming himself was in favor of his Bond novels being continued by another author or authors with his idea to auction off the literary rights to the character. A lot of people conveniently overlook this fact in my view.

    They don't overlook it but rather deny it or do not know. Fleming always was a bread writer and his 007 paid for a lot of bills of his preferred lifestyle.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2014 Posts: 17,294
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    So am I, we both have different favorites in the continuation series but that is for me the beauty of all diversity offered.

    Indeed. Fleming himself was in favor of his Bond novels being continued by another author or authors with his idea to auction off the literary rights to the character. A lot of people conveniently overlook this fact in my view.

    They don't overlook it but rather deny it or do not know. Fleming always was a bread writer and his 007 paid for a lot of bills of his preferred lifestyle.

    Yes, they mostly don't know. Let me detract what I said. It wasn't fair of me to say they ignored the fact as I suspect its not well known at all. Perhaps I should highlight the story of how Continuation project began as I am one of its chief defenders.

    Yes, Fleming wrote for money and freely admitted it and good luck to him, too. That includes famously yellow curtains for his wife Ann too!
  • Posts: 2,585
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    I've always wondered why certain people are against continuation novels and narrow mindedly refuse to read anything that isn't Fleming yet they're all for new Bond films. What the hell's the difference?
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,294
    Bounine wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    I've always wondered why certain people are against continuation novels and narrow mindedly refuse to read anything that isn't Fleming yet they're all for new Bond films. What the hell's the difference?

    Good point, yes that is an anomaly.
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 3,157
    Bounine wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    I've always wondered why certain people are against continuation novels and narrow mindedly refuse to read anything that isn't Fleming yet they're all for new Bond films. What the hell's the difference?

    I agree.
  • Posts: 7,653
    Bounine wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Anthony Horowitz should be picked next.

    He did a decent with Sherlock so I am fine with him.

    But even if he delivers the best novel since Fleming, there are those that will always deny the value of that book. Bitching be bitching.

    Well of course there are those who are against any kind of continuation so it will never be possible to please everyone. Personally, I'm all for the continuation project.

    I've always wondered why certain people are against continuation novels and narrow mindedly refuse to read anything that isn't Fleming yet they're all for new Bond films. What the hell's the difference?

    That would be a very good question if it were not for the fact that any fan boy is not hindered by any knowledge of logic when it comes to his/her pet peeves.

    Guess what this site is full of?
  • edited July 2014 Posts: 2,847
    Bounine wrote:
    I've always wondered why certain people are against continuation novels and narrow mindedly refuse to read anything that isn't Fleming yet they're all for new Bond films. What the hell's the difference?

    Because books are a different medium than films, and the Bond films have been deviating from Fleming since the beginning. They've always been a separate entity, both in terms of content and style.
    A continuation novel on the other hand is meant to recall Fleming's style and content, and that's an impossible task. The best one can do is write a clever pastiche, as in the case of Colonel Sun.
  • Posts: 802
    Revelator wrote: »
    Bounine wrote:
    I've always wondered why certain people are against continuation novels and narrow mindedly refuse to read anything that isn't Fleming yet they're all for new Bond films. What the hell's the difference?

    Because books are a different medium than films, and the Bond films have been deviating from Fleming since the beginning. They've always been a separate entity, both in terms of content and style.
    A continuation novel on the other hand is meant to recall Fleming's style and content, and that's an impossible task. The best one can do is write a clever pastiche, as in the case of Colonel Sun.

    Of course, to have any relevance at all, the books have to evoke Fleming but I would humbly suggest that 'Colonel Sun' is way more than a pastiche. Personally I think that it evolved the saga in a way that Fleming himself may have done had he lived. Furthermore, I think that as a novel it is up there with FRWL, OHMSS & Moonraker.
    Just in the same way that Horowitz's Holmes novel is way more than a Conan Doyle pastiche.
    We simply need the correct author.
    @Dragonpol pushes Horowitz like crazy. That could be a good idea although I'd prefer the certainty of Higson. Another qualitative flop will set the reputation of the Bond literary franchise back to Benson levels.
  • I don't agree that Bond should be wholly unPC, he isn't Flashman. He does have a conscience. But when you are reading the novel, it's more like PC issues should not enter your head.

