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Old 08-09-2009, 06:50   #1
SIMON ADEBISI
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Bond books - worth a read?

As per title.

Ive seen all the films way too many times so im wondering are the books worth a read? No doubt people will say they re dated and very un p.c. but that wouldnt bother me
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:08   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMON ADEBISI View Post
As per title.

Ive seen all the films way too many times so im wondering are the books worth a read? No doubt people will say they re dated and very un p.c. but that wouldnt bother me
Parts are quite dated, and some parts are very un p.c. Flemming's attitude to blacks and women are questionable at times and some passages I'm sure wouldn't even have been pc at the time they were written.

That said I'm reading through them for the first time at the moment (currently on From Russia with Love) and am enjoying them. The quality has varied but even the worst one I've read so far (Diamonds Are Forever) does have some really good parts in it.

I would suggest reading them in the correct order. While not essential, there are little references here and there relating to previous books so it is more rewarding to read in order.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:28   #3
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Yeah, well worth reading IMHO. Dirt cheap too, if you can pick up the full set from The Book People for around £13. They are very quick reads, too.

As Martin says, they are quite dated, but still good fun. And they are different enough from the films that it is a completely different experience (and some are totally different, eg Moonraker). I have only got around to the first 3 though (up to Moonraker)

I am currently reading the Sebastian Faulks Bond novel 'Devil May Care', which is good stuff, too. It works on a multitude of levels, as it is a good story, but also interesting as both an homage and pastiche/slight exaggeration of Fleming's style

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Old 08-09-2009, 07:39   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Ball View Post
Parts are quite dated, and some parts are very un p.c. Flemming's attitude to blacks and women are questionable at times and some passages I'm sure wouldn't even have been pc at the time they were written.
Some say "outdated", others would say an accurate perception from people of that class at that time. Have to say that these (espically the early ones) were written when the English class system was still (just) around. In many ways Bond was Fleming so although he maybe a 10 year younger version of Fleming he still has views of a man that witness the tail end of the British Empire.

Quote:
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That said I'm reading through them for the first time at the moment (currently on From Russia with Love) and am enjoying them. The quality has varied but even the worst one I've read so far (Diamonds Are Forever) does have some really good parts in it.
Would agree with that. Diamonds and Man With the Golden Gun are the lows while From Russia With Love, OHMSS, and You Only Live Twice real classics.
Everything else rang from good to very good IMO.

Quote:
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I would suggest reading them in the correct order. While not essential, there are little references here and there relating to previous books so it is more rewarding to read in order.
Defiantly read in order. as Martian says there are little references here and there of what has gone on in the book before, but by the time you get to Thundrerball there is a stronger follow on between the books.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:47   #5
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Cheers lads
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:33   #6
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The final Blofeld trilogy is superb, Thunderball, OHMSS and You Only Live Twice.

If you like Fleming's books, also try Colonel Sun by Robert Markham (Kingsley Amis). It follows on from The Man with the Golden Gun and is actually better than that book.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:49   #7
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They're not outdated, as others have said, but are accurate for their era. Excellent little reads. I was quite surprised with Moonraker and how it ends.

Read them in order is best, I'm currently working my way through them and give Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care a go as well.

Art Vandalay, or anyone else, can you clear something up for me with Devil May Care?

There's a spoiler here for an early-ish part of the book, but best not read until book is over



Incidentally, I'm having a terrible time finding Diamonds Are Forever in charity shops if anyone has a spare copy they'd let go for a pound and postage, I'd be happy to take it off their hands. *cheeky*

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Old 08-09-2009, 13:41   #8
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Casino Royale and Moonraker are the best Bonds. Try one of those. If you like then you'll get something out of the others too. I read Casino Royale pretty much every other year - must have read it 20 times! ; )

(I do the same with Neuromancer too).
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Old 08-09-2009, 14:19   #9
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I used to scoff at the thought of reading the Bond novels, but I got given a copy of You Only Live Twice, loved it, and then picked up that Book People set a while ago. I think they're all terrific.

The books give Bond an emotional depth that is sorely lacking from most of his wise-cracking screen adventures, and when read in sequence they provide a slight but satisfying sense of continuity that, again, is rarely seen in the 007 movies.
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Old 08-09-2009, 14:25   #10
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My Da actually has YOLT so next time im home ill snag it and give it a whirl. If i like it ill get the others.

Cheers.
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Old 08-09-2009, 15:48   #11
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Generally I wouldn't bother with the non Fleming books. The majority of them are awful.
I remember one having a tag line:-

"Bond is back.... James Bond, with his .44 Ruger Blackhawk Magnum and Saab 900 Turbo is ........"

I just stared at the cover in disbelief.
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Old 08-09-2009, 16:15   #12
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I'd certainly recommend OHMSS. It's a fantastic book. Moonraker was pretty good too (as Art said, very different from the film -- probably the only thing it has in common is the name of the villain!).

Read 'Devil May Care' too over the summer but can't say I cared for it. Had lots of references to the films continuity (if such a thing exists) but I never found it's own plot or characters really amounted to much.
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Old 10-09-2009, 19:41   #13
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Haven't read them in years. Used to have a copy of thunderball (I think) that had a bullet hole in the front cover, which I thought was really cool at 12 or so. I will have to try and pick up a few from charity shops or the book people!
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Old 10-09-2009, 19:52   #14
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Yeah, I've got that Thunderball. The older versions are excellent. I have a very lurid, garish From Russia With Love which I am very pleased with.
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Old 11-09-2009, 14:29   #15
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Picked up a hardback of Devil may care in the Poundshop... Was an interesting read, but trying too hard to put modern sensibility on a period piece, bit too much 'green' and PC which would never have happened, but a reasonable holiday type read.
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Old 12-09-2009, 13:11   #16
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Can you explain what happened in my spoiler in post 7?
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:27   #17
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There were loads of new Penguin Bonds in the the two-pound bookshop in Greenwich last week. I picked up as many of the titles as they had. I am working my way through them, and they are excellent easy-reads - dated from a certain point of view, but that doesn't take an inch off their genre importance.
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:15   #18
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I used to read them a while ago and thoroghly enjoyed them [including many post-Fleming ones].
They capture the darker and somewhat snobbish side of Bond quite nicely.
The mysogeny is quite an eye-opener though [infamous ray's-tail whip etc]

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Old 10-08-2010, 12:50   #19
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From Thunderball, pp. 148-9:

"Women are often meticulous and safe drivers, but they are very seldom first class. In general Bond regarded them as a mild hazard and he always gave them plenty of road and was ready for the unpredictable. Four women in a car he regarded as the highest potential danger, and two women nearly as lethal. Women together cannot keep silent in a car, and when women talk they have to look into each other's faces. An exchange of words is not enough. They have to see the other person's expression, perhaps in order to read behind the other's words or to analyse the reaction to their own. So two women in the front seat of a car constantly distract each other's attention from the road ahead and four women are more than doubly dangerous, for the driver not only has to hear, and see, what her companion is saying, but also, for women are like that, what the two behind are talking about... This girl drove like a man. She was entirely focused on the road ahead and on what was going on in her driving mirror, an accessory rarely used by women except for making up their faces..."
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Old 18-08-2010, 16:33   #20
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I have picked up 3 Bond books from a second hand book store today. Casino Royale, Live and Let Die and From Russia With Love.

Looking forward to reading them but will keep an eye out for Moonraker, as I want to read them all in order if I can.
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