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He did finish OP (and possibly would have included it in a future second volume of short stories), and both finished & published TSWLM so both are canon. The comic strips did start in his lifetime, and were fairly faithful up till and shortly after his death (from TMWTGG on, the writers begin to pad out the stories- I like the comic strip version of OP very much!).
Re the films, I agree more with what you said in post 48 above, and would include all the films in that.

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what I meant is the comic strip adaptations of Octopussy and the Spy Who Loved Me were done after his death (November 14, 1966 - May 27, 1967and December 18, 1967 - October 3, 1968, according to wikipedia), and he would have gone to his grave assuming neither of those would happen.
You're right, we can only guess his intentions for Octopussy had he lived, but if he wrote it in summer 1962, he left it unpublished for 2 1/2 years while he did publish two inferior short stories.

Barbel wrote:

Re the films, I agree more with what you said in post 48 above, and would include all the films in that.

its interesting, the films being interpretations of the books, since the films are so much better known, they are the True versions to vastly more people.
Going back to that original religious definition of Canon, it has something to do with what people collectively choose to believe as the Truth. Already the majority perceive the films as the Truth and feel no need to read the books, if they know about them at all (just like Tolkien). If in another few decades the books go out of print and are forgotten, will the films then become the primary Canon and Fleming's books an obscure footnote?

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Those other two short stories were commissioned though, while OP wasn't.
I think you're right in that he wouldn't have thought certain works would be turned into comic strips- or movies for that matter! (Not that the film's bore much resemblance to them)
Future generations? Who knows? As before, I think the obvious comparison is to Sherlock Holmes- new stories are regularly being created both in print (some by Anthony Horowitz) and on film/TV alongside new adaptations of the older original stories. Maybe someday there'll be as many film/TV versions of, say, TB as there are of "Hound of the Baskervilles"!

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Barbel wrote:

Those other two short stories were commissioned though, while OP wasn't.

I'm sorry, Barbel, I've gotten confused with the thread's progression  ajb007/lol  ...which two short stories were commissioned?

"...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: Canon

"The Property Of A Lady" for Sotheby's, and TLD for the "Sunday Times". Caractacus mentioned them in the post above mine.

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Didn't realize that TLD was commissioned in the same way by the Sunday Times like the Thrilling Cities installments.  I don't consider TLD "inferior" if it's one of the two Caractacus was referring to; I think it's one of Fleming's more exciting and interesting short stories!

"...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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Now that you mention The Battle for Bond.

I want that book, but there was some kind of controversial in the past, even some kind of ban on it?

Anybody knows what could be the complete version I should buy? Thanks.

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caractacus potts wrote:

what about the fact the story Octopussy was found hidden in a drawer in Goldeneye after Fleming's death?
and that he himself tried to suppress the Spy Who Loved Me after its original hardcover publication?
he didn't intend for Octopussy to be published at all, and chose to withdraw ...Spy...  from his own Canon (imagine it's semi-mythic rarity status if he had lived and there never was a paperback).
The hardcover of Octopussy, the paperback of ...Spy...,  and the respective comic strip adaptations came out after his death, without his knowledge.

Should the first two and a half films be given a higher status, since he was involved with the filmmaking?
(I think he expressed disappointment with the Casino Royale teleplay, and would wish that one forgotten)

To your list above we could add that Fleming was so disappointed with Property of a Lady that he refused payment from Sotheby's auction house, which had commissioned the story.

I think in general, however, artists are not the best judges of their own work.

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superado wrote:

...which two short stories were commissioned?

barbel wrote:

"The Property Of A Lady" for Sotheby's, and TLD for the "Sunday Times". Caractacus mentioned them in the post above mine.

superado wrote:

Didn't realize that TLD was commissioned in the same way by the Sunday Times like the Thrilling Cities installments.  I don't consider TLD "inferior" if it's one of the two Caractacus was referring to; I think it's one of Fleming's more exciting and interesting short stories!

sorry, I actually meant 007 in New York, not The Living Daylights.
007 in New York was specially written for the American edition of Thrilling Cities, because the American publishers didn't like what Fleming had to say about New York in particular. It was first published in the New York Herald Tribune, October 1963, according to Wikipedia. That one is barely a story, and is one of the two I meant as inferior.

