Quick Big Mi6 Fleming Novel Ranking

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Comments

  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 4,409
    Tiffany and the killer duo are good characters. The first for emotions, the second for the danger/real threat.
    As mentioned by others, the opening with the scorpion is great stuff. DAF and TMWTGG have outstanding first chapters but never deliver on this quality level anymore (imo). It's also a good idea to end DAF in the same location as it started.
    Unfortunately, I don't like much of the middle section of this book. For example the chapter where Bond and Felix are only talking while driving is very boring (again, only my opinion). Nothing interesting happens in the middle apart from the moment with the jockey.
    It is difficult for me to get through the unexciting middle of this book which is why I ranked it at the bottom. #14.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,827
    Tiffany and the killer duo are good characters. The first for emotions, the second for the danger/real threat.
    As mentioned by others, the opening with the scorpion is great stuff. DAF and TMWTGG have outstanding first chapters but never deliver on this quality level anymore (imo). It's also a good idea to end DAF in the same location as it started.
    Unfortunately, I don't like much of the middle section of this book. For example the chapter where Bond and Felix are only talking while driving is very boring (again, only my opinion). Nothing interesting happens in the middle apart from the moment with the jockey.
    It is difficult for me to get through the unexciting middle of this book which is why I ranked it at the bottom. #14.

    Exactly where I’m at. Reading it now and have been stuck in the middle part for quite some time. No other Bond novel has a section that I have as much trouble with as DAF’s middle section. Despite Tiffany and other positives mentioned above, I had to go for 14th place.

    Ironically, so far I must admit that I prefer the TMWTGG and DAF films over their literary counterparts (only based upon my personal enjoyment of them), but TSWLM novel I prefer over the so much more appreciated though unrelated film of the same name.
  • edited August 2022 Posts: 2,161
    The only instance where I prefer the film over the novel would be Goldfinger. My favorite film and one of my least favorite of the Fleming novels (still a quintessential Bond story, I still love it, a lot of great stuff, but not quite there with most of the other novels or the film).

    Actually, I’ll add The Spy Who Loved Me to that small list, but I don’t really count that as it’s not an actual adaptation.
  • Posts: 12,311
    I prefer films for CR, GF, TB, and TMWTGG, but novels for everything else. Some like OHMSS, DN, and FRWL are close, others like DAF or MR are blown out by the books.
  • I had diamonds at #8 (for novels, I forgot about the short story collections which I have yet to read and slotted them in above this one on a guess!). It's my favorite of the weaker, in my estimation, Bond books. It’s a pretty sharp drop off after the first three and I was not very engaged with the first 1/3 of the book, but it gets better and better towards the end. I love how much of a travelogue it is, it’s some of Fleming’s best scene setting and the sheer variety of locations and situations (and memorably creepy Wint and Kidd) do a lot to help make up for a middling plot and lack of a compelling main villain. Despite the material not being as good as the books around it, Fleming still clearly had a lot of spark in his writing that shines through.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,827
    Next up, at number 11:

    OCTOPUSSY AND THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

    Including:
    OCTOPUSSY / THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
    THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS / 007 IN NEW YORK

    Michael-Gillette-James-Bond-Octopussy.jpeg

    The first of two short story collections to be discussed, OP&TLD claims a respectable honourable mention, coming in at 11th.

    It claimed two top 5 spots, though it just missed out on a medal, ending 4th once and 5th also once. Other notable rankings were one 7th and two 8th places.

    Unsurprisingly, 11th was the place that it acquired the most, on five occasions. It also ended up 12th on three occasions. Only one member rated it as his/her least favourite, and one other member ranked it penultimate.

    In total OP&TLD ended up with 85 points.

