Which Bond novel are you currently reading?

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  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    edited April 2022 Posts: 2,161
    I would give quite a bit to read that as well. If only it had been filmed (back then, with the style and reality of the time and setting).
  • edited May 2022 Posts: 6,622
    Just finished 'Thunderball' (1961)', took me longer than I expected. I recall not enjoying it that much last time I read it, but this time I did. Some great descriptive passages, and Fleming does a good lead up to the final action! Though I love Claudine Augers Domino from the film, Fleming makes her more appealing here! Next up, going back a bit 'Diamonds Are Forever (1956)'
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 2,161
    A bit of Domino’s more biting personality traits from the novel were transferred to Volpe for the film.
  • Posts: 9,669
    And at page 241 Gardner is off the rails
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,623
    Risico007 wrote: »
    And at page 241 Gardner is off the rails

    Is that Death is Forever then?
  • edited May 2022 Posts: 624
    I am about to start Scorpius. ...

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

    Busy month! I'm starting to slow down. I have a lot of stuff going on, but I finally finished Scorpius. Probably the first Gardner I would say I didn't care for at all. It had its moments.

    I'm am going to push on with Gardner in my quest to read every Bond book though. I don't know if I will immediately start Win, Lose or Die in the next couple days, or wait for With a Mind to Kill, then go back to Gardner.

  • Posts: 6,622
    DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1956)
    Dont recall much about this from past readings, but this was an entertaining read this time around! Yes, the main villains The Spang brothers are not that memorable (can understand why they didnt use them for the film!) but its a diverting thriller, and Fleming seems to be enjoying himself, with solid descriptive passages, and I like the way he doesn't show Wint and Kidds football boot assault on Bond, and leaves it to your imagination. Tiffany is nicely sketched too, and its interesting how the filmmakers used the mud bath scene from the novel, for the movies pts!
    Up next, GOLDFINGER!
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited May 2022 Posts: 3,371
    Mathis1 wrote: »
    DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1956)
    Dont recall much about this from past readings, but this was an entertaining read this time around! Yes, the main villains The Spang brothers are not that memorable (can understand why they didnt use them for the film!) but its a diverting thriller, and Fleming seems to be enjoying himself, with solid descriptive passages, and I like the way he doesn't show Wint and Kidds football boot assault on Bond, and leaves it to your imagination. Tiffany is nicely sketched too, and its interesting how the filmmakers used the mud bath scene from the novel, for the movies pts!
    Up next, GOLDFINGER!

    I'm glad that you liked it.
    It's underrated, I still take it over the film, what they've done to Tiffany Case in the film was unforgivable and the film itself felt like a parody than a Bond Film.
    As much as the Spang brothers are weak, I still want to see them appear in the films, maybe improve them a bit, they've done that to Goldfinger by improving Goldfinger's plot from the novel while still keeping the novel intact or to Tracy by improving her character form the novel by giving her much more to do, and also making her a tough character, they can do it to the Spangs too.
    Or maybe have them as the villain's henchmen like wint and kidd or the knife throwing twins.

  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    edited May 2022 Posts: 2,161
    Over the course of my life (I first picked it up when I was 12 or 13, I'd guess) this was probably my 6th or 7th read of COLONEL SUN, and I enjoyed it more than ever before. The finale was particularly thrilling this time around.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson Moderator
    Posts: 2,161
    I still hope to get a fairly straight cinematic adaptation of COLONEL SUN someday (actually, my dream would be to see faithful, as much as the '60s Bond films were faithful, versions of DAF, MR, YOLT, TMWTGG & CS, with a two year release schedule), but I fear that the more we get these nuggets, the less likely that it will come to pass.

    Deep into the end credits of SP, the estate of Kingsley Amis is thanked. Those who were familiar with his CS had already picked up the large pieces of dialogue (transferred from Colonel Sun to Blofeld) inserted into the torture scene. No pretense there, it came right from the book.

