An Interesting analysis of the cover art and it's symbolism.I vote for the ganja...Covers should intrigue their readers-not confuse them or drive them away.Personally,I like Dali but he's not an artist one associates with James Bond.Sometimes less is more-perhaps a representational illustration by Richard Chopping.Something saying that this book too,--though not by Ian Fleming-- is a Bond adventure and part of the grand saga.
At any rate,in life timing is everything and Colonel Sun probably arrived at the wrong moment.As Hardyboy observes,in 1967 Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice were on the screens and neither one--especially CR--resembled Fleming's writing(barring character names,titles and locales).And frankly,even with JFK's endorsement,Ian Fleming was always a cult author--the general public knew 007 from the movies and his larger than life escapades.Colonel Sun isn't the literary equivalent of an EON production.
Then again,for all of Kingsley Amis' writing talent,Colonel Sun isn't an especially gripping novel.It certainly has it's moments,but on the whole,it's not as compelling as it ought to have been.It'll never be confused with From Russia With Love,Moonraker or OHMSS,for example.And just as a title,"Colonel Sun" is too close to "Dr.No",while the story itself---which should move rapidly while still establishing mood and uniquely interesting characters---as per Fleming's best work, often drags.
Moreover,the colonel's grand scheme is disappointingly mundane and the climax is surprising anticlimactic.Too bad because the colonel is a promising villain.And except for the superb opening chapters with the violent assault on Quarterdeck and the kidnapping of M, we've seen most of this stuff before:in better and lesser Fleming stories.There's a sense of deja vu that permeates this book.
I like Colonel Sun despite it's many shortcomings--at a purely technical level it's a fine Ian Fleming pastiche--but it isn't the kind of novel to relaunch an ongoing series of new James Bond adventures.
Last edited by Willie Garvin (21st Jun 2002 04:03)