Which Bond novel are you currently reading?

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  • edited April 2022 Posts: 624
    I finished rereading all the Flemings in December. I've since read Colonel Sun, DMC, Trigger Mortis, FAAD, Solo, and the first 6 Gardners. I am about to start Scorpius.

    None of them have really matched Fleming for me, but I am still enjoying them. Colonel Sun felt the most Fleming to me. Faulks and Horowitz are about equal. Both authors do a decent job, but kind of feel a bit fan fiction-y. Solo didn't really feel like Bond. Kind of felt like Rambo or something. Bond as a mercenary? Odd. It was ok, but I didn't care for the setting or the plot.

    Gardner is consistent so far. Settling into a nice comfy rut. They're good, but man they all end abruptly and anti climactically.

    I am proud to say I now own every single Bond book that is not a novelization. No libraries for me! I am only missing Christopher Wood's James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me and Raymond Benson's Die Another Day. I'm not in a rush to procure them, but I will when I reach the point where I'll read them next.
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 399
    Forever and a Day is the only continuation novel I've read so far and I agree it's very fan-fiction-y despite being well-written it goes down in my estimation the more I think about it. I was listening to a JB and Friends episode where Ben, I think, said that Fleming built Bond's character in dribs and drabs over the course of 14 books but the continuation novels seems hell bent on cramming every detail at once, which is especially egregious in FAAD's case being a prequel.

    That's impressive collecting, @TopGearJB007. Do you have a favourite cover out of the ones you own?
  • Yes I agree. Well written fan fiction. I am looking forward to his third though. I think I said a few months ago that I didn't like how Forever and a Day insisted on having Bond get all his preferences and tastes from a 45 year old woman.

    In a way I respect Gardner's attempts because he has his own style. He's not trying to copy Fleming. He took Bond and made it his own. His books don't feel like fan fiction. They just feel like (at the time) modern Bond books that seem to invoke Moore's films.

    My favorite cover? Hmm. I like the US penguin covers of the Flemings I own.

    71pSSuanB+L.jpg
    (Not my picture, but these are the ones I have.)

    Of those my favorite is probably Live and Let Die or Moonraker.

    I also really like the 2011 UK Swordfish 1st edition rereleases I have. Again, not my photo.

    screen-shot-2013-06-21-at-1-13-16-pm.png
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 399
    Nice, I really like the Moonraker one too. And I don't think I've ever seen the OHMSS one before that's also really good.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,487
    SOLO (2014) by William Boyd.
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    Just a couple chapters in so far. Not sure what to think yet, but going in viewing it as fan fiction. I somehow can t take these continuation novels seriously, but thought I ought to check out Boyd as well. Just Benson left for me now.
  • MI6HQMI6HQ Vauxhall Headquarters, London
    edited April 2022 Posts: 1,887
    On to Diamonds Are Forever, the first few pages was full of descriptions, it's a slow read, chapter 1: The Pipeline opens.
    When you're reading a Fleming novel, you really need a bit of patience, unlike listening to audiobooks, you really need to understand each descriptions and scenes, you really need to picture each scene in your mind, while reading them, each paragraphs.

    is it easier to listen to an audiobook?
  • Posts: 1,268
    Re-read For Special Services recently. Such a bonkers book. Not necessarily in an outlandish/fantastical way that Fleming could evoke in novels like DN, but in a 'huh?' sort of way. I'm not a fan of the Gardner continuation novels (if anything I prefer the Benson novels) and while this one is more engaging than License Renewed for me it just feels odd to read. Also the Saab... why did Gardner give Bond a bloody Saab?

    Anyway, decided to re-read Moonraker. These two books are the first time I've gone back to any Bond novel in years by the way. The descriptions of Bond's life in London and the monotony of his work are so well done. Thunderball improves on these ideas somewhat in the sense that we see Bond at his lowest/get a sense of the toll his work and habits have on his body, but Moonraker is on the whole a stronger novel. It's kind of astonishing this one's main premise has never been adapted into a film.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,700
    SOLO (2014) by William Boyd.
    R.2889f77babdf612e9bd8897cfe29b849?rik=zmi8ZoUN%2fPcSLQ&riu=http%3a%2f%2fmedia.ebook.de%2fshop%2fmagazine-pictures%2fWilliam_Boyd_rund_0.png&ehk=Fx%2bbkDswR3V%2bD8TB1mGFKcyyTmxBwCW4Qf80amNhoE0%3d&risl=&pid=ImgRaw&r=0
    Just a couple chapters in so far. Not sure what to think yet, but going in viewing it as fan fiction. I somehow can t take these continuation novels seriously, but thought I ought to check out Boyd as well. Just Benson left for me now.

