SOLO by William Boyd - Reviews & Feedback

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  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,139
    If you can get the BBC online where you are Japan? They are starting to serialise it as Radio 4 book at bed time from this evening at22:45pm UK time if that is any good to you
    Regards Coggins .
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Riding a white swan to Matera
    Posts: 12,374
    Thanks! I will try ... :)
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 35,194
    Bounine wrote:

    Wow. I was hoping that was a joke, but unfortunately, it isn't.
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 2,543
    From the review:

    "Why? Ask yourself whether Fleming would have written a sentence such as this one from Solo: “A spasm of church bells sounded and a gang of pigeons… clapped up into the dazzling blue of an early morning sky”? Of course not, he couldn’t."

    While this is a lovely collection of words, Fleming could write just as delightful sentences.

    In all honesty, Fleming was a great writer with a wonderful imagination and a splendid eye for detail but he wasn't the greatest author in the world. Certainly, I'm not saying I agree with the comments this reviewer has made though.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    edited October 2013 Posts: 35,194
    @Bounine, that selection from the article stood out the most to me. What an ignorant thing to say about someone.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 I've missed you all.
    Posts: 28,416
    Oh, human ignorance at its finest. Fleming's syntax dazzles me to no end, his perfect mix of vivid descriptions, deep character exploration, exotic imagery, incorporation of hedonism, and unmatched sense of grounded surrealism a thing of legend. Whereas Boyd gives us a rather weak and quite overdone summary of a church and some rats with wings, Fleming gave us ground breaking passages, where Bond debates good and evil, right and wrong, fights the best in his villains and the worst in himself, and presents his view of the changing world around him uninhibited. Fleming's words leave me grinning with joy at his magic with mere text, while Boyd's stuff makes him look like a magician trying his best to replicate the masters of the trade from long before himself, and with a considerable decrease in spark.

    I am likely being a bit too harsh on Boyd, but I don't really like him to be honest. I hate pretentiousness and ignorance, both of which his self-entitled tuchus have showcased wonderfully in his pompous slashes against Fleming's so called sub-standard prose and baseless comments about the man's own personal beliefs, the latter of which he has absolutely no right to claim. If these are the so-called "celebrity" writers of today, I weep for the literary community at large.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    harkaway wrote:
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    Seems to me that no one wants to mention Gardner as he is seen as a journeyman writer who is not fit to lace the boots of the superstar authors we have had for the last three debacles. Same goes for Benson although in his case its understandable.

    I may be wrong in this but it seems that this revisionist version of history where Gardner never existed has only come about since Glidrose became IFP. I can't say I'm an expert on the ins and outs of the change of company but it seems that the newly formed IFP saw what Glidrose had done with Gardner and Benson and saw two perfect examples of the law of diminishing returns and decided to go down another route - that of the gun-for-hire celebrity author.

    They should be commended for trying a fresh approach because ever since Scorpius the Bond books had been declining alarmingly in both quality and sales so it was clear a change of direction was needed.

    However, good management means admitting when you are wrong and it is abundantly clear now that the celebrity author strategy has miserably failed.

    What irks me intensely is the press that these guys are getting to knock out extremely shoddy work. It's like they're doing us a favour by lowering themselves and dabbling in something so base as Bond. Every interview and media article claims how they studied Fleming for inspiration and have given us a classic back to basics Bond adventure. Yet when you read it its clear that no one involved has a clue about the character apart from ticking off a checklist of what they think is Flemingesque such as drinking, smoking, shagging and brand names.

    Sorry Seb, Jeff and Bill but it takes more than that to make a good Bond adventure.

    It is clear now that IFP need a new direction as if people like us aren't going to buy the book then just who the hell is?

    It seems the obvious answer (short of giving a crack to an unknown by having say a competition on here for people to submit a synopsis and opening chapter) has to be Higson as he clearly understands the character, has good sales figures and importantly has a readership who having read the young Bond series are now old enough to read what happens to the adult Bond.

    At the moment the literary Bond seems to be as big a shambles as the computer game Bond. How do people find it so easy to convert what should be a slam dunk into disaster? And how do such people keep their jobs?


    Wizard, did you read it yet?


    Fair point. I haven't actually read it and am only going on the reviews from people on here who I respect and Boyd condemning himself with his own words but until I have read it I can't really comment.

    Mind you I've never been violently buggered but I'm pretty certain I wouldn't like that either.
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,139
    @Wiz thank you a great laugh good way to start the day.
  • Posts: 267
    @Th
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    Seems to me that no one wants to mention Gardner as he is seen as a journeyman writer who is not fit to lace the boots of the superstar authors we have had for the last three debacles. Same goes for Benson although in his case its understandable.