Property of a Lady was commissioned for the 1963 annual Sotheby's journal, The Ivory Hammer, published November 1963 according to wkipedia. I'm sure I've seen that Fleming himself was dissatisfied, and it is the other one I meant as inferior.

Octopussy we now know was written summer 1962, after Fleming had a big fight with his wife he took an extra trip to Goldeneye that year, wrote that story almost as a selfportrait, and supposedly left it in a drawer to be found after his death. See this thread.

So its PoAL and 007inNY I'm suggesting are inferior stories he allowed published after having written the unpublished Octopussy. I know its bad form to make a value judgement and make it read like a factual statement. The value judgement is really to contrast with his decision to leave Octopussy hidden in a drawer, because that seems like a deliberate choice once you compare its quality with those two stories.


The Living Daylights was first published in The Sunday Times colour supplement, 4 February 1962, under the title Berlin Escape, again according to Wikipedia. Between Thunderball and the Spy Who Loved Me. And I think its by far the best of those four stories. I don't know why Fleming wrote and published a short story at that point, and I didn't guess it was commissioned either?


all this just to argue, should stories Fleming chose not to publish count as Canon? or stories that had only been published once in out-of-print periodicals? if the Octopussy collection had not been compiled after his death, those would be obscure rarities, only known about by hardcore fans.

Last edited by caractacus potts (10th Jul 2018 12:14)

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superado wrote:

Didn't realize that TLD was commissioned in the same way by the Sunday Times like the Thrilling Cities installments.  I don't consider TLD "inferior" if it's one of the two Caractacus was referring to; I think it's one of Fleming's more exciting and interesting short stories!

There's also "007 In New York", of course, which is certainly inferior.
Fleming publishing TLD in the "Times" didn't go down well with the "Express", which was running the Bond comic strip. He had some apologising to do afterwards.

Edit: I see Caractacus has clarified above! Thanks and apologies for the confusion. Almost simultaneous posts.

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Re TLD being commissioned:


From Ian Fleming The Man Behind James Bond by Andrew Lycett, 1995:

"Ian's other main writing task [in autumn 1961] was to produce a short story for the first issue of the Sunday Times colour magazine, scheduled for early 1962.... they agreed that the magazine would publish a new short story "The Living Daylights".... on 23 September [1961], following his return from Provence, Ian suggested that the piece be ilustrated with an original Graham Sutherland design...
Ian's file on "The Living Daylights"- or "Trigger Finger", in an early draft- revealed the speed with which he went about such a project... By 10 November [1961], Captain E.K. LeMesurier, secretary of the NRA [National Rifle Association] had... read and returned corrections to the manuscript.... on 9 February 1962 the ... magazine duly appeared with Ian's story."

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Barbel wrote:
superado wrote:

Didn't realize that TLD was commissioned in the same way by the Sunday Times like the Thrilling Cities installments.  I don't consider TLD "inferior" if it's one of the two Caractacus was referring to; I think it's one of Fleming's more exciting and interesting short stories!

There's also "007 In New York", of course, which is certainly inferior.
Fleming publishing TLD in the "Times" didn't go down well with the "Express", which was running the Bond comic strip. He had some apologising to do afterwards.

Edit: I see Caractacus has clarified above! Thanks and apologies for the confusion. Almost simultaneous posts.

By coincidence, I'm shopping for a hardback edition of Thrilling Cities to complete my 007 Jonathan Cape display (which would result in three symmetrical rows of five books each), but the Jonathan Cape Thrilling Cities doesn't include "007 in New York," so I was going to compromise with the First American Edition, the first version of TC to include "007 in New York,"...but nuts, its dimensions are different from the 5"x 7" Jonathan Cape Bonds!  What to do?!  Is there such thing as a Jonathan Cape hardback of TC that includes "007 in New York"?