    These two instances of EON seeming to lift material from Amis were not a coincidence either: Bond receiving the Order of Lenin in OP (almost, in both, it could not be for political or security reasons), and the character of Colonel Tan-Sun Moon in DAD, who has been acknowledged as an homage to CS's Colonel Sun Liang-Tan.

    TWINE is often mentioned as using CS as inspiration for the kidnapping of M. I'm more inclined to put that one down as coincidence. The act of capturing a political figurehead is hardly unique in fiction dealing with politics or espionage, and beyond the generic act itself, there is very little, specific or broad, that the two stories share.
  • edited May 2022 Posts: 2,877
    I'd love to see a proper film of CS but I think the closest visual adaptation will remain the Daily Express comic strip. Two of the book's most memorable concepts--M's kidnapping and Bond's torture--have already been used by the Bond films, even if TWINE's version didn't have much to do with Amis's. In retrospect it's a pity the torture scene was wasted on Spectre. As for the rest of the book, it's almost impossible that any Bond films in the near future will feature a Chinese villain and island hideouts have been used in two recent Bond films (well, semi-recent, since SF turns 10 this year). I'm not sure what else EON would want to strip-mine from the novel.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 4,372
    @CharmianBond I liked your detailed thoughts about By Royal Command. Thanks for that. I'm a big fan of Higson's five and I think that the final one is the best. So many great characters (allies and villains), an interesting "love" story and a good amount of violence. I read all the Fleming novels before the Young Bond books and was very sceptical at the beginning. But I was totally surprised how exciting they felt and that they also work for adults (at least for me).
  • Posts: 6,622
    Just finished 'GOLDFINGER', this novel has a great opening, showing Bonds dislike but necessity for killing a man. But it gets bogged down in large parts, the infamous golf match is as tedious as the real thing, and though I love when Fleming shows his knowledge of all things, there are times when you just want to skip forward! The villains plot here ( improved upon in the movie !) is done with much aplomb, and with great characters, ( as a cat lover, my impression of Oddjob is now sullied a bit! 🤣) though Pussy Galore could have been given a bit more page time, Goldfinger himself is well depicted, as is Felix and his hook hand! It picks up nicely towards the end, but its not one of my favourites!
    Up next, I wasnt following the books in order, but I will be now, 'For Your Eyes Only'
  • Posts: 986
    I was disappointed a little by the rest of GF, after Bond foils the card game. It's almost like that in itself was a perfect short story.
    Do any members here know if Goldfinger chapters 1-4 was ever a short story? It ends perfect with Bond's "make it a drawing room".
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 4,372
    You don't like the golf match in the novel? It's a highlight of the novels for me. The first half of the book is great, the second half not so much.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited May 2022 Posts: 3,371
    I quite liked Goldfinger, the card game and Golf match are great, I also liked the second half, the first time I've read it, I laughed at some of the dialogues particularly those scenes with Pussy Galore, and I felt sad when I've read Tilly's demise.

    To be honest, preferred the scene where Bond worked as Goldfinger's secretary, it makes sense for him as a spy, he's gathering some important informations from the meeting, knowing those different gangsters, and writing a message to Felix Leiter to get some backup, it's great and suspense, than having him captured and doing nothing in the film. I really got pity at Tilly, she's scared but it's Bond who's calming her and he promised that he could get Tilly out of there (they're both working as Golfinger's secretaries), when they're at the catering, Bond felt a bit awkward because he saw Tilly and Pussy having some sort of attractions to each other, I kept thinking on can they make it? Hoping that Bond and Tilly escape, but he failed later on when Oddjob hits her while escaping because she wants to go with Pussy rather than Bond, Bond was really angry at this and Felix Leiter arrived a bit late.

    Really, really loved those scenes it's dramatic and suspense.
  • Posts: 986
    Bond didn't think Tilly was a true lesbian. There's a quote in the book that I've seen used when critics try to pick apart Bond books as none-PC, as it reads as if Bond thinks lesbians have 'their hormones all mixed up' or something. But if you read it carefully, Bond isn't dismissing lesbianism as such, he's just doubting Tilly was a 'real' lesbian.

