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 Last Bond Novel You Read

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Walecs
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:13 pm

I'm currently reading SOLO. I'm enjoying it, though the story is not something we have never seen in both Fleming and movies.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:18 am

I've started to re-read the Fleming novels In order and have finished DAF, Brilliant read. Only weakness for me was the Lack of a main/strong Villain. Nearly finished FRWL then on to Dr No.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:35 pm

Finally finished reading THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, which began about a year ago. I just kept picking it up and putting it down, forgetting about it. I didn't hate it, but I wish I hadn't skipped this the two times I went through the books because it's the last unread Fleming Bond for me, and now I would have preferred it to be THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Pretty unremarkable, an admirable experiment, but Vivienne Michel is such poor protagonist to follow that when Bond finally arrived I felt relieved. This might have served better as a short story for Fleming, starting with her looking after the motel and going on from there, no need for her background with all the bad relationships.

Now that I finally got that out of the way, I've just started reading COLONEL SUN. So far, I'm enjoying it, but it's hard to not feel Fleming's absence.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:13 pm

Flicking through OHMSS. The airport scene grows each time and I still wonder how it would have looked on screen, the barn scene was top notch but something about the ambience of an airport, these two sort of huddled together and the proposal (the line that tickles here is: "She's beautiful. In bed and out.") would make a good scene.
Then the shattering end.

A line that again tickles is when Bond's hunting for the ring.

..."and he and the taxi man, who had been a Luftwaffe pilot during the war, and was proud of it"
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:22 am

I did pre-order Shoot to Kill which was then cancelled by the online store, they blamed me for doing that but offered me a coupon of 2,50 euro as compensation for a book that became 7 euros more expensive after the pre order period. SO the book will have to wait for a while untill the price comes down.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:27 am

For whatever reason I haven't continued with COLONEL SUN until recently. Overall a pretty respectable take by Amis. I'd say his only flaw is the way he depicts intimacy/sex with Bond and Ariadne. It comes off very awkward and matter of fact without the sensuality Fleming injected. I also wish we had more of Colonel Sun, as his role is very limited considering that the book is titled after him. Despite that, I like a lot of what we get towards the end.

I just started reading LICENCE RENEWED. Five chapters in, I think Gardner does a great job of getting the vibe that Fleming brought, but in his own way. It doesn't feel too much like an imitation (something I hear Faulks was criticized for), but feels just right. I look forward to continuing this one.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:40 pm

Ran out of reading material and on a whim picked up a Gardner novel. I realized it has been about 10 years since I read them. The same thing happened last year with Fleming. Long over due for a re-read. I've never made it a secret that I love John Gardner's Bond. I love that he tries to do his own thing with it and bring new elements to the character. I hate when people try to imitate Fleming. Have some fun, do something a little different, make your own mark on the character! On a re-read, I enjoyed these novels even more than I did on my first read. I also enjoyed him bringing in his own set of additional, reoccurring characters. I tackled License Renewed, For Special Services, No Deals, Mr. Bond.

LR jumped up a few notches in my book. Love the re-introduction of Bond to the 80's and the way he handles the character. No Deals is still quite enjoyable for me. For Special Services for me has always been one of my least favorite of his works. After a re-read, I actually enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It certainly has a lot of good elements. In hindsight, his handing of SPECTRE's return is much better than SPECTRE the film. A lot of great characters and scenes in this novel.

I also like the idea of Cedar Leiter, although she could have been developed a little more. It seems like her only purpose is to try to shag Bond, so Bond can reject her out of courtesy to his old friend. Again my main gripe with FSS is the plot. The ice cream sub plot is a bit silly. And all the momentum that is built up throughout the entire novel is wrapped up way too quickly and too easily. Although the way Bond stopping the plot is enjoyable. Just feels incredibly rushed. I believe this is probably due to the the three sets of editors Bond authors had to work with. I think they did most of the hacking in the third act.

