Bond Book Butchery

PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
in Literary 007 Posts: 3,675
I came across an email dated January 4, 2016 in which I laid into IFP for getting the text of John Gardner's Nobody Lives Forever wrong in the Kindle version. The audiobook has additional text. After consulting with our resident John Gardner expert @Dragonpol on the matter (with him looking up the passage in question from his 1986 Coronet edition), we came to the conclusion that the Kindle edition is correct. This morning, @moneyofpropre2 brought up a question about the 2017 Vintage Books editions being edited and having passages removed, especially Live and Let Die's chapter 5 being edited from "Nigger Heaven" to "Fifth Avenue", and three pages of dialogue between a Black couple at a restaurant where Bond eats with Leiter being removed.

Why do I bring this up? I think it would be kind of neat to have a crowdsourced thread to denote differences across all the Bond books and the various editions. I'll start with what I know: all of the Ian Fleming Bonds on Kindle are presented unedited and begin with the note "The text in this edition has been restored by the Fleming family company Ian Fleming Publications, to reflect the work as it was originally published."

Icebreaker by John Gardner has several changes:

The audio book version goes like this:

Administrative offices and a radio room extend to left and right of this passage which ends, abruptly, at a pair of heavy, high doors, the entrance to a long, narrow room, bare but for its massive conference table and attendant chairs, together with facilities for showing films, V.T.R., and slides.

The original passage is:

Administrative offices and a radio room extend to left and right of this passage which ends, abruptly, at a pair of heavy, high doors leading to a long, narrow room, bare but for its massive conference table and chairs, together with facilities for showing films, V.T.R., and slides.


Nobody Lives Forever has this for Kindle:

This time she pulled away, gently putting her fingers to his mouth. ‘I’m sorry, James. But no.’ There was the ghost of a smile as she said, ‘I’m a good convent girl, remember. But that’s not the only reason. If you’re serious, be patient. Now, goodnight, and thank you for the lovely evening.’ ‘I should thank you, Principessa,’ he said with a shade of formality. He watched as she closed her door, then went slowly to his own room, swallowed a couple of Dexedrine tablets and prepared to sit up all night, ready for anything.


The 1986 Coronet edition:

This time she pulled away, gently putting her fingers to his mouth. ‘I’m sorry, James. But no.’ There was the ghost of a smile as she said, ‘I’m a good convent girl, remember. But that’s not the only reason. If you’re serious, be patient. Now, goodnight, and thank you for the lovely evening.’ ‘I should thank you, Principessa,’ he said with a touch of formality. He watched as she closed her door, then went slowly to his own room, swallowed a couple of Dexedrine tablets and prepared to sit up all night.

Get to it!

Comments

  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,526
    YOLT film butchered YOLT novel. I’ll read the OP when I’m off work to see if I’m on topic here. ;)
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 848
    Yeah, it would be good to have somewhere a sort of guide that tell us what edition have or haven't the text pristine (missing, censorship, and is the UK or the US text?).

    Concerning, Nobody Lives Forever. We know there is differences between UK & US edition (like in COLD), maybe you want to compare the kindle/coronet/audio to tthe points of compraisons that had been evoked here : https://web.archive.org/web/20060127215050/http://www.007forever.com/books/faq011.html ?

    BTW I have a e-book of Nobody Lives Forever (which is not on Kindle) dated from 2011 and the text in it is the one of what you listed as Coronet edition (seems to be the UK text). What do you have for chapter 17? My E-book have the "The room was white, furnished with glass tables, soft white armchairs, and valuable modern paintings" of the UK text cited on 007Forever. If we have 2 differents e-book, It would mean that IFP have updated the Kindle version since 2011, update that included change of the text ? Or do Kindle send the US version to people who are from USA like you?


  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 3,675
    Looks like I too have the UK ebook text. Mine is published June 2013 though.
  • Posts: 113
    This is something I've tried to figure out for sometime. I've read on other forums before mentioning that some of Gardner's novels were cut or altered between US and UK versions. The above seems to be perhaps some difference in US and UK phrases?
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 5,949
    I remember as a kid reading one of the Bond books and thinking, "What's a lorry?"
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,980
    Not outright butchery, but there are the minor differences in titles and how they were marketed in the UK versus the US.

    John Gardner's COLD in the UK, COLD Fall in the US.

    dd89b5086edd3c43b87ea50903b5a0878961e6ab.png


    Or the subtler Nobody Lives For Ever, and Nobody Lives Forever.

    c0166ed2f6fa72fc1c9b444dcce87343d3f290e6.png

    More egregious (but beautiful on their own) were the paperback US versions of Ian Fleming's of Casino Royale and Moonraker.

    ce36b3e9569dfecf38c83f02252024e4cdf3ab75.png

    be6888f3f19751a4f8a03e8271e84a6114e06c33.png

  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 3,675
    I really don't get the title swaps there. They have absolutely nothing to do with the plots.
  • More importantly, imo, ...... Jimmy Bond?
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited June 2021 Posts: 17,780
    TheBondFan wrote: »
    More importantly, imo, ...... Jimmy Bond?

    I think that edition was a kind of tie-in with the CBS TV adaptation of Casino Royale from 1954, starring Barry Nelson in the lead role. He was referred to as "Card Sharp" Jimmy Bond in that adaptation. Presumably that description on the novel didn't go any further than the back cover and didn't actually feature in the text itself.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited December 2022 Posts: 17,780
    Just came across this repost of two old articles by Nick Kincaid of the sadly now defunct 007Forever site. I used to have most of these articles printed out back when I first joined online Bond fandom in 2001-2002. Mr Kincaid was definitely someone who inspired me to write my own Bond articles, which eventually culminated in my own The Bondologist Blog coming into fruition:

    https://bondfanevents.com/what-are-the-differences-between-the-uk-and-us-editions-of-nobody-lives-forever/

    https://bondfanevents.com/what-is-the-controversy-surrounding-john-gardners-bond-novel-cold-fall/
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,526
    I really don't get the title swaps there. They have absolutely nothing to do with the plots.

