The 'Carte Blanche' discussion thread

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  • Posts: 5,767
    Of course Guy Pierce would make a good Bond. He´s one of the finest actors around, and due to his choice of roles he´s still largely unknown, even though he must be around for at least a decade. The first film I can remember seeing him in was Memento, and he owned his role.
  • Posts: 7,653
    You forget his relationship with Kyli Minogue, his work on Neighbours and of course the brilliant "Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert" where he makes dragqueens look great.
  • edited July 2011 Posts: 2,598
    He's one of those talented, underrated actors like the fantastic Aidan Quinn. Yes, Momento is one of the many films he is great in. Nolan should cast Pierce in a major role in one of his bigger Hollywood flicks, presuming the actor would want to do it.

    Had a good time at the Deaver talk/Q & A/book signing the other day. I said that I had heard the Fleming Estate had placed some restrictions on him when writing Carte Blanche and enquired as to what these may have been. He said that he didn't know where I had heard this, stating that they hadn't put any restrictions on him. He said there was one time when after them reading the book they said "Bond would never refuse a Chablis!" This was in reference to when Bond was in Dubai with Felix in the restaurant. He wasn't going to have Bond drink because he had to work. Good on the Fleming Estate for this one! When he signed my book I told him that I thought he had written a great book (of course I didn't mention how I felt Bond lacked personality though), then I asked him about Bond's chauvinism and smoking and whether it was his decision or the Fleming Estate's to leave this out and he said it was his because it was important that Bond was liked by everyone. Personally, I don't think he needs to be liked by everyone. This wouldn't have been Fleming's aim when he created the character. Following this he shook my hand and thanked me for my thoughts. I think he wanted to get rid of me. LOL.

    It was an enjoyable evening helped along with free martinis, wine and beer. Deaver is a very nice, humorous, down to earth guy.

    R.I.P. Amy Winehouse.
  • edited July 2011 Posts: 4,622
    SPOILERS SPOILER SPOILER SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
    The whole post is a spoiler.

    =======

    Having now digested the read and let it settle I do have a few issues with the book.
    It was a good read. Deaver knows how to craft a thriller but upon reflection I am not crazy about his style.

    In The Costco Connection magazine of all places, he seems to be very pleased with himself.

    " I was very conscious of the fact that I have not written a spy book before but.....I have to say, immodestly, that I think I pulled it off pretty well."

    Ok if you do say so yourself. Actually I think he overcompensated, trying to show off his tradecraft research. It feels like one is being lectured on the spy business half the time. Maybe this is helpful for his regular readers but its not quite so necessary for those of us that have read Bond before.

    He says it was important that he not disappoint his regular readers.
    " I made sure when I was coming up with the idea for the story, and then outlining it, and then writing it, that my fans were going to enjoy the story that I told because they've come to expect a certain type of novel from me,..."

    Deaver does a lot of, "what appears to be happening, isn't what's really happening". This literary device permeates the entire book. It does get a bit tiring after a while as it never lets up.

    Overall the plot was kind of lame. The book was quite interesting in parts but by the end, so many red herrings and false flags had been dispensed with, that it wasn't terribly clear what the story was supposed to be all about.
    Felicity Willing turns out to be the big bad, which really wasn't that interesting a development.
    I would have been more entertained if he had stuck to his original lead villain who was a pretty dastardly character, and not emasculated him later in the book as the pawn of Irish killer boy, who turned out to be the pawn of the femme fatale.
    He said he read all of the Fleming books as inspiration. If so, why couldn't he have curbed his mystery thriller inclinations a little better and written something closer to a Fleming spy thriller.

    As Bounine has suggested, Bond is a little too nice. The SAPS chick throws a lot of attitude at him early on, which Bond just rolls with.

    But one really grevious fault I think, is Bond failing to dispense with the killer who killed Leiter's man in Dubai. This guy was a fully deranged killer, with Bond-ally blood on his hands, who was also determined to kill Bond because of some BS about Bond letting down his useless operative brother in the first chapter train derailment adventure.