    Tilly was a tourist, basically. That's what he was thinking.
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 533
    @CharmianBond I liked your detailed thoughts about By Royal Command. Thanks for that. I'm a big fan of Higson's five and I think that the final one is the best. So many great characters (allies and villains), an interesting "love" story and a good amount of violence. I read all the Fleming novels before the Young Bond books and was very sceptical at the beginning. But I was totally surprised how exciting they felt and that they also work for adults (at least for me).

    Thanks @goldenswissroyale for reading it and I'm glad you were won over. I've literally just got done reading his newest thriller and it's a great also a read, I'd certainly recommend it if you wanted more of his writing.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 4,372
    @CharmianBond I haven't read any others by Higson so far. Which one would you recommend the most?
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 533
    I also read Goldfinger as well this month and I didn't enjoy it as much as Dr No. The second chapter more than anything that came before it really captured the grandeur of the era and I felt how modern the 1950s must’ve felt like.

    But this is the first one of the Fleming that I think the film is unequivocally better than the book its based on. It not only shores up the plot which have never been the selling point though I really didn’t buy it this time, and actually makes the characters compelling.

    I enjoyed the cat and mouse antics between Bond and Goldfinger, the introspection from Bond and the tidbit about disbanding the outdated Double-O Section which they use in Spectre I didn’t know that came straight from Fleming.

    This book demonstrate the truism that in writing coincidences are great when getting characters into problems but terrible to get them out of problems, the resolution of the plot is a lot to swallow.

    The politics are so preposterous that I can’t really be offended by it (also it helps that Fleming is well past the point of doing any more harm unlike certain living authors) but when it impacts on the characters I grew to dislike it, Tilly getting killed because she loses all cognitive ability except for having the hots for Pussy Galore is grim no matter how you cut it.

    However, I also read Trigger Mortis.

    This really didn’t need to be a sequel to Goldfinger but I’m glad it is. Horowitz masterful weaves these very disparate plot elements into a taut story (although we are far from Moonraker’s James ‘I only go on three dangerous missions a year’ Bond).

    I think what this has which Goldfinger lacks is agency. I really found Bond's passivity to be grating in Goldfinger.

    I also appreciate is that the female characters feel like they don’t just exist in service of Bond. I’m glad Pussy gets more time to shine and gets a happy ending, setting off into the sunset with a new woman. Logan Fairfax is easily Bond’s superior and Jeopardy Lane has got to be one of my favourite Bond women.

    It’s probably more impressive than Fleming can hold your attention through games of canasta and golf (just) but there’s something about the 21st century Bond novels that is for me more readable. Both this and the Young Bond novels are more action-packed no question but I think they also have the same style of language that’s easier to a modern eye.

    Of course I have to give credit to Fleming for coming up with the germ of the idea for the motor racing plot, why he never used it himself remains a mystery to me, but in Horowitz’s hands it really comes alive. Plus I really loved the humorous moments, in a tense clock-ticking scenario Bond taking a shower for psychological benefit is both absurdly funny and uniquely Bondian.

    Basically this was everything I want in a Bond novel, and it was done perfectly. I really had a lovely time reading it.
    I was disappointed a little by the rest of GF, after Bond foils the card game. It's almost like that in itself was a perfect short story.
    Do any members here know if Goldfinger chapters 1-4 was ever a short story? It ends perfect with Bond's "make it a drawing room".

    I have heard that the canasta game was going to be a short story but then Fleming decided at some point when he was writing it to make it part of a full-length novel.
  • edited May 2022 Posts: 2,877
    For bibliophiles--

    Here's Jon Gilbert, author of the definitive Fleming bibliography, perusing some of the Bond/Fleming items originally from the Schøyen Collection:

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Interesting, and funny pronounciation of Schøyen.
  • Finally read The Man With the Golden Gun. Even with my expectations tempered based on what I heard of the novel, I found it hard not to be disappointed with it as both a “final” entry in the series and a follow up to two of the finest books in the series. The most interesting element of the book is the initial hook that Bond has been brainwashed and turned against his own service (a very strong opening!), but the ramifications of this betrayal and even the subsequent re-integration into service are entirely glossed over; we hardly even get any of Bond’s own thoughts on the matter.