    Well, Too Hot to Handle could obviously refer to Bond nearly getting crispy under the Moonraker's thrusters.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,780
    I really don't get the title swaps there. They have absolutely nothing to do with the plots.

    Well, Too Hot to Handle could obviously refer to Bond nearly getting crispy under the Moonraker's thrusters.

    Bond needed an asbestos dinner jacket during that mission.
  • Posts: 1,551
    The American titles were more suited to dime-novel trash.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,780
    Since62 wrote: »
    The American titles were more suited to dime-novel trash.

    Yes, they weren't much of an improvement on the Fleming titles. They were the opposite, in fact. They were more suited to the pulpy stands of the airport novel.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,780

    Does that mean that they've used the US "race edit" text instead of the UK text as that chapter was retitled "Seventh Avenue" there?
  • edited February 2023 Posts: 848
    Probably, and who know other edits that are contained in these new editions. I didn't check and didn't want to, check thid chapter was enough to see that the editions of this book is not right and that the editions of the other have high chance too.

    Probably the same text of the 2017 ( https://www.mi6community.com/discussion/17611/literary-bond-in-2017/p1 ) editions of the first 3 book we critized on this forum ; but this time IFP don't have the excuse of "that may be the published fault" since that thay publish themself now...
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited February 2023 Posts: 17,780
    Probably, and who know other edits that are contained in these new editions. I didn't check and didn't want to, check thid chapter was enough to see that the editions of this book is not right and that the editions of the other have high chance too.

    Probably the same text of the 2017 ( https://www.mi6community.com/discussion/17611/literary-bond-in-2017/p1 ) editions of the first 3 book we critized on this forum ; but this time IFP don't have the excuse of "that may be the published fault" since that thay publish themself now...

    Perhaps it's just LALD as they presumably just used the existing US "race edit" text instead of the original complete UK text? That said, I do recall there being some small "race edits" in the US version of DAF too. More details in my article here:

    https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/james-bond-novels-that-were-edited.html?m=1
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 3,675
    Well that's a shame.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited February 2023 Posts: 17,780
    Well that's a shame.

    I tell you, it's political correctness gone mad.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 3,675
    The thing is that it was a different time. I'm not saying that you should use those terms, no. It's just that it should be preserved as history.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 17,780
    The thing is that it was a different time. I'm not saying that you should use those terms, no. It's just that it should be preserved as history.

    Yes, exactly. It's the literary equivalent of tearing down statutes and casting them into the river. We don't have a right to just whitewash over all of history to make everything fit in with our current sanitised view of the world today.
  • ggl007ggl007 www.archivo007.com Spain, España
    Posts: 2,538
    And let's remember that Nigger Heaven was a "cultural tribute" by Fleming:

    NHeaven.JPG

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger_Heaven


  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited February 2023 Posts: 17,780
    ggl007 wrote: »
    And let's remember that Nigger Heaven was a "cultural tribute" by Fleming:

    NHeaven.JPG

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger_Heaven


    Yes, indeed. I remember buying a copy of that novel published by Alfred A. Knopf (8th Impression, July 1928) for £1 in a second hand bookshop over 15 years ago and realising the true intent behind the chapter title. Although the n-word is obviously offensive I don't believe it was really intended in a racist sense by Fleming. It was a book title taken from the Harlem Renaissance. Of course such nuance is lost in today's virtue-signalling world that wishes to sweep away and edit anything they don't immediately like. Orwell's prophecies have sadly come true in more ways than he would have anticipated back in 1948.
  • edited February 2023 Posts: 2,861
    I presume none of these new editions have forwards or introductions to them written by other writers/critics or whomever? While I completely get that the term N****r Heaven is unsavoury (putting it very mildly) to read nowadays (not even the only example of this in Fleming) I don't see why they can't have something like that which addresses this at the beginning and leaves the rest of the actual text uncensored.

    I mean, it's a pretty standard thing to do with classic novels. A bit like the literary equivalent of Leonard Maltin introducing old Disney cartoons with racist caricatures in re-releases explaining the context behind it etc. It could be very interesting too and cements these novels as important pieces of literary history (which I would say they are), whatever they contain within them.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe "I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it."Moderator
    Posts: 13,894
    We knew it would happen eventually, surprising that it took this long. What next, The bitch is dead becoming 'They're dead.'? #-o

    I am not happy about it, but looking at my 7 copies (6 in paperback and 1 hardback) of LALD, that can't be tampered with, will calm me down.
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited February 2023 Posts: 17,780
    Rewriting history seems to be happening across the board in popular literature with Fleming's friend and YOLT scriptwriter Roald Dahl being the next to face censorship:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/feb/18/roald-dahl-books-rewritten-to-remove-language-deemed-offensive

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-rewriting-of-roald-dahl-is-an-act-of-cultural-vandalism/
  • Posts: 372
    The new puritans are among us. How big are the steps between censoring books, banning books and burning books.
  • Posts: 12,249
    As a progressive-minded individual: censorship is NOT the answer! They're just asking for bad history to repeat itself by removing all of it. It can abridging, deletion of "offensive" material, anything - altering the works of an artist is wrong. Literally nothing good comes of it. If the individual who wrote a certain book was racist, guess what, you changing anything within their works will never change that, and every single person who reads knows it. The more you ban or censor things, the more people will want the originals.
Sign In or Register to comment.