  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,527
    For some reason I love the Octopussy short story, and think about it all the time.
  • Posts: 12,311
    Same placement as my list. From favorite to least within this collection, it’d go TLD > OP > TPOAL > 007 in New York. Really enjoy the first two, but the latter aren’t as memorable for me. It’s a nice little collection, but not as great as the other.
  • edited August 2022 Posts: 2,161
    I actually had it ranked 12th, but looking at my rankings again, I wish I put it in the 11th spot. I really do love every story. Just not as much as the rest. Once we get to my Top 9 (which has already fallen, TMWTGG) they are all what I consider upper echelon. Far less of a spread than with the films.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,402
    I loved TLD! Not much on OP, it's high on my list, it's #8 in my rankings, mainly because of TLD.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,723
    It's a collection of good stories but I prefer the novels overall.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,827
    I gave it the 5th spot. I absolutely love this collection, both OP as well as TLD rank amongst my very favourite Fleming stories. Especially TLD, which is Cold War tension at its best. I have always been fascinated by the Berlin Wall, so this one really does the trick for me.

    Also love how both films incorporate these stories in their respective films. Both in a different way, but well-done on both occasions.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,402
    GoldenGun wrote: »
    I gave it the 5th spot. I absolutely love this collection, both OP as well as TLD rank amongst my very favourite Fleming stories. Especially TLD, which is Cold War tension at its best. I have always been fascinated by the Berlin Wall, so this one really does the trick for me.

    Also love how both films incorporate these stories in their respective films. Both in a different way, but well-done on both occasions.

    To be honest, I prefer the short story, the film was fine until that Afghanistan/Mujahideen scenes, I'm not a fan of that.
    The Short Story was more grounded and realistic cold war spy thriller.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    No. 13 for me, but I do like it a lot. I think the other short story collection works much better as a complete package, though.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    edited August 2022 Posts: 4,409
    I gave this collection the 10th spot in my list. I prefer it to the other short stories collection because TLD really has this great "Cold War tension" as written by @GoldenGun. It is my favourite short story and I also prefer OP to all other Fleming short stories. It is always fascinating how Fleming is able to describe the life in the ocean in so much detail.
    Property of a lady is good enough but nothing special and 007 in NY is too short to be relevant for my ranking (and almost without a real story).
  • Posts: 6,965
    Number 11 is exactly where I placed it. TLD is an excellent short story, but I too prefer the novels, but have to admit its probably the one I've read the most, and love how it was built on in the film!
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    edited August 2022 Posts: 6,067
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    Yes, that's it. Bond vs Scaramanga could have been written as a tense thriller. Not every film demands that Bond saves the world. But, and this is probably controversial, if you send Bond and another assassin in the arena for the Bond equivalent of The Most Dangerous Game, you have to be prepared to go dark. So none of those karate shenanigans with Hip's nieces, no stupid blonde's bottom threatening to solar-fry Bond, no loop whistle (sorry, John), and no JW shouting up every scene he is in. Comedy in the Bonds is like salt: a little can improve the taste, a lot can ruin it. In the case of TMWTGG, the comedy is all over the place, it is too much, and it runs the film into the ground. A potentially cool conflict was rendered at the mercy of silly jokes. The novel, at least, doesn't have to rely on undercooked comedy. I can handle most of the silly stuff in DAF and LALD, but TMWTGG gets crushed under its weight.

    You forgot about Bond squeezing the cheeks of the sumo wrestler. You're welcome. ;)

    There sure were a lot of arse jokes in this film.
    Birdleson wrote: »
    I had it 7th, I really enjoy it. Sure, it feels rushed and incomplete, like we're missing a good third, but what is there is mainly superb: the insane intro in London, Bond's initial confrontation with Scaramanga, Bond's conversations with Goodnight (aside from Scaramanga's origin story, the is teh only bit of text that makes it into the film), the showdown in the swamp, and a resolution to Fleming's Bond.

    I reread it not long ago but I struggle to remember that dialogue with Goodnight.

    I'd love to see a Bond villain eat a snake like that. We kind of got it in OP.
    For some reason I love the Octopussy short story, and think about it all the time.

    I do too. It's the closest we ever get to living Fleming's life in Jamaica.
  • echo wrote: »
    Birdleson wrote: »
    I had it 7th, I really enjoy it. Sure, it feels rushed and incomplete, like we're missing a good third, but what is there is mainly superb: the insane intro in London, Bond's initial confrontation with Scaramanga, Bond's conversations with Goodnight (aside from Scaramanga's origin story, the is teh only bit of text that makes it into the film), the showdown in the swamp, and a resolution to Fleming's Bond.