    I find it to be one of the few continuation novels that is solidly constructed and well written (CS would be another). On top of that I enjoy it.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 2,969
    SOLO (2014) by William Boyd.
    R.2889f77babdf612e9bd8897cfe29b849?rik=zmi8ZoUN%2fPcSLQ&riu=http%3a%2f%2fmedia.ebook.de%2fshop%2fmagazine-pictures%2fWilliam_Boyd_rund_0.png&ehk=Fx%2bbkDswR3V%2bD8TB1mGFKcyyTmxBwCW4Qf80amNhoE0%3d&risl=&pid=ImgRaw&r=0
    Just a couple chapters in so far. Not sure what to think yet, but going in viewing it as fan fiction. I somehow can t take these continuation novels seriously, but thought I ought to check out Boyd as well. Just Benson left for me now.

    I have an extra fondness for this one because I went to see Boyd talk about the book and got a signed copy. I like the idea of Bond hitting 40 - in fact I should re-read it now I'm there myself!

    My favourite part of all the continuation novels from Faulks onwards is the introduction where the author talks about how much they love Bond and how excited they were to get the gig :)
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,487
    Better than Deaver, Faulks and Horowitz anyway.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,700
    Better than Deaver, Faulks and Horowitz anyway.

    By far.
  • edited April 2022 Posts: 2,677
    Some Fleming-related book news:

    One of the world's most extensive collections of James Bond film scripts, screenplays, manuscripts, storyboards and film treatments will be on sale at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair for a mere £500,000.

    Highlights of the collection include:

    * Wolf Mankowitz & Richard Maibaum’s earliest draft screenplay for Dr. No.

    * Roald Dahl’s manuscript first draft screenplay for You Only Live Twice.

    * The screenplay for Warhead, co-written Kevin McClory, Len Deighton, and Sean Connery.

    * Manuscript lyrics written in full by Louis Armstrong for the song "We Have All the Time in the World," signed by Armstrong and inscribed to his long-time manager Joe Glaser, “To Joe from Satch” with an additional humorous note “yea my debut song”. The lyrics written on the blank page of a printed comedy weight-loss regime.

    * Extensive material and correspondence concerning the creation of the film Thunderball.

    * A carbon copy from Ian Fleming’s office of the annex to a second draft film treatment written by Fleming entitled James Bond of the Secret Service, in which James Bond is described as “… a blunt instrument wielded by a Government Department. He is quiet, hard, ruthless, sardonic, fatalistic. Audiences will tend to dislike him… In his relationship with women he shows the same qualities as he does in his job. He likes gambling, golf and fast motor cars. He has two suits, single breasted… His guns are a Barreta (sic)… He also uses a Smith & Wesson. His car is an open Bentley…”

    More food for thought: all of this was formerly part the Schøyen Collection. And guess what else is (or was) from the same collection?

    Ian Fleming's screeenplay for Moonraker! 120 pages, dated August 7, 1956, and written for the J. Arthur Rank organization, which optioned but never got around to filming the novel. The Schøyen Collection also contains Fleming's treatments for what became Thunderball, and 111 pages of the "original storyline development" of Octopussy, involving Blofeld, the assassination of M, and Bond being framed for it by the new head of the Secret Service, a puppet of Blofeld's.

    None of these are mentioned in the article, though this doesn't mean they're not part of the sale. On the other hand, perhaps these items remain with the Schøyen Collection, if it hasn't been entirely dispersed.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,700
    I'd love to go through all of it!
  • Posts: 5,424
    Just finished 'Thunderball' (1961) Pretty much Fleming at the top of his game, great read, moves at a terrific pace, and Fleming actually makes the underwater action more exciting than the cinematic depiction! On an Easter break from work for a week, so will have time to mull over which one to read next on my morning bus ride!
  • MI6HQMI6HQ Vauxhall Headquarters, London
    edited April 2022 Posts: 1,887
    Mathis1 wrote: »
    Just finished 'Thunderball' (1961) Pretty much Fleming at the top of his game, great read, moves at a terrific pace, and Fleming actually makes the underwater action more exciting than the cinematic depiction! On an Easter break from work for a week, so will have time to mull over which one to read next on my morning bus ride!

    Great review! It's one of my favorite novels.
    Which one do you prefer?
    Films (both TB & NSNA) or the book?
  • Posts: 2,677
    Oddly, the film of TB is more true to the letter than the spirit of the book. It's an epic without any people in it, whereas the book's strength is its terrific characterizations.

    The wonderful comedy of the Shrublands sequence, where M and Bond succumb to healthy lifestyles, is completely lost in the film, which instead gives us a scene of Bond coercing a woman into bed.

    The storyline is needlessly complicated on film by the introduction of the doubles subplot.

    Fiona is a memorable film character, but filmmakers gave her all of literary Domino's strength and fire and forgot to leave anything behind for Domino, who is beautiful but bland on screen.

    Fleming's Largo was an interesting warped image of Bond--a handsome, suave, playboy adventurer, but completely amoral and without any moral compass. Film Largo was miscast--a younger actor with more vitality was required.

    The drawn-out climax lacks the tension and stakes of the book's. I once lent TB to a friend who'd never seen the film, and he told me the scene of Bond's underwater army stalking Largo's was extremely suspenseful. And in book Bond and Domino are both on their last legs during the final fight with Largo--this doesn't come across in the film, which transposes the action to the Disco Volante.

    Though I don't think it would have ever been filmed in 1965, the melancholy ending of the book--Bond falling asleep in Domino's arms just as she tells him to never leave her--is beautiful and unsettling. I prefer it the film's finale of Bond and Domino hoisted into the sky, which was probably more impressive in 1965.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 1,700
    @Revelator spot on with every point. Going by the description of the book, I imagine Christopher Lee when I read Largo. I still include the eyepatch in my head, even though it’s not in the text.
  • edited April 2022 Posts: 1,314
    Revelator wrote: »
    Oddly, the film of TB is more true to the letter than the spirit of the book. It's an epic without any people in it, whereas the book's strength is its terrific characterizations.

    The wonderful comedy of the Shrublands sequence, where M and Bond succumb to healthy lifestyles, is completely lost in the film, which instead gives us a scene of Bond coercing a woman into bed.

    The storyline is needlessly complicated on film by the introduction of the doubles subplot.

    Fiona is a memorable film character, but filmmakers gave her all of literary Domino's strength and fire and forgot to leave anything behind for Domino, who is beautiful but bland on screen.

    Fleming's Largo was an interesting warped image of Bond--a handsome, suave, playboy adventurer, but completely amoral and without any moral compass. Film Largo was miscast--a younger actor with more vitality was required.

    The drawn-out climax lacks the tension and stakes of the book's. I once lent TB to a friend who'd never seen the film, and he told me the scene of Bond's underwater army stalking Largo's was extremely suspenseful. And in book Bond and Domino are both on their last legs during the final fight with Largo--this doesn't come across in the film, which transposes the action to the Disco Volante.

    Though I don't think it would have ever been filmed in 1965, the melancholy ending of the book--Bond falling asleep in Domino's arms just as she tells him to never leave her--is beautiful and unsettling. I prefer it the film's finale of Bond and Domino hoisted into the sky, which was probably more impressive in 1965.

    From memory the re discovery of the stolen plane in the book, underwater is very eerie and atmospheric. Been a while though.
  • Posts: 5,424
    Revelator wrote: »
    Oddly, the film of TB is more true to the letter than the spirit of the book. It's an epic without any people in it, whereas the book's strength is its terrific characterizations.

    The wonderful comedy of the Shrublands sequence, where M and Bond succumb to healthy lifestyles, is completely lost in the film, which instead gives us a scene of Bond coercing a woman into bed.

    The storyline is needlessly complicated on film by the introduction of the doubles subplot.

    Fiona is a memorable film character, but filmmakers gave her all of literary Domino's strength and fire and forgot to leave anything behind for Domino, who is beautiful but bland on screen.

