Tag Archives: James Bond

Moonraker (James Bond, #3)

Moonraker (James Bond, #3)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.69
book published: 1955
rating: 5
read at: 2018/07/13
date added: 2018/07/14
shelves:
review:
If your only experience with Moonraker is the Roger Moore film, please drop what you’re doing and read this book! In every respect–characterization, action, stakes, and plot development–this is the superior work. Fleming takes an oddly innocuous assignment for Bond–more of a personal favor to M, discovering a card cheat at the club–and unravels a treasonous Cold War plot that becomes the first of the familiar “Fate of The World” high-stakes gambits that James Bond is known for.

The scenery is local, but the plot reaches from Dover to Berlin to Moscow as Bond teams up with the Special Branch of Scotland Yard to investigate a murder-suicide at a defense contractor’s plant building the most advanced weapon to date: a transatmospheric guided rocket capable of hitting any capital in Europe with an atomic warhead–the ultimate defense against Soviet aggression or even a re-militarized Germany!

Fleming’s Bond in this story is far from the superhuman sophisticate we see in the Moore film of the same name. This version of Bond has a normal office job when he’s not on assignment and a human’s sense of mortality. The literary Bond gets injured (badly), he contemplates death (as he embarks on a suicide mission), and he might not even get the girl!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)

Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.62
book published: 1954
rating: 4
read at: 2018/06/13
date added: 2018/06/13
shelves:
review:

Fleming’s second James Bond outing is a more mature affair than its predecessor. This one feels more of the James Bond we know and love from the films: exotic locales, megalomaniacal villains, alluring women. In fact, although much of the original plot points remain in tact when this book transferred to film with Roger Moore ascending to the role after Sean Connery’s final departure, many of the individual scenes eventually made it into the various films at some point or another (Licence To Kill’s “He disagreed with something that ate him” scene primarily comes to mind).

One thing for modern audiences to note, though, is Fleming’s obvious “gentleman’s racism” toward black culture in the United States and the Caribbean. Was it a product of its time and place (London society in the 1950s?) probably. Was it okay? Absolutely not. I cringed every time Fleming described scenes within the “Negro” clubs in Harlem (I’ll spare the details, but they’re not unlike reading a description of minstrel shows from the turn of the 20th century). I understand that Fleming was trying to convey a fascination and appreciation with this entire culture that his audience would likely be unfamiliar with, but he does so in a way that reiterates the idea that African Americans are a separate (and inferior) species (as he will eventually do with Germans, Eastern Europeans, and anyone else who isn’t an Anglo/Norman Caucasian). The stereotypes he portrays as being endemic to an entire race of people are appalling and indefensible, but he uses them to great effect to describe the antagonistic Mr. Big.

If you can stomach the racial bigotry (and it’s pretty harsh, especially when Bond overhears background characters talking among themselves), come for the high adventure and thrilling suspense. If you’re a fan of the films, stay for the myriad of scenes that you’ll recognize from the whole of the series.

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)

Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.74
book published: 1953
rating: 4
read at: 2018/06/11
date added: 2018/06/11
shelves:
review:
The first literary James Bond outing is a psychological thriller taking place over the course of a high-stakes baccarat tournament. Dashing heroes, sinister villains, and exciting action set the stage for one of the most thrilling and famous popular fiction series in history. The plot plays out very similarly to the 2006 film, showing many similarities but eschewing many of the peripheral dramas that padded the run time of Daniel Craig’s debut as the tuxedo-clad secret agent. Fleming’s Bond is more reserved, human, and far more cold and sinister than modern audiences might enjoy, but he is–as Judi Dench’s M denounced–a relic of the Cold War. It’s a period novel that can be enjoyed as such–high fiction and a fun read!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The Many Deaths of Barney the Dinosaur: Bondbarn

I found these floating around AOL back in in the mid-1990s, perfect entertainment for a 12-year-old with a chip on his shoulder! If anyone can help me track down the original creator, please let me know!

Barney the Dinosaur runs afoul of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Also on:

Roger Moore 1927-2017

Also on:

James Bond Films as Pictograms

An entire film boiled down to a simple pictogram: this is the essence of design in the early 21st century. For better or worse (Confidentially, I think this poster is actually rather clever). I wonder how he would depict Spectre.

Designer Bryan Lenning created this poster depicting every James Bond film in pictograms. The poster was an entry in the Super Punch James Bond art contest.

Source: James Bond Films as Pictograms

Also on:

Never make ever again: The 007 worst James Bond rip-offs in history

I’ve watched my fair share of 007 rip-offs and spoofs, and they’re all equally terrible and hilarious.

The Eurospy era, during which French, Italian and German producers competed to see who could release the cheapest James Bond knock-offs at the height of the suave British secret agent’s success, may now belong to some long-forgotten, deeply dubious 1960s belle époque, but 007 continues to have his imitators across the globe.

Source: Never make ever again: The 007 worst James Bond rip-offs in history | Film | The Guardian

Also on:

TBS Presents: “30 Years of James Bond” (circa 1992)

TV spot advertising TBS’s “30 Years of James Bond” movie marathon event in the fall of 1992.

Also on:

Epic Rap Battles of History: James Bond vs Austin Powers

To be fair, it’s not much of a contest.

Also on:

Daily chart: Bond v Bond: the return of 007

Timothy Dalton: statistically the best portrayal of a secret agent.

Also, Daniel Craig’s martini numbers are skewed because he’s given them up in favour of shitty beer.

Source: Daily chart: Bond v Bond: the return of 007 | The Economist

Also on: