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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    Of course, that Bond was only the first Bond seen in the League, and one of the points in Century was that the later Bonds are all improvements, both in competency and mindset. (Also, in terms of being of service. ^_^)

    And, really, I think that's true. The initial James Bond in fiction was less than competent, he was prone to getting his ass kicked, and he was misogynistic and self-blind. Later Bonds, as we've known them, tended to be more competent, wittier, and less boorish, while being at times either colder than the original, less professional, softer or harder.
    I remember that as referring to the movie rather than to the Fleming Bonds - didnt O'Neill's art depict it that way, with some of the actors appearing as background figures on the page?

    Quote Originally Posted by Libaax View Post
    Thats why i was surprised how informed it was in the way Bond worked. Bond wasnt in much control and didnt have it easy like in the films. I expect more fantasy and not simple,calm spy work. I have read only the first two books and i hope Fleming gets back that feel in other more fantastic stories of the series too.

    I remember reading also a short story where Bond is send to Jamaica to kill a double agent or someone like that. It was simple,more real than i thought. Like The OP doing footwork,chasing evidence and calm work and not solving the case without doing anything.
    That's how I remember them too. It was quite an eye-opener for me reading my first one (happened to be Doctor No - still one of my favourites). How far along are you? I definitely recommend reading them in order.

  2. #17
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    I remember that as referring to the movie rather than to the Fleming Bonds - didnt O'Neill's art depict it that way, with some of the actors appearing as background figures on the page?
    I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

    If anything, I think Fleming's Bond takes a downturn towards the middle books, as far as being misanthropic or facing blatantly absurd caricatures go. Dr No's a fun book, but if you look at any bit of it critically, Bond's a pompous judgmental ass and Dr No, himself, is insanely inane and little but racial fearmongering with a bit of "the deformed/crippled are evil" thrown in. But, then, it wasn't originally a Bond novel, but an unrelated, old screenplay that's weaknesses were even dismissed by the author as called for by other parties in the creation.

    Movie Bonds tend to be progressively more capable and less misanthropic or bloodymindedly self-absorbed. Which, really, I wouldn't read a Bond novel without, I'm just saying the movies deliberately have shaved that off bit by bit over the decades.

  3. #18
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    Yes, I seem to recall reading somewhere that Fleming himself lost interest in the character pretty early in the series and was always a bit puzzled by its popularity. I still like some of the middle and even late period books, though, and of course the first one you read always has a special place in your personal memories.

  4. #19
    Veteran Member Lancerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    Yes, I seem to recall reading somewhere that Fleming himself lost interest in the character pretty early in the series and was always a bit puzzled by its popularity. I still like some of the middle and even late period books, though, and of course the first one you read always has a special place in your personal memories.
    I think that starts with the 6th book (Dr. No). Prior to that you have Bond going up agianst SMERSH in most novels and that culminates in From Russia With Love where they decide they are going to specifically target Bond, killing him and causing an international mockary of the British. Then the novel has a surprise ending.

    Unfortunatly for Fleming the characters popularity made him backtrack on that. Then you see Dr. No and Goldfinger being more fantastical with higher emphasis on the villains and bizzarre plots. Then he did some experimenting with short stories (For Your Eyes Only) and making a book from the Bond's girls POV (The Spy Who Loved Me). And Thunderball was really the result of him trying to make a screenplay with Kevin McClory because he (rightly) thought his character was perfect for motion pictures. These aren't bad novels mind you but they lack the pure espionage and down to Earth realism in favor of being decidedly adventure and fantasy.

    Fleming rebounded in amazing fashion with the inspiration he got from Thunderball and made what many would argue was his all time best novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Even the filmmakers saw the strength of this book and were keen to make it for many years and when they finally did it was one of the few that went largely unchanged and even sacraficed a bit of movie continuity to be authentic. Likewise, his final full novel, You Only Live Twice is amazing and a great follow up about a Bond rebuilding himself. Very different, but trye to form. Fleming didn't complete his last novel (The Man With the Golden Gun) so the series kind of ends on a down note.

  5. #20
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    I have never read any JAmes bond books, I have always prefered the films :p lol

  6. #21
    Elder Member Libaax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    I remember that as referring to the movie rather than to the Fleming Bonds - didnt O'Neill's art depict it that way, with some of the actors appearing as background figures on the page?


    That's how I remember them too. It was quite an eye-opener for me reading my first one (happened to be Doctor No - still one of my favourites). How far along are you? I definitely recommend reading them in order.
    I have an omnibus of the first 3 books by Penguin and i have read the first two. I plan to read more soon. I was so disappointed by how dated,slow the second book was compared to Casino Royale. The harlem setting wasnt so bad but not so interesting story. Bond was cool and good villain but.....

    I look forward to reading the short stories and the rated books Lancerman is talking about.
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  7. #22
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libaax View Post
    I have an omnibus of the first 3 books by Penguin and i have read the first two. I plan to read more soon. I was so disappointed by how dated,slow the second book was compared to Casino Royale. The harlem setting wasnt so bad but not so interesting story. Bond was cool and good villain but.....

    I look forward to reading the short stories and the rated books Lancerman is talking about.
    See, I think Live and Let Die moves at a much quicker pace. You kick things off with a mystery involving pirate treasure, and things just get more interesting from there.

