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 SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013

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Makeshift Python
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:18 am

I still haven't read it yet, so I don't know how radical the change is, I just assumed Deaver's prose is generic.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:53 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
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.

Not sure I'd agree. I think Deaver's Bond had many of the classic elements of Fleming's Bond, but I'm having to work off memory; I haven't read it in about a year.

Can you really have Fleming's Bond without the time setting? Would we even recognize Fleming's Bond if he were cryogenically frozen in 1957 and thawed out in 2012? Fleming's Bond, to me, is inextricably linked to the time in which Fleming wrote the novels. But I wasn't asking for, or even looking for, Fleming's Bond when I read Gardner...Benson...Faulks...Amis...Deaver. It's about managing expectations. Now with this move to Boyd I have no idea what my expectations are. In fact, I have none, because I honestly don't care anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:45 am

When writing of Dr No (the novel) in the Times, Ben Macintyre interviewed a few chaps and there was some suggestion that there is perhaps no room now for a literary Bond.

Half wish I had a Times online subscription. Sure it's bubbling around someplace.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:59 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
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.

But the next novel now, even if it is functionally a separate timeline, radically changes the character anyway. How does that really make a difference, it just makes it more confusing to the casual fan as opposed to the fanatic.

I don't have a problem with them switching authors, but they should at least settle on a time period and a rough continuity - at least for an extended period - rather than flip-flopping back and forth between the naughties and the sixties. Each author may have a different interpretation of Bond, and that's fair enough (one could liken it to different actors playing Bond, really), but then at least each novel won't feel like an ultimately worthless exercise in literary self-gratification.

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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:14 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
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.

Boyd is a superb writer. Years and years ago, I was championing him on CBn as a future Bond continuation novelist. His A NEW CONFESSIONS is one of my favourite books.

But so what? Faulks is also a superb writer and look what happened with DEVIL MAY CARE.

I no longer have any interest in writers (big names or otherwise) turning out a piece of Bond product. I no longer have any interest in Bond continuation novels for the sake of it. What I'm interested in are novels that are worth reading. I'll wait and see what the reviews of Boyd's effort are like before buying it. Hopefully it won't just be yet another case of an author simply ticking a number of boxes on the Fleming checklist and nailing them to a halfhearted "plot".

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
Why not go back to the 50's and set them in the time period Fleming set them? :x

Well, for one thing the books would probably still be full of twenty-first century attitudes, speech patterns and turns of phrase.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:13 pm

Python wrote:
I still haven't read it yet, so I don't know how radical the change is, I just assumed Deaver's prose is generic.
I wouldn't say it is generic. To me, generic prose is the kind of stuff you would expect from James Patterson, or anyone who ghostwrites for him these days.

No, Deaver's problem is that he can't fit into Fleming's universe particularly well. James Bond isn't James Bond. He's just a guy.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:48 pm

With the release of SKYFALL proving for the most part that Bond can fit in the 21st century, this double back to the 60s looks even more pointless. Even if Deaver won't return for another title, couldn't someone else have carried it but restoring more traditional characteristics that are supposedly absent in CB? (again, I still haven't read it, I ought to get it over with)
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:05 pm

I'm trying to think of who might be able to pull it off, but I'm having a hard time thining of names. Nelson DeMille might be able to do it, if the story was closer to Wild Fire and The Charm School than the likes of The Gate House. Michael Connelly might be another good choice, but I think he's been writing Harry Bosch for a bit too long, so the stories are all coming out the same. And there was a time when I would have suggested Matthew Reilly, but he's never been able to match the quality of his early works, and even if he could, he'd still need a metric ton of restraint. That said, his writing career has pretty much been on hold since his wife's suicide.

But honestly, I'd be happy with anyone IFP got so long as they aren't named James Patterson (or anyone who ever ghost-wrote for him).
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:25 am

Boyd on his upcoming Bond novel:

Quote :
You're also working on the new James Bond novel. Can you tell us anything about it?

I am being annoyingly tight-lipped. It's 1969 and Bond is 45 years old. This is not the young hotshot spy anymore, this is a man who's maybe not quite as limber or confident as he was in 1953. There's no mountains full of atom bombs or a bubonic plague that will destroy the world. It's an ordinary mission for a middle-aged spy that goes hideously wrong.

Did you get a lot of leeway in terms of the story?

You have total freedom. There's no point in asking somebody like me or [Devil May Care author] Sebastian Faulks to write a Bond novel if you then say "You have to do this." There are certain boxes you have to tick, but within those relatively few parameters you're free to invent your own story. That's one reason I went back to read all the novels again. In those novels was a lot of information about Bond and his tastes, his moods, his dark side. So that's what I've really plundered the novels for rather than cars with ejector seats.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:48 am

Harmsway wrote:
There are certain boxes you have to tick

Well, there we are. I wonder what those boxes are and why they have to be ticked.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:03 am

As much as I did not like CARTE BLANCHE, is anyone else annoyed that we did this big literary Bond reboot only to be back in the Fleming timeline again?
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:13 am

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
As much as I did not like CARTE BLANCHE, is anyone else annoyed that we did this big literary Bond reboot only to be back in the Fleming timeline again?
It's a curious move, to be sure, and it's annoying that it appears that there is no direction staked out for the future of Bond novels, no sense that there will be some kind of new continuity established.

But at the same time, CARTE BLANCHE was truly terrible, so I don't relish the thought of a series of Bond novels that uses that as its starting point.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:17 am

I do like the sound of an ordinary mission going horrendously wrong, but I'm worried Boyd will become bogged down in the ultra-realism of it all and produce a novel that is less-Fleming than Deaver did.
Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
As much as I did not like CARTE BLANCHE, is anyone else annoyed that we did this big literary Bond reboot only to be back in the Fleming timeline again?
I'd like to know the circumstances that lead to writers defaulting back to Fleming's canon. Did IFP acknowledge that CARTE BLANCHE failed and consciously make the choice to return to 1969? Or did William Boyd ask if he could write in Fleming's timeline and they agreed to it? Or did something else happen?
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:07 am

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
I do like the sound of an ordinary mission going horrendously wrong, but I'm worried Boyd will become bogged down in the ultra-realism of it all

If only.

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
and produce a novel that is less-Fleming than Deaver did.

I'm not sure that it would be possible to produce a less Flemingian novel than CARTE BLANCHE.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:20 pm

It makes sense that they're going back to the 60's and not continuing the Deaver timeline. After all, Blanche Bond retired from the service to join Greenpeace.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:03 pm

Loomis wrote:
Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
I do like the sound of an ordinary mission going horrendously wrong, but I'm worried Boyd will become bogged down in the ultra-realism of it all
If only.
Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
and produce a novel that is less-Fleming than Deaver did.
I'm not sure that it would be possible to produce a less Flemingian novel than CARTE BLANCHE.
The best parallel that I can draw is to Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD.

Robin Hood is, of course, a folk tale. It has a certain large than life quality to it, which makes it fun. It's a world where bandits fight tyrants, where the hero swings from ropes and splits an rival's arrow with an arrow of his own. But Ridley Scott's film version took all of that away. It was obsessed with being dark and gritty, and the end result was that it was a completely joyless film.

The James Bond universe has the same larger than life quality to it, the benign bizarre. But based on William Boyd's description of it, I'm afraid that this stuff will be cut and Boyd will focus on heavy themes that make the novel a chore to read.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:32 pm

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:

The James Bond universe has the same larger than life quality to it, the benign bizarre. But based on William Boyd's description of it, I'm afraid that this stuff will be cut and Boyd will focus on heavy themes that make the novel a chore to read.
This is a potential danger. I've never read Boyd though so I will refrain from comment on his work. He does at least seem like a serious writer so there is potential.

Something to be considered though. Writing Bond as dark and conflicted, or obsessing over this angle is not ipse facto Flemingesque. Fleming Bond is an invigorating character. He has personality and charm to spare. His life is not gloom and doom. He is not the Dark Knight. I think there is a tendency to rebel too hard against the more light hearted Rog Bond that we sometimes saw on screen.

But at least Boyd isn't likely to have Bond run off and join Greenpeace. laugh

That might very well have been Deaver's next stop.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:41 am

Reading an interview in the Times today with Boyd (mainly over his new TV adapatation) I somehow look forward to his contribution. Certainly can't be as bad as Faulks/Deaver but nothing will match Fleming of course. Judging by the interview he's chomping at the bit, but then I imagine Faulks was (in his way).
The book being set in 1969 can't be all bad but not all good.

Quote :
I said to the Fleming board that I'm going to write a realistic, gritty novel about a 45-year old man who happes to be a spy.