Last edited by superado (10th Jul 2018 22:21)

"...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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Welcome to my world! I gave up worrying about that years ago, tbh- as long as it's all there, that's all that matters to me.

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Barbel wrote:

Welcome to my world! I gave up worrying about that years ago, tbh- as long as it's all there, that's all that matters to me.


The funny thing is without realizing till now the significance of this thread to my quest, my display is entirely dependent on canon.  I’m tempted on getting a Jonathan Cape TC and pasting in the pages of “007 in New York”!

"...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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hey superado, sorry if I confused you up above, or babbled too far off topic
the weathers been stinking hot where I live and my brains been running even less linear than usual, I may have to step away from the keyboard.


I really like the idea of 14 books forming The Canon, its actually kind of an esoteric number: 14 Stations of the Cross, 14 cards per suit in the Tarot, and best of all, Fourteen is double Seven!
here is a fourteen pointed star, just cuz I went looking for one:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Interlaced_14-point_star_in_irregular_polygon.svg
but as long as you have vintage editions (inherently cooler than recent editions) you do need an American edition of Thrilling Cities to get 007 in New York (is it even in the more stylish PAN paperback set?)

so as you say that's 15 books, a very nice number too that can be split over three shelves, or even five really skinny shelves

I used to like the way the PANs officially included Colonel Sun and Pearson's Bond Biography in their series list, because that made sixteen, a really nice square number that divides several ways!

just in case we need esoteric numerologic rationals to determine what is Canon (there goes my humidity soaked brain again, must stop posting...)


I have the Signet Thrilling Cities, which is much uglier than the stylish PAN 2 volume set. Does anybody know if the PAN maybe does include 007 in New York? if so I will have to upgrade

until it too was added to recent printings of Octopussy, 007inNY had its own semi-mythic rarity status. Bet lots of people searched long and hard to find that one, then read it expecting the secrets to be revealed only to find … it's just a recipe for scrambled eggs!!!

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caractacus potts wrote:

Does anybody know if the PAN maybe does include 007 in New York? if so I will have to upgrade

Mine doesn't.

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Barbel wrote:
caractacus potts wrote:

Does anybody know if the PAN maybe does include 007 in New York? if so I will have to upgrade

Mine doesn't.

Caractacus, you are funny!  I love the heat, but might think otherwise when I find myself sizzling in it!  My interests in numbers in not as esoteric as it is aesthetic since I wish to have my Cape Bonds displayed in a neat rectangular arrangement as possible! 

Don't know about the Pan edition, but I'm sure you know yourself, that the Signet paperpack which I also have, includes "007 in New York."  I am now listening to the recently released audio version, which I'm disappointed to discover doesn't include it, despite it being "unabridged"; I guess "unabridged" is conditional, which I had hoped would have been more liberally applied since this collection of cities had themselves a varied publishing history...and to think that the audiobook is just a bit over nine hours long and they couldn't spare another five minutes for 007 in New York?!

"...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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I just discovered that apart from the exclusion of "007 in New York" in the Cape editions, "Property of a Lady" is also missing from "Octopussy and the Living Daylights."  I guess I'll need to loosen up a bit on the ideology I'm trying to preserve for my Cape display!

"...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: Canon

If my ageing memory serves me:

https://s33.postimg.cc/uumumdu3v/AA_OLD_MAN_5.jpg contained OP + TLD (obviously)


https://s33.postimg.cc/9z0kaq5i3/AA_OLD_MAN_6.jpg the Pan paperback contained  OP, TLD and TPOAL in its first book appearance


https://s33.postimg.cc/ouz3iegxn/aa_old_man_7.jpg the Penguin edition had OP, TPOAL, TLD + 007 in NY all together for the first time.