    Fleming's Largo was an interesting warped image of Bond--a handsome, suave, playboy adventurer, but completely amoral and without any moral compass. Film Largo was miscast--a younger actor with more vitality was required.

    The drawn-out climax lacks the tension and stakes of the book's. I once lent TB to a friend who'd never seen the film, and he told me the scene of Bond's underwater army stalking Largo's was extremely suspenseful. And in book Bond and Domino are both on their last legs during the final fight with Largo--this doesn't come across in the film, which transposes the action to the Disco Volante.

    Though I don't think it would have ever been filmed in 1965, the melancholy ending of the book--Bond falling asleep in Domino's arms just as she tells him to never leave her--is beautiful and unsettling. I prefer it the film's finale of Bond and Domino hoisted into the sky, which was probably more impressive in 1965.

    Yes, the ending is beautifully abrupt and moving!
  • Posts: 2,677
    Matt007 wrote: »
    From memory the re discovery of the stolen plane in the book, underwater is very eerie and atmospheric. Been a while though.

    You're right, I forgot to list that. In fairness to the filmmakers, in 1965 they wouldn't have been able to show realistically decayed bodies (even in FYEO the ATAC crew still looks fresh) and the tiny octopodes fleeing from the corpses would have been very difficult to film.
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Going by the description of the book, I imagine Christopher Lee when I read Largo. I still include the eyepatch in my head, even though it’s not in the text.

    Lee would have been a good choice in 1965. He would have much different chemistry with Connery than with Moore.
  • MI6HQMI6HQ Vauxhall Headquarters, London
    Posts: 1,887
    Revelator wrote: »
    Matt007 wrote: »
    From memory the re discovery of the stolen plane in the book, underwater is very eerie and atmospheric. Been a while though.

    You're right, I forgot to list that. In fairness to the filmmakers, in 1965 they wouldn't have been able to show realistically decayed bodies (even in FYEO the ATAC crew still looks fresh) and the tiny octopodes fleeing from the corpses would have been very difficult to film.
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Going by the description of the book, I imagine Christopher Lee when I read Largo. I still include the eyepatch in my head, even though it’s not in the text.

    Lee would have been a good choice in 1965. He would have much different chemistry with Connery than with Moore.

    Then you have Luciana Paluzzi as Domino.
  • edited April 2022 Posts: 2,677
    MI6HQ wrote: »
    Then you have Luciana Paluzzi as Domino.

    Yes, I think she'd have been great as Fleming's Domino. She had the "to-hell-with-you face that...would become animal in passion," along with the "poise one associates with imaginary princesses," and could certainly convey the general impression of "a wilful, high-tempered, sensual girl."

    Right afterward Fleming describes Domino as "a beautiful Arab mate who would only allow herself to be ridden by a horseman with steel thighs and velvet hands." That just might be the silliest phrase Fleming ever wrote. In my used paperback of TB someone wrote "trash!" next to it.
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Everybody needs a hobby.
    edited April 2022 Posts: 1,205
    Finally finished Forever and a Day. I do agree with the common criticism that it is too much of an Origin Story and it’s a bit naff that Bond get’s so many of his signature habits from Sixtine, but I still found it a fun read overall. Great locations. Very good characters - especially Scipio I found to be quite Flemingesque in his grotesqueness. Solid plotting and a good balance between Bond being the Hero we know and love and him making mistakes now and again, because of his inexperience.
    Especially the finale was very well done I thought. I don’t think Eon are ever going to go there, but I thought the final chapters would work really well on film.
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 399
    Well said, @ImpertinentGoon. I certainly focus in on Bond cribbing off Sixtine because the rest of the novel is really good and Sixtine is a really strong character in her own right that you didn't need all of the call-forwards, I think the only one I would keep is the martini one because at least that's doing something a little bit clever.
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Everybody needs a hobby.
    Posts: 1,205
    Well said, @ImpertinentGoon. I certainly focus in on Bond cribbing off Sixtine because the rest of the novel is really good and Sixtine is a really strong character in her own right that you didn't need all of the call-forwards, I think the only one I would keep is the martini one because at least that's doing something a little bit clever.