Either way, I'm enjoying these re-reads. Might tackle some more over the weekend.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:30 am

Currently about 60 pages into a re-read of Gardner's Icebreaker. Pacy and entertaining.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:18 pm

Finally finished OHMSS! Definitely in my top 5 Bond novels… That penultimate chapter with Draco is one of the best chapters I've read in the series. Very warm and rang true for what a European future father-in-law would do.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:32 pm

Finished re-reading Gardner's Death is Forever and Icebreaker over the past week or so. Very enjoyable reads. Just have to finish up re-reading the rest.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:32 am

Casino Royale

Is this the spy novel to end all spy novels, as Fleming hoped? No. Fleming himself went to on write bigger and better works.

He's trying things out here. Bond's a real bastard. His  early dismissal of and almost disregard for women "in the field" is well contrasted with his eventual desire (not love à la the Craig film adaptation) for Vesper.

The twists and turns of the Baccarat game are surprisingly easy to follow and engaging, although I find the whole "villains and heroes" morality argument between Bond and Mathis a bit wishy-washy.

The torture scene is trumped by Amis' in Colonel Sun, but I guess difficult for Fleming to describe in order for it to be published!

But a solid read.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:02 am

Started on OHMSS earlier and though I imagined Lazenby at first (especially for the casino scene), Dalton slips into the mind afterwards. You could just imagine him getting frustrated with Griffon Or before he finally gets to meet Sir Hilary or talking with Draco.

I still like the bits along the way where Bond thinks of Tracy and how he thinks of her. Not least how the SPECTRE's man death down the bobsled run still makes me shiver. (Though the dialogue between the girls talking about him is sizzling).

Part of me would wish to get Dalton to do a scene from the book/movie. Sounds like an American chat show sketch but a sort of screentest. I bet he could still switch Bond on if he tried now. As much as he maybe he wants to put it behind him.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:23 pm

Finished OHMSS yesterday in London and like the film, no matter how often I read it (in the book's instance of course, lazy English), it is still excellent. Bond's reasoning as he sits with Tracy in the airport ("She's beautiful, in bed, and out") or little bits like the Christmas spirit reaching the far echelons of SIS (the comment about the urine in Bond's report), M's private life and then ultimately, the end.
It packs a killer punch. So wretched. Could the effect be the same in the film if they had adapted it the same way from the book? That of the car spinning off the road and crashing after Bunt's fatal shot?

Certainly you can see why the Man from Ag. and Fish never made it in. Hard to keep the audience sitting still with that scene. Especially now.

In my mind the series ends here. YOLT and TMWTGG in my mind weren't quite up there and the manner of OHMSS' conclusion seals the deal. Though I hand it to Fleming to have Bond so affected by Tracy's death rather than perhaps skate over it in some way.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:06 pm

I was wondering about why the end of Hunt's OHMSS didn't end in exactly the same manner as the novel… Budget limitations perhaps? Or maybe pacing?

Lazenby nailed the scene though…
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:33 am

Tempted to say pacing or maybe they couldn't find a suitable location. Kind of forget when you read the book the final act happens in Munich, southern Germany having seen the film and it's Portugese locations many more times.

And yes, Lazenby did the business for that scene.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:05 pm

Finally making my way through YOLT. So glad Fleming didn't stop at FRWL, because YOLT is one of the most interesting and gripping of all Bond novels. I'm just getting introduced to 'The Death Collector'.

What I admire - perhaps because it's so refreshing with the last few Bond films - is M's trust in Bond, and underlying desire to not let go of his best agent. Though I suppose Dench's M did this in SF. It's nice to see a more personal connection between Bond and M and the glimpses we get in the films is always nice, given the history these two people share. M confessing to Bond in SF about how she fucked things up, and further back, in TWINE, when M explains how she initially dealt with the Elektra/Renard debacle I think highlights this as well. Going back to the Bernard Lee days, I guess we hear in passing reference of a particular experience in Tokyo over the tape recording in FRWL.

But the whole chapter dedicated to M's cognitive dissonance on the matter was a curious insight to the character.