    I may be wrong in this but it seems that this revisionist version of history where Gardner never existed has only come about since Glidrose became IFP. I can't say I'm an expert on the ins and outs of the change of company but it seems that the newly formed IFP saw what Glidrose had done with Gardner and Benson and saw two perfect examples of the law of diminishing returns and decided to go down another route - that of the gun-for-hire celebrity author.

    They should be commended for trying a fresh approach because ever since Scorpius the Bond books had been declining alarmingly in both quality and sales so it was clear a change of direction was needed.

    However, good management means admitting when you are wrong and it is abundantly clear now that the celebrity author strategy has miserably failed.

    What irks me intensely is the press that these guys are getting to knock out extremely shoddy work. It's like they're doing us a favour by lowering themselves and dabbling in something so base as Bond. Every interview and media article claims how they studied Fleming for inspiration and have given us a classic back to basics Bond adventure. Yet when you read it its clear that no one involved has a clue about the character apart from ticking off a checklist of what they think is Flemingesque such as drinking, smoking, shagging and brand names.

    Sorry Seb, Jeff and Bill but it takes more than that to make a good Bond adventure.

    It is clear now that IFP need a new direction as if people like us aren't going to buy the book then just who the hell is?

    It seems the obvious answer (short of giving a crack to an unknown by having say a competition on here for people to submit a synopsis and opening chapter) has to be Higson as he clearly understands the character, has good sales figures and importantly has a readership who having read the young Bond series are now old enough to read what happens to the adult Bond.

    At the moment the literary Bond seems to be as big a shambles as the computer game Bond. How do people find it so easy to convert what should be a slam dunk into disaster? And how do such people keep their jobs?

    @TheWizardOflce makes an excellent summation. His point about the change between Gildrose and IFP is particularly salient. I'd never connected those dots and he could well be right.
    The most unfortunate thing about " The Celebrity Trilogy" disaster is the money it's probably making for IFP.
    Hand on heart,with the exception of the retired "Harry Potter", I can't think of a brand as strong as Bond. Consequently spring boarding that brand every couple of years with a new celebrity author probably generates well above average industry sales. Of course, the dismal quality of the product should, by now, mean that the law of diminishing returns should have kicked in but such is the strength of the brand, I'm not even sure that's the case.
    Normally it is quality top management who are the custodian of the brand but unfortunately for us, with IFP it looks like they have zero real interest in the literary Bond and have no passion for quality.
    Hopefully risible reviews and poor sales will lead to a change and personally I think Higson is the perfect solution for a vintage Bond. As an adult Bond afficianado I thought they were beyond good. Personally I never pigeon holed them as uniquely for children albeit that was their core target and as @wizardOflce points out many are now of the age when they would lap up an adult Bond from their favourite author.
    In a funny way, I think Amazon reviews are probably more likely to influence IFP than our views. We are probably dismissed as a small group of fanatics - such is the arrogance of the whole affair.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,965
    Villiers53 wrote:

    Absolutely.
    Interestingly enough, at the RVH meeting a fan asked Boyd if he'd read any of the other continuation novels? Being a fully puffed up member of the literati, he acknowledged reading Amis' CS when he was a boy and said he'd read Faulk's effort - which he hailed as quite brilliant.
    Obviously considers himself too posh to read Higson, Gardner, Pearson or Weinberg - from whom he could have learnt a lot from a positive perspective or Benson and Deaver from whom, together with his buddy Faulks, he could have learnt what not to do.
    Utter disgrace the whole gig!

    This says it all then. Any lingering doubt that this might not be a shambles is gone.

    Love the way the media and the authors union can't wait to name drop Amis, Faulkes and Deaver as continuation authors but the one bloke (Gardner) who did a competent job is just airbrushed from history.

    You praising the late great John Gardner, Ice. Excuse me while I print out your post and frame it on my bedroom wall! Maybe you could sign it for me?!

    On a serious note, yes John Gardner does seem to have been maddeningly airbrushed out of the official history of The Continuation, but not on my watch.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,965
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    It's nothing short of a disgrace if you ask this Gardnerologist.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,965
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    Seems to me that no one wants to mention Gardner as he is seen as a journeyman writer who is not fit to lace the boots of the superstar authors we have had for the last three debacles. Same goes for Benson although in his case its understandable.

