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Topic: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

I understand The Living Daylight and Property of a Lady were written round the time of OHMSS
(in tMwtGG we learn the fate of the lady from PoaL, and PoaL includes a Mary Goodnight appearance meaning it comes after OHMSS, where shes introduced)
but was Octopussy written earlier as well, or is it really the last thing Fleming wrote?

theres so much debate whether Fleming finished The Man With The Golden Gun or somebody else did, that Im surprised he had time for one more story: shouldnt that settle the quesion?

if it is indeed his last story, that would make sense, as the story is the thoughts of a dying man, remembering what sins he committed to make his fortune
in a way, Fleming also used his experiences from WWII to pay for the good life in the postwar years

also, its interesting that in both tMwtGG and OP Fleming returns to Jamaica
as if in his fading years he no longer had the energy to even imaginarily travel to other parts of the world, but he was looking at those mangrove forests and coral reefs more closely than ever before
while the villain, the girl, the evil plot, and the action are all underdeveloped in tMwtGG, most of the memorable writing there is consists of lengthy descriptions of Jamaican geography, economics, and the changes brought by independence and the cuban revolution
and again the novel ends with a man dying in the mangrove forest, surrounded by richly described Jamaican ecology

in Octopussy, Smythe is living in Jamaica, providing yet another excuse to describe the Colonial Civil Service social scene that Fleming must have known personally, theres a bit of mountaineering content, and a whole lot of scubadiving content
Fleming must have really liked scubadiving to have ended his canon with that particular deathscene

Last edited by caractacus potts (5th Nov 2006 16:53)

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Hmm, I hope I remember to look up the background on OP when I get home tonight.  On OP, Smythe kinda reminded me of Fleming himself specifically with the bad health, Smythe's villa in Jamaica which I think is in the same area as Goldeneye and the daily swimming in the ocean. 

If there is an intended connection, the interesting point is how Fleming's "older/decrepit" self failed living up to the standards of his idealized, younger alter-ego, his creation, Bond (who at the likely time of writing had just begun enjoying new levels of popularity in film), as it goes with how these characters are related in the storyline, the symbolic killing of youth, selling out, etc. 

As with the mid-life crisis thread running through OHMSS and YOLT, was OP Fleming's expression of ego-death?  If OP was indeed his real swansong (and not TMWTGG), was Fleming symbolically bowing out of life to make way for his creation that has taken on a life of its own?  Was the captivating Octopussy who Smythe swam to meet every day symbolic of the beautiful life that Fleming "lived to the full," a pursuit that eventually killed him?  Sometimes, the Bond novels and stories seem so much like Fleming's personal diary, don't they?

Last edited by superado (9th Nov 2006 17:53)

"...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: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Here's what I found at bondian.com:

http://www.bondian.com/books/novels.html#footnote4

The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)
Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966)
     “Octopussy” (1966) 
     “The Living Daylights” (1962)

It further said there that the book, OP, was postumously published in 1966 (OP the story was originally published in 1966 in serialized form in Playboy as 2 parts), though according to Raymond Benson's JB Bedside Companion, OP was written by Fleming "in the early 60's."  TMWTGG was also postumously published in 1965 (Fleming died in 1964), so unless I find better information, ascertaining which story Fleming wrote last is still a toss-up though that disctinction is immaterial to OP's obvious mood and tone as a reflection of Fleming's "life's sunset" state of mind.

As a side note, it's interesting that TLD was written in 1962 (the same year TSWLM was published), but it makes sense since it mentioned Bond's "locomotive" Bentley Continental, which first appeared in TB (1961), and then in OHMSS (1963).

Last edited by superado (9th Nov 2006 17:52)

"...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: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Andrew Lycett's definitive 1995 biography of Fleming places the writing of the story in the late summer of 1962, and says it was written under difficult circumstances.  Fleming, who had suffered a heart attack not long before, had been quarreling with his wife Anne over how their son, Caspar, was being raised.  Fleming felt she was spoiling the kid and was afraid to discipline him, and it grew into an ugly fight.  As a result, Fleming went to Jamaica that July (he usually only wintered there), largely to spend time with his mistress, and swearing he was going to leave Anne.  While Fleming was in Jamaica he wrote "Octopussy," which Lycett says is of "little significance" aside from the fact it contains three of Ian's favorite themes: the Kitzbuhel mountains, exotic Jamaican fish, and commando activities in Austria and Germany at the end of World War II.

