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Topic: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

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This thread rather does what it says on the tin. I like keeping things simple and writing in as plain English as possible.   ajb007/smile

I wanted to ask members here about what things/elements/characters etc. you felt did not belong in a James Bond novel (this covers the original Bond novels by Ian Fleming and the Continuations since 1968 to the present day)?

A few ones that are obvious to me from reading fan opinion in fanzines and Internet discussion forums like this ones and articles and so on are:


- The doped ice cream plot device in John Gardner's For Special Services (1982)
- James Bond visiting and liking Euro Disney in John Gardner's Never Send Flowers (1993)
- The o-kee-pa torture endured by James Bond at the end of John Gardner's Brokenclaw (1990)
- 'Operation Cream Cake' as an operation title in John Gardner's No Deals, Mr Bond (1987)
- James Bond thinking of the phrase 'Dickbrain' in John Gardner's Never Send Flowers (1993)
- James Bond visiting (and donating to!) a sperm bank in Raymond Benson's The Facts of Death (1998)
-The Saab 900 Turbo in the John Gardner novels
- James Bond masturbating/voyeurism in William Boyd's Solo (2013)

Now these are all examples taken from the James Bond continuation novels, but of course the Fleming Bond canon can be included as well. It's just that I'm really  at a loss to think of any examples from there!

By the way, I don't necessarily agree with each and every one of these, but they are ones that have come up more than once in my reading of articles and fan opinion on various Bond fora over the years.

Now it's over to you to ruminate on the other things that you feel didn't belong in a James Bond novel. Feel free also to agree or disagree with my examples quoted above. Please also give your reasons for your choices, on why you feel the way you do about something in the Bond novels. 

Thanks for reading!  ajb007/smile

Last edited by Silhouette Man (14th Feb 2017 20:24)

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

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Anyone?  ajb007/smile

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

How about Fleming's racism and sexism?

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Chula wrote:

How about Fleming's racism and sexism?

By today's standards, maybe. Wasn't so much of a problem at the time of publication, I'd imagine.

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Silhouette Man wrote:

Wasn't so much of a problem at the time of publication, I'd imagine

Don't be so sure of that. There were incredibly horrid depictions and statements made about homosexuality in those Fleming novels. You honestly think no one was offended just because it was the 1950s and 1960s?

Also Fleming did entitle one of his chapters in LIVE AND LET DIE "Nigger Heaven." You honestly think no one was offended by that title? Well, the US publication of LIVE AND LET DIE changed that chapter title, so, yeah, obviously it was seen by some to be terribly wrong and offensive.

Don't let the publication dates of the Fleming novels fool you. People back then were just as outraged by blatant racism and sexism as they are now.

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Have you read any Agatha Christie or Enid Blyton  ? Only my opinion of course but
I agree with SM. Sadly it was pretty common. Many titles were changed, " And then
There were none" being one example.

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

While sexist and racist attitudes may arguably have been offensive at the time of publication, it doesn't necessary mean that they "don't belong" in a Bond novel. Sexism in particular is a trait that many people associate with the Bond character, even in the films. So therefore, I would argue that such attitudes are not out of place in a Bond novel, even if they may be controversial.

I would agree with some of the examples mentioned by Sillhouette Man in the original post. The one that I particularly remember thinking didn't belong was the 'Dickbrain' example from Never Send Flowers. As for the latter stages of that novel at EuroDisney, I remember thinking it was an odd setting, but one that I found strangely enjoyable. A bit like the fairground scene in film, The Living Daylights.

The only thing that comes to mind for me is a scene from High Time To Kill, where Bond uses the gadgets in his Jaguar. To be perfectly honest, I can not remember the details of the scene, but I remember reading it and thinking that the gadgets were really over-the-top for a Bond novel.

Golrush 007 Fan Art - http://007fanart.wordpress.com/

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Silhouette Man wrote:
Chula wrote:

How about Fleming's racism and sexism?

By today's standards, maybe. Wasn't so much of a problem at the time of publication, I'd imagine.

Totally agree.  Definitely these are important issues now, as you can tell, but definitely to a much, much lesser degree were they issues then (which btw is what made Fleming stand out to readers of his day by being "edgy"), but ones that people in general didn't loose sleep over in protest and indignation if the many commentaries and reviews of the Fleming books can be indicators of such.  And of those issues, it was more of the blatant sexuality that people took offence with and not so much the other violations of social mores of sexism and racism.