    So, as a pay of to YOLT’s surprise ending this is largely a dud, okay. But how about as a stand alone Bond adventure? The initial premise is compelling enough: Bond must go on essentially a suicide mission against an extremely dangerous criminal in a final hurrah that will either put him back in MI6’s good graces or kill him. Unfortunately the premise itself is far more exciting than most of the book. One of the largest issues I had was that Scaramanga himself is not a worthy antagonist for Bond. He’s got a bizarre backstory involving horny circus elements, a third nipple, and latent homosexual tendencies — it’s a bit goofy but fits right in with the weird space much of Fleming’s writing falls into. In any case, the oddities should surely inform a villain with memorable page-presence, right? Alas, all the strangeness of Scaramanga falls away once we meet him, as he is written in the style of a cheap gangster that by this point in the 60’s I have to imagine was starting to feel a bit anachronistic. Scaramanga is good with a good, but he hardly feels a cut above the Spangled Mob or even Sluggsy and Horror, the prior criminal element villains that marked some of Bond’s least impressive adventures. Scaramanga’s introductory scene, and final scene, at least offer a reprieve from the banality that most of the book dishes out. The former suitably builds tension and intrigue in the dreamy brothel location (the one memorable setting in the book), and the latter is a brutal and macabre punctuation mark that the book could have used much more of. Interestingly, both scenes feature the killing of wildlife to underscore Scaramanga’s menace and animal instincts.

    Another big issue I have with the book is simply how small it feels. We return to Jamaica for a third time (not that I’m complaining as it was used to great effect in LALD and DR NO) but outside of the aforementioned brothel in a run down coastal town we hardly get any sense of the setting or momentum that travel offers to these stories. Until the brief finale on the train and the mangrove swamp we are locked into a nondescript hotel with only brief bits of intrigue and danger to keep us on edge. It plays a bit like a cross between the undercover Piz Gloria sequences at OHMSS, and the sequences of Goldfinger where Bond is employed by the villain. It doesn’t measure up to, or offer the payoff of, the OHMSS sequence and is just as unexciting as the Goldfinger one. I think Licence to Kill was a more successful translation of this element of TMWTGG’s story, as Bond has a more active role in playing his targets against each other and accomplishing other goals while trying to remain undetected and in the villain’s favor.

    I do like the ultimate ending to the book, however. On the surface it’s a bright ending for Bond — he achieves his mission, is re-embraced by MI6 and the country at large, and wins the girl. But by turning down the knighthood and reflecting that “a room with a view” will never be enough for him, it ends on a understated note of cynicism and cyclicality that is fitting for this series of adventures.

    Where YOLT offered such a strange and atypically inward facing adventure and climax to the larger than life Blofeld saga, full of rich symbolism and thematic subtext, TMWTGG feels less like the climax of the series and more like a post-script. It seems to say no more than “this is how James Bond carried on”. Perhaps that’s all Ian Fleming sought to impart with this slight goodbye, and on that metric it’s successful enough. But given his untimely death and purported dissatisfaction with the novel as it stood, it’s hard not to yearn for the version of the book that measured up to Fleming’s own vision of Bond’s goodbye.

    And so I say my own temporary goodbye to this series of books that has offered me so much entertainment of the last year and a half, until I pick up the two short story collections I still have left as a way to wean the lack of these full-fledged Fleming adventures. A few I had a read before, but most I had not. Of the rereads I enjoyed them all more the second time around, which offers the conciliation that though I’ll never be able to read these books for the first time again, I may still yet get to enjoy greater pleasures with them.

    As it stands, here is my fraught attempt at ranking these books (surprisingly much harder than ranking the films!).