He is determined, he says, to get back to the "literary" Bond -a very different creature from the cinematic spy.

"..his background is very interesting. He makes terrible mistakes, Bond is full of doubt. He often vomits which you don't see Sean Connery or Daniel Craig doing! When he's confronted with something horrific he vomits.

quoted from the article.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:34 am

I'm looking forward to the novel, as well. Although it's still early, based on what Boyd has been saying, it seems like he's on the right track with this.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:05 pm

Hilly wrote:

Quote :
I said to the Fleming board that I'm going to write a realistic, gritty novel about a 45-year old man who happes to be a spy.
He is determined, he says, to get back to the "literary" Bond -a very different creature from the cinematic spy.
"..his background is very interesting. He makes terrible mistakes, Bond is full of doubt. He often vomits which you don't see Sean Connery or Daniel Craig doing! When he's confronted with something horrific he vomits.

quoted from the article.
Well I hope he doesn't overplay this "gritty" angle. Yes Bond vomits occasionally but generally after he's been through hell and back. Understandable I think, and not that revealing. Secondly, yes he does make mistakes, he's not a machine, but he generally recovers well. "Bond is full of doubt." Full I think is overstating things. Yes he sometimes doubts whether he will survive his missions, but he soldiers on. The doubt does not consume him. In fact, I'd say he had normal human doubt, considering the dire straights he often finds himself in.

If Boyd turns his Bond into some, dark, gritty, conflicted, doubt obsessed agent, then I will vomit, and with just as much force as Deaver's book caused me to do, but for different reasons.

I assume Boyd has read the Fleming books. If so he will also have discovered that Bond is very comfortable in his skin. He's a confident, relaxed sort and a first class banterer and quipster. Even in YOLT, after enduring beatings and the torture of the Question Room, standing naked but for a thong, facing imminent death before Blofeld, Bond finds time for this little riposte, "Well, Blofeld, you mad bastard. I'll admit that your effects man down below knows his stuff. Now bring on the twelve she-devils and if they are all as beautiful as Fraulein Bunt, we'll get Noel Coward to put it to music and have it on Broadway by Christmas. How about it?"

"and if they are all as beautiful as Fraulein Bunt" laugh Sorry, Fleming's relentless Bunt-bashing in both OHMSS and YOLT cracks me up.


Bond as we see throughout the books, is not exactly a dour sort. Rather he's extremely glib, especially at the worst of times. I hope Boyd can find this very prominent aspect of Bond, along with the vomiting of course.

That's the books first spoiler. There will be vomiting. :shock:
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:07 am

I can't imagine or hope he'll go OTT on the vomiting, just seems to be an example he used. He says in the interview he read all that he could on Bond, chiefly the Fleming's and all else. Wish I could link it but maybe someone else here pays that subscription :)
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:34 am

I can remember Bond throwing up in CR when the 'red and blue camera case' assassins accidentally blow themselves to pieces in the street right in front of him, and in DN after killing the centipede. Can't recall any others just now.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:24 am

He may have barfed at the sight of either Klebb or Bunt too. Sounds like Fleming did, at least, when he was writing their descriptions.
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:05 pm

Just learned he wrote the screenplay for "Mister Johnson", the 1990 film starring Pierce Brosnan!
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PostSubject: Re: SOLO by William Boyd ::: September 26, 2013   Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:32 pm

http://www.mi6-hq.com/news/index.php?itemid=10819&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Quote :
The 23rd 007 adventure was phenomenally popular, and not just amongst Bond fans, scooping over $1 billion at the box office and becoming one of the highest grossing films of all time.

However, this is a wave that continuation author William Boyd, who will offer up a new instalment of literary 007 in the Autumn, does not seek to ride.

“I don’t think they’ll ever make a retro Bond. Even Dr No which was written in 1955 was set in 1962 when the film was made. All the Bond films from then have been completely contemporary. They wouldn’t go back and make a Bond set in 1969. It would throw the whole franchise askew,” he tells The Independent.

“It’s interesting in Skyfall to see them referring back, as it were, to Bond's biography, but of course it is set in 2012 so Bond would have been 88. In a way I have the easier, or more logical, task, because my Bond is living his history. His schooldays, his parenting and upbringing is all there.”

"There is a disconnect between the film Bond and the literary Bond which is their contemporaneity. I don’t suffer from that."
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