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 SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013

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Loomis
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:09 am

David Schofield wrote:
Seems to me there's total freedom. The writers can write what and how they like in return for th use of their name.

I don't dispute what you're saying. I'm not saying that the writers don't have total freedom. For all I know, they were indeed given total freedom. Judging by DEVIL MAY CARE and CARTE BLANCHE, though, they didn't use it.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:11 am

Perilagu Khan wrote:
Bounine wrote:
Well, as I've said, I found the CB story relatively enjoyable. The main problem was obviously Bond himself. This man just didn't seem like the literary or the cinematic James Bond at all. Gone were most of his personality traits. We could have been reading about anyone who shared the same name.

And that alone thoroughly discredits the novel as a Bond work. Unlike the films, the character of James Bond is everything to the novels.

...and if the protagonist Deaver wrote about was portrayed in the cinematic sense the novel would have still been a big disappointment. I would hate to see any cinematic influence in the literature like in the Benson books.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:20 am

Bounine wrote:
Loomis wrote:
Harmsway wrote:
DEVIL MAY CARE and CARTE BLANCHE were such staggering disappointments that I can't muster any enthusiasm for Boyd.

If you haven't read it, Harms, you should read Boyd's THE NEW CONFESSIONS. I think you'd love it.

I have no enthusiasm whatsoever for his Bond novel, though (even though, in theory, he would seem to be a wonderful choice). Like I say, the problem with the continuation novels today doesn't seem to be the writer but the nature of the gig.

How do you mean, the nature of the gig? I think IFP give the writers alot of freedom. I can't help thinking that the latter is to blame. Faulks didn't take it seriously, Deaver did his usual thing with the abundance of twists, and rebooted the character with the intention of creating a man who "everyone should like" (he told me this) who turned out to be very bland and generic, and Benson couldn't write. Pearson, Wood, Higson, Amis (although I find CS somewhat ploddish in parts) and Gardner to a decent extent in some of his books (although I realise many disagree with me in terms of this author) can prove they can do it and I'm sure there is another author out there who can also deliver a fabulous adult Bond novel. Whether it's Boyd or not I could never say. Maybe they'll never find the right author but if I'm right in understanding you, I really don't think it's the "nature of the gig".

What I mean by "the nature of the gig" is this:

Judging by DEVIL MAY CARE and CARTE BLANCHE, the idea is to produce a fairly conventional, mass-appeal Bond outing aimed mostly at people who know James Bond largely or (more likely) entirely through the films rather than the Fleming novels. It would appear that the modern day Bond continuation novel needs to be, essentially, a Bond film in book form.

Now, this is all well and good, but these books have very little literary merit (in spite of being written by acclaimed writers) and few - if any - surprises. They're generic, formula-bound, garden-variety, join-the-dots Bond adventures and not really any different to the sort of thing Benson used to give us. And there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but when you have giants of modern literary fiction like Sebastian Faulks and William Boyd getting involved, you start to hope for more than just a business-as-usual Bond continuation potboiler (or at least I do).

It's a bit like watching one of the world's most celebrated chefs cooking a Big Mac.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:47 am

Well, I will have to read one of Boyd's books, just to see what he's all about.

This is welcome news for two reasons. One, no-more of Deaver's nu-Bond and two, we have a new Bond-book to look forward to.

Seeing as Boyd is not being tasked with the conceit of writing as Ian Fleming, we might get something worthwhile.

I suspect he will pick up post TMWTGG. He can also ignore both CS and DMC if need be, without trampling on them. There is really no need to reference either. Rather he can just stay clear of them, without contradicting either. There is lots of wiggle room in the timeline.

I suspect that he won't pay any attention though, to Samantha Weinberg's work which was also written with the Fleming period-continuity in mind. It would be interesting if he did though, but someone would have to chart out the post-Fleming timeline for him as created by the likes of Amis, Weinberg and Faulks.

I don't think it would be difficult to create new Fleming-continuity adventures and not step on any of Amis, Weinberg or Faulks. There is lots of space to maneuvre with.

It does seem that IFP was sensitive to the firestorm of negative reaction that Deaver's nu-Bond received from fans. I think they got the same message regarding Faulks.

If at first you don't succeed Mr. Kidd. Try, try again, Mr. Wint.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:06 pm

"What I mean by "the nature of the gig" is this:

Judging by DEVIL MAY CARE and CARTE BLANCHE, the idea is to produce a fairly conventional, mass-appeal Bond outing aimed mostly at people who know James Bond largely or (more likely) entirely through the films rather than the Fleming novels. It would appear that the modern day Bond continuation novel needs to be, essentially, a Bond film in book form."


If this is really the case, then I will cease looking forward to the Bond books.
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jet set willy
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:22 am

I'll probbaly buy the new novel, but as everyone else has said already in this thread, the last 2 books have been such a huge disappointment, it is easier to expect more of the same rather than a novel worthy of anything Fleming could have written himself.