    12. The Man With the Golden Gun
    11. Goldfinger
    10. Thunderball
    9. The Spy Who Loved Me
    8. Diamonds are Forever
    7. Live and Let Die
    6. Moonraker
    5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    4. You Only Live Twice
    3. Dr No
    2. Casino Royale
    1. From Russia With Love

    1-7 I would say are all top notch thrillers and could rotate several places at any given day, and 8-12 despite being lesser adventures in my eyes still offered plenty to love — even the deeply flawed MWTGG.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,371
    Finally read The Man With the Golden Gun. Even with my expectations tempered based on what I heard of the novel, I found it hard not to be disappointed with it as both a “final” entry in the series and a follow up to two of the finest books in the series. The most interesting element of the book is the initial hook that Bond has been brainwashed and turned against his own service (a very strong opening!), but the ramifications of this betrayal and even the subsequent re-integration into service are entirely glossed over; we hardly even get any of Bond’s own thoughts on the matter.

    So, as a pay of to YOLT’s surprise ending this is largely a dud, okay. But how about as a stand alone Bond adventure? The initial premise is compelling enough: Bond must go on essentially a suicide mission against an extremely dangerous criminal in a final hurrah that will either put him back in MI6’s good graces or kill him. Unfortunately the premise itself is far more exciting than most of the book. One of the largest issues I had was that Scaramanga himself is not a worthy antagonist for Bond. He’s got a bizarre backstory involving horny circus elements, a third nipple, and latent homosexual tendencies — it’s a bit goofy but fits right in with the weird space much of Fleming’s writing falls into. In any case, the oddities should surely inform a villain with memorable page-presence, right? Alas, all the strangeness of Scaramanga falls away once we meet him, as he is written in the style of a cheap gangster that by this point in the 60’s I have to imagine was starting to feel a bit anachronistic. Scaramanga is good with a good, but he hardly feels a cut above the Spangled Mob or even Sluggsy and Horror, the prior criminal element villains that marked some of Bond’s least impressive adventures. Scaramanga’s introductory scene, and final scene, at least offer a reprieve from the banality that most of the book dishes out. The former suitably builds tension and intrigue in the dreamy brothel location (the one memorable setting in the book), and the latter is a brutal and macabre punctuation mark that the book could have used much more of. Interestingly, both scenes feature the killing of wildlife to underscore Scaramanga’s menace and animal instincts.

    Another big issue I have with the book is simply how small it feels. We return to Jamaica for a third time (not that I’m complaining as it was used to great effect in LALD and DR NO) but outside of the aforementioned brothel in a run down coastal town we hardly get any sense of the setting or momentum that travel offers to these stories. Until the brief finale on the train and the mangrove swamp we are locked into a nondescript hotel with only brief bits of intrigue and danger to keep us on edge. It plays a bit like a cross between the undercover Piz Gloria sequences at OHMSS, and the sequences of Goldfinger where Bond is employed by the villain. It doesn’t measure up to, or offer the payoff of, the OHMSS sequence and is just as unexciting as the Goldfinger one. I think Licence to Kill was a more successful translation of this element of TMWTGG’s story, as Bond has a more active role in playing his targets against each other and accomplishing other goals while trying to remain undetected and in the villain’s favor.

    I do like the ultimate ending to the book, however. On the surface it’s a bright ending for Bond — he achieves his mission, is re-embraced by MI6 and the country at large, and wins the girl. But by turning down the knighthood and reflecting that “a room with a view” will never be enough for him, it ends on a understated note of cynicism and cyclicality that is fitting for this series of adventures.

    Where YOLT offered such a strange and atypically inward facing adventure and climax to the larger than life Blofeld saga, full of rich symbolism and thematic subtext, TMWTGG feels less like the climax of the series and more like a post-script. It seems to say no more than “this is how James Bond carried on”. Perhaps that’s all Ian Fleming sought to impart with this slight goodbye, and on that metric it’s successful enough. But given his untimely death and purported dissatisfaction with the novel as it stood, it’s hard not to yearn for the version of the book that measured up to Fleming’s own vision of Bond’s goodbye.

