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Posts Tagged ‘Ian Fleming’

Kingsley Amis’s James Bond Novel

April 16, 2014 | by

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Happy birthday to Kingsley Amis, who would be ninety-two today. In his 1975 Art of Fiction interview, Amis says,

I think it’s very important to read widely and in a wide spectrum of merit and ambition on the part of the writer. And ever since, I’ve always been interested in these less respectable forms of writing—the adventure story, the thriller, science fiction, and so on—and this is why I’ve produced one or two examples myself. I read somewhere recently somebody saying, “When I want to read a book, I write one.” I think that’s very good. It puts its finger on it, because there are never enough books of the kind one likes: one adds to the stock for one’s own entertainment.

Amis was always a staunch defender of genre fiction—and one of the “examples” he speaks of having produced is Colonel Sun, a James Bond novel he published in 1968 under the pseudonym Robert Markham. Read More »

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Meet Me in Treasondale, and Other News

March 27, 2014 | by

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Dickensian Peg Legs, and Other News

October 2, 2013 | by

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  • There are so many wooden legs in the works of Dickens.
  • David Bowie’s one hundred favorite books include The Trial of Henry Kissinger, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
  • “You’ve published a novel, and half a dozen short stories, and you’ve found clever ways to fluff up your bio. You think of your writing resume as one of the most creative pieces of fiction you’ve written.” Justin Kramon on being a fiction-