Calvin Dyson's review of John Gardner's Never Send Flowers (1993):
He seems in two minds about it! Maybe a second reading (which he hinted he will do somewhere down the line) will make his feelings a bit more clear.
I'm just relieved when Calvin finds some sort of enjoyment from these books, as he has done recently from Never Send Flowers and Brokenclaw. In many cases they just seem to be an unpleasant reading experience for him, which doesn't do much for encouraging his viewers to dip into the continuation novels. When you read through the comments on Youtube you tend to see a lot of comments saying things like 'Well done Calvin for going through this pain so that we don't have to'. I'm also sometimes surprised by which Gardner novels he really dislikes. For example, No Deals Mr Bond which I think is one of the most enjoyable Gardners, was Calvin's least favourite for a while.
I am curious about what his reaction to the Bensons is going to be like.
In his latest livestream, Calvin just named NSF as his favourite continuation novel, although Christopher Wood's TSWLM novelisation was close.
Nothing Calvin ever does is consistent or reflect any kind of artistic value, only a oersonal opinion. I find him intensely annoying. Reading that has just irked me even more. I'm sure he has his reasons but I don't expect any of them are to do with the general poor quality of Gardner's prose in NSF. He's clearly a pleb or pkayibg to the pkeb gallery to be entertaining as he doesn't like Gardener's better early works much, such as the intense and well-observed NDMB. I expect he'll get on with Benson rather well.
Well that's a turn up for the book. I really wasn't expecting that. Never Send Flowers is one of my favourite Bond continuation novels too for the experimental nature and the risks it takes. I understand that's an unpopular opinion though. My favourite Bond continuation novel is still Colonel Sun though and I don't think anything will ever shake it off the top spot. Amis is by far the best writer to ever take on the Bond continuation and it also helps that his Bond novel was written in the 1960s, making it a nice companion piece with the Fleming originals.