    I may be wrong in this but it seems that this revisionist version of history where Gardner never existed has only come about since Glidrose became IFP. I can't say I'm an expert on the ins and outs of the change of company but it seems that the newly formed IFP saw what Glidrose had done with Gardner and Benson and saw two perfect examples of the law of diminishing returns and decided to go down another route - that of the gun-for-hire celebrity author.

    They should be commended for trying a fresh approach because ever since Scorpius the Bond books had been declining alarmingly in both quality and sales so it was clear a change of direction was needed.

    However, good management means admitting when you are wrong and it is abundantly clear now that the celebrity author strategy has miserably failed.

    What irks me intensely is the press that these guys are getting to knock out extremely shoddy work. It's like they're doing us a favour by lowering themselves and dabbling in something so base as Bond. Every interview and media article claims how they studied Fleming for inspiration and have given us a classic back to basics Bond adventure. Yet when you read it its clear that no one involved has a clue about the character apart from ticking off a checklist of what they think is Flemingesque such as drinking, smoking, shagging and brand names.

    Sorry Seb, Jeff and Bill but it takes more than that to make a good Bond adventure.

    It is clear now that IFP need a new direction as if people like us aren't going to buy the book then just who the hell is?

    It seems the obvious answer (short of giving a crack to an unknown by having say a competition on here for people to submit a synopsis and opening chapter) has to be Higson as he clearly understands the character, has good sales figures and importantly has a readership who having read the young Bond series are now old enough to read what happens to the adult Bond.

    At the moment the literary Bond seems to be as big a shambles as the computer game Bond. How do people find it so easy to convert what should be a slam dunk into disaster? And how do such people keep their jobs?

    Now this is very well said, Ice. You are correct on the Glidrose change to IFP - that's when the Fleming family itself took over the reigns of the management of the literary Bond cash cow. I remember Raymond Benson telling me in an email that his and John Gardner's work had very much been swept under the carpet around about the time of the Young Bond project and this has continued with the unholy triumvirate of Faulks, Deaver and Boyd. So you are on the money with what you say there, Ice. The proof for this comes straight from the horses mouth if you will.
  • retrokittyretrokitty The Couv
    Posts: 380
    Why don't you lot write to the reviews and even IFP and asked them why Gardner is being airbrushed out?
  • Posts: 7,650
    Have just read the 1st chapter on a terrace with the sun shining and enjoying a cappucino. The 1st chapter having Bond look back at the first time having looked death in the face while being a young lt on a job in Normandy on the 7th of June 1944 was well written and very enjoyable.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited October 2013 Posts: 14,965
    retrokitty wrote:
    Why don't you lot write to the reviews and even IFP and asked them why Gardner is being airbrushed out?

    I'd very gladly spearhead such a project as the resident Gardnerologist if we could agree on what to say.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 35,194
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    It's nothing short of a disgrace if you ask this Gardnerologist.

    I was quite curious as to what your thoughts were on that matter, seeing as you've made plenty of Gardner threads and are a huge fan of his work.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited October 2013 Posts: 14,965
    Creasy47 wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    It's nothing short of a disgrace if you ask this Gardnerologist.

    I was quite curious as to what your thoughts were on that matter, seeing as you've made plenty of Gardner threads and are a huge fan of his work.

    Thank you, @Creasy47. Yes, I am a huge fan and defender of his work. Partly as I discovered him when I was young and partly as I briefly corresponded with him briefly for several years before his sad death in August 2007. John was a perfect gentleman who always had time for his fans. His son Simon is also a terrific guy to correspond with. I think John Gardner is very under-appreciated as an author, but it was great to see Orion publish his Bond and non-Bond books again from 2011 onwards. They should never really have been out of print at all in my view. I do try to keep the Gardner flag flying high here on MI6 Community and in so doing I wish to express my gratitude for his kindness to me. Gardner's contribution to the literary post-Fleming Bond cannot be overstated.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 35,194
    @Dragonpol, you're quite welcome. Well, my buddy and I have been talking about the Fleming Bond novels lately, and just about Bond in general, and since I refuse to pick up this SOLO trash, I plan on either getting the rest of Fleming's novels in the near future, or checking out the highly-praised Gardner. Recommend some of his best to me and I'll see what I can find.
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 2,543
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Dragonpol, you're quite welcome. Well, my buddy and I have been talking about the Fleming Bond novels lately, and just about Bond in general, and since I refuse to pick up this SOLO trash, I plan on either getting the rest of Fleming's novels in the near future, or checking out the highly-praised Gardner. Recommend some of his best to me and I'll see what I can find.

