Category Archives: Read

Kim

Kim is the sort of hardboiled detective story that the pulp paperback industry could produce in its sleep, peppered with enough fist-fights, shoot-outs, and sex to keep the slim volume well-packed.

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Colonel Sun

Kingsley Amis’ Colonel Sun was the first James Bond book written entirely after the death of Ian Fleming. Amis sends Bond to Greece to foil a Chinese mastermind and delights in abusing M.

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Forever and a Death

Donald E. Westlake, best known for his “Parker” series of thrillers, was hired to write a James Bond movie. In the end, the script was not used, but Westlake reworked the story into an original novel.

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Sex and Naps

On the surface, The Wicker Man is the story of one police constable’s attempt to scrooge up a town’s May Day revelries. Delving deeper into its waters, however, is aided by a few key texts that informed the film.

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James Bond vs. the ’80s

We are increasingly left with a sort of bland guy who just happens to be named James Bond — which, in a way, might be bringing the character back around to how Fleming originally imagined him, as an anonymous blunt instrument into whom a reader could pour his or her own identity; a characterless cypher of a man who might not be interesting but to whom interesting things happened. But honestly, by the middle of the 1980s, with decades of suave, awesome James Bond under our belts, did anyone really want an anonymous 007?

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License Renewed

In 1964, James Bond creator and sole author of the James Bond books, Ian Fleming, passed away. While the future of the movies, which had taken on a life of their own, was not in doubt (at least not for a couple more years, which was when Sean Connery left the series), the novels seemed like they might go to

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Touchfeather

Jimmy Sangster is known to most as the writer of a brace of seminal Hammer gothic horror films. From his pen came the scripts for The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula/Horror of Dracula (plus their immediate sequels) and The Mummy, not to mention the likes of Jack the Ripper and Blood of the Vampire for rival producers. Sangster’s place in the

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Man with the Golden Gun

Oh yeah, I forgot that I never finished reviewing all the Bond books by Ian Fleming. In a way, that in itself is a fitting review of the final of Fleming’s influential adventures starring international pop culture icon James Bond. There is nothing about The Man with the Golden Gun that I would call bad. But there sure is a

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You Only Live Twice

After the critical and popular misfire of The Spy Who Loved Me — A literary experiment that was noble in intention but fell apart in execution — the pressure was on Ian Fleming to deliver a top notch Bond adventure to make up for things. At the same time, it’s obvious that Fleming was beyond the point of wanting to

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

A well-written Bond and Tracey are key components of the success of this novel, but it wouldn’t have gone anywhere without an equally strong villain. Fleming had been floundering for a decent villain for a while, relying largely on a cast of increasingly outrageous comic book villains until he struck gold with Emilio Largo, a villain with a believable yet still larger-than-life personality that made him every bit the match for Bond.

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The Spy Who Loved Me

I hope whatever good will was generated for you (provided you liked the book as much as I did) by Thunderball is still fresh in your memory, because you’re going to need to lean heavily upon it if you ever want to make it to the end of Fleming’s next Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me. It’s tempting to

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Thunderball

OK, now this is more like it. After muddling through a series of unsatisfying short stories — some of which were frustrating because they contained the unrealized kernel of a great story, others because they had next to nothing to do with James Bond — Ian Fleming returns to familiar territory with one of my favorite books in the entire

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