    When the two finally clash though, Deaver wrote the section so that Bond would be interrupted by Miss law and order SAPS chick, who screams at Bond not to kill homicidal-killer boy. But our poor misunderstood Double O Agent assassin, had no intentions of killing him. No, Bond was going to take him to hospital, if only Dudley-Do-Right SAPS girl understood. Poor misunderstood Bond. He's not a really a stone killer, if only she understood. Gag.

    Reality check, Deaver. Yes Bond is a killer. Bond kills bad guys even when they are defenceless. He doesn't take them to hospital especially not after they have wasted one of his trusted allies and tried to kill him 6 different ways.

    Unless I have got this all wrong and vengeful brother wasn't the Dubai killer but was just hanging around the scene, stalking Bond. But still this bad guy was a killer. The Bond I know, would have methodically put him down, even if he finds killing distasteful. It still has to be done and Bond has been handed that responsbility.
    Forgive me. Deaver's never ending sleight of hand and twist and turns can leave one confused.

    Carte Blanche is a good read but its not quite what I want in a Bond adventure. A nastier Bond would be a step in the right direction. Less twist and turns too.
    More straightforward Bond on the job, blunt instrument, pursuing the villain, unraveling his scheme, and blowing it all to hell would be good, along with Fleming style intrigue, betrayal revenge, reflection etc.
  • Posts: 5,767
    then I asked him about Bond's chauvinism and smoking and whether it was his decision or the Fleming Estate's to leave this out and he said it was his because it was important that Bond was liked by everyone.
    He says it was important that he not disappoint his regular readers.
    " I made sure when I was coming up with the idea for the story, and then outlining it, and then writing it, that my fans were going to enjoy the story that I told because they've come to expect a certain type of novel from me,..."
    Makes me wonder who in particular he wrote that book for.

    I don´t think at all that in order to like Bond I have to like everything he does. Quite the opposite in fact. When I read Fleming, there are a lot of things about Bond I cannot identify with, yet the books ar immense fun, and often they are exactly because of those things. For instance, Bond complaining why the silly bitch couldn´t have stayed out of this men´s game always makes my day. Do I have to be a mysoginist dinosaur to think so? No way.
    It seems Deaver is afraid of British humor in order not to alienate his fans.

  • edited July 2011 Posts: 2,598
    "I don´t think at all that in order to like Bond I have to like everything he does. Quite the opposite in fact. When I read Fleming, there are a lot of things about Bond I cannot identify with, yet the books ar immense fun, and often they are exactly because of those things. For instance, Bond complaining why the silly bitch couldn´t have stayed out of this men´s game always makes my day. Do I have to be a mysoginist dinosaur to think so? No way."

    Agreed. I am the same.

    We need someone more like Christopher Wood. He doesn't even like Fleming's Bond. He prefers Moore’s interpretation but he still gave us a Bond who is very reminiscent of the original character. The same with Pearson. This was in the 70's but still... I had suspected Deaver had wanted Bond to be liked by everyone as I’m sure many did. We don't need some sensitive new age guy. It's boring. It's bland. He doesn't have to be as chauvinistic as he was in the 50's but he can still have a hint of it as I always felt this was a character trait he had more of than the average man at this time. Even if he is no longer chauvinistic I can still live with this as long as there's no reference to him waxing lyrical about how woman are number one. What his personality is missing which I really hope to see a return of is his cynicism, slight snobbery, coldness, romanticism and aside for the xenophobia everything else I haven't thought of! A good Bond yarn (I bought another of his novels for my parents for Christmas and had him write their name on it instead of mine) but he fell way short with the Bond character. It’s disappointing because I have pretty much given up on the films but the literature is my passion. This is where my hope is still strong. If Deaver just chose to only exercise A LITTLE restraint with Bond's REAL personality I'd love him to return to write another! Unfortunately I don't think this will be the case.