    And so I say my own temporary goodbye to this series of books that has offered me so much entertainment of the last year and a half, until I pick up the two short story collections I still have left as a way to wean the lack of these full-fledged Fleming adventures. A few I had a read before, but most I had not. Of the rereads I enjoyed them all more the second time around, which offers the conciliation that though I’ll never be able to read these books for the first time again, I may still yet get to enjoy greater pleasures with them.

    As it stands, here is my fraught attempt at ranking these books (surprisingly much harder than ranking the films!).

    12. The Man With the Golden Gun
    11. Goldfinger
    10. Thunderball
    9. The Spy Who Loved Me
    8. Diamonds are Forever
    7. Live and Let Die
    6. Moonraker
    5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    4. You Only Live Twice
    3. Dr No
    2. Casino Royale
    1. From Russia With Love

    1-7 I would say are all top notch thrillers and could rotate several places at any given day, and 8-12 despite being lesser adventures in my eyes still offered plenty to love — even the deeply flawed MWTGG.

    Good ranking! Congratulations! @SomethingThatAteHim excited to hear your thoughts about the short stories and the continuation novels.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 2,409
    I've been reading them Fleming Novels again, I read YOLT after seeing NTTD to see what material they used. There's something really special about the atmosphere Fleming creates in these texts

    I think I'll move on to the Horowitz novels after that, I've never read them before but I've heard great things
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    edited June 2022 Posts: 3,371
    My thoughts and ranking on reading the Bond Novels:

    1. Moonraker
    Fleming's best so far, an entertaining piece of thriller, action, adventure, realistic and grounded plot.
    Best Bond Girl in Gala Brand, ahead of her time, and the ending isn't stereotypical, and one of the best Bond Villains in Hugo Drax, it had full of tensions, mystery and also drama. Fleming really hits his stride, not comparable since both are different, but I'll give the book an edge (I still liked the film).
    Book > Film

    2. Casino Royale
    This was the Proto-Moonraker, it has realistic plot, great Bond Villain in Le Chiffre (who's menacing), and Vesper who's really Bond's match in both emotional and psychological, and she's also ahead of her time because of her career as a spy, I liked that she's playing innocent not knowing that she's the one behind it all. And the atmospheric 1950's setting. Everything worked here, it's the proto-Moonraker, but Moonraker leveled it up more, I liked both film and book, but there's something in the book, that the film can't adapt and that is the 50's spy noir thriller drama.

    Book > Film

    3. From Russia With Love
    Fleming's answer to Le Carre! Period!
    More realistic than Moonraker and Casino Royale, it's thrilling and gripping, the backstories of the villains made them a lot more better and menacing. Bond was also acting more like a spy detective here than an average pulp fiction hero like those characters found in Raymond Chandler. What ranked it here, #3 was my enjoyment, i enjoyed the other two above.
    Fleming can write a realistic plot and it's the best if he wanted too and if he's in the mood for it, and this is the proof that he can. Though I liked both this novel and the film adaptation, there some scenes I liked in the film (giving Tatiana a much wider role by her shooting Klebb, the ending where Bond survived), but there's some scenes that worked in the novel much better. It will be a TIE.

    Book = Film

    4. Thunderball
    My favorite Bond novel, the most cinematic Bond novel, it has all the cinematic Bond Formula while still keeping the Fleming touch. It has humor (the Shrublands part where I'm really laughing), thrill, mystery, adventure, drama and action. It felt like a Bond movie, though because the book was written before as a screenplay. Blofeld was much more menacing here than the two following novels. The plot was also realistic, all of the Bond Novels that I liked have all of the realism, I liked realistic plots. Domino was a fleshed out Bond Girl, complex, vulnerable but still keeping her inner fire and tough. She's tough without being too showy, she's vulnerable without any crying or being very dramatic, she's competent. She's a realistically written character, in that she's tortured but still had the willingness to get out of the hell she's in. I liked both film and book, but the characters are much more interesting in the novel than in the film, but anyway it'll be a TIE.

