Controversial opinions about the books

MrBondMrBond Station S
edited November 2013 in Literary 007 Posts: 2,026
I've searched around to see if there's any thread about this topic that already exists. But i haven't found one, but if there is one. Feel free to close this.

So, what's your controversial opinion about the books?

The first i can pick from the top of my head is:

I find YOLT very overrated!
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Comments

  • Posts: 6,740
    I find YOLT a fitting end of the SPECTRE/Blofeld trilogy.

    I find TSWLM a good book with Fleming looking for another way to express himself and while doing that he gives us a view on James Bond from a non-Intelligence based person who sees a dangerous Englishman doing a job of saving people.
    A look on 007 from the outside, and a nice noir tale on the side.

    I would not mind seeing this story incorperated in a PTS for DC.
  • Posts: 11,290
    I find TSWLM very good, albeit atypical for a Bond novel.
  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,026
    I adore the beginning of YOLT with Bond as a melancholic wreck and of course i find the duel between Bond and Blofeld in the end as very epic and emotional. But the content in the middle is just quite dull, although the political conversations between Bond and Tanaka is very intriguing.
  • I like the idea of TSWLM (a Bond adventure from the perspective of a normal person who gets caught up in it), much more than I enjoyed reading it. Could see it working as a PTS though.

    Anyway here's mine, posted it in the other controversial opinions thread but nobody replied: Goldfinger is one of the best Bond novels. The story is a bit stupid, and the way Fleming writes about lesbians and Koreans cringe worthy to say the least but GF is a great villain, Oddjob is a brilliant henchman (him being given the cat to eat is proper creepy), Bond is at his most human (really fleshed out well) and just like all the Fleming books it's so descriptive that you can't stop reading it (I'm normally a slow reader but it didn't take me long to finish any of the Bond books).

    I also like how it ties into CR and DAF. Nice bit of continuity. Plus, Bond is in an Aston for the first time. There's a lot to like there imo.
  • I consider YOLT one of the greats. It is to the books what DAF is to the films, namely the dark comedy of the oeuvre, albeit with an extremely effective tragedy as the coda.

    I agree that Spy is quite good. Indeed, from a purely literary standpoint, it is some of Fleming's finest work. He's really at the height of his powers here.

    I regard GF as quite possibly Fleming's worst. When dealing with Bond, one must suspend belief, but with GF, it's simply a bridge too far (much like DAD in the filmic oeuvre). The dialogue Fleming puts in the American gangsters' mouths is also quite farcical.
  • Posts: 11,290
    I will go actually further than my previous post on this thread: TSWLM is great crime fiction and the most underrated of the novels.
  • Posts: 11,290
    I agree that Spy is quite good. Indeed, from a purely literary standpoint, it is some of Fleming's finest work. He's really at the height of his powers here.

    Indeed. And he makes such a believable, lead female character and narrator.
  • Ludovico wrote:
    I agree that Spy is quite good. Indeed, from a purely literary standpoint, it is some of Fleming's finest work. He's really at the height of his powers here.

    Indeed. And he makes such a believable, lead female character and narrator.

    Yes. And her life story is literally painful to read at times. To say Viv is unlucky at love is an understatement!

  • Lots of sloppy plotting abounds in the Fleming novels. I recently read OHMSS and had to laugh at Blofeld straight up asking "Sir Hilary" if he was 007, then letting him go back to his room to hatch an escape plan.

    Not a terribly controversial opinion in decades past - Amis catalogued all sorts of howlers like this - but these days people have forgotten that Fleming's skill wasn't in his plotting (which was Silva-level most of the time), but in his ability to paper over these deficiencies.
  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,026
    Siberia wrote:
    Lots of sloppy plotting abounds in the Fleming novels. I recently read OHMSS and had to laugh at Blofeld straight up asking "Sir Hilary" if he was 007, then letting him go back to his room to hatch an escape plan.

    Not a terribly controversial opinion in decades past - Amis catalogued all sorts of howlers like this - but these days people have forgotten that Fleming's skill wasn't in his plotting (which was Silva-level most of the time), but in his ability to paper over these deficiencies.

    That's quite controversial. Especially what you mention from OHMSS.

    Blofeld think's that Bond is Sir Hilary throughout the time when Bond is at Piz Gloria. Although Bond knows that it is just a matter of time before Blofeld starts to suspect something, hence why Bond leaves.
    Blofeld asks Bond about his knowledge about 007 just because Campbell accused Bond for being 007.

    That isn't dumb, it was cleverly written.
  • Not really. Blofeld knows who Bray is at that point and this is verified when Bond overhears the plot to kill him on the intercom. And yet Blofeld fails to put a single guard outside Bond's room when he knows he's dealing with one of the world's deadliest killers, and the man who foiled his last plot.

