Worst Fleming Bond Novel?

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  • Posts: 2,388
    OHMSS. Never really a big fan of the book.

    Bearing in mind that this is in response to the title of the thread - Worst Fleming Bond Novel? - it has to be one of the most ludicrous statements ever uttered.

    We can all argue about the merits of TSWLM (my personal pick for worst novel - just a low rent melodrama) versus TMWTGG and perhaps DAF and TB in the scrap for worst but when you start including OHMSS in the debate you just embarrass yourself.
    Wow! Just wow! I missed that.

    Someone stating OHMSS to be the WORST Bond novel???

    :))
  • AliAli
    Posts: 319
    Well, from the list it looks like I've read some of the worst so far! I've only read CR, DAF and currently halfway through LALD. I have to say, I didn't mind DAF too much. It seemed a bit of an odd, and slightly pointless, mission to send a double O agent on, but the final showdown and epilogue were significantly better than the filmed version. The lack of Blofeld was also a big plus for me. Shoehorning him into the movie and then the stupid cloning subplot just spoiled it. Not to mention that I, personally, think the middle act of the movie is the most boring Bond sequence of them all and seemed designed by the Nevada Tourist Board rather than adding anything to the plot.

    CR I really enjoyed. It had an almost quaintness and innocence that suddenly disappeared in LALD which is, out of the three, easily the worst so far. I guess it's important to remember that this was written in the '50s, long before equal rights became a political topic (much the same as the sexism in CR), but the actual plot has, so far, been thoroughly boring. Here's hoping it speeds up soon!
  • Posts: 2,388
    Ali wrote:
    Well, from the list it looks like I've read some of the worst so far! I've only read CR, DAF and currently halfway through LALD. I have to say, I didn't mind DAF too much. It seemed a bit of an odd, and slightly pointless, mission to send a double O agent on, but the final showdown and epilogue were significantly better than the filmed version. The lack of Blofeld was also a big plus for me. Shoehorning him into the movie and then the stupid cloning subplot just spoiled it. Not to mention that I, personally, think the middle act of the movie is the most boring Bond sequence of them all and seemed designed by the Nevada Tourist Board rather than adding anything to the plot.

    CR I really enjoyed. It had an almost quaintness and innocence that suddenly disappeared in LALD which is, out of the three, easily the worst so far. I guess it's important to remember that this was written in the '50s, long before equal rights became a political topic (much the same as the sexism in CR), but the actual plot has, so far, been thoroughly boring. Here's hoping it speeds up soon!
    Scandalous!!! No Fleming Bond book is boring!!!!
  • AliAli
    Posts: 319
    OHMSS. Never really a big fan of the book.

    Wow! Just wow! I missed that.

    Someone stating OHMSS to be the WORST Bond novel???

    :))

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I won't comment until I've read it but I do feel the adoration for the movie on here is largely unjustified. For me, it's pedestrian at its best and throughly boring at its worst moments. One clever ending twist doesn't cover up the fact that the first two acts were utterly drab for me and the movie outstayed its welcome by over half an hour. Again, personal opinion, but we're all entitled to it.
  • edited February 2013 Posts: 2,388
    Ali wrote:
    OHMSS. Never really a big fan of the book.

    Wow! Just wow! I missed that.

    Someone stating OHMSS to be the WORST Bond novel???

    :))

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I won't comment until I've read it but I do feel the adoration for the movie on here is largely unjustified. For me, it's pedestrian at its best and throughly boring at its worst moments. One clever ending twist doesn't cover up the fact that the first two acts were utterly drab for me and the movie outstayed its welcome by over half an hour. Again, personal opinion, but we're all entitled to it.
    The book is far better than the movie, but judging by your opinion so far on Fleming, I wouldn't hold my breath in thinking that you will appreciate it.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe Still waiting for the Jena Malone Batwoman movie that's never going to be made.Moderator
    Posts: 11,962
    I'm currently in the midst of my literary Bondathon (i'll be starting TSWLM this evening, my ranking can be found in the 'Last Bond Book Read' thread), but I must say that I have not found every Fleming story perfect thus far. DAF I could not wait to get it finished, the same goes for GF. Those are my two least favourite, DAF moreso.
  • AliAli
    Posts: 319
    The book is far better than the movie, but judging by your opinion so far on Fleming, I wouldn't hold my breath in thinking that you will appreciate it.