  • Posts: 4,622
    I'm happy to keep Deaver on, simply because I want Bond books to read on a regular basis like in the Gardner/Benson years (1981-2002).
    We do need Deaver to make Bond not quite so "nice" Give us a little more of the Fleming Bond persona. Otherwise I can endure Deaver's style. He gets the job done, so there is that.
    It seems IFP is taking a wait and see approach as far as who will write the next book. It looks like they've scrapped the whole Project X approach of rotating authors, as the next author should have his book near finished by now to get it out in a timely fashion, however it doesn't appear that anything at all is in the works, so we seem to be looking at another long inbetween period.
    Meantime based on Deaver's comments at the Australian book launch, it seems he is ready willing and able to get going on a follow-up Bond book.
    So lets get cracking here. We need IFP to tell him to get to work. Let's keep this Bond-book train rolling and put and end to the stop and start approach we've endured over the last 9 years.
  • edited July 2011 Posts: 2,598
    Scrapped Project X? Did Deaver say this? I am all for the idea of having different authors especially since Deaver's Bond highly disappoints me. As I have said I really enjoyed CB. The only thing I didn't like about it is how Deaver portrayed Bond himself (a major aspect) and the slight lack of description. If it is just going to be Deaver writing these books then we certainly won't be getting a Bond book per year that's for sure. He has two more non Bond books to write first.

    He compares writing to a business. In his talk he compared it to making toothpaste for Procter and Gamble. You can't make liver flavoured toothpaste he said as people won't like it. You have to make mint and peppermint flavoured toothpaste. The author claims this principle applies equally to writing and that you have to write what people want to read.

    I’m not sure which I prefer, Benson’s tacky fan fiction where we get a Bond more like Fleming’s original conception or Deaver’s well written book that for me is good in most areas except for what is so important – Bond himself.
  • Posts: 4,622
    As for Project X scrapped. That may just be semantics. IFP may indeed commission a new author for the next book, but IFP didn't promote the Project X concept in the marketing of CB. It seems they are weighing their options regarding the next book.
    Thus I think Project X , has been scrapped in the sense that IFP does not appear to be planning on methodically rotating a cast of authors. If not, whose the next author then? Further confusing things is that Deaver is openly campaigning to write the next book, so it doesn't appear that IFP has any plan, while Deaver is under the impression that he could be writing the next book, maybe.
    Just give us another book! I don't care who writes it. Deaver's not my first choice obviously, but better him than another long wait. Grrrr!
  • Posts: 2,598
    Oh, I'd still prefer Bond books to no Bond books. It would be nice if Deaver would make Bond cynical, critical and let us in on his thought process more though. :)

    I would prefer to see another author write the next one but whether this actually happens is another matter entirely.
  • Posts: 4,622
    Oh, I'd still prefer Bond books to no Bond books. It would be nice if Deaver would make Bond cynical, critical and let us in on his thought process more though. :)
    Yes if Deaver could be a little less careful with the Bond persona, that would be far more interesting, than the rather milquetoast safe approach he took with CB.
    God I miss Gardner cranking out a book a year and the regular screenplay adaptations.
  • Posts: 2,598
    Yeah same. It would be fantastic if we could go back to that!
  • Posts: 1,505
    About halfway through and not impressed. It's okay, but not thrilling, not a page turner. Primarily, I miss Bond's history with all the great villains of the past. For example, was there a Goldfinger? Will there yet be a Goldfinger? Even Fleming occasionally made reference to an earlier adventure. From a reading point of view, it doesn't bother me that the Bond of 1953 could not be the same Bond of 2011. Keep Bond perpetually in his thirties and keep the history of his adventures. Better to say he's a verteran of the war instead of a specific war.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    I loved CB and thought the details of MI6/England/and other agencies and wars was brilliant. I always wanted to continue on, and the short span of time the plot takes place in was a great addition and made sense for what Deaver had to give. It will be a big re-read of mine in the future.
  • Posts: 4,622

    I miss Bond's history with all the great villains of the past. For example, was there a Goldfinger? Will there yet be a Goldfinger? Even Fleming occasionally made reference to an earlier adventure. From a reading point of view, it doesn't bother me that the Bond of 1953 could not be the same Bond of 2011. Keep Bond perpetually in his thirties and keep the history of his adventures.
    This is a little jarring - that Bond suddenly has no history with the classic adventures any more. It's the first time we've seen this in the Bond lit.
    Bond with no history with No or GF or Spectre. It does seem a little off. Like who is this guy then?
    Instead of copying the Craig/Bond movie re-boot idea, where Bond's slate is also wiped clean, Deaver could have allowed for the history but just stayed away from the when it all happened. This would be literary sleight of hand and might require that Bond be established as say 37ish - old enough to have some history that could be casually referenced now and again, but not very often - as its not really necessary.
    No biggie really, but it is a little jarring that this Bond has no history with the classic stories.
    Gardner and Benson managed to keep the history and occasionally referenced it, but just stayed away from the "when" and we played along, although Benson did go way overboard, bringing characters like Draco and Tanaka from the 60's into the present.
    That craziness might have been what got him canned by IPF. At least it sure seems they cut him off early.
  • Posts: 5,767

    I miss Bond's history with all the great villains of the past. For example, was there a Goldfinger? Will there yet be a Goldfinger? Even Fleming occasionally made reference to an earlier adventure. From a reading point of view, it doesn't bother me that the Bond of 1953 could not be the same Bond of 2011. Keep Bond perpetually in his thirties and keep the history of his adventures.
    This is a little jarring - that Bond suddenly has no history with the classic adventures any more. It's the first time we've seen this in the Bond lit.
    Bond with no history with No or GF or Spectre. It does seem a little off. Like who is this guy then?
    Instead of copying the Craig/Bond movie re-boot idea, where Bond's slate is also wiped clean, Deaver could have allowed for the history but just stayed away from the when it all happened. This would be literary sleight of hand and might require that Bond be established as say 37ish - old enough to have some history that could be casually referenced now and again, but not very often - as its not really necessary.
    No biggie really, but it is a little jarring that this Bond has no history with the classic stories.
    Gardner and Benson managed to keep the history and occasionally referenced it, but just stayed away from the "when" and we played along, although Benson did go way overboard, bringing characters like Draco and Tanaka from the 60's into the present.
    That craziness might have been what got him canned by IPF. At least it sure seems they cut him off early.
    Fleming didn´t make references to other adventures in many novels.
  • Posts: 2,598
    "That craziness might have been what got him canned by IPF. At least it sure seems they cut him off early."

    Yeah, Benson went way overboard. I heard that Benson quit but I suppose IFP may have been keen on getting rid of him too.

    I seem to constantly have problems trying to post on these new threads.
  • Posts: 1,505
    Case in point, did Leiter lose an arm and leg or will he? Or was that a Leiter in an alternate universe. Or Auntie Em, I had the wierdest dream about Felix. If this is the approach, why mention Bond's scars? If one reads all the books as a continuing series, a lot of Deaver's additions don't make sense.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    Posts: 13,350
    I heard that Benson quit but I suppose IFP may have been keen on getting rid of him too.
    Here's the announcement from 2003: http://www.mi6-hq.com/sections/articles/literature_benson_era_ends.php3
    I seem to constantly have problems trying to post on these new threads.
    Care to elaborate? We may be able to help.
  • edited August 2011 Posts: 2,598
    Thanks. Seems like it was a mutual decision. I do actually remember reading that now many years ago.

    When I hit 'post comment' it doesn't always work. It seems to process for ages sometimes and nothing happens. Sometimes I have to go out and come back in. I don't think it's the computer because it has happened on a laptop and PC. It happens after I have edited too.

    Out of curisosity, does anyone know what has happened to CBn? Is there site down at the moment? If so, is it permanent or temporary?
  • edited August 2011 Posts: 660
    Thanks. Seems like it was a mutual decision. I do actually remember reading that now many years ago.

    When I hit 'post comment' it doesn't always work. It seems to process for ages sometimes and nothing happens. Sometimes I have to go out and come back in. I don't think it's the computer because it has happened on a laptop and PC. It happens after I have edited too.

