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Topic: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

I'm researching (and writing) something on Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun and I was wondering if anyone else had heard the rumour that it was supposedly Fleming's 15th novel finished after his death?

Has anyone else ever read this (provably false) rumour anywhere just out of interest?

If you can remember where you read it, that would be great too!

Thanks,

SM.  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

Last edited by Silhouette Man (23rd Feb 2016 19:09)

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In memory of Ian Fleming, Sir Kingsley Amis and John Gardner

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Although I'm not familiar with the novel I haven't heard this. An interesting theory yet perhaps had it been true it would have been far more widely reported? As it stands my cynical side suggests urban myth or that it may have been a marketing ploy by the publishers in order to drum up in interest & (free) publicity?

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

I've heard that story...but it was more in fanzines and the like - way before the Internet was up and running...doubt it's true though...

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

I though Amis had already stated it was all his own work ?

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Im sure Flemings estate would have cashed in on the facts if it had been true to sell more copies

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

My recollection is a bit like Sir Miles but IIRC this rumour ran in the 70s in places like mags on the films - the mags released wirh LALD and TMWTGG for example - with foot notes as a sop to the books, often concluding with "Fleming was working on his next novel, COLONEL SUN, when he died. This was finished by Kingsley Amis writting as Robert Markham".

Of course, back then Glidrose didn't do much monitoring of such nonsense. Or much else. So for a time it became an urban myth

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

David Schofield wrote:

My recollection is a bit like Sir Miles but IIRC this rumour ran in the 70s in places like mags on the films - the mags released wirh LALD and TMWTGG for example - with foot notes as a sop to the books, often concluding with "Fleming was working on his next novel, COLONEL SUN, when he died. This was finished by Kingsley Amis writting as Robert Markham".

Of course, back then Glidrose didn't do much monitoring of such nonsense. Or much else. So for a time it became an urban myth

In the days dominated by print, it seems there was more room for hearsay and editorial errors that once printed, were then propagated by other article writers because snail mail made it tedious to make fact checks (and hence, why I think many Bond urban legends took life).  I myself have never come across this rumor before reading this thread, but just looking at the possible ways certain facts could have gotten misconstrued, this whole business sounds too close to the rumored events surrounding the unfinished state of TMWTGG, particularly how (1) it was Fleming's last novel, (2) Fleming's death stopped his efforts on it short of a polish (3) Glidrose did ask Amis to look at the manuscript for which he gave feedback  (not to get into my own theories and the plausibility of Amis ghost-writing the polish of TMWTGG, which got me suspended on CBn by a self-righteous, narcissistic admin who had strong feelings about it being that an absolute, snowball's chance in hell impossibility...but I digress)

Because Amis was involved with both TMWTGG, Fleming's last novel as well as the 1st continuation Bond novel as its author, could these blurred associations be the source of an unintended "rumor" that Colonel Sun was Fleming's unfinished novel that Amis completed?

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

It's an interesting theory, but it's my first time hearing it as well. It seems highly unlikely that Fleming, in failing health, could have done anything with CS given the difficulties he was having with TMWTGG (according to one Fleming bio I read) even before his passing.

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Quite convinced there's nothing in the rumour. Even the somnambulant Glidrose of the 60s wouldn't have failed to promote CS as a Fleming novel finished by Amis had it actually have been.

And as Superado suggests, I think this story did circulate as a consequence of similar theories of the time like Amis finishing TMWTGG. My recollections come from 70s cinema mags: lit Bond of this period didn't have much puff - why would those writing about them in foot notes bother verify their sources?

However, as an interesting point on the Fleming-CS theory: Pearson's AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY simple includes CS as Bond's next mission after TMWTGG, as if it's all part of the same reality, without mentioning Amis, which suggests the implication is that Amis was in on the whole conceit in the first place or, indeed. that perhaps Amis was just a cover for something Fleming might possible have been working on.... ajb007/amazed

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Does anyone else want to share their thoughts on this one?

Have you by chance heard this rumour?

The article is being written as I type!