    Book = Film

    5. You Only Live Twice
    Hear me out regarding this, I liked it for it's darkness, tragedy (almost Shakespearean darkness). The second best in the Blofeld trilogy after Thunderball, Blofeld has gone insane, Kissy Suzuki is one of the best bond girls, she is the one who saves Bond from despair and death. Tiger Tanaka is a great Bond Ally along with Dikko who's a fun character. The way Fleming wrote it, very cinematic, from Bond's arrival at Japan to him being an amnesiac, it blends the tragedy, travelogue and romance, this book didn't disappoint, and we get to see of Bond's humanity here. I find the book much better than the film, No Time To Die adapted some of the pieces from the book but it failed in capturing the style and tone of the novel.

    Book > Film

    6. Dr. No
    The most Over The Top Bond novel, the most fun Bond novel. Dr. No is a villain with a dislocated heart, but don't underestimate this man, he's truly evil. Inspired by Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu.
    Honey Ryder was much more fleshed out Bond Girl here than in the film where she's just a damsel. She's weird in a good way, that she's wild, have many knowledge about wild, she's childish but she's just fun and friendly and competent, she had a broken nose and selling shells to repair her nose, and she had a great backstory without being too heavy, she's one of the best Bond Girls. Book or Film? Well, I liked Dr. No's death in the film, his death in the book was silly, but apart from that, I'll go with the book.

    Book > Film

    7. Goldfinger
    As a novel itself, it's alright, but Goldfinger's plot didn't make sense, it's one of the books where I prefer the Film much better. The Film could have made a great bond novel, but this novel can be adapted into a nonsense film, just full of outlandishness sans the logic of the plot. Pussy Galore was much better in the film too, here she have no presence, one thing that makes her a bit unique was she's lesbian and her backstory was also missing from the film.
    Also the second half of the film where Bond was captured, this is I think where the Book's better, where he worked as Goldfinger's secretary and widened Tilly's role that makes her death more impactful than the film, but apart from that, I'll go with the Film.

    Book < Film

    8. Diamonds Are Forever
    Yes, dare it put it. I really liked this novel, it's fun yes, it has weak plot about Diamonds Smuggling, the Spang Brothers are weak villains, but hey it has Wint and Kidd. But this is the novel I find re-reading the most, because it's enjoyable, if not for the villains and the weak plot, this could have rise in my rankings. But what's the best part of this book? It's Bond's relationship with Tiffany Case, she's not a bimbo here, she's intelligent, independent, and a complex bond girl, well her romance with Bond was just second to Bond and Vesper Relationship, Tiffany Case is one of the best Bond girls, much better than the film.

    Book > Film

    9. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Maybe, I'm in the minority here, but I'm not a fan of this book, and yes that's coming from a big fan of the film. There's so many things that doesn't make sense here, Blofeld's plot is utterly ridiculous and laughable it's nonsense, while Fleming's writing here is great, it didn't saved it story and plot wise. It's the most slow paced Bond novel, it's too long. If you found Casino Royale's use of foreign words too much, then this novel was much worse than that, there's a lot of Foreign words here such as German, French and Swiss and a lot of exclamation points. And once the novel gets to the details and explanation of Blofeld's plan, it gets boring the Agriculture and Fish, Bond visits England, but after all of that, I'm disappointed because Blofeld's plot didn't make sense (Biological warfare was a great idea, but the execution, brainwashing women really? And the plot was just limited to UK, at least in the film it's worldwide), it's an overstuffed book, it lacks the realism that I liked in the earlier Bond novels.
    So I'm now talking the Big elephant in the room, Tracy, yes she's my big problem here, it's a shame as she's my favorite in the film, but here she's weak, she didn't do much, I know her purpose was to show Bond's humanity, but the problem is Bond already showed it many times in the previous novels, he fell in love many times, so there's nothing new, Tracy lacks the personality, the strength that a Bond girl should have, and it doesn't help that she's not relevant to the plot, and her backstory was too much tragic and drama, she's heavy for me to like, full of burden, she's not likeable. Did the ending strikes me? No, because the romance was rushed and because we didn't get to know Tracy more, and she's also a subservient bond girl, she's good at driving but that's all, there's no more that she can offer us, atleast Diamonds Are Forever have Tiffany Case and their convincing romance, here? It doesn't have all of that. I prefer the film.