    Don't say that. I still have GF, TB, DN and FYEO to get through.....went a bit mad and bought up what WH Smith had on their shelves just before Christmas!
  • I think it has to be DAF for me.
    The plot and the characters were a bit weak and I never felt that Bond was in any real danger throughout.
    Having said that I still remember the train chase as one of the better bits in all of the books. really exciting for me.
  • saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
    edited February 2013 Posts: 987
    It's nice to read that so many members like TMWTGG, I know the general consensus is that it's Fleming's least accomplished novel yet I've always found it as good as many of his other works and certainly undeserving of the 'unfinished rough draft' reputation that has been built up around it.
    TSWLM is certinally very different to his other 007 works and as an experiment it's not entirely successful, but in many ways it's Fleming's most personal work despite being written through the eyes of a women. Many of her experiences such as the intimate fumbling in the Windsor cinema are taken directly from Fleming's own past, and his attempts to understand the female mind sheds much light on his own views and personality. As I've matured as a Bond fan I've found that the focus of my interest has moved more from James Bond and the films towards Fleming and his incredible life and this book holds many clues to the mindset of the great man.
    As for the least enjoyable novel for me it would have to be YOLT, coming after the thrilling OHMSS this book just seems to plod slowly for the first two thirds of what is basically not much more than a extended travelogue, the story does eventually pick up but the deaths of Blofeld and Bunt are rather unsatisfactory. To be fair I have never found Japan or it's culture particularly interesting so undoubtedly this has affected my appreciation of the novel.
  • Posts: 13,257
    I think it has to be DAF for me.
    The plot and the characters were a bit weak and I never felt that Bond was in any real danger throughout.
    Having said that I still remember the train chase as one of the better bits in all of the books. really exciting for me.

    The more I think about it, the more it has to be DAF, mainly because of the Spangs, which are poorly developed. That said, it still has lots of good things and is far superior to the movie. Maybe the movie was cursed to fail? There is something else I like about DAF: there is still a lot of it which could be used in a Bond movie.
  • Posts: 1,817
    saunders wrote:
    It's nice to read that so many members like TMWTGG, I know the general consensus is that it's Fleming's least accomplished novel yet I've always found it as good as many of his other works and certainly undeserving of the 'unfinished rough draft' reputation that has been built up around it.
    TSWLM is certinally very different to his other 007 works and as an experiment it's not entirely successful, but in many ways it's Fleming's most personal work despite being written through the eyes of a women. Many of her experiences such as the intimate fumbling in the Windsor cinema are taken directly from Fleming's own past, and his attempts to understand the female mind sheds much light on his own views and personality. As I've matured as a Bond fan I've found that the focus of my interest has moved more from James Bond and the films towards Fleming and his incredible life and this book holds many clues to the mindset of the great man.
    As for the least enjoyable novel for me it would have to be YOLT, coming after the thrilling OHMSS this book just seems to plod slowly for the first two thirds of what is basically not much more than a extended travelogue, the story does eventually pick up but the deaths of Blofeld and Bunt are rather unsatisfactory. To be fair I have never found Japan or it's culture particularly interesting so undoubtedly this has affected my appreciation of the novel.

    YOLT is my favorite Bond novel and one of my favorite books of all time. The way in which the story develops, the dynamics with Dikko and Tanaka, the surreal atmosphere, the revenge emotion, the ending... those are all great elements! A literary masterpiece in my opinion.
  • All Fleming novels are to be appreciated, some are outstanding reads. My least favourite (I refuse to use the word worst) would be TMWTGG or TSWLM. The best two for me are FRWL and OHMSS (which also happens to be my two favourite movies from the classic era)
  • Posts: 13,257
    All Fleming novels are to be appreciated, some are outstanding reads. My least favourite (I refuse to use the word worst) would be TMWTGG or TSWLM. The best two for me are FRWL and OHMSS (which also happens to be my two favourite movies from the classic era)

    I wouldn't call any of the novels ''worst'' either, unless it is in a relative way, compared to the whole body of work. In that sense, DAF is the least enjoyable.