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Re: Canon

I'm a bit surprised it took that long since that Penguin edition is pretty recent.

"...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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Barbel wrote:
superado wrote:

Didn't realize that TLD was commissioned in the same way by the Sunday Times like the Thrilling Cities installments.  I don't consider TLD "inferior" if it's one of the two Caractacus was referring to; I think it's one of Fleming's more exciting and interesting short stories!

There's also "007 In New York", of course, which is certainly inferior.
Fleming publishing TLD in the "Times" didn't go down well with the "Express", which was running the Bond comic strip. He had some apologising to do afterwards.

Edit: I see Caractacus has clarified above! Thanks and apologies for the confusion. Almost simultaneous posts.

I'm surprised the Express felt they had any claim to Fleming and Bond beyond the contract for the newspaper strip. After all,m Fleming was a longstanding employee of the Times under both Kemsley and Roy Thomson and a board member of the Sunday Times. He was partially responsible for the introduction of The Sunday Times Colour Supplement so naturally wanted to support its introduction.

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Re: Canon

It led to the TB strip being brought to a very premature end, and about two years before the next one (OHMSS) began.

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Re: Canon

I'd always assumed the strip version of Thunderbolt was curtailed due to the court case and consequent uncertainty over where the rights to the property lay.

EDIT: Clearly I was wrong, which I didn't make clear in my initial reply.

Last edited by IanFryer (12th Jul 2018 16:04)

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Barbel wrote:

It led to the TB strip being brought to a very premature end, and about two years before the next one (OHMSS) began.

Yep, a very ugly ending, but at least there was concern for the sake of the readers I suppose to attempt in tying it all up, though not neatly.  Reminds me of the US TV show "Last Resort" about a crew of a nuclear sub that went rogue; when the producers were abruptly notified that their show was getting cancelled mid-season, their last episode awkwardly tied up all the story arcs with a whimper.  Though the new comics may eventually do the rest of the Fleming stories, a properly concluded TB drawn by McLusky was a missed opportunity.

"...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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ggl007 wrote:

Now that you mention The Battle for Bond. I want that book, but there was some kind of controversial in the past, even some kind of ban on it? Anybody knows what could be the complete version I should buy? Thanks.

It wasn't quite banned. The first edition printed images of Fleming's letters without proper authorization, which led to legal trouble and a halt in further publication. The second edition removed the images--which weren't necessary in the first place, since the texts of the letters were already quoted in full. So any edition will do, though the first edition is crammed with spelling and grammatical errors (I guess Tomahawk Press was too cheap to use copy-editors!). Also keep in mind that the book is firmly in Whittingham's camp and profoundly biased.

caractacus potts wrote:

question: should Canon include Fleming's abandoned and incomplete plots or other fragments?
e.g. his early ideas for Thunderball (mostly unrelated to the final story), at least what's been published in books such as Sellers'?
e.g. the two raw synopses in the back of some editions of Horowitz's two books?
e.g. the two very short fragments within Pearson's Fleming bio?

I feel the literary canon should not include materials designed a different medium. So scripts and synopses for movies or television would not go in. To take a similar case, Conan Doyle wrote a couple of Sherlock Holmes plays (The Speckled Band and The Crown Diamond) but neither of these belongs to the literary Sherlockian canon. Transporting a character into a different medium creates a separate continuity and involves a translation between media that involves a fundamental rethinking of the material and recreation of the character.

Fleming's literary fragments are a trickier case. If he intentionally abandoned the material, it probably doesn't belong in the canon of finished, published works. The canon itself consists of all the completed novels and short stories (TMWTGG was technically completed) written by Fleming. The only non-Fleming work I would include is Colonel Sun, since it's the only continuation novel written and set in the 60s and thereby closest to Fleming's time; furthermore, it directly follows the continuity of Fleming's last book, and was written by an author with unparalleled deep knowledge of Fleming who also happened to a novelist of equal or greater skill. No other continuation book combines all these attributes.