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 How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?

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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:54 am

Been a while since I read through all of the books, but approximately how old is James Bond? Mid 30s? Early 40s?

Is this variance a problem of continuity or, as the series continued, was it thought advisable for Bond to be made a bit younger?

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bitchcraft
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:02 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
Been a while since I read through all of the books, but approximately how old is James Bond? Mid 30s? Early 40s?

Is this variance a problem of continuity or, as the series continued, was it thought advisable for Bond to be made a bit younger?


Wasn't he 37 in Moonraker? I think he said he had 8 years to go before hitting 00-retirement age which is 45 or something.... Meaning M007RE was a retiree-for-hire.
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Makeshift Python
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:10 am

Dog Bond's got it.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:38 am

Fleming it seems was purposefully vague on Bond's age.

In the YOLT obit, Fleming writes "By now it was 1941 and by claiming an age of nineteen......he entered a branch of what was subsequently to become the Ministry of Defence."

This passages suggests Bond was born in 1922.

But if he was 37 in MR (published 1955) then Bond was born in 1918.

Split the difference and he was born in 1920, therefore aged 33-45 for the life of the novels (1953-1965)

Fleming died early enough that he never had to deal with Bond living beyond the mandatory double O retirment age.

Others have claimed Bond was 29 for CR based on data from Fleming. I just can't remember what Fleming they were citiing.

Suffice to say I think Fleming introduced Bond as roughly 35 and tried to keep him in that 35-40 range for the duration which is why I think the films should go back to basics and cast new Bond actors as early 30's to keep them in the Fleming range for as long as possible. This approach worked fine for Sean. We got his best years.
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Makeshift Python
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:30 pm

IIRC Moonraker is only set a year after Casino Royale, with Live and Let Die being set between. Setting MR at 1954 with Bond being 37, that would mean he was Born in 1917.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:33 pm

Makeshift Python wrote:
IIRC Moonraker is only set a year after Casino Royale, with Live and Let Die being set between. Setting MR at 1954 with Bond being 37, that would mean he was Born in 1917.

hmmm. He just gets older.
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:14 pm

You see the problem.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:06 pm

I thought the YOLT obit's 'claiming an age of 19' thing was hinting he lied about his age to enlist, i.e. he was born after 1922.

If I recall correctly, I think 1921 or so was suggested (I forget where... Pearson?) because it would give Bond enough experience to be a senior agent around Casino Royale and would leave a large enough window to have all the novels fit in before he hit mandatory retirement age in 1966.
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:04 am

So to sum up responses so far, none of us know for sure. :)
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:51 am

Bond in CR: roughly 40-45
Bond in LALD: same
Bond in MR: 37
Bond in DAF through OHMSS: aging at a rate of one year per book = 38-45
Bond in YOLT: 50 (getting your wife shot can have curious effects)
Bond in TMWTGG: 45 (prolonged stay at The Park rejuvenates at a rate of one year per week spent; alternatively electro shock therapy subtracts one year per every five shocks; Moloney lied to Bond and gave him 25 shocks, not 24)
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:07 am

So based on that roundup it's quite feasible that by 2014 James Bond is aged 19.

Justin Bieber is James Bond.
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6of1
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:37 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
So based on that roundup it's quite feasible that by 2014 James Bond is aged 19.

Completely feasible.

Erica Ambler wrote:

Justin Bieber is James Bond.

Impossible. The amount of electroshocks for this would drive Britain into bankrupcy.


Though...

Did you just notice that flicker? I wonder...
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:05 am

Vesper wrote:
I thought the YOLT obit's 'claiming an age of 19' thing was hinting he lied about his age to enlist, i.e. he was born after 1922.

If I recall correctly, I think 1921 or so was suggested (I forget where... Pearson?) because it would give Bond enough experience to be a senior agent around Casino Royale and would leave a large enough window to have all the novels fit in before he hit mandatory retirement age in 1966.

Yes Fleming using the word, "claiming", does suggest Bond might have lied about his age. Could have been Fleming's attempt to sneak his age in as a bit younger, say 18 in 1941, making for a 1923 birth, thus only 41 for publication of YOLT (1964) and fit for a few more years of adventure, before mandatory retirement age.

As Koran scholars like to say, the most recent info about Mohammed trumps the older information, thus using the same methodology, the YOLT obit trumps anything Fleming wrote previously. :study:
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:18 am

Pearson has him born on Armistice Day, and I'm pretty sure 1920, since he is referenced as being 53 in the bio, which came out in 73.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:09 pm

trevanian wrote:
Pearson has him born on Armistice Day, and I'm pretty sure 1920, since he is referenced as being 53 in the bio, which came out in 73.