    Solo might very well be trash but I do think that you should at least try reading it to decide for yourself. If you haven't bought the book then of course, don't buy it, but you could try reading it when it's available in the library to borrow for free.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 35,194
    Bounine wrote:
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Dragonpol, you're quite welcome. Well, my buddy and I have been talking about the Fleming Bond novels lately, and just about Bond in general, and since I refuse to pick up this SOLO trash, I plan on either getting the rest of Fleming's novels in the near future, or checking out the highly-praised Gardner. Recommend some of his best to me and I'll see what I can find.

    Solo might very well be trash but I do think that you should at least try reading it to decide for yourself. If you haven't bought the book then of course, don't buy it, but you could try reading it when it's available in the library to borrow for free.

    Maybe someday. I certainly won't purchase it, but I won't go out of my way to get it at the library, either.
  • Bentley wrote:
    @Th
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    Seems to me that no one wants to mention Gardner as he is seen as a journeyman writer who is not fit to lace the boots of the superstar authors we have had for the last three debacles. Same goes for Benson although in his case its understandable.

    I may be wrong in this but it seems that this revisionist version of history where Gardner never existed has only come about since Glidrose became IFP. I can't say I'm an expert on the ins and outs of the change of company but it seems that the newly formed IFP saw what Glidrose had done with Gardner and Benson and saw two perfect examples of the law of diminishing returns and decided to go down another route - that of the gun-for-hire celebrity author.

    They should be commended for trying a fresh approach because ever since Scorpius the Bond books had been declining alarmingly in both quality and sales so it was clear a change of direction was needed.

    However, good management means admitting when you are wrong and it is abundantly clear now that the celebrity author strategy has miserably failed.

    What irks me intensely is the press that these guys are getting to knock out extremely shoddy work. It's like they're doing us a favour by lowering themselves and dabbling in something so base as Bond. Every interview and media article claims how they studied Fleming for inspiration and have given us a classic back to basics Bond adventure. Yet when you read it its clear that no one involved has a clue about the character apart from ticking off a checklist of what they think is Flemingesque such as drinking, smoking, shagging and brand names.

    Sorry Seb, Jeff and Bill but it takes more than that to make a good Bond adventure.

    It is clear now that IFP need a new direction as if people like us aren't going to buy the book then just who the hell is?

    It seems the obvious answer (short of giving a crack to an unknown by having say a competition on here for people to submit a synopsis and opening chapter) has to be Higson as he clearly understands the character, has good sales figures and importantly has a readership who having read the young Bond series are now old enough to read what happens to the adult Bond.

    At the moment the literary Bond seems to be as big a shambles as the computer game Bond. How do people find it so easy to convert what should be a slam dunk into disaster? And how do such people keep their jobs?

    @TheWizardOflce makes an excellent summation. His point about the change between Gildrose and IFP is particularly salient. I'd never connected those dots and he could well be right.
    The most unfortunate thing about " The Celebrity Trilogy" disaster is the money it's probably making for IFP.
    Hand on heart,with the exception of the retired "Harry Potter", I can't think of a brand as strong as Bond. Consequently spring boarding that brand every couple of years with a new celebrity author probably generates well above average industry sales. Of course, the dismal quality of the product should, by now, mean that the law of diminishing returns should have kicked in but such is the strength of the brand, I'm not even sure that's the case.
    Normally it is quality top management who are the custodian of the brand but unfortunately for us, with IFP it looks like they have zero real interest in the literary Bond and have no passion for quality.
    Hopefully risible reviews and poor sales will lead to a change and personally I think Higson is the perfect solution for a vintage Bond. As an adult Bond afficianado I thought they were beyond good. Personally I never pigeon holed them as uniquely for children albeit that was their core target and as @wizardOflce points out many are now of the age when they would lap up an adult Bond from their favourite author.
    In a funny way, I think Amazon reviews are probably more likely to influence IFP than our views. We are probably dismissed as a small group of fanatics - such is the arrogance of the whole affair.