    A 1960s book For Bond Lovers I think it's called, is revelatory and in it I think Fleming disparages the idea that Bond would ever go for an actress, and in fact describes the very type that Bond gets off with in Solo, it's uncanny. It does make me wonder if the writer, like Faulks, isn't trying to get one over Fleming.
  • Posts: 802
    Given that Fleming's Bond is a period piece, the question of what constitutes 'PC' has to be seen within the context of the time.
    Smoking, daily drinking and discreet romantic assignations were not seen as incorrect in polite society. Expressing racist and or homophobic tendencies would also not be considered necessarily incorrect. Conversely, poor manners, vulgar language used out of context and being incorrectly dressed almost certainly would.
    How these traits should be expressed in continuation novels when many new readers may not have experienced the originals is a key issue.
    Boyd's approach in his somewhat shambolic effort seems to have been to over emphasise the smoking and drinking to a ridiculous extent as part of an effort to give the character more depth and turn him into a gritty, tortured spy. Unfortunately the absence of a good, thrilling plot rendered Bond's persona somewhat irrelevant.
    Going forward it's a no brainer to suggest that modern readers have no appetite for a hero with racist or homophobic tendencies albeit, I would argue that Bond himself never expressed such in the original novels, it was more the language of the time that gave rise to that interpretation.
    With regards to the smoking, drinking and womanising - it's more about proportionality than anything else and the complete preoccupation should be to find a great author that can deliver a great plot.
    Horowitz did it for Holmes with "House Of Silk" and succeeded in tackling one of the great issues of our times en route. Hopefully somebody will do the same for poor old 007.
  • SirHilaryBrayOBESirHilaryBrayOBE Chez Hilly, Portsmouth
    Posts: 66
    A latecomer to the party but I just finished my first reading of Solo. Having spent a couple of months going through the Gardner and Benson crop (with Moonraker slotted here and there) I come out of Solo slightly dampened. Don't quite know what to make of it. Personally I preferred it to the previous two outings but sadly lacking in some quarters. The African adventure and Bond's preoccupation with the actress and...all the rest.
    Hopefully Bond will return. Somehow.
  • Posts: 5,678
    I've started reading it, and I've already made a few observations. For instance, it's obvious that Zanzarim and Dahum are Nigeria and Biaffra, just like at the beginning of Frederick Forsyth's "The Dogs of War". And Bryce ? Obviously, she's Ingrid Pitt (who BTW would have been a perfect Bond Girl, don't you think ?). Once I've finished it, I'll let you know what I think of it.
  • Posts: 802
    A latecomer to the party but I just finished my first reading of Solo. Having spent a couple of months going through the Gardner and Benson crop (with Moonraker slotted here and there) I come out of Solo slightly dampened. Don't quite know what to make of it. Personally I preferred it to the previous two outings but sadly lacking in some quarters. The African adventure and Bond's preoccupation with the actress and...all the rest.
    Hopefully Bond will return. Somehow.

    @SirHilaryBrayOBE, have you read 'Colonel Son'?

  • SirHilaryBrayOBESirHilaryBrayOBE Chez Hilly, Portsmouth
    Posts: 66
    Villiers53 wrote: »
    A latecomer to the party but I just finished my first reading of Solo. Having spent a couple of months going through the Gardner and Benson crop (with Moonraker slotted here and there) I come out of Solo slightly dampened. Don't quite know what to make of it. Personally I preferred it to the previous two outings but sadly lacking in some quarters. The African adventure and Bond's preoccupation with the actress and...all the rest.
    Hopefully Bond will return. Somehow.

    @SirHilaryBrayOBE, have you read 'Colonel Son'?

    Yes I have. A couple of times, last time was...a few months ago I think. Pretty much read all things Bond now. Well, except Young Bond/Moneypenny Diaries.
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