    It’s a good trick once, there just really isn’t much need to do it more often. That’s what happens in so many origin stories or when long-running series do flash-backs. What we thought was just natural to the character and therefore cool and start loading with meaning as fans outside the stories is picked up and suddenly overladen with meaning inside the story. So many instances of that throughout serialised storytelling.
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 399
    By Royal Command

    Higson’s final Bond novel, is the epic conclusion to a five-part saga. This went over my head in 2008 and was soon dwarfed by Quantum of Solace. This time though I read this in two sittings and I cannot stop thinking about it.

    Because this is was conceived as a five-party story consciously written with the end in mind from the start (something I think the rest of the Bond franchise would do well to replicate and to their credit is something IFP have recommenced with Horowitz and Sherwood). It means James gets to go through through a solid arc, growing more mature as the series goes on. Comparing him in this with SilverFin the contrast is stark but it’d be remiss if I didn’t say I prefer the slightly more naive boy of the first three novels, I think the midpoint Double or Die strikes the right balance between the two.

    The plot, in which James foils an assassination attempt on the King of England sounds farfetched but does make a lot of sense, the royal family having historic ties to Eton after all. Despite this a lot of intense action is gone from this entry and we end on a rather subdued note, focusing in on the characters that have been established so far. The secondary villain in SilverFin returns as the main one to up the emotional and narrative stakes and joined by Double or Die’s true villain, the laconic Colonel Irena “Babushka” Sedova.

    The entire story draws you along. Starting and ending in Kitzbühel, by the time we return there the Alpine skiing holiday feels like a distant dream. Introducing Hannes Oberhauser does well to recontextualises Charmian. It's clear why James regards Oberhauser as a ‘second father’, not only is Hannes kind and gentle but he represents normality that not even his aunt can give him. At the start, in SilverFin she is very much James’ guardian but as we see more of her off exploring the world it clear she’s not able to give him the stability he gets from Hannes.

    That said, I thought James Bond meeting a young Alan Turing in Double or Die was a little fanciful but it might’ve have been my first experience finding out about him so from an educational standpoint I still find it passable. But Bond happening to stumbling across Princesses Margaret and “Lilibet”, the future Queen in a whole other league. It is wild. Then in the next chapter we get Edward, the future King, and Wallis Simpson (along with Henry “Chips” Channon, and Viscount Lymington whom I only found out were real people by happenstance last week).

    I was worried too that because Higson had to change what he had initially written for the royals by IFP that Edward would be toned-down for child readers but thankfully not. Edward’s Nazi sympathising is on full display.

    Higson does weave this in well to the themes of the story, whether it be communism, fascism, aristocracy or the machinations of his tutor there are far bigger forces at play than young James is able to understand or deal with.

    It’s at the midpoint of the novel then that the world is turned on its axis. We learn that Merriot works for MI6 and had been the one to get James into Eton. He knew James’ Uncle Max who unlike Aunt Charmian is obviously not from Fleming. They don’t go so far as to say Andrew Bond was a spy but that he did work with them in a fashion.

    James has in effect been manipulated his whole life and while I think that’s a pretty lazy trope I can’t help but think this works for the series and after all Fleming’s vision for Bond being ‘anonymous civil servant wielded by a government department.’

    It doesn’t take away from the remarkable feats James endures and it does offer some solid explanation of how he could have all of these adventures in such a short span of time. Higson does well to root this in the historic context of post-war England.

    Unlike it’s rival and closest contemporary the Alex Rider series, Young Bond being a prequel series means it was always in the shadow of a series of a long history, we know where James is going to end up and so constructing a series around his ‘destiny’ is a savvy move. Higson mines the dramatic irony to full effect. I’m sure more die-hard Bond fans than I will baulk at this, in the same way I do a bit with Forever and a Day but where as that novel felt self-indulgent this one feels more purposeful.

    There was always a tension between the normal and the fantastical. For all James’ protests of wanting to be a ‘normal schoolboy’ he was always drawn to danger, to adventure.In some way this deepens the Bond we see in Fleming’s novels, in this way Bond’s particular brand of heroism is directly tied to his duty to his country and to the SIS, for James you cannot have one without the other. They are linked for better or worse.

    In By Royal Command we finally get to see it all come to a head as James decide what future he chooses. Torn between love and duty. And he chooses love, he runs from his future, literally, fleeing all his obligations, still retaining some of that childlike naivety. What child reading it wouldn’t wish to do the same?