    I couldn't agree more with these posts.
    Something that I find retrospectively funny is Boyd's response to the Royal Festival Hall questioner who asked if the book would be filmed. He puffed himself up and said there hadn't been discussions yet. If Eon ever read it, I think they'd pass out at the thought!
    They've just got the show well and truly on the road with "Skyfall" and they certainly won't want to sabotage it with his rubbish!
    Regarding the future, we are definitely on the same page with Higson taking over the "Vintage Bond" mantel but personally, I'd like to see a two pronged strategy with Higson releasing "Vintage Bond" in the even years and in the odd, I'd have somebody do a contemporary Bond series.
    It would allow two very significant bites of the cherry and address two audiences that whilst they overlap are also quite distinctive. For the modern Bond mantel there are numerous contenders. One who would win my vote is the fabulous Charles Cumming.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,965
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Dragonpol, you're quite welcome. Well, my buddy and I have been talking about the Fleming Bond novels lately, and just about Bond in general, and since I refuse to pick up this SOLO trash, I plan on either getting the rest of Fleming's novels in the near future, or checking out the highly-praised Gardner. Recommend some of his best to me and I'll see what I can find.

    @Creasey47:

    Yes, give Solo a go by all means. I have still to read it, though I bought it on the day that it came out.

    On the best of John Gardner I would say the following:

    Licence Renewed
    For Special Services
    Icebreaker
    Nobody Lives Forever
    Scorpius
    Win, Lose or Die
    Brokenclaw
    Never Send Flowers
    Cold/Cold Fall


    But I think they are all good in their own way and all deserve to be read. The Man From Barbarossa is rather dense but it gets an honourable mention as its very different - sort of his TSWLM. The 1990s Gardner Bonds are all far more experimental in nature.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 35,194
    @Dragonpol, thanks for that list. I'll be sure to save it and check some of those out in the near future.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited October 2013 Posts: 14,965
    Villiers53 wrote:
    Bentley wrote:
    @Th
    Creasy47 wrote:
    I don't read much any more, sadly, but why is it I've only heard mostly-superb things about Gardner's novels, and like @TheWizardOfIce stated, you never hear anything about him when the time comes along? The last two continuation novels are brought up time and time again, but nothing of Gardner?

    Seems to me that no one wants to mention Gardner as he is seen as a journeyman writer who is not fit to lace the boots of the superstar authors we have had for the last three debacles. Same goes for Benson although in his case its understandable.

    I may be wrong in this but it seems that this revisionist version of history where Gardner never existed has only come about since Glidrose became IFP. I can't say I'm an expert on the ins and outs of the change of company but it seems that the newly formed IFP saw what Glidrose had done with Gardner and Benson and saw two perfect examples of the law of diminishing returns and decided to go down another route - that of the gun-for-hire celebrity author.

    They should be commended for trying a fresh approach because ever since Scorpius the Bond books had been declining alarmingly in both quality and sales so it was clear a change of direction was needed.

    However, good management means admitting when you are wrong and it is abundantly clear now that the celebrity author strategy has miserably failed.

    What irks me intensely is the press that these guys are getting to knock out extremely shoddy work. It's like they're doing us a favour by lowering themselves and dabbling in something so base as Bond. Every interview and media article claims how they studied Fleming for inspiration and have given us a classic back to basics Bond adventure. Yet when you read it its clear that no one involved has a clue about the character apart from ticking off a checklist of what they think is Flemingesque such as drinking, smoking, shagging and brand names.

    Sorry Seb, Jeff and Bill but it takes more than that to make a good Bond adventure.

    It is clear now that IFP need a new direction as if people like us aren't going to buy the book then just who the hell is?

    It seems the obvious answer (short of giving a crack to an unknown by having say a competition on here for people to submit a synopsis and opening chapter) has to be Higson as he clearly understands the character, has good sales figures and importantly has a readership who having read the young Bond series are now old enough to read what happens to the adult Bond.

    At the moment the literary Bond seems to be as big a shambles as the computer game Bond. How do people find it so easy to convert what should be a slam dunk into disaster? And how do such people keep their jobs?

    @TheWizardOflce makes an excellent summation. His point about the change between Gildrose and IFP is particularly salient. I'd never connected those dots and he could well be right.
    The most unfortunate thing about " The Celebrity Trilogy" disaster is the money it's probably making for IFP.
    Hand on heart,with the exception of the retired "Harry Potter", I can't think of a brand as strong as Bond. Consequently spring boarding that brand every couple of years with a new celebrity author probably generates well above average industry sales. Of course, the dismal quality of the product should, by now, mean that the law of diminishing returns should have kicked in but such is the strength of the brand, I'm not even sure that's the case.
    Normally it is quality top management who are the custodian of the brand but unfortunately for us, with IFP it looks like they have zero real interest in the literary Bond and have no passion for quality.
    Hopefully risible reviews and poor sales will lead to a change and personally I think Higson is the perfect solution for a vintage Bond. As an adult Bond afficianado I thought they were beyond good. Personally I never pigeon holed them as uniquely for children albeit that was their core target and as @wizardOflce points out many are now of the age when they would lap up an adult Bond from their favourite author.
    In a funny way, I think Amazon reviews are probably more likely to influence IFP than our views. We are probably dismissed as a small group of fanatics - such is the arrogance of the whole affair.