    TSWLM seems to be the least liked so far. I can understand why. As a Bond novel, it is atypical and maybe falls short. But as crime fiction, I found it surprisingly good.
  • Posts: 1,165
    Can't think of one I don't like. I re-read them all the time. they feel like old friends. All mine are original paperbacks from the early 60s...with scotch tape!
  • Posts: 11,175
    I'm listening to an audiobook of YOLT at the moment and for some reason I'm not feeling it as much. Its not as focused as Flemings earlier books (Shatterhand/Blofeld hasnt been mentioned for ages) and I don't like the "Black cat" comment which I find crude even for Fleming (and normally I'm fine with that sort of stuff)

    I don't know if it's his "worse" though.
  • Posts: 13,257
    BAIN123 wrote:
    I'm listening to an audiobook of YOLT at the moment and for some reason I'm not feeling it as much. Its not as focused as Flemings earlier books (Shatterhand/Blofeld hasnt been mentioned for ages) and I don't like the "Black cat" comment which I find crude even for Fleming (and normally I'm fine with that sort of stuff)

    I don't know if it's his "worse" though.

    Don't know about the audiobook, but I thought the novel was brilliant, although more a nightmarish adventure than spy fiction. Blofeld is downright mad in it, doing evil for the sake of it.
  • OHMSS. Never really a big fan of the book.

    Bearing in mind that this is in response to the title of the thread - Worst Fleming Bond Novel? - it has to be one of the most ludicrous statements ever uttered.

    We can all argue about the merits of TSWLM (my personal pick for worst novel - just a low rent melodrama) versus TMWTGG and perhaps DAF and TB in the scrap for worst but when you start including OHMSS in the debate you just embarrass yourself.

    I can't say how pleased I am to agree with TheWizardOflce. To have the voice of reason brought to bear on the ridiculous comment pertaining to OHMSS is most welcome.
    That said, when one looks at some of the drivel posted, it has to be questionable as to how many of the participants have actually read Fleming's novels?

  • Ludovico wrote:
    BAIN123 wrote:
    I'm listening to an audiobook of YOLT at the moment and for some reason I'm not feeling it as much. Its not as focused as Flemings earlier books (Shatterhand/Blofeld hasnt been mentioned for ages) and I don't like the "Black cat" comment which I find crude even for Fleming (and normally I'm fine with that sort of stuff)

    I don't know if it's his "worse" though.

    Don't know about the audiobook, but I thought the novel was brilliant, although more a nightmarish adventure than spy fiction. Blofeld is downright mad in it, doing evil for the sake of it.

    I think that YOLT has the best travelogue elements of any Fleming, but as a book Fleming was really starting to show that he was running out of steam. I guess if I had to choose a word to describe it I'd use "clumsy". For example:
    When Bond picks up on the guy following them and Tiger doesn't, it makes Tiger look like an imbecile and incredibly incompetent. I understand that it was "needed" to put Tiger in Bond's debt and to show how good Bond was at his job, but it was done so clumsily...and to have Blofeld turned into an insane Hitler...yeesh.

  • edited February 2013 Posts: 11,175
    Ludovico wrote:
    BAIN123 wrote:
    I'm listening to an audiobook of YOLT at the moment and for some reason I'm not feeling it as much. Its not as focused as Flemings earlier books (Shatterhand/Blofeld hasnt been mentioned for ages) and I don't like the "Black cat" comment which I find crude even for Fleming (and normally I'm fine with that sort of stuff)

    I don't know if it's his "worse" though.

    Don't know about the audiobook, but I thought the novel was brilliant, although more a nightmarish adventure than spy fiction. Blofeld is downright mad in it, doing evil for the sake of it.

    I think that YOLT has the best travelogue elements of any Fleming, but as a book Fleming was really starting to show that he was running out of steam. I guess if I had to choose a word to describe it I'd use "clumsy". For example:
    When Bond picks up on the guy following them and Tiger doesn't, it makes Tiger look like an imbecile and incredibly incompetent. I understand that it was "needed" to put Tiger in Bond's debt and to show how good Bond was at his job, but it was done so clumsily...and to have Blofeld turned into an insane Hitler...yeesh.

    I think the end of YOLT picks up a little with Bond going into the "garden of death" and witnessing the suicide and murder. I also like the story about the bank manager and employee obediantly downing cyanide. However I felt the middle section dragged a bit and I agree with @thelordflasheart regarding "characters talking in exposition" - especially during Blofeld's madman speech to Ima.

    One bit that did make me laugh (the quote isn't exact):

    "When you get there...kill the wife too...she is too ugly to live"
  • Posts: 13,257
    Ludovico wrote:
    BAIN123 wrote:
    I'm listening to an audiobook of YOLT at the moment and for some reason I'm not feeling it as much. Its not as focused as Flemings earlier books (Shatterhand/Blofeld hasnt been mentioned for ages) and I don't like the "Black cat" comment which I find crude even for Fleming (and normally I'm fine with that sort of stuff)

    I don't know if it's his "worse" though.