    It's just a contrivance to get Bond out of Piz Gloria and onto the slopes.

    (Oh and fix your security system, genius. Even your non-superspy patients can get out of their rooms!)
  • StirredNotShakenStirredNotShaken I'm gonna use this to clarify that Dalton is tied with Craig
    Posts: 1,631
    TMWTGG is an excellent book and one of the best in the series. That has to be controversial, even on here.
  • Posts: 6,740
    TMWTGG is an excellent book and one of the best in the series. That has to be controversial, even on here.

    Actually I would agree with Bond returning all damaged and attempting a hit on his boss, which I consider a brilliant idea.
    Bond is then send out to redeem himself, not unlike YOLT with a friend from the past helping him and refinding his old self and certainties. The last paragraph is about his independance and how he will guard it in the future in order to save him from grief shows how James Bond has become full circle since the 2nd novel of the SPECTRE/Blofeld trilogy.
  • Siberia wrote:
    Lots of sloppy plotting abounds in the Fleming novels. I recently read OHMSS and had to laugh at Blofeld straight up asking "Sir Hilary" if he was 007, then letting him go back to his room to hatch an escape plan.

    Not a terribly controversial opinion in decades past - Amis catalogued all sorts of howlers like this - but these days people have forgotten that Fleming's skill wasn't in his plotting (which was Silva-level most of the time), but in his ability to paper over these deficiencies.

    Hardly a howler. Merely a mistake by Blofeld, not by Fleming.

  • Siberia wrote:
    Not really. Blofeld knows who Bray is at that point and this is verified when Bond overhears the plot to kill him on the intercom. And yet Blofeld fails to put a single guard outside Bond's room when he knows he's dealing with one of the world's deadliest killers, and the man who foiled his last plot.

    It's just a contrivance to get Bond out of Piz Gloria and onto the slopes.

    (Oh and fix your security system, genius. Even your non-superspy patients can get out of their rooms!)

    We don't know precisely when Blofeld bowls Bray out as Bond. Fleming/Bond makes clear that it all depends upon how long Campbell can hold out and keep his wits about him. It is entirely possible, even likely that Blofeld and his goons only broke Campbell moments before Bond overhears the fatwa on the intercom.

  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,026
    Siberia wrote:
    Not really. Blofeld knows who Bray is at that point and this is verified when Bond overhears the plot to kill him on the intercom. And yet Blofeld fails to put a single guard outside Bond's room when he knows he's dealing with one of the world's deadliest killers, and the man who foiled his last plot.

    It's just a contrivance to get Bond out of Piz Gloria and onto the slopes.

    (Oh and fix your security system, genius. Even your non-superspy patients can get out of their rooms!)

    Blofeld is too much of an egocentric man to realize that he has been infiltrated. It isn't sloppy writing.
  • MrBond wrote:
    Blofeld is too much of an egocentric man to realize that he has been infiltrated. It isn't sloppy writing.
    Blofeld does realize that he's been infiltrated; re-read the beginning of the escape sequence in Piz Gloria.
    We don't know precisely when Blofeld bowls Bray out as Bond. Fleming/Bond makes clear that it all depends upon how long Campbell can hold out and keep his wits about him. It is entirely possible, even likely that Blofeld and his goons only broke Campbell moments before Bond overhears the fatwa on the intercom.
    While what you say is factually accurate, it's irrelevant. Blofeld suspects Bray of being Bond enough to sweat Campbell. What's more, Blofeld knows that if Bray is Bond, then Bond knows that Blofeld holds this suspicion - a very dangerous prospect for Blofeld (and one that leads to his undoing). Bond is aware of this fact and Blofeld is aware of this fact, ergo...Bray is sent back to his room unguarded? It boggles.

    No, again, it's a dramatic contrivance used to bring about an action sequence.
  • edited November 2013 Posts: 2,469
    Siberia wrote:
    MrBond wrote:
    Blofeld is too much of an egocentric man to realize that he has been infiltrated. It isn't sloppy writing.
    Blofeld does realize that he's been infiltrated; re-read the beginning of the escape sequence in Piz Gloria.
    We don't know precisely when Blofeld bowls Bray out as Bond. Fleming/Bond makes clear that it all depends upon how long Campbell can hold out and keep his wits about him. It is entirely possible, even likely that Blofeld and his goons only broke Campbell moments before Bond overhears the fatwa on the intercom.
    While what you say is factually accurate, it's irrelevant. Blofeld suspects Bray of being Bond enough to sweat Campbell. What's more, Blofeld knows that if Bray is Bond, then Bond knows that Blofeld holds this suspicion - a very dangerous prospect for Blofeld (and one that leads to his undoing). Bond is aware of this fact and Blofeld is aware of this fact, ergo...Bray is sent back to his room unguarded? It boggles.