And what a riot Dikko is!
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:50 am

Just coming to the end of a re-read of Gardner's Icebreaker. Slight but undoubtedly fun, and certainly a sight more Bondian than what Deaver and Boyd offered up more recently.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:18 am

Haven't done any of the unofficial Bond novels except Silverfin years ago. Once I'm done with Fleming's I'll do Carte Blanche and Devil May Care (I think I have them lying about).
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:44 pm

Just finished YOLT. What a cracker! Blofeld's death was well... earned. Would have liked to have seen the Garden of Death used for Irma Bunt's death - or maybe even Kono's, but perhaps it's simply the effect the cinematic Bond has had on me. OHMSS and YOLT seemed to be the most cinematic of the Bond novels, and I can see why Dahl and Gilbert included the Japanese makeover in its film counterpart, even though it wasn't fully realised in the film.

Kissy Suzuki is fucked though.
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Xenia93
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:23 am

Going through Fleming's - Just finished Casino Royale. Love it. I'll rank them up as I go along. This will be slow and steadily updated I'm sure.

1. CASINO ROYALE
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:09 am

After sitting on my shelf for a long time I decided to blow a lazy Saturday after noon and read License Renewed by John Gardner and to be honest I found it surprisingly enjoyable. It was a bit to slow to begin with especially the banal opening chapter but the second half picked up the pace pretty well. It's definitely goofier along the lines of the films but I'm still going to get around to dusting off (literally) the other Gardner Bond books I own and read them.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:51 am

Was it the first time reading it, S&Q?
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:43 am

FieldsMan wrote:
Was it the first time reading it, S&Q?

Actually it was. The only other two non-Fleming novels I had read before were The Man with the Red Tattoo by Benson which I felt was incredibly bland and pedestrian and Gardner's Licence to Kill novelization. Gardner's writing feels somewhat dry compared to Benson but makes up for it with better characterization and less a feeling I'm reading a made-for-TV script which plagued Benson's book.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Mon May 02, 2016 10:51 pm

Xenia93 wrote:
Going through Fleming's - Just finished Casino Royale. Love it. I'll rank them up as I go along. This will be slow and steadily updated I'm sure.

1. CASINO ROYALE

Having re-read CR, how does its film counterpart compare nowadays?
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PostSubject: Re: Last Bond Novel You Read   Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:03 am

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

becoming an annual thing to do at this time of year and so soon after watching the film I pictured Lazenby more than I would before. I know some would say Fleming's quality perhaps slipped as he neared the end but ever since I first read it I have put this at no.1 (or top 3 if I re-read Casino Royale soon after). Perhaps it's because the film follows it as closely as possible (right down to the 'Agatha Christie' type woman at the Royale table, Ilse Steppat closely resembling Fleming's description of Bunt, even some of the dialogue -niche bits like "stay alive, at least for tonight").
I know the film had to change bits that work still (the escape from Piz Gloria & proposal scene) but those respective scenes in the book are just as good. Bond waiting in his room knowing that Campbell is likely going to crack soon if not already (that moment when Campbell is dragged away and Bond knows he's signed the man's death warrant slammed home on this read. I could imagine it done in a Dalton film. Dalton's cold expression or indifference; "No, I don't know him").

Or at the airport. I partly wished that had been done in film. Bond and Tracy seemingly isolated in Zurich Airport with the hustle and bustle going on about them. I like Bond's reasoning for marrying (well, part of it- she's beautiful, in bed and out...)

What I still note is the bracketed bits Fleming does. One is when Bond goes into the ski room, after he leaves we get a bracketed segment where one of the SPECTRE men phones his boss. Another is towards the end where Irma Bunt twigs Bond survived Piz Gloria when she sees him hunting for a ring.
It's full of lines that tickle or provoke a smile but the kick remains the same at the very end. To me, in a way, literary Bond -Fleming's Bond at least- ended here. YOLT has moments but the ending just is too much here and if the series had ended here, it would somehow have seem perfect.

(Or if Tracy lived and they drove off, only for Fleming a la Doyle after Holmes was killed off, to bring Bond back sans wife as if she never existed).
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