DMC was one of the worst books I've ever read. Faulks completey removed the one essential ingredient that was evident in the Fleming novels, and that was being inside Bond's head, his thoughts.

CB was only slightly better, in that Deaver at least attempted a stab at getting inside Bond. Unfortunately he fucked up everything else by making the surroundings more like a Bond movie, and breakneck speed to race the plot along. Gone was the typical Fleming structure with equal length chapers and interesting chapter names, and instead we had numbered chapters that appeared every couple of pages, with twists galore, to the point where the reader stopped caring.

Both books were an insult to Fleming. In all the years since he passed away, the only author to come anywhere close was the Amis novel Colonel Sun, and this was written immediately after Fleming's death nearly 50 years ago. Not one writer has come anywhere close since.

The key to a successful continuation novel would be for a writer to accurately mimic Fleming's style, with no influence whatsoever from the films. Maybe this is a feat beyond most writers.

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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:27 am

Christopher Wood came quite close. In truth, I think he did a bit better than Amis.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:05 am

Harmsway wrote:
Christopher Wood came quite close. In truth, I think he did a bit better than Amis.
Wood's efforts weren't too bad actually. I often overlook them, mainly because he didn't have to devise a plot to go with the novel, but instead had the entire storyline already mapped out for him.

The only thing that lets them down is the storylines themselves, which are far removed from Fleming, but with regards the style itself, Wood pretty much nailed Fleming.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:23 am

jet set willy wrote:
Harmsway wrote:
Christopher Wood came quite close. In truth, I think he did a bit better than Amis.
Wood's efforts weren't too bad actually. I often overlook them, mainly because he didn't have to devise a plot to go with the novel, but instead had the entire storyline already mapped out for him.

The only thing that lets them down is the storylines themselves, which are far removed from Fleming, but with regards the style itself, Wood pretty much nailed Fleming.

TSWLM screenplay written by Wood & Maibaum and Moonraker he was the sole writer of the screenplay. So he was actually involved in the plot. Is to date the only James Bond movie writer who has been given the chance to write novels based upon his scripts: The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. 8)
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:09 pm

saint mark wrote:
jet set willy wrote:
Harmsway wrote:
Christopher Wood came quite close. In truth, I think he did a bit better than Amis.
Wood's efforts weren't too bad actually. I often overlook them, mainly because he didn't have to devise a plot to go with the novel, but instead had the entire storyline already mapped out for him.

The only thing that lets them down is the storylines themselves, which are far removed from Fleming, but with regards the style itself, Wood pretty much nailed Fleming.

TSWLM screenplay written by Wood & Maibaum and Moonraker he was the sole writer of the screenplay. So he was actually involved in the plot. Is to date the only James Bond movie writer who has been given the chance to write novels based upon his scripts: The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. 8)
I never knew Wood actually wrote the screenplay too for these 2 films.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:06 am

jet set willy wrote:
Both books were an insult to Fleming.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that. I think that both Faulks and Deaver recognised that if they tried to simply ape Fleming's style, it would be an absolute disaster. No doubt you'd be in here bitching about how they tried too hard to be Fleming when they clearly weren't up to the task. So they tried to write Fleming's characters and universe in their own style, and you can't really fault them for that. Particularly in the case of Deaver (Faulks had that stupid "writing as Ian Fleming" credit); he has his own style and his own structure. It's what he's comfortable with, and by following that framework, he could deliver a better-quality novel than if he had tried to be Ian Fleming.

CARTE BLANCHE has its flaws, but I think it's very unfair of you to declare it an "insult" to Fleming simply because the author didn't try to ape Fleming. It's a fundamental truth of writing fiction that every author has his or her own style, and that style starts early in the conceptual phase. Naturally, this style can be refined and developed over time, but you can't just ask someone to "write more like this" and expect them to suddenly alter their entire approach. Whatever flaws the book has, they're not in the structure. CARTE BLANCHE's biggest weakness is that its core story isn't particularly interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:45 am

jet set willy wrote:
saint mark wrote:
jet set willy wrote:
Harmsway wrote:
Christopher Wood came quite close. In truth, I think he did a bit better than Amis.
Wood's efforts weren't too bad actually. I often overlook them, mainly because he didn't have to devise a plot to go with the novel, but instead had the entire storyline already mapped out for him.

The only thing that lets them down is the storylines themselves, which are far removed from Fleming, but with regards the style itself, Wood pretty much nailed Fleming.

TSWLM screenplay written by Wood & Maibaum and Moonraker he was the sole writer of the screenplay. So he was actually involved in the plot. Is to date the only James Bond movie writer who has been given the chance to write novels based upon his scripts: The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. 8)
I never knew Wood actually wrote the screenplay too for these 2 films.