    No, again, it's a dramatic contrivance used to bring about an action sequence.

    But Bond/Fleming make clear again and again that Blofeld's snobbery is an unreconstructed mania for him. So much so that it becomes a blind spot. Blofeld so desperately wants to be ennobled that he is willing to risk yet another of his grandiose enterprises, and yes, even his own life in order to attain recognition. Highly intelligent people, even geniuses, do dumb things when motivated by primal passions.

  • But Bond/Fleming make clear again and again that Blofeld's snobbery is an unreconstructed mania for him. So much so that it becomes a blind spot. Blofeld so desperately wants to be ennobled that he is willing to risk yet another of his grandiose enterprises, and yes, even his own life in order to attain recognition. Highly intelligent people, even geniuses, do dumb things when motivated by primal passions.
    I appreciate the spirited defence of Fleming, but I'm afraid this is hand-waving.

    Blofeld is fearful enough to torture a man to death in order to protect his enterprise, but fails to isolate the very threat he fears? There's no blind spot (which you use in the sense of motivations obscuring realizations - something I agree is la folie of Fleming's villains), it's a problem of motivations being unconnected with actions.
  • Posts: 1,817
    Like many of you stated before, I also liked TSWLM. I started reading it knowing it wasn't a typical Bond novel, so I try to read it as a non-Bond book. And it was wonderful when suddenly the character of James Bond appears!
    The story of Vivienne is interesting as she is a depressive and wounded person (although there is much misogyny in the text). It reminded me of an Italian novel I read many years ago by Cesare Pavese (The beautiful summer).
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 2,865
    Controversial: it feels like Fleming devoted more effort the titles of FYEO and FAVTAK than he did on the stories themselves.
  • Posts: 11,290
    Not sure if it is a controversial opinion, but Fleming was in many ways a XIXth century writer.
  • Posts: 6,740
    Ludovico wrote:
    Not sure if it is a controversial opinion, but Fleming was in many ways a XIXth century writer.

    What exactly do you mean by that?
  • Posts: 11,290
    His style, the way he favoured long descriptions, his portraits of the villains, their origins and nature.
  • Posts: 6,740
    Ludovico wrote:
    His style, the way he favoured long descriptions, his portraits of the villains, their origins and nature.

    I do not see that as a XIXth writer percee, it is more a style that is still used these days.
  • Siberia wrote:
    But Bond/Fleming make clear again and again that Blofeld's snobbery is an unreconstructed mania for him. So much so that it becomes a blind spot. Blofeld so desperately wants to be ennobled that he is willing to risk yet another of his grandiose enterprises, and yes, even his own life in order to attain recognition. Highly intelligent people, even geniuses, do dumb things when motivated by primal passions.
    I appreciate the spirited defence of Fleming, but I'm afraid this is hand-waving.

    Blofeld is fearful enough to torture a man to death in order to protect his enterprise, but fails to isolate the very threat he fears? There's no blind spot (which you use in the sense of motivations obscuring realizations - something I agree is la folie of Fleming's villains), it's a problem of motivations being unconnected with actions.

    But Blofeld does isolate the threat. The only thing that prevents Blofeld from eradicating the threat is the happenstance of Bond overhearing the general order to "arrest" and detain Bond.

  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    TMWTGG is an excellent book and one of the best in the series. That has to be controversial, even on here.

    The last chapter I consider brilliant. The book as a whole is wanting but still enjoyable.
  • StirredNotShakenStirredNotShaken I'm gonna use this to clarify that Dalton is tied with Craig
    Posts: 1,631
    007InVT wrote:
    TMWTGG is an excellent book and one of the best in the series. That has to be controversial, even on here.

    The last chapter I consider brilliant. The book as a whole is wanting but still enjoyable.

    The entire beginning right up to Bond being restrained by Tanner after the assassination attempt is my favourite sequence in the entire series of books.
  • SaintMark wrote:
    Ludovico wrote:
    His style, the way he favoured long descriptions, his portraits of the villains, their origins and nature.

    I do not see that as a XIXth writer percee, it is more a style that is still used these days.

    By whom? I know of no author--particularly of modern vintage--who goes into such exquisite detail describing the human face and physiognomy. Fleming is unparalleled in this area, IMO.

  • 007InVT wrote:
    TMWTGG is an excellent book and one of the best in the series. That has to be controversial, even on here.

    The last chapter I consider brilliant. The book as a whole is wanting but still enjoyable.

    The entire beginning right up to Bond being restrained by Tanner after the assassination attempt is my favourite sequence in the entire series of books.

    Gun is very derivative--an ill and aging Fleming rushed out one final Bond and had to borrow from his previous work to do so--but still outstrips the best work by the vast majority of thriller writers.

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