    I reread it not long ago but I struggle to remember that dialogue with Goodnight.

    I'd love to see a Bond villain eat a snake like that. We kind of got it in OP.

    Scaramanga slaying and eating the snake while lying there half to death was a great scene. Even while dying, he was the world's deadliest assassin and a threat to Bond. That would be a very cool moment to work into some future film.

    GoldenGun wrote: »
    Next up, at number 11:

    OCTOPUSSY AND THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

    While "The Living Daylights" is my favorite of the short stories, I did place the other short story collection higher than this one. As others have noted, it's just a stronger overall package. "Octopussy" is a very good story too, though not an all-time favorite of mine, but "Property of a Lady" is rather long and not up to much and "007 in New York" is awfully brief and lightweight. I do really like the humor in "007 in New York" though and the fact it comes with James Bond's recipe for scrambled eggs. Definitely a good deal to enjoy here...For Your Eyes Only just delivers more.

    GoldenGun wrote: »
    As some of you already guessed, the next one to go out, at place 12, is:

    DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

    Never quite understood why this one isn't loved more. For me, this is one cracking Bond adventure. Smaller scale than rockets destroying London and raids on Fort Knox, but between the characters, the settings, the travelogue bits, the Felix, the car chase, and the rolling climaxes, there is so much to like it surpasses a good many of Fleming’s “bigger” Bonds for me. (And Tiffany Case may just be Fleming’s best written Bond girl.)
  • Posts: 2,161
    @echo Th dialogue between Bond and Goodnight was pretty simple, but not made it to the film, dinner talk: cyanide pill as a button, "opposite sides off the world", etc.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    edited August 2022 Posts: 6,827
    Entering our top 10 with:

    GOLDFINGER

    goldfinger.jpg

    GF is the overall lowest ranked of the bunch who has claimed a gold medal.

    Between that one 1st place and its second-highest rankings, three 7th places, there’s a pretty large gap, which explains why it didn’t end up higher.

    Moreover, two members gave GF last place, and four more ranked it in their bottom 3 as well.

    GF obtained a total of 89 points.
  • My second to last place, just above TMWTGG. Unlike the final Bond novel, Goldfinger certainly feels complete — maybe too complete, I don’t know if it’s the longest of the novels but it does feel it at times — and is a bit deficient in thrills. Notably this is the first novel that really skips over any physical torture of Bond depicted on the page (something Fleming is very adept at), Goldfinger’s dastardly machine left feeling a bit inert as a result. And then the final third as the plan swings into motion is one the weak side as Bond improbably works for Goldfinger.

    The first half is much stronger with Bond’s reflections on a dirty bit of business in Mexico, the fun card cheating section (even if it feels like a lesser rehash of Moonraker), and the lengthy but enjoyable golf game.

    While still enjoyable, this was the first Bond book to me that felt like Fleming had either lost his spark or wasn’t quite sure what to do with Bond that was new. It’s overly familiar and a bit sedate, neither of which make for a very good thriller. Fortunately it laid the groundwork for a much more fun film adaptation.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited August 2022 Posts: 23,723
    Interesting. I had this book at #10, so close enough.

    I am of the impression that many will agree with the statement that the film does a more laudable job than the book--an exceptional case I might add. In truth, I think the character of Goldfinger is still interesting. I love his "villain speak", so erudite and eloquent. When he lectures Bond on the poisons in whine and cigarettes, I'm always having a few laughs.

    The girls are the ultimate weakness, though, both in the book and the film, but while the film eventually settles for Pussy, the book just can't seem to make up its mind which girl is the one for us to follow. Until well into the climax, Tilly seems to be it. Yet when she dies, oh well, there's always Pussy, the lesbian Bond gets to "cure" with his magic penis. What I probably enjoy even less than Fleming's ill-informed suggestion that any lesbian is just a 007 away from turning straight is that she was always kinda there, but never really interacted with Bond in that intimate way. Yet when all is done, blown up or killed, Bond mourns Tilly by coercing Pussy into--what?--a victory screw?

