Author Topic: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread  (Read 310 times)

Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« on: January 12, 2019, 07:12:38 AM »
Bought a box of Bond last year and have been picking at them intermittently since. Loved Casino Royale and the two books of short stories and just finished Live and Let Die.

Ian wasn't dying about The Black People, was he?

Anyone read much Bond? How do you like it?

timebug

  • Father of Serge
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 05:41:30 PM »
It's good stuff, with the proviso that you remember when reading it that they were written
in the fifties and early sixties; written by an arrogant upper class man, who believed all that
he was told, and much of the rubbish he was told, makes it into the books!
(Sumo wrestlers draw their testicles into their body when fighting; homosexuals can't whistle!)
If you forget the films, and read the books with Bulldog Drummond in mind; Bond, on the page
is a stiff necked, ultra patriotoc 'British Bulldog' with all the authors prejudices and background!
In other words non-PC  rip roaring boys own comic adventures!

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2019, 10:33:33 PM »
Read Diamonds Are Forever for a book club a couple of years ago. It was good fun escapism, but yeah, there's definitely some hilariously offensive stuff in there. (Highlights of that one include Bond musing that although he doesn't mind black people, the thought of touching one makes his skin crawl, and also whingeing that traumatised gang-rape victim Tiffany Case needs to just get over it and shag him.)

I've got a Vintage reissue of the Spectre trilogy (Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice) on my desk which I've yet to start.

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 11:00:12 AM »
I think Fleming is a great writer, I have phrases and whole passages marked in his book that I'd have felt bad not acknowledging. I like to flick back through books I'm unlikely to reread and still find something of some value.

I was definitely amused by Bond's general dislike of women in Casino Royale and some of the shorts, because that's Bond - he's a character. Even if the words are put there by Fleming, the filtration carries enough of a disconnect that you can justify the difference between the opinions of the character or those of his creator.

But it isn't Bond that refers to every appearance of a black man or woman in Live and Let Die as the action of a 'negro' or 'negress' - that's Fleming. I think that's what made it so difficult. It's not an unpleasant character, it's an unpleasant real person, speaking his hatred (if it's hatred) directly to you.

I've taken a break to read The Road and Kill Your Friends (fancied some new authors) but I suppose Moonraker is next. Odd that the third book wasn't filmed until well into the run of the third actor. I doubt Jaws'll be appearing.

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 12:17:42 PM »
Moonraker is a cracking read, one of my favourites in the series. No Jaws and indeed no similarity at all to the 1979 film, though the Branson/Musk-esque villain with the mysterious past could have inspired numerous bad guys in the franchise, such as the Toby Stephens character in Die Another Day.

I was re-reading the series in order a few years back, but stalled on Thunderball. I must get back to it, though I may skip The Spy Who Loved Me, one of the worst books I've ever read. Fair play to Fleming for following it up with the best novel in the series, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but it doesn't make up for thinking he could actually pull off a novel written from the perspective of a woman. Tedious, embarrassing and cringeworthy. No wonder approximately 0% of the novel made it into the 'adaptation'.


Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 01:36:54 PM »
Does he really? That sounds fascinating. Are any of the others not written from the usual "Bond thought [X] as he shifted the gears of his [elaborately described vehicle]" perspective? Fleming writing on behalf of women, I'll look forward to that.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 03:34:54 PM »
I read most of them when I was a teenager - I borrowed them from the library where they had a fantastic set of them with the Richard Chopping dust jackets:



I enjoyed them, but I don't think I'd re-read them now I'm nearly 50. Well, I might be tempted by Moonraker, OHMSS, and You Only Live Twice (looking past its bizarre interpretation of Japanese culture) I remember these being decent.

The Spy Who Loved Me was good in parts, if I recall correctly - but the terrible parts more than made up for that.

Was Fleming a product of his time and place? Or was he actually awful?

Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 03:46:27 PM »
Does he really? That sounds fascinating. Are any of the others not written from the usual "Bond thought [X] as he shifted the gears of his [elaborately described vehicle]" perspective? Fleming writing on behalf of women, I'll look forward to that.

From Fleming's introduction, which should give you an idea of the contents:

Quote
I found what follows lying on my desk one morning. As you will see, it appears to be the first person story of a young woman, evidently beautiful and not unskilled in the arts of love. According to her story, she appears to have been involved, both perilously and romantically, with the same James Bond whose secret service exploits I myself have written from time to time. With the manuscript was a note signed 'Vivienne Michel' assuring me that what she had written was 'purest truth and from the depths of her heart'. I was interested in this view of James Bond, through the wrong end of the telescope so to speak, and after obtaining clearance for certain minor infringements of the Official Secrets Act I have much pleasure in sponsoring its publication.

I don't believe he wrote any other Bond stories from another perspective (perhaps one of the short stories, but I don't think so). The novel was poorly received, and Fleming complained to his publisher: "I had become increasingly surprised to find my thrillers, which were designed for an adult audience, being read in schools, and that young people were making a hero out of James Bond ... So it crossed my mind to write a cautionary tale about Bond, to put the record straight in the minds particularly of younger readers ... the experiment has obviously gone very much awry". He wasn't wrong.


Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 07:45:29 PM »
Anyone tried Bond's recipe for scrambled eggs? To be accompanied by champagne and low lighting.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 09:55:06 PM »
Ha! Not quite, although apart from the amount of butter it's fairly standard.

But: HOW many eggs? The recipe I saw said 12. I assumed this was for 2 people... you wouldn't shit for a week!

Quote from: thejamesbonddossier.com
in How To Write A Thriller, Fleming mentions that so frequent was Bond’s consumption of scrambled eggs in an early draft of Live And Let Die that a proof-reader pointed out to him the security risked this posed to Bond, writing that whoever was following him need only walk into a restaurant and ask, “Was there a man here eating scrambled eggs?”

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Cook'd on Bond: An Ian Fleming Thread
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 10:02:21 PM »
Another interesting James Bond site I've come across dealt with his clothes: www.bondsuits.com - which in spite of being by an American, is actually quite good.