Vox clamantis in deserto

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Hardyboy wrote:

Andrew Lycett's definitive 1995 biography of Fleming places the writing of the story in the late summer of 1962, and says it was written under difficult circumstances.  Fleming, who had suffered a heart attack not long before, had been quarreling with his wife Anne over how their son, Caspar, was being raised.  Fleming felt she was spoiling the kid and was afraid to discipline him, and it grew into an ugly fight.  As a result, Fleming went to Jamaica that July (he usually only wintered there), largely to spend time with his mistress, and swearing he was going to leave Anne.  While Fleming was in Jamaica he wrote "Octopussy," which Lycett says is of "little significance" aside from the fact it contains three of Ian's favorite themes: the Kitzbuhel mountains, exotic Jamaican fish, and commando activities in Austria and Germany at the end of World War II.

I have that book...which I've yet to read in it's entirety!

"...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: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

I'll have to look for this Lycett biography
definitive you say?
Ive been looking for any Fleming bio but have yet to find one
how many have there been? I know John Pearson wrote one in the 60s

an odd detail about The Living Daylights
it actually states within the story that the events take place in 1961
and in another paragraph, we are told that the no-mans-land bond and Trigger are facing off across would "in a years time become famous as Checkpoint Charlie" or words to that effect
I found that phrasing curious, but we know this story was published in magazine form a few years before Octopussy

Last edited by caractacus potts (11th Nov 2006 00:32)

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

caractacus potts wrote:

I'll have to look for this Lycett biography
definitive you say?
Ive been looking for any Fleming bio but have yet to find one
how many have there been? I know John Pearson wrote one in the 60s

There have been three biographies of Ian Fleming.  Both Richard Gant's Ian Fleming: The Man with the Golden Pen and Pearson's much better The Life of Ian Fleming were published in 1966; and the Lycett tome, again, was published in 1995.  I've encountered all three books in used book stores, and for a while I used to see Lycett's bio in the remainder pile in book stores.

As for their merits, Gant's is short and entertaining, but he has very little to say about Fleming's pre-Bond life.  I suspect the majority of his information came from the public record and from a few interviews.  It's more an analysis of the novels, using Fleming's life as context.

The Pearson and Lycett books are the best-researched and most informative of the biographies.  The reason I feel Lycett's work surpasses Pearson's is because the Pearson biography was authorized and approved by Fleming's family and friends.  Pretty much everyone Fleming knew was alive at the time the book was written and they cooperated with Pearson--and a LOT of information was not disclosed.

By the time Lycett wrote his biography, most everyone in the Fleming circle was dead and he had access to information that was hidden from Pearson.  Thus we learn about such things as Fleming's wartime activities, his adored and illegitimate half-sister Amaryllis (Fleming gives her a little nod in the "Living Daylights" story--you can't miss it), his and Anne's mutual interest in S & M, and the frequently bad marriage the Flemings endured.  The result is a fuller, more complete, more satisfying look at the life of Ian Fleming.

Vox clamantis in deserto

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

There's also Donald McCormick's "17F The Life Of Ian Fleming" (Peter Owen, 1993) which is worth a look. Ivar Bryce's "You Only Live Once" provides a personal view from probably Fleming's closest friend.

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Before the war Fleming attended a private school run by Capt and Mrs Forbes Dennis. She was a minor American novelist known as Phyllis Bottome. In 1939 Mrs FD loaned her home in Kensington to a group of Section D operatives. One of the people they vetted for an overseas mission was Christine Granville. Donald McCormick claimed in his 1993 biography of Fleming that she was the inspiration for the character Vesper Lynd, and that Christine and Fleming had a post-war affair. 
  McCormick's evidence is thin on the ground. Furthermore, he was twice accused of perpetrating literary hoaxes. One of them was a book identifying Jack the Ripper.

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

I was told that Octopussy was found in a drawer in Goldeneye - left behind almost as a suicide note. I expect that it was written in the early 1960s - perhaps 1962.

Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog (TBB)
On Twitter: @Dragonpol 
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"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:

I was told that Octopussy was found in a drawer in Goldeneye - left behind almost as a suicide note. I expect that it was written in the early 1960s - perhaps 1962.

I heard something on those lines, finding it at Goldeneye

“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: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

James Suzuki wrote:
SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:

I was told that Octopussy was found in a drawer in Goldeneye - left behind almost as a suicide note. I expect that it was written in the early 1960s - perhaps 1962.

I heard something on those lines, finding it at Goldeneye

Yes, doublenoughtspy over on the dreaded CBn told me that story - he's called Charles Helfenstein in real life!

Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog (TBB)
On Twitter: @Dragonpol 
'Like' TBB on FB: TBB Update Page
"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

I think I heard it from one of those documentaries on the Bond DVDs.

“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: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Henry Chancellor once (wrongly) stated in an article in The Times that 'Octopussy' had been written in the 1950s. Perhaps this was an editorial typo and not his actual fault?

Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog (TBB)
On Twitter: @Dragonpol 
'Like' TBB on FB: TBB Update Page
"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Matthew Parker's Goldeneye book discusses when and how Octopussy was written. He gives extra space to all Fleming's Jamaica based stories. It's just as HardyBoy says in post 4: summer 1962 Fleming had a fight with Anne and took an extra trip to Jamaica that year, and wrote this story almost as a selfportrait. He would have watched Dr No being filmed live on location there just a few months earlier, hung out with Sean and Ursula and the whole gang. Very sad to think he was already in such a bad state when all was going so very right for him, career-wise.

_____________________________________

Anyway I'm now wondering about all the stories in that book, including 007 in New York. Because I think next time I reread the saga I want to read these four stories in correct order, not at the end just because that's when they finally got compiled. There must be a more logical sequence.

I can sort of see when the other three were first published, at least according to wikipedia:
The Living Daylights - The Sunday Times colour supplement, 4 February 1962
007 in New York - New York Herald Tribune, October 1963
Property of a Lady - The Ivory Hammer ( Sotheby's annual journal), November 1963

publication dates of the novels were:
Thunderball - 27 March 1961
The Spy Who Loved Me - 16 April 1962
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 1 April 1963
You Only Live Twice - 26 March 1964
The Man with the Golden Gun - 1 April 1965

But we know Fleming did most of his writing a year ahead of publication date, he was already writing the next one on his annual holiday in Jamaica when the new book would be at the publishers.
We definitely know OP was written in between OHMSS and YOLT.

So what about those other three stories? did Fleming crank them out quicker? (presumably) and if so, did the various publishers actually use them as soon as they received them, or could some of them have been sitting round a while (eg the Sotheby's journal is an annual, whereas the two newspapers could be typeset and assembled overnight).
It's a heck of an assumption to believe they also had been written precisely a year before their original publication date. But with no other information its the best we can do.
(one clue re tLD is, also according to Wikipedia, construction of the Berlin Wall began Aug 13, 1961)


so we could go:
TB > tLD > tSWLM > OHMSS > OP > 007inNY > PoaL > YOLT


My question to y'all: Does anybody know more precisely when the other three Octopussy stories were actually written and therefor where they should be slotted in to a more correct reading order?

_____________________________________

EDIT: even if we didn't know when Fleming wrote it, the depressing tone of OP definitely makes sense following OHMSS, doesn't it. And it and the other two stories seem like the kind of simplistic assignments Bond could barely manage at that point, before being reassigned to Japan.

In real life, Fleming had been told by his doctor he had less than 5 years to live, was back in court with McClory, and his Jamaican housekeeper says he was sleeping in late and not swimming every morning any more. If those later stories seem like weak adventures, Fleming was a vastly weakened man.

Also, I think someone (Horowitz?) speculated tLD was a FYEO leftover, so it also makes sense Fleming would have written it right after TB, if not earlier. That would explain the oddly word sentence about The Wall, which could have been a rewrite for a later printing.
Obviously Bond wasn't handling any missions between YOLT and tMwtGG, although Fleming might still have written something.

Last edited by caractacus potts (8th Jun 2018 15:08)

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

I noticed in Wikipedia:
Quantum of Solace was written summer 1958, and published almost a year before the rest of For Your Eyes Only, two months after Goldfinger came out. It was first published in the May 1959 issue of Cosmopolitan of all the unlikely places. (magazines are usually coverdated by a month or two later than actual publication date, so this may even have been published simultaneous to Goldfinger).

The rest of FYEO would have been written during his annual trip to Goldeneye, eg Jan/Feb 1959.

meaning, that QoS should be read between GF and the rest of FYEO, if we are to experience Bond's adventures in the order they emerged from the brain of Ian Fleming.

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

According to Jon Gilbert's Fleming bibliography: page 265

A title considered for QoS was Love Lies Bleeding.

For Your Eyes Only title ideas were: Man's Work; Death Leaves an Echo; Rough Justice

From a View to a Kill was originally going to be called The Rough with the Smooth

All the storylines were worked up by Fleming in 1958 for the aborted TV series. Fleming wrote to Jonathan Cape on 13th May, 1959: "I wish to sell the television rights in the name and characters of James Bond, together with ten specimen episodes and some editorial notes. These I have supplied."

So, there were 10 episodes written by Fleming for the TV producers.

Regarding  LD/OCT/007/Property, Gilbert notes:

The Living Daylights
Fleming to Cape October 1961 "I have just completed 8,000 word James Bond short story called The Living Daylights" 25th October 1961. An early manuscript was entitled Trigger Finger

Octopussy
Jonathan Cape received Octopussy from Fleming in the autumn of 1962


007 in New York
Manuscript shows handwritten date by Fleming "Aug 20 1963"  Original title "Reflections in a Carey Cadillac"

The Property of a Lady
August 1963
This was read in August 1963 by Faberge expert Kenneth Snowman who made a note in his personal diary.