    I'm about halfway through Moonraker now, and it's definitely more of a slow burn book. The first third is occupied with M getting Bond to prove that a millionaire responsible for England's new missile defense system is cheating at cards.

    It occurs to me at this point that maybe there's no 'formula.' Casino Royale is a character piece, Live and Let Die is all about the action, and Moonraker is something of a mystery.
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

  8. #23
    Veteran Member Lancerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    See, I think Live and Let Die moves at a much quicker pace. You kick things off with a mystery involving pirate treasure, and things just get more interesting from there.

    I'm about halfway through Moonraker now, and it's definitely more of a slow burn book. The first third is occupied with M getting Bond to prove that a millionaire responsible for England's new missile defense system is cheating at cards.

    It occurs to me at this point that maybe there's no 'formula.' Casino Royale is a character piece, Live and Let Die is all about the action, and Moonraker is something of a mystery.
    You'll find that Moonraker picks up SIGNIFICANTLY and that the slower more mundane pace at the beginning was intentional. IMO it's truly an unsung gem of the series.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancerman View Post
    I think that starts with the 6th book (Dr. No). Prior to that you have Bond going up agianst SMERSH in most novels and that culminates in From Russia With Love where they decide they are going to specifically target Bond, killing him and causing an international mockary of the British. Then the novel has a surprise ending.

    Unfortunatly for Fleming the characters popularity made him backtrack on that. Then you see Dr. No and Goldfinger being more fantastical with higher emphasis on the villains and bizzarre plots. Then he did some experimenting with short stories (For Your Eyes Only) and making a book from the Bond's girls POV (The Spy Who Loved Me). And Thunderball was really the result of him trying to make a screenplay with Kevin McClory because he (rightly) thought his character was perfect for motion pictures. These aren't bad novels mind you but they lack the pure espionage and down to Earth realism in favor of being decidedly adventure and fantasy.

    Fleming rebounded in amazing fashion with the inspiration he got from Thunderball and made what many would argue was his all time best novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Even the filmmakers saw the strength of this book and were keen to make it for many years and when they finally did it was one of the few that went largely unchanged and even sacraficed a bit of movie continuity to be authentic. Likewise, his final full novel, You Only Live Twice is amazing and a great follow up about a Bond rebuilding himself. Very different, but trye to form. Fleming didn't complete his last novel (The Man With the Golden Gun) so the series kind of ends on a down note.
    Nice run-down of the books and I think I'd more or less agree, at least as far as my memories allow.

    I thought the movie people lost a great opportunity after their Casino Royale with Daniel Craig: they could have went back and adapted all the novels in order, especially considering that the Roger Moore ones like Live and Let Die took little from the corresponding books but the titles.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancerman View Post
    You'll find that Moonraker picks up SIGNIFICANTLY and that the slower more mundane pace at the beginning was intentional. IMO it's truly an unsung gem of the series.
    I agree with Lancerman. I really enjoyed it, more so than Live and Let Die. Of course, it might just be one's preference for the story their looking for. I felt that in Moonraker Fleeming also uses the slow burn to flesh out James Bond more.

  11. #26
    Senior Member ChrisIII's Avatar
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    It's interesting how many of the elements of the books are kind of placed here and there in the movie series. For instance, parts of the Live and Let Die novel are used for sequences in For Your Eyes Only (Where Bond is being dragged by the boat through reef-heavy, shark infested waters) and License To Kill (Where Felix is maimed but survives).

    Of the books I've read, the closest one to the movie is From Russia With Love. Of course there are differences-Bond being less witty, and the SMERSH plot in the book being changed into one of SPECTRE's operations in the film to tie in with Dr.No (In the books I don't think they debut until Thunderball, which of course is where the Kevin McClory lawsuit comes from). Also the action scenes towards the end with the helicopter and speedboat are nowhere in the book either; but most of it was still well adapted.

  12. #27
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtbag View Post
    I agree with Lancerman. I really enjoyed it, more so than Live and Let Die. Of course, it might just be one's preference for the story their looking for. I felt that in Moonraker Fleeming also uses the slow burn to flesh out James Bond more.
    I enjoyed Moonraker. I'm surprised by the lack of action, though--there's not really a fight scene in the entire book. I'm not saying it's good or bad, just not what I expected.

    I was also surprised that Bond didn't get the girl, which was almost as poignant as Vesper's death. It really spoke to the loneliness of the character.
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

  13. #28

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    I picked it up recently in an Amazon sale and gave it a read. Loved it, loved the human side of Bond, loved the philosophical passages, loved it overall.

  14. #29
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    I recently wrote an essay on the alleged misogyny of Bond with respect to CASINO ROYALE, here:

    http://arche-arc.blogspot.com/2013/0...gs-casino.html

  15. #30
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gothos View Post
    I recently wrote an essay on the alleged misogyny of Bond with respect to CASINO ROYALE, here:

    http://arche-arc.blogspot.com/2013/0...gs-casino.html
    Great article, Gothos. Especially this passage:

    And what of the last words of the novel? A political consciousness would see this as support for Moore's contention. I would argue, rather, that Bond's words are an attempt to distance himself from the painful reality that the woman he loved was both an enemy spy and the lover of another man, not to mention the reality of her death. Again, Political Correctness cannot read between the lines; cannot grant that a man might speak ill of women as a group as a way of shielding himself from such pain.. But it should be obvious that the things James Bond says are not always covalent with the things his creator means.
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

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