Good point. I've always considered Bond to have been born in 1920. Thanks for reminding me why. I probably picked that up in the Pearson book, but I haven't read it in ages, so I forgot that bit, but clearly it did register at the time and stuck. So I can go with that as Pearson based on what he got from Fleming, decided that would be Bond's age. Works for me. Thus Bond is 33 with the publication of CR and 45 with publication of TMWTGG and I guess 48 with publication of Colonel Sun, and then he disappears only to be resurrected years later by Gardner in a new bogus timeline which doesn't make any sense, unless Bond is now 61. But that's OK, Bond stopped aging in his mid-to-late 40's so he could be strong and middle-aged fit, for the Gardner and Pearson books, which both laughably tried to maintain continuity with Fleming.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:48 pm

Quote :
which both laughably tried to maintain continuity with Fleming.

Worse was Benson. Who tried to merge Brosnan Bond with Fleming's Bond.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:31 am

Vesper wrote:
Quote :
which both laughably tried to maintain continuity with Fleming.

Worse was Benson. Who tried to merge Brosnan Bond with Fleming's Bond.

Benson completely lost me when he re-united Bond with Tiger Tanaka, 38 years after YOLT was published.

That was his last book too (Man with Red Tattoo, 2002). Maybe IFP thought he had lost his mind as well.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:55 am

However Fleming dickered with Bond's age throughout the series, he ultimately settled on either 1912 or 1924 as his birthyear. This is confirmed when Tanaka took great pleasure in informing Bond that he had been born in the year of the Rat. 1912 works for CR, but not so much for YOLT - although it is still just plausible. This may have just been Fleming's plauful dig at anyone trying to make sense of Bond's fairly constant age over a 12-year period - as we are doing now.

It was John Pearson who chose 1920 instead, a detail which Charlie Higson chose to go by in his Young Bond novels.

Early on Fleming wrote that Bond bought his first Bently "nearly new" in 1933, which makes sense if he was 21 years old, but Higson tries to explain the disparity by having young James buy a rusting hulk with some reward money, and fixing it up with the help of his Eton chums.

Ultimately, Bond just doesn't age in the books, any more than he does in the movies. I can live with that.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:08 am

tiffanywint wrote:
the Gardner and Pearson books, which both laughably tried to maintain continuity with Fleming.

This is a bad thing why?
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:15 am

TedHeath wrote:
tiffanywint wrote:
the Gardner and Pearson books, which both laughably tried to maintain continuity with Fleming.


This is a bad thing why?

Unless you're having Bond as a pensioner downing Viagra in a gadget-fitted Zimmer Frame as he tries to escape a retirement home with a young nurse with big tits who's fallen for his charms, then it's pointless. Fleming's 70 year old Bond driving around in a Saab? Gimme a break.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:19 am

Sharky wrote:
TedHeath wrote:
tiffanywint wrote:
the Gardner and Pearson books, which both laughably tried to maintain continuity with Fleming.


This is a bad thing why?

Unless you're having Bond as a pensioner downing Viagra in a gadget-fitted Zimmer Frame as he tries to escape a retirement home with a young nurse with big tits who's fallen for his charms, then it's pointless. Fleming's 70 year old Bond driving around in a Saab? Gimme a break.

Yet you're able to suspend disbelief for a 50 year-old film series. And, most people were able to tolerate Roger Moore in AVTAK. I don't get why this is any different.
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Largo's Shark
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:25 am

TedHeath wrote:
Sharky wrote:
TedHeath wrote:
tiffanywint wrote:
the Gardner and Pearson books, which both laughably tried to maintain continuity with Fleming.


This is a bad thing why?

Unless you're having Bond as a pensioner downing Viagra in a gadget-fitted Zimmer Frame as he tries to escape a retirement home with a young nurse with big tits who's fallen for his charms, then it's pointless. Fleming's 70 year old Bond driving around in a Saab? Gimme a break.

Yet you're able to suspend disbelief for a 50 year-old film series. And, most people were able to tolerate Roger Moore in AVTAK. I don't get why this is any different.

Moore was 58 in '85. If we're going with Bond having been born in the 1910s, he would have been in his 70s when the Gardner books were written. That's a key difference of 20 odd years.

Also, the Bond films have never given much thought for continuity, apart from the regular characters (M, Q, Moneypenny, Gogol etc.). You can't compare Roger Moore's 7 films (in their self-contained timeline) to trying to establish continuity with Fleming.

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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:54 pm

tiffanywint wrote:
That was his last book too (Man with Red Tattoo, 2002). Maybe IFP thought he had lost his mind as well.
I bought that book and read some of it while taking a dump once. Never again.
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:05 pm

Sharky wrote:
Moore was 58 in '85. If we're going with Bond having been born in the 1910s, he would have been in his 70s when the Gardner books were written. That's a key difference of 20 odd years.
In Bond years, 58 is just as good as 78.


Last edited by TedHeath on Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: How old is James Bond in the Fleming books?   Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:06 pm

Louis Armstrong wrote:
tiffanywint wrote:
That was his last book too (Man with Red Tattoo, 2002). Maybe IFP thought he had lost his mind as well.
I bought that book and read some of it while taking a dump once. Never again.
Never read a Benson Bond novel, but I did try reading his novelization of Metal Gear Solid. I only read the first two pages at a Barnes & Noble, probably the most unimaginative two pages I ever read. It was like reading Wikipedia page.
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