"...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: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Silhouette Man wrote:

- The o-kee-pa torture endured by James Bond at the end of John Gardner's Brokenclaw (1990)

When I read Brokenclaw all those years ago, I remember thinking that this was the dumbest sequence I had ever read in a Bond novel.  I still feel that way.

Hilly...you old devil!

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

I agree with Siloette Man on all the examples from the continuation novels, even though I have owned a SAAB twice...
I remember reading the stalker scenes in SOLO and cringing.  ajb007/crap

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

I agree that the stalking scenes in Solo really felt out of character. Bond being the ladies man that he is, I am sure that he would find a better way to connect with a lady. Also the  o-kee-pa torture seemed really badly done, and out of left field compared to other times the villains abused Bond. Another thing that found strange with Brokenclaw  was Bond eating French Fries and later a Pizza. Compared to the other meals that he had in Fleming's stories it seems out of character. I know that he eats simply when he is at his flat, but still I feel like John Gardner could made a better choice, like a sandwich.

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Thank you for all of the very interesting contributions so far! Anyone else want to throw their hat into the ring?  ajb007/smile

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

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

I think the monkey hand from Devil May Care was a step too far.

“The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. "
-Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

James Suzuki wrote:

I think the monkey hand from Devil May Care was a step too far.

Thank you!

Yes, a step too far into parody me thinks. Dr Julius Gorner as a villain name was too deliberately close to Dr Julius No too of course.

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

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

Devil May Cares whole problem is it's too by the numbers for my taste. Gorner has to have a deformity because he is a villian in a Bond book and Bond villians have deformities, Bond has to best the villain in a game of chance. It leans slightly too hard on parody to be taken as a serious entry in Bond cannon.

I also thought that 'Solo' Bond shouldn't stalk. If he had engineered a way to get another chance encounter then all for the good, but breaking into her house and being a voyeur is a bit much.

I do feel like I am harping on the modern bond continuation novels with my issues, but I also don't like in Carter Blanche that Deaver kept taking the story away from Bond's perspective to allow him to write sections twice and artificially raise the level of suspense, Bond has lost the villain on the way to the airport, no he hasn't he's in the other car or The villain has met a dangerous arms dealer from Durban, no he hasn't, it's Bond in disguise. I know this issue isn't a plot point but it takes the style away from the Bond standard and makes it harder for me to get invested in Bond's journey because I was trying to preempt the plot twists.

I am well aware I have that I have berated one continuation novel for adhering too strongly to formula and another for being too different, so basically I can't be pleased

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

No, all more than valid points, Shadowfall. Exactly what I was looking for when I started this thread in fact. Thank you!

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

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Re: Things that don't belong in the Bond Novels (Fleming & Continuations)?

if Fleming wrote it, by definition it belongs in a Bond novel. Certain things like Quantum of Solace or The Spy Who Loved Me get pretty far from the concept, to the point they may have worked better if the Bond character had just been left out, but since Fleming chose to make even those Bond stories, then that is what a Bond story is.
Conversely, when I try reading some of the modern continuation novels, I feel like the author is just naming his protagonist James Bond so as to sell more copies, otherwise I'm not persuaded it's even the same character.

All those troubling bits of sexism, racism, homophobia, or nostalgia for the days of the empire, that's all part of the experience of reading Fleming. Reading that stuff teaches us history, context, how far we've come, how far we still have to go. I'm capable of reading Fleming, or any other author, and rooting for the hero without agreeing with his own individual politics (eg, The Prisoner Number Six was an Ayn Randian, and I root for him. Eric Amblers early heroes were often communists, and I root for them too).

I would hate to read some sort off bowdlerised Fleming, where all that stuff was rewritten to reflect contemporary mores (I think they did do precisely that with the Hardy Boys, and some other longrunning children's series). Ten years from now values would have changed yet again, and they'd have to be re-bowdlerised until all we had left was an unrecognisable palimpsest of the original. I want to read Fleming and learn something about what it was like to be a straight white male Brit in the postwar era, with the empire in decline and the world as we know it changing under my feet.

I think Fleming fancied himself a bit of a progressive, and a lot of that objectionable stuff is actually coming out of M's mouth, to contrast how hip and modern Bond is. But Bond himself is not meant to be pure good, he's a paid government assassin, and I would expect only a flawed character would be interested in such a job in the first place. Some of those thoughts he has about women drivers or certain foreigners are evidence of those flaws, and therefor good writing.

Last edited by caractacus potts (6th Mar 2017 19:48)