    In the end it’s not really a choice at all, the metatext and text converge. We started this series in the shadow of the Great War and end it with another world war looming on the horizon, most of the boys and girls that we read about will end up having to serve in it, all of them will have to carry the consequences into their adult lives.

    This is further punctuated by the Hitler Youth chapter at the start of the novel. The boy James befriends will soon become his enemy. Lines are drawn and redrawn, allegiances shift, Bond cannot trust anyone because of it.

    There’s also the brilliant irony of James Bond, famous womaniser, having still been a dumbstruck teenager falling in love is at first hilarious then tragic to read as his heart gets broken as it always does. Destiny strikes again.

    Roan Power is easily the most complex Young Bond girl, and she needed to be not only the maid from You Only Live Twice’s obit made manifest but in a way Bond’s first true love. She describes herself as a “witch”, which is such an interesting word, loaded with meaning. This is probably a bit of reach but if we compare it the word in Casino Royale that rhymes with it then it’s a subtle but poignant reference. But she is more of a Vesper than a Tracy; enchanting yet at times unpleasant. And come the end of the novel like Vesper, ‘the witch' is dead.

    We do have Kev Walker’s beautiful artwork for the main characters and that’s for the most part what I picture when I read, except for James’ tutor Michael Merriot — especially with the voice — I find hard not to imagine Hugh Laurie, being both Etonian athletes.

    Am I being too sympathetic, blinded by nostalgia? Perhaps. Had I read these not as a child and after Fleming’s originals I might not be so kind. After all, part of Bond’s longevity and allure has been the fact that he is a silhouette, and giving a single, definitive explanation of how he got his trademark scar, his gunmetal grey Bentley and his expulsion from Eton might be too much of a peak behind the curtain. But that illumination is tantalising and as adventure stories there are every bit as dark and thrilling as the originals that spawned them.
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 399
    If I can be a little bit sneaky I’ll add Higson’s last writing for Bond, A Hard Man to Kill which is technically a short story that was part of the Young Bond reference book Danger Society but it’s a separate entity on Apple Books so I’m going to say it technically counts.

    For some reason I never read this back in 2009 when it was released, it’s nice after all these years to have something new to read even if it is only small.

    Nearly every major character is either brought back or mentioned in some way in By Royal Command except for the first Young Bond girl, Wilder Lawless. Thankfully though she returns for one last time as a sweet little bookend.

    Set between the fourth novel and final one, a hardened Foreign Legion general being extradited to France is sprung from the real-life SS Colombie on which he’s being held, James and Wilder stumble into the criminals plan and with a familiar French gendarme attempt to save the day.

    But this is unashamedly, a bit of fluffy fan-fiction, Die Hard on a cruise-ship with James Bond. Wilder ends up a little more than a damsel for James to rescue, and the cameo from Mathis is pure fan-wank. The only person who comes out better for having had this story is Charmian, who gets to hold her own against a vile man at a game of bridge. Even the general escaping is an odd note to end on, I get that he is the titular ‘hard man to kill’ but it never felt like the story came to a satisfying conclusion.

    But for what it is it’s perfectly adequate. Buoyed (if you’ll pardon the pun) by Charmian and the original Kev Walker artwork. Regardless I’ve had an awful lot of fun reading this series over the past five months, bathing in the nostalgia.

    In the line up for next month for me on the Fleming side is Goldfinger and for the non-Fleming Bond it’s worked out quite nicely the way I’ve planned it will be its sequel Trigger Mortis. So while I’m sure many of you will be getting stuck into Horowitz’s final continuation novel I’ll finally be reading his first.
  • MI6HQMI6HQ Vauxhall Headquarters, London
    edited April 2022 Posts: 1,887
    I have a question,

    I've read Diamonds Are Forever and the first pages of From Russia With Love, and Tiffany Case left him.
    I know Bond was not meant for a long lasting relationship, but some of the girls in the novels often leave him, Tiffany Case for example left him for another man, I know Ian Fleming never intended him to be that kind of man.
    But let's enter inside the fiction, some of Bond's relationship didn't worked, his relationship with Tiffany, based on the James Bond wiki:
    Fleming explains her departure therein. He explains that Bond, by his own admission, is difficult to live with in a domestic setting,

    even Vesper told him that he needs a slave and not a wife.