    Don't know about the audiobook, but I thought the novel was brilliant, although more a nightmarish adventure than spy fiction. Blofeld is downright mad in it, doing evil for the sake of it.

    I think that YOLT has the best travelogue elements of any Fleming, but as a book Fleming was really starting to show that he was running out of steam. I guess if I had to choose a word to describe it I'd use "clumsy". For example:
    When Bond picks up on the guy following them and Tiger doesn't, it makes Tiger look like an imbecile and incredibly incompetent. I understand that it was "needed" to put Tiger in Bond's debt and to show how good Bond was at his job, but it was done so clumsily...and to have Blofeld turned into an insane Hitler...yeesh.

    There is something very out there about the plot of the novel, which explains partially why it was very loosely adapted. I wish they had done something closer to the original, but they would have had to change Blofeld's motivations extensively.
  • I love all of his Bond works. In my opinion, Fleming doesn't have a 'worst' novel. But I really feel his last novels (You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun) were really rushed.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,351
    Sartori007 wrote:
    I love all of his Bond works. In my opinion, Fleming doesn't have a 'worst' novel. But I really feel his last novels (You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun) were really rushed.
    Rushed, but still pretty awesome reads IMO.

  • Posts: 13,257
    I think TMWTGG was rushed, I thought YOLT seemed pretty well crafted, although very different from the rest of his work.
  • Posts: 802
    Ludovico wrote:
    I think TMWTGG was rushed, I thought YOLT seemed pretty well crafted, although very different from the rest of his work.

    @Ludovico makes a very good point when he says that "YOLT seemed pretty well crafted, although very different ...."
    I remember so looking forward to the release of YOLT and being quite disappointed on reading it. In fact YOLT along with DAF, TSWLM and TMWTGG are the only Bond books that I haven't read multiple times.That said, I couldn't provide a single reason why I would put it in the same league as the other three all of which I could critique sans arret!
    On reflection, because OHMSS was so great, perhaps anything that came after was destined to disappoint - maybe I'll go back to YOLT and give it another go. God knows forty nine years have elapsed!
  • Posts: 13,257
    YOLT might actually be one of Fleming's best, certainly the deepest. It is not only a spy thriller, in fact it is not so much a thriller than a story about identity: Bond ceases to be Bond after his wife's death, losing himself drinking and becoming sloppy, then goes to Japan to regain his self, to reconstruct his identity, only to lose it again when he loses his memory. Blofeld himself, the Moriarty of Bond, his nemesis, already a shapeshifter in the previous two novels, is now a full out demon, Satan in human shape I think Tanaka says, motivated not by greed or snobbery or vanity, but pure malevolence. Blofeld has now reached his ultimate and perfect incarnation.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,351
    L-) That's a great take on it!
  • The funny thing is for all the criticism it gets I quite liked TMWTGG. When I recently re-read it it didn't feel like it was "rushed out" at all. It's not Fleming's best but certainly not his worst. The biggest problem that I had with it is that there wasn't much to it, plot-wise.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,479
    The funny thing is for all the criticism it gets I quite liked TMWTGG. When I recently re-read it it didn't feel like it was "rushed out" at all. It's not Fleming's best but certainly not his worst. The biggest problem that I had with it is that there wasn't much to it, plot-wise.

    Me too. It's s tad lightweight but I do very much enjoy it. I feel like Scaramanga is a well rounded, very visceral character (but then Fleming was always so good at that IMO). Like you say, it's just the plot that's not quite up to scratch. Everything else is there for me. The intro is naturally one of my favourite moments in the literary canon.

  • Posts: 12,410
    CR seems a bit dull story wise compared to the later books. It's on a much smaller scale. I prefer the more OTT novels because I feel that they're more entertaining and certain bits show Fleming's talent to make you buy into unbelieveable things.

    Having said that though I still haven't read them all so I can't really fairly judge.
  • Posts: 13,257
    The funny thing is for all the criticism it gets I quite liked TMWTGG. When I recently re-read it it didn't feel like it was "rushed out" at all. It's not Fleming's best but certainly not his worst. The biggest problem that I had with it is that there wasn't much to it, plot-wise.

    I think Fleming was getting physically tired and it shows: the novel is more about characters than story.
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