Sunday, June 5, 2011

Non-canonical Bond

A trail that I never followed: non-Fleming James Bond novels. Most of them sound horrible. This summary article is pretty funny. Kingsley Amis's Bond book got this response from Anne Fleming, Ian's posh, titled, dominatrix, widow:

"Amis will slip Lucky Jim into Bond's clothing," she wrote in a Sunday Telegraph review. "We shall have a petit bourgeois red-brick Bond [who will] end up selling his country."
The Gardner Bonds were created according to an interesting formula for hackery:
Gardner went on to write 16 Bond novels, four more than Fleming. All 16 are readable, yet all are dogged by silliness: Bond gets chummy with an unconvincing Maggie Thatcher in Win Lose Or Die; half of Scorpius takes place in the glamourous locale of Chippenham.

The novels were a three-way trade-off between Gardner, Gildrose and the American publisher Putnam. Gardner would spend six weeks writing each novel; Putnam would spend six months adjusting it to their requirements. By publication Americanisms were everywhere: a waiter wears "pants" in The Man From Barbarossa; Bond asks "what's up?" in Brokenclaw. Even worse were the titles (1987's Win Lose Or Die pales in comparison to Putnam's suggestion: Oh No, Mr Bond).

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