    - Was Bond somewhat possessive and manipulative to women when he's having a long term relationships?

    - Does he dictates them, does he abuses them?

    Maybe this was the reason why Tiffany Case left him?
    And Vesper said that to him?
  • Posts: 9,369
    Death is forever 100 pages left this falls under icebreaker territory for Gardner where it’s the classic

    “Character a is s villain wait it’s really character b no wait it’s character a”

    Cross and double cross

    The book isn’t bad but it’s a reminder why I am not a fan of Gardner I will one day read all the Gardner books and then I dunno what I will do then… but to pass the time between films when I need a new to me Bond adventure they work well enough
  • edited April 2022 Posts: 2,677
    A Bond book I would like kill to read:

    Ian Fleming’s lost James Bond screenplay reveals a very different 007: With no Moneypenny and no M, a previously unpublished script reveals the author’s original ideas for Moonraker (The Observer, April 30)

    ...In 1956, a year after the Moonraker novel was published, Fleming wrote his own 150-page film treatment with a plot that is as serious as the 1979 film is lightweight, despite Roger Moore’s charm as the fictional spy.

    Just as in the novel, Bond is portrayed as a cold-hearted assassin, but Fleming makes some changes. The head of the British secret intelligence service is not called “M”, and more closely resembles an affable 1950s city gent than the gruff character of the novels and films.

    M’s flirtatious secretary, Miss Moneypenny, is conspicuous by her absence.

    A Cockney card sharp called Tosh – a special branch officer working undercover – is one of a new cast of characters who take on the villain Hugo Drax.

    Jon Gilbert, an expert in Fleming literature, told the Observer: “This is the very first screenplay written by Fleming imagining Bond for the big screen. It is his only attempt at a film script, so it’s hugely important. It is a very Bondian scenario – a megalomaniac who wants to see the downfall of Britain.”

    But the Rank Organisation, at the time the biggest film company in the UK, failed to see its potential. The typed screenplay, still in its Rank folder, remained forgotten decades after Fleming had submitted it.

    ...The undeveloped screenplay has come to light as part of a major collection of Bond material amassed by two leading antiquarian bookshops in London, Peter Harrington and Adrian Harrington Rare Books, where Gilbert is the resident Fleming expert.

    In the screenplay, 007 and a policewoman go swimming off the coast of Kent. Gilbert said: “Bond wears light blue swimming shorts – as blue as his eyes – which would become a defining image of Bond, along with the black tuxedo, portrayed by Connery and revived by Daniel Craig. It would appear to originate here with Fleming, rather than a later screenwriter. That’s quite significant. It’s conceivable that Fleming then developed this when discussing the subsequent films with Broccoli and Saltzman.”

    Fleming had been an officer serving in British naval intelligence during the second world war and was a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist. Gilbert said that his screenplay was fascinating, but “far too descriptive”. A true scriptwriter would have concentrated on the dialogue, with minimal directions: “That’s why it’s 150 pages. Screenplays for Bond films … are usually 100 pages. But it reads very well.”

    He added that the screenplay is “much more serious” than the 1979 film, which reflects the time when it was created: “You have the threat of the cold war and serious nuclear threats. In the 1970s, the films reflected a climate that wasn’t life-threatening.”

    The screenplay had been under the radar until it surfaced at a Bonhams auction in 2015, from where it was acquired by a private collector.

    Andrew Lycett, author of the biography Ian Fleming: The Man Who Created James Bond, told the Observer: “Finding this screenplay is very exciting. Fleming was obsessed with getting his books filmed. He tried very hard to interest producers in the UK and US.

    “In 1954, he corresponded with producer Alexander Korda, who had read a proof of his second novel, Live and Let Die, and had praised it. Fleming wrote to him about his third novel – still to be written – which would be Moonraker. He said it was ‘an expansion of a film story I’ve had in my mind since the war’. This was ‘a straight thriller with particularly English but also general appeal, allowing for some wonderful film settings’. He then went to Jamaica to write the book, which came out the following spring. The point is that Fleming always conceived Moonraker as ‘a film story’. So, to find his screenplay is particularly interesting.”
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