    Book < Film

    10. Live And Let Die
    I find this book disappointing, after the thrill ride that is Casino Royale, this one is a bore, It's a slow paced and full racism Bond novel. There's even a chapter there that didn't aged well.
    Full of race stereotypes, Mr. BIG is one of the best Bond villains along with Hugo Drax and Le Chiffre, his plot of smuggling Gold coins and using different myths, is a bit odd, Solitaire is an okay Bond girl, atleast she's relevant to the plot. Not a fan of both film and book, But I'll give the book an edge, more grounded at least.

    Book > Film

    11. The Spy Who Loved Me
    Look, Fleming I'm not against this novel, but I can't help it to say it's such a failure, it's written from a Point of View of a woman named Vivienne Michel with James Bond appearing at the last half of the novel. And there's the sexist line that didn't aged well and have been criticized heavily "All women love semi rape", and didn't aged well. Again, different than the film, but I'll go with the film for sheer fun and adventure.

    Book < Film

    12. The Man With The Golden Gun
    Even if this one was unfinished, I still prefer it over the film. This book was published around Fleming's death, so plot wise, it's muddled, Scaramanga was an okay villain, but he comes off as a low class criminal with connections to the high class criminals, but atleast Mary Goodnight was not a bimbo here. The film's only advantage was Christopher Lee, but apart from that, the book's better.

    Book > Film
  • CharmianBondCharmianBond Pett Bottom, Kent
    Posts: 533
    For Your Eyes Only

    As these are short stories I’m gonna keep my review brief for this one

    From a View to a Kill: A little disorienting to start but I loved that it was a Bond adventure distilled but a bit lacking in substance compared to the rest.

    For Your Eyes Only: I like how focused this is compared to the movie yet the prose gives it time to breath and I unusually appreciated Bond’s sexism in this.

    Quantum of Solace: Its reputation precedes it and I found it surprisingly compelling and it speaks to the inventiveness and restlessness of Fleming as a writer.

    Risico: This is the part of the film version where it loses me and I’m glad it’s kept separate from the Havelock storyline, the gunfight at the warehouse is wonderfully written, and we see a return of fallible Bond done well.

    The Hildebrand Rarity: Milton Krest is easily overshadowed in Licence to Kill but what a joy it is to read the story where he is front and centre and gets his comeuppance. I think he might even be the worst villain so far, he’s not only so repugnant but so human as well.

    After Goldfinger this was a breath of fresh air and it gives Fleming a chance to experiment which is such a large part of why I'm enjoying the novels. And I thought the through-line of Bond questioning the morality of being a hitman in these ‘edge cases’ was well-conceived.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 3,094
    I'm very fond of View to a Kill as it's the only time we see the literary Bond on a motorbike (though he's able to mansplain scooter tyre pressures to Viv in TSWLM). It's also another Bond story set in northern France, which lets me picture the roads and scenery very clearly as I visit a lot.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,371
    Agent_99 wrote: »
    I'm very fond of View to a Kill as it's the only time we see the literary Bond on a motorbike (though he's able to mansplain scooter tyre pressures to Viv in TSWLM). It's also another Bond story set in northern France, which lets me picture the roads and scenery very clearly as I visit a lot.

    It's much better than the film, and easiest question to answer about which Bond Girl was better between Mary Ann Russell and Stacey Sutton.
  • Posts: 986
    Finally read The Man With the Golden Gun. .....

    I really enjoyed your post on TMWTGG. I agree it feels more like a postscript than a great climax to the series. I did sense a flavour of almost resigned contentment in Bond in the last chapter, which led me to think Fleming may have thought it the final Bond, probably. Did you see the post on here where there's a picture of Fleming adding the hand-written last paragraph, which changed the tome of the ending so much?
    I always liked the last few lines of TMWTGG.
    I started my Fleming re-read in 2020, and although I still have the short stories and TSWLM to re-read, my ranking isn't too different to yours. We both have FRWL number one, and OHMSS & YOLT in the top five.
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