    Out of curisosity, does anyone know what has happened to CBn? Is there site down at the moment? If so, is it permanent or temporary?
    My guess is CBn is down and I hope it comes back on Monday It is mostly likely temporary probably site maintenance..It already happen a couple of times
  • Posts: 4,622
    I think the subtext of the Benson press release is that he was terminated. Naturally its all dressed up as amicable but it doesn't seem IFP was interested in pursuing any more Benson books. Basically if they wanted to keep him, I'm sure they could have found a way. Money usually works. I bet his books weren't selling very well.
  • Posts: 10
    The continuations as a whole seemingly didn't sell in the millions at the time. I doubt IFP wanted to get rid of Benson specifically, they just felt it wasn't worth the trouble. They took a break, looked at their options and started planning for Fleming's 100th. In the meantime the children's/young adult market took off and they reacted fast, with a decent success. Other projects unfortunately didn't all as well as Young Bond.

    Since then IFP took their time with new projects, that's why I doubt we'll see a new adult Bond book anytime soon, let alone an annual follow up.
  • edited August 2011 Posts: 2,598
    I'm starting to lose faith in the adult Bond books. I really, really hope Higson returns to write a series of books based on Bond's adventures in WW2 (20 something Bond). If so, I wonder if he'll have Bond smoke.

    For me, the cinematic Bond and the adult literary Bond pretty much died at the onset of the 1990's. I say "pretty much" because Casino Royale Reboot is a good film and there were good bits in the last few lacklustre Gardner novels and Benson books. Will he be resurrected? I'm just not sure. At the moment I actually like the contemporary cinematic Bond (Craig's Bond) more than the contemporary literary Bond (Deaver's Bond). As I said though, I'm all for Deaver writing another if he's the only author available or/and who IFP want. For me, better a Bond book than no Bond book. There are other Flemingsque elements in his novel...just not Bond himself. Plus, he writes a good yarn.

    Personally, I can't understand why some people say they see Craig's Bond in Deaver's Bond. Craig's portrayal of the character is closer to Fleming's original creation than Deaver's. The latter is an overly nice, overly politically correct, sensitive new age guy who lacks the coldness of his former self along with a number of other character traits. I almost see Ben Affleck. God forbid!
  • Posts: 4,622
    The continuations as a whole seemingly didn't sell in the millions at the time. I doubt IFP wanted to get rid of Benson specifically, they just felt it wasn't worth the trouble.
    Exactly, it does appear they decided to let him go. Eon it seems did much the same thing with Dalton when it was decision time and with Brosnan too.
    Firings are generally couched in diplomatic and cordial language unless there is real animosity between the parties but they all still translate into the same thing - the employer no longer wanting the services of the employee or contracted help.

  • Posts: 10
    One has to bear in mind there is not such a lot of money to be made with books alone today. There are a few big names, selling millions and earning them. But for each Stephen King, Terry Pratchett or Neal Stephenson there are thousands who just get by. Most writers cannot live by writing
    alone, and if they do they usually don't get to be millionaires.

    The big money in books these days is in the film rights, and here Bond has little chance to see a book adapted again. I guess IFP knows that and doesn't really count on it happening again.

    Lit Bond's future lies in the odd book every few years, written by some reasonably well-known name with a fanbase of his/her own. Few enough to make it an event, albeit perhaps a small one. Every three or four years, I'd think, with little continuity between the entries beyond a few basics. Carte Blanche is only a few weeks back and I already have forgotten most of it. At the moment I doubt the next one, whenever that will come and whoever will pen it, will pick up much of it beyond the basic premise.

    With no loose ties and no longer story arcs they could even switch back to a period piece every once in a while, though the sixties mania already seems a bit passé to me, truth be told.

    At any rate I doubt IFP will go back to cheapen their property by annual releases again. All the more so, as the note in Carte Blanche indicates it's no longer their property but EON's. Could well be EON decides these days, how many Bond novels are published in a given time.