    I couldn't agree more with these posts.
    Something that I find retrospectively funny is Boyd's response to the Royal Festival Hall questioner who asked if the book would be filmed. He puffed himself up and said there hadn't been discussions yet. If Eon ever read it, I think they'd pass out at the thought!
    They've just got the show well and truly on the road with "Skyfall" and they certainly won't want to sabotage it with his rubbish!
    Regarding the future, we are definitely on the same page with Higson taking over the "Vintage Bond" mantel but personally, I'd like to see a two pronged strategy with Higson releasing "Vintage Bond" in the even years and in the odd, I'd have somebody do a contemporary Bond series.
    It would allow two very significant bites of the cherry and address two audiences that whilst they overlap are also quite distinctive. For the modern Bond mantel there are numerous contenders. One who would win my vote is the fabulous Charles Cumming.

    Yes, Charles Cumming would indeed be a good choice as well as being a member of CBn Forums at one time under his own name.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited October 2013 Posts: 14,965
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Dragonpol, thanks for that list. I'll be sure to save it and check some of those out in the near future.

    My pleasure, @Creasy47. I'll always glad to introduce a Bond fan to the work of John Gardner - his Boysie Oakes and Herbie Kruger books are all well worth a read too.
  • Posts: 4,844
    Let's not forget The Secret Generations. Frankly, why hasn't somebody filmed it as a prestige TV mini-series yet, I'll never understand. I'm talking about the first volume, of course. I still reread it from time to time, so good it is.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Dragonpol wrote:

    You praising the late great John Gardner, Ice. Excuse me while I print out your post and frame it on my bedroom wall! Maybe you could sign it for me?!

    I've always been a fan of Gardners work Draggers. The difference is I acknowledge they tailed off alarmingly as John's interest/personal situation declined.

    I certainly would recommend people give them a read but personally I would only really recommend the first 6.

    From Scorpius on the character became further and further divorced from Fleming's Bond (although Gardner's Bond was never that faithful to the original) although Win, Lose or Die and The Man From Barbarossa and Death is Forever have some fun moments. The last two or three though really have the feeling of being churned out with little enthusiasm and even less inspiration just to pay his medical bills which I can't really criticise him for.

    All in all he did a good job and the difference is he concentrated on delivering solid thrillers and dropping his version of Bond into them rather than the likes of Faulkes and Boyd thinking writing a Bond movel is just spending hours agonising over brand names and food and drink rather than crafting a story.

    Was Gardner a great writer? Probably not. Will he be remembered long after Sebastian Faulkes and William Boyd (who we keep being told are great writers) are forgotten? Indubitably.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,633
    Was Gardner a great writer? Probably not. Will he be remembered long after Sebastian Faulkes and William Boyd (who we keep being told are great writers) are forgotten? Indubitably.
    If he will be remembered, then is he not at least a little great? :-?
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 2,543
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Creasy47 wrote:
    @Dragonpol, you're quite welcome. Well, my buddy and I have been talking about the Fleming Bond novels lately, and just about Bond in general, and since I refuse to pick up this SOLO trash, I plan on either getting the rest of Fleming's novels in the near future, or checking out the highly-praised Gardner. Recommend some of his best to me and I'll see what I can find.

    @Creasey47:

    Yes, give Solo a go by all means. I have still to read it, though I bought it on the day that it came out.

    On the best of John Gardner I would say the following:

    Licence Renewed
    For Special Services
    Icebreaker
    Nobody Lives Forever
    Scorpius
    Win, Lose or Die
    Brokenclaw
    Never Send Flowers
    Cold/Cold Fall


    But I think they are all good in their own way and all deserve to be read. The Man From Barbarossa is rather dense but it gets an honourable mention as its very different - sort of his TSWLM. The 1990s Gardner Bonds are all far more experimental in nature.

    I'd say his best are:

    License Renewed
    For Special Services
    Icebreaker
    Nobody Lives Forever
    No Deals, Mr Bond
    Scorpius
    Win, Lose or Die

    I've noticed that a good number of Gardner fans like myself seem to be fans of Brokenclaw. Personally, this novel just doesn't do it for me.
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