I knew that because I have had the translated pockets from my youth where it said so on the cover. Just one of those nuggets of information that are totally useless but nice to know as it turns out. ;)
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:04 am

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
jet set willy wrote:
Both books were an insult to Fleming.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that. I think that both Faulks and Deaver recognised that if they tried to simply ape Fleming's style, it would be an absolute disaster. No doubt you'd be in here bitching about how they tried too hard to be Fleming when they clearly weren't up to the task. So they tried to write Fleming's characters and universe in their own style, and you can't really fault them for that. Particularly in the case of Deaver (Faulks had that stupid "writing as Ian Fleming" credit); he has his own style and his own structure. It's what he's comfortable with, and by following that framework, he could deliver a better-quality novel than if he had tried to be Ian Fleming.

CARTE BLANCHE has its flaws, but I think it's very unfair of you to declare it an "insult" to Fleming simply because the author didn't try to ape Fleming. It's a fundamental truth of writing fiction that every author has his or her own style, and that style starts early in the conceptual phase. Naturally, this style can be refined and developed over time, but you can't just ask someone to "write more like this" and expect them to suddenly alter their entire approach. Whatever flaws the book has, they're not in the structure. CARTE BLANCHE's biggest weakness is that its core story isn't particularly interesting.

I don't think anyone here is demanding that modern continuation novelists ape Fleming (although, frankly, that's what we were led to believe with Faulks' "writing as Ian Fleming" credit, which turned out to be as much of a letdown as CASINO ROYALE would have been if its credits had announced "Daniel Craig acting as Sean Connery"). I reckon most of us are quite happy for continuation novelists to have their own styles - as long as the resulting books are as good as the Flemings in their own way.

(Similarly, I doubt that anyone here wants Sam Mendes to deliberately ape Terence Young's style. The hope is only that Mendes will make an excellent film in whatever style he chooses.)

The problem with DEVIL MAY CARE isn't that Faulks failed to mimic Fleming's voice (although, again, that's what we were led to believe he'd be doing, and some of us looked forward to DMC on that basis). It's that the novel is utterly devoid of interest. I'm a huge fan of some of Faulks' other books. I think he's a brilliant novelist and a superb prose stylist, but nowhere in DMC are those qualities evident.

DEVIL MAY CARE isn't nobbled only by the absence of Ian Fleming. It's also nobbled by the absence of Sebastian Faulks. The same Sebastian Faulks, that is, who was behind such masterpieces as ENGLEBY and A FOOL'S ALPHABET. DMC is thus a double disappointment.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue May 01, 2012 9:32 pm

"CARTE BLANCHE's biggest weakness is that its core story isn't particularly interesting."

Not that the plot was anything to write home about but I think that CB's biggest fault is that the protaognist we're reading about doesn't even sound like James Bond! I am quite disappointed with the character Deaver turned him into. The guy could have been anyone who just happened to share the same name. Not only was a large part of his personality different but we were never really let into his thought process either.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed May 02, 2012 11:30 pm

I liked Loomis's description of Deaver's Bond best. "Nick Clegg with a gun."
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed May 02, 2012 11:36 pm

Sharky wrote:
I liked Loomis's description of Deaver's Bond best. "Nick Clegg with a gun."

That's spot on. laugh
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:50 pm

Boyd talks more Bond:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/9323091/Hay-Festival-2012-James-Bond-to-be-middle-aged.html#

Ah, these are my favourite types of Bond articles.

I am sceptical as to how good the new book will be due to the last two lacklustre ones but I don't think this interview is off putting as others feel. So, he wants to write a realistic Bond yarn. Nothing wrong with that every now and then. I rather like the idea. It may be more reminiscent of Fleming's wonderful short stories. In terms of the love affairs, I really don't care if we get one or two books where Bond doesn't sleep with anyone either, not that I'm suggesting that this is what he's saying. If he does in Boyd's book, maybe the dame will be closer to Bond's age instead of 20 years his junior. What I really want is a good, gripping narrative with a protagonist who is entirely three dimensional and pretty close to Fleming's original conception. In CB, we couldn't have been further away from this.

Just one thing, I don't want him to mention that Bond is 45. If he says that he's in his 40's then this is fine. Going by the sound of Boyd's more realistic take on the character, he might very well mention his exact age though.

"...what interests me about Bond is the human being."

I like comments like this. I hope he'll focus on Bond's anxieties too.

“The wonderful thing about the offer [to write a James Bond novel] is that they give you almost total freedom..."

If he put in his book a 100% faithful interpretation of Fleming's creation complete with the xenophobia and chauvenism, I wonder if the Fleming Estate would allow it.