  • Posts: 4,622

    Lit Bond's future lies in the odd book every few years, written by some reasonably well-known name with a fanbase of his/her own.
    You may be on to something. That may very well be the better business or marketing model. That's certainly what we've seen with the last two books - two well known authors spaced out, 3 years apart.

    At any rate I doubt IFP will go back to cheapen their property by annual releases again. All the more so, as the note in Carte Blanche indicates it's no longer their property but EON's. Could well be EON decides these days, how many Bond novels are published in a given time.
    I guess you are referring to the notation in CB, that "James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC used under license by IFP Ltd."
    This is interesting as that appears to be a new development. That notation does not appear in Faulks' DMC. Not sure what that means. Does Danjaq indeed control publication or does the copyright holder (IFP) still have latitude as to when they publish, even if IFP has surrendered trademarks to Danjaq, which is the company that Cubby and Salts formed way back when.




  • Posts: 10
    It's assumed IFP probably sold the entire character of Bond to Eon/Danjaq and just reserved their right to publish original Bond stories. That's all IFP was ever going to do anyway, so why bother?

    Besides, once the copyright for the literary character runs out it's much easier to retain a firm hold onto the character if you have a running series of films going with it rather than an obscure series of novels most of which never saw much public attention after 1987 or so. IFP's case to actually use the character would be a rather weak one with the sporadic nature of their recent releases. EON/Danjaq's on the other hand is an obvious one, with films appearing on a relatively regular basis and the property used in the time between films by numerous games and home entertainment releases. Other possible applications are imaginable, exhibitions, theme parks, multi-player interactive entertainment, so forth. IFP never was going to broaden their business venture in that direction, that's several leagues above their experience and aspiration.

    EON, being the seasoned Hollywood player, is just the right address for this and they can present their case much more convincing than IFP ever could, should it become necessary. So getting the Bond property under one single roof is just the logic consequence and in the end profitable for both sides. IFP need not defend their treasure against those wanting a piece of the cake in the future. And EON/Danjaq can
    point at a prospering healthy business venture that has acquried the property as a whole and permanently uses it.

    It's everbody's guess if EON has imposed a limit to the number of releases IFP can do in a given time, but it would just seem to be a wise move. Maybe their influence goes even further, giving them a say in the writers or the plots or perhaps the final product, who knows? But overall I think a veto against a book at the time a film is released and a minimum two-year-cycle should be enough for their part, leaving IFP enough face and freedom to do what they want in the meantime.

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,962
    Right, after some complaints here, I'll complain more. It's about the book, so, SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

    Right, i can only agree with Timmer and Bounine about the lack of Bond's persona. He isn't the clear-cut single minded man we know, but he's weaker. Bond would not have hesitated to kill the Serbian agent, as he was, and still would be, a thread.
    What I found even more appalling tough, was M. He isn't the old, silent admiral we all knew, but a flabby mouthed manager who tells Bond far too much. Bond, on his accord, doesn't respect the man as Fleming's Bond did, even complimenting him on a thought about the dismantled Gehenna project. Bond wouldn't do that, and M would only hint about not terminating Gehenna immediately. M wouldn't complain directly about a security meeting, he'd only hint he wasn't keen on it.

    Then there's our Irish villain. Who does he love now? Felicity, or Hydth? Or however you'd spell his name.

    And, I too, got very bored about the ' oh no, he's in trouble, but no, he's anticipated that'. A trick played too many times. So, Bond actually never gets in trouble, does he? No, he's foreseen it all. Even worse, so had I. Felicity is so obviously the bad girl, there was no excitement in the trap. Nope, 'couse we learned allready that Bond anticipates everything, time and time again.

    The SAPS officer isn't as tough as you'd expect, and a SAPS officer who'd been in loads of trouble, but never killed? How likely is that? It's South Africa, isn't it?

    As this was my second non-Fleming novel, it .came as a pleasant surprise after TDMC. But then again, it couldn't have gotten lower. So it's better, but that doesn't make it good. It's never really exciting, and never really Bond. Pity

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