    Lest I give too much attention to that plot detail, let me also say that while I enjoy the three-part structure Fleming built in, some lulls have to be navigated with dedication and endurance.

    I still enjoy the book, but there's a lot of narrative "fat" in it and if it had been "leaned up" by a few dozen pages, it could have found more focus and told the story in a more exciting way.
  • edited August 2022 Posts: 6,965
    No. 10 for me too! I agree that it does feel very long, and my most recent read, found it a bit of a struggle! It does have my favourite opening though, Bond describing the killing of the Mexican. It also shows Fleming detailed research/knowledge of such things as the history of Karate! Its not a book I return to often!
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    I am the screwball that placed this at no. 1 , it is peak Bond for me. I love everything about it.
  • SIS_HQSIS_HQ At the Vauxhall Headquarters
    Posts: 3,402
    I have this at #7, it's an underrated novel, I liked that Bond acts like a real spy in this one, especially when he's spying Goldfinger at the start, playing with him all along, and even working as a secretary for him just to gather information secretly while making a backup request to Felix Leiter and the CIA.
    And Goldfinger was such an Iconic and great villain.
    Sure, it didn't aged well, but it's a decent read, there's no foreign languages that much, not so heavy on descriptions, it's not that too hard to understand, just a simple read.
  • edited August 2022 Posts: 2,161
    I had it at #11, that is the highest of my "weaker" Fleming. Some really great moments (the opening, alone in Goldfinger's house, everything with Odd Job, the character of Goldfinger himself, etc). But much of it feels rushed or reworked bits from earlier novels.
  • Posts: 12,311
    #12 here. I found the first half pretty strong but then it became some of the weakest Fleming material after Bond is captured. Had more highlights than TMWTGG and DAF, but I just can’t place it any higher.
  • goldenswissroyalegoldenswissroyale Switzerland
    Posts: 4,409
    I ranked it at #8. Maybe a bit too generous but despite the odd last third (why doesn't Goldfinger kill Bond instead of let him work on his big plan!?!) there is a lot to like, especially the card game, the golf game (I love every page of this duel), driving in Switzerland and the tension in Goldfinger's house (poor cat!).
  • Despite a rather strong start, Fleming seems to have gotten into some kind of mood along the way and ended up just having a lark with it all. There is so much silly material in the latter half of this book I really wonder how aware Fleming was of how frivolously it was coming across. Passages like Bond wondering how he's going to explain Jill to Vesper when they all get to Heaven are a prime example of this weird silliness. But at least Fleming still gave us “Reflections in a Double Bourbon” and that excellent golf match.
  • edited August 2022 Posts: 3,226
    It's my least favourite Fleming work, but I would stress it's not a bad novel and has a lot of great moments. The opening is some of Fleming's best writing, and in isolation it's a chapter that gets to the heart of Bond as a man. The first part is also rather strong on the whole too.

    Beyond this, however, I generally don't like revisiting it as much as I do the others. I think it's fair to say that from a plot perspective the film massively improves on this story. I do wonder if the comparatively silly premise got the better of Fleming or if he wan't as invested in this one, but there are many rather bizarre moments that take me out of the book: the fact that Goldfinger decides to take on Bond as some sort of assistant, the fact that his plan is to rob Fort Knox, the series of unlikely events that lead to Leiter getting involved and Goldfinger's plan being thwarted. Again, I think the screenwriters did a great job smoothing out these problems and allowing the audience to believe this story, however silly it is in spirit.

    Tilly and Jill are rather weak Bond girls, but I actually find Pussy Galore fun when we first meet her. I'd personally like to see a future cinematic Bond girl who is the leader of a gang of female cat burglars - bisexual or not. Now, the elephant in the room is of course the idea that Galore is in some way 'cured' of her lesbianism through Bond which is... well, it's there, and it's another thing that personally makes my eyes roll and takes me out of the book.
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