All help is mightily appreciated! ajb007/smile

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In memory of Ian Fleming, Sir Kingsley Amis and John Gardner

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Looking forward to this article.

I wish I could contribute but I'm not aware of this rumor...

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

clublos wrote:

Looking forward to this article.

I wish I could contribute but I'm not aware of this rumor...

Well thank you for commenting anyhow, clublos.

I want this to be the first comeback article of 2016 for The Bondologist Blogajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

By the way, if anyone has early editions of Bondage magazine from the 1970s could they possibly check for any mentions of this particular Colonel Sun rumour and PM me if they find anything? I'd be most grateful...

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

I believe K Amis himself discounted that rumour in an interview, prob in the James Bond Fan Club mag in the 1980s if I recall.

Better get your facts right, SM, or his son will be upon you with vengeance... he's got your number.   ajb007/biggrin

Bond: Mr. Mathis, there's something that's been worrying me...
Mathis: Yes?
Bond: Well, you're a French police inspector, yet you speak with an Italian accent.
Mathis: Mamma mia, it worries me, too.

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Napoleon Plural wrote:

I believe K Amis himself discounted that rumour in an interview, prob in the James Bond Fan Club mag in the 1980s if I recall.

Better get your facts right, SM, or his son will be upon you with vengeance... he's got your number.   ajb007/biggrin

Yes, Martin Amis certainly has got my number and famously (to me at least) replied to my article from January 2013 on Kingsley Amis and the Reform of the Action Sequences in the James Bond Films on the very day that it went up. I hope he commments again or asks me over for tea!  ajb007/lol  See here:

http://www.thebondologistblog.blogspot. … eform.html

I actually have that interview with Amis conducted by Raymond Benson in 1982 for Bondage, the magazine of the American James Bond Fan Club. It's one of the sources for my upcoming blog article.  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

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In memory of Ian Fleming, Sir Kingsley Amis and John Gardner

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Silhouette Man wrote:

I actually have that interview with Amis conducted by Raymond Benson in 1982 for Bondage, the magazine of the American James Bond Fan Club. It's one of the sources for my upcoming blog article.  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

I'd love to read that interview.

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Revelator wrote:
Silhouette Man wrote:

I actually have that interview with Amis conducted by Raymond Benson in 1982 for Bondage, the magazine of the American James Bond Fan Club. It's one of the sources for my upcoming blog article.  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

I'd love to read that interview.

If you wish I could send you a scan of it. Give me a contact email address via PM.  ajb007/smile

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Silhouette Man wrote:
Napoleon Plural wrote:

I believe K Amis himself discounted that rumour in an interview, prob in the James Bond Fan Club mag in the 1980s if I recall.

Better get your facts right, SM, or his son will be upon you with vengeance... he's got your number.   ajb007/biggrin

Yes, Martin Amis certainly has got my number and famously (to me at least) replied to my article from January 2013 on Kingsley Amis and the Reform of the Action Sequences in the James Bond Films on the very day that it went up. I hope he commments again or asks me over for tea!  ajb007/lol  See here:

http://www.thebondologistblog.blogspot. … eform.html

I actually have that interview with Amis conducted by Raymond Benson in 1982 for Bondage, the magazine of the American James Bond Fan Club. It's one of the sources for my upcoming blog article.  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

Apologies if I've brought this up before, which I surely have done with some variation, but SM, I must confess I think it was possible that KA did finish TMWTGG because (1) he was given a copy of the unpolished draft for "review," (2) at that point, Amis was a published author and well qualified to provide enough of a polish, perhaps just an adequate amount to still maintain that "it was all Fleming."  (3) a ghostwriting arrangement would have stipulated confidentiality, (4) the recounting of events of his "review" in The New Statesman could have been promulgated to ward off ideas of ghostwriting, since points 1 and 2 had the potential of being publicly divulged.

Are there indications for or against this based on what his son had to say, or from Benson's interview of Amis?