Composition sequence?
TSWLM (Jan -Mar 60 > tLD (Oct 61) > OHMSS (Jan-Mar 62) > OP (Autumn 62) > YOLT (Jan -Mar 63) > 007inNY + PaoL (Aug 63)

Last edited by MrGore (29th Aug 2018 07:34)

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

thanks for looking that up MrGore! just the info I was looking for


so you are saying all five stories in FYEO were meant for the teevee series, including Quantum...?
so then there should be Murder on Wheels, Russian Roulette (the two synopses Horowitz has completed) and therefor three others?

MrGore wrote:

Jonathan Cape received Octopussy from Fleming in the autumn of 1962

so it was intended for publication? I wonder why nothing was done with it for another four years

and the last two stories were written between YOLT and tMwtGG … so I would like to read them in the order they were written, but those events described within the stories could not possibly take place in that order since Bond was in Russia being brainwashed, so they must be flashbacks … and we must rely on attempted chronologies like Griswold's to decide when they "happened"

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

caractacus potts wrote:

thanks for looking that up MrGore! just the info I was looking for


so you are saying all five stories in FYEO were meant for the teevee series, including Quantum...?
so then there should be Murder on Wheels, Russian Roulette (the two synopses Horowitz has completed) and therefor three others?

MrGore wrote:

Jonathan Cape received Octopussy from Fleming in the autumn of 1962

so it was intended for publication? I wonder why nothing was done with it for another four years

and the last two stories were written between YOLT and tMwtGG … so I would like to read them in the order they were written, but those events described within the stories could not possibly take place in that order since Bond was in Russia being brainwashed, so they must be flashbacks … and we must rely on attempted chronologies like Griswold's to decide when they "happened"

Re: QoS
Gilbert writes: "Written in the summer of 1958, after Fleming had returned from the Seychelles via Italy, this was a homage to his author friend Somerset Maugham."
So, it might have been written around the time of the TV outline/short stories, but may not have been included in that package of material for the producers. That means there are still four remaining episode outlines we haven't seen. Am I right? Can't see Fleming getting that wrong in a letter to Cape. He must have done 10, and not 7 as was reported in the Chancellor book.

The QoS typescripts haven't been traced. Apparently it was Pearson's biography which first mentioned that Fleming wrote it in summer 1958. The fact that the secretaries didn't type up the manuscript for QoS, which they did for the other four stories, might suggest that it was somehow set apart from the others, or written much earlier.


I think it looks like QoS was written in 1958, after Goldfinger being drafted Jan/Feb 1958. The other four stories were written in 1959. QoS was added when Fleming was compiling the stories, late 1959, for FYEO publication in April 1960.

Final revised collected typescript for FYEO was submitted 14th October 1959, including QoS.

July 1959 memo shows that FVTAK,Man's Work, RISICO, HILDEBRAND made up a manuscript of 50,000 words. They might have added QoS to lengthen the manuscript. 50,000 would have made it the shortest Bond book to date.

QoS was added between July 1959 and October 1959. Or maybe it was always intended to be included. We don't seem to know for sure.

To me, evidence is that QoS was written just after GF, and well before the other four stories in FYEO.

Composition sequence.

GF Jan/Feb 1958 > QoS Summer 1958 > FYEO (4 of them) stories Early 1959

Last edited by MrGore (29th Aug 2018 12:24)

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

https://s15.postimg.cc/8encdfnif/image.jpg
We are off the Cornwall (port Isac) in 2 weeks time so got this on Amazon today to take with me

By the way, did I tell you,  I was       "Mad"?

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

Had a quick flick through my new Goldfinger book today ,just to wet the appetite as it were , and read something I think no one would expect to read or see in a the same sentence , James Bond and Gillingham . Wow the script writers really didn't stick to the book on this one

By the way, did I tell you,  I was       "Mad"?

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

It's interesting to drive around Reculver, seeing the setting of some of those scenes. The glamorous movie version obviously wasn't the place for mundane, Kent settings.

Also the case when you read Moonraker with all the scenes around Deal in Kent. Including the car chase with Drax through the Kent countryside.

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Re: when did Fleming write Octopussy?

each time I see this thread bumped, I hope there will be more info about when precisely Fleming wrote his short stories, and thanks MrGore once again for all your research upthread … exactly what I was wanting to know

but perhaps the discussion about Goldfinger could continue in the What Are Your Reading (That Is Bond Related) thread?