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Regards Coggins .
Wow. I was hoping that was a joke, but unfortunately, it isn't.
"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.
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.
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.
@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.
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.
It's nothing short of a disgrace if you ask this Gardnerologist.
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.
I'd very gladly spearhead such a project as the resident Gardnerologist if we could agree on what to say.
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.
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.
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, 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:
For Special Services
Nobody Lives Forever
Win, Lose or Die
Never Send Flowers
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'd say his best are:
For Special Services
Nobody Lives Forever
No Deals, Mr Bond
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.