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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:22 am

I'm a little late to this party, but what I have found troubles me. I know nothing of Boyd and never heard of him today, so my problem is not with Boyd, but of the Fleming estate. I know I'm the odd duck around here who actually liked Deaver's CARTE BLANCHE (and about the first third to first half of DEVIL MAY CARE), so my criticism of the move is coming from a different place than most others around here, but this is the third different writer in 5 years, and the move *back* to the 60's after having just "updated" Bond to a post-9/11, Afghanistan-war vet, has my head spinning. Why are we going back to 1969? I just don't get it. CARTE BLANCHE sold quite a few copies. Why not continue with Deaver or the timeline he established?

At this point it just looks as if there is no master plan....no blue-print over at the Fleming Estate for how to move the series forward. And it's not just the changing of the writers, but the whole idea of going back to the late 60's again after having just updated the character as a man of the new millenium. It betrays a lack of trust the Fleming's have in their product, a lack of game plan. Why not go back to the 50's and set them in the time period Fleming set them? :x
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:12 pm

Quote :
At this point it just looks as if there is no master plan....no blue-print over at the Fleming Estate for how to move the series forward. And it's not just the changing of the writers, but the whole idea of going back to the late 60's again after having just updated the character as a man of the new millenium. It betrays a lack of trust the Fleming's have in their product, a lack of game plan. Why not go back to the 50's and set them in the time period Fleming set them?

An entirely valid criticism. They've been flip-flopping all over the place since Benson.

I suspect a large part of it may have to do with the fact that they make these decisions with Faulks and Deaver, which are then met with tepid reception, scaring them off. The decision makers need to stand by a call instead of running away from it.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:39 pm

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
this is the third different writer in 5 years, and the move *back* to the 60's after having just "updated" Bond to a post-9/11, Afghanistan-war vet, has my head spinning. Why are we going back to 1969? I just don't get it. CARTE BLANCHE sold quite a few copies. Why not continue with Deaver or the timeline he established?
I suspect IFP didn't like the reception CARTE BLANCHE got, and were concerned with the trajectory that any future novels would have taken, given the plot threads Deaver laid with "Steel Cartridge". If I were IFP, I'd be very hesitant to go there; if I were a writer, I'd have my reservations about picking up someone else's ideas when I'm already writing in a third person's universe.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:24 am

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:

I suspect IFP didn't like the reception CARTE BLANCHE got...

By "reception" you mean making it on to the New York Times best seller list? I don't think Faulks did, and fairly certain Benson's offerings didn't move that many units. Granted, Deaver has more name recognition in the U.S., but......sheeeeet! Talk about pulling the rug out from under the fans. Even if the fans bitched, moaned, and groaned about CARTE BLANCHE, at least as a publishing arm have the courage to stand by the call (as Vesper said in the previous post). Now you've totally alienated any of the new fans you might have brought into the series with Deaver by dumping him and going not only with a new writer, but also in taking the character back nearly 45 years. It sends a signal to the literary fans that you are CLUELESS!!! They dumped the current, updated Bond in an effort to stand by a product by Boyd that they haven't seen yet. They trashed a proven commodity for something that is untested. Really?

I'm sure Deaver could have been coaxed back. Even if he had not been, there had to be a decent writer out there willing to pick up where Deaver left off. I have no axe to grind with Mr. Boyd; this is not personal. But I will give him FAIR WARNING (hey, that ought to be the title of the next Bond movie/novel) and tell him right now that unless the reviews of his book are out of this universe, wildly positive, and absolutely glowing and dripping with admiration, I won't be purchasing his novel except from a used bookstore, and with store credit. Why? Because I find that the Fleming estate is simply making these decisions up as they go along. They seem to be as clueless as a French schoolboy in a whore-house. They have no respect for the fans that they do have. If they aren't willing to stand by their product, why in the hell should I be expected to?


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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:25 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
Prisoner Monkeys wrote:

I suspect IFP didn't like the reception CARTE BLANCHE got...

By "reception" you mean making it on to the New York Times best seller list?

Critical and fan reception, which were both mostly negative.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:28 am

Largo's Shark wrote:

Critical and fan reception, which were both mostly negative.

Perhaps. But when are fans ever happy? It's our lot in life to be miserable. Even if they got it wrong with CARTE BLANCHE, give Deaver or the next author more time to smooth out the problems. Even I never called for Craig's firing after CASINO ROYALE, and apparently the third time has been the charm for him.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:47 am

It's a shame the literary Bond is going through such a flux. I find the idea of a literary 21st century Bond intriguing if done right. Even if Deaver didn't work it out, somebody else could have stepped in and made a better follow up. Going right back to the 60s again is definitely showing that the estate has no clue where to go.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:53 am

The problem is Deaver's Bond, not the timescale. He's as Loomis said "Nick Clegg with a gun." If a follow up author decided to to use that character, he'd have to radically change him in order for him to any way resemble Fleming or Broccoli & Saltzman's Bond.
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