I don't want to seem like a conspiracy nut, but I just find points 1 and 2 such an incredible convergence of fact, happenstance and opportunity that beg for the possibility of Amis' ghostwriting role for TMWTGG.  Also, IMO, I don't think that the staunch "purist," "that's absolutely impossible" and "it was all Fleming" biases of some people (like a certain power-tripping admin at CBN named Dustin  ajb007/rolleyes ), have a place in any attempt to rationally examine this phenomenal singularity in the Fleming canon.  All I'm after is acceptance of the possibility, however unlikely or remote.

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Very possible, I'd say. William Plomer (Fleming's editor) has also been suggested as having a hand in "preparing the manuscript", "polishing", etc.

See also http://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/30928/the … -question/

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Barbel wrote:

Very possible, I'd say. William Plomer (Fleming's editor) has also been suggested as having a hand in "preparing the manuscript", "polishing", etc.

See also http://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/30928/the … -question/

Thanks, Barbel, I appreciate your objectivity!  Thanks too for the link.  Yes it seems that this is an occasionally recurring topic.  In response to the "no, it was all Fleming" perspective from that older thread, the rewrite and polish process that Fleming undertook was not as simplistic as assumed (there are several recent sources that attest to that) and anything purported by Amis against a more involved role, could possibly be the result of the points 3 & 4 that I posted above.  Again, these two points are compelling and obvious conclusions based on my points 1 & 2. 

What I forgot to add regarding Amis' credentials is that, not only was he personally acquainted professionally with Fleming as a writer, but by that point he was already recognized by Fleming's publishers (Jonathan Cape was also his publisher, of which interests related to TMWTGG was represented by Plomer) as a knowledgeable "Flemingologist" ...who happened to be published author. 

What would be the motive?  Two come to mind; the desire from the perspective of the publishers to honor a deceased friend and celebrated author with a proper treatment of one of his last works; and of course, profits, from what would otherwise have been wasted without an adequate rewrite and polish.

Last edited by superado (27th Feb 2016 16:54)

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

That's a very plausible scenario, supes. It wouldn't have been in anyone's interests (Fleming estate; publishers; Amis) for this to be public knowledge.

Side note- Conan Doyle turned down at least one collaboration offer on the grounds that his fee would go down by 75% if there was another name beside his.

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

...which is why the real Dr. John Watson became a fictionalized character!

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Interesting thread. But, in another JBBFC piece from the early 80s, there was a feature from someone who examined the original notes of the Fleming novels at a US library, picking up on changes and amendments along the way, early drafts. So surely the inclusion of TMWTGG in the library would address that?

Of course, without the last novel we have Bond heading out to Soviet Russia, in Bourne Identity mode, ready to be their pawn. A very disturbing finale for a great British hero.

Bond: Mr. Mathis, there's something that's been worrying me...
Mathis: Yes?
Bond: Well, you're a French police inspector, yet you speak with an Italian accent.
Mathis: Mamma mia, it worries me, too.

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

Napoleon Plural wrote:

Interesting thread. But, in another JBBFC piece from the early 80s, there was a feature from someone who examined the original notes of the Fleming novels at a US library, picking up on changes and amendments along the way, early drafts. So surely the inclusion of TMWTGG in the library would address that?

I'm not sure if it's the same incident, but I read in the CBN Fleming forum that John Cork examined the TMWTGG manuscript(s), which is part of the Ian Fleming collection in the Lilly Library in Indiana, and it was Cork who concluded that the differences were very minor.  What I would appreciate seeing is the piece in which Cork says this, and better yet, a fairly detailed analysis of the comparisons made.

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: Unfinished Fleming Manuscript Rumour about Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun?

I stick to my theory that it was only William Plomer that really edited TMWTGG, as was his right as Fleming's editor. I believe this can be proved by way of a letter that Kingsley Amis wrote and by the fact that the content of the novel itself is provably from Fleming's pen. I've sketched out a blog article that will look at this question in more detail and that will try to provide a definitive account of the authorship of the novel.

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In memory of Ian Fleming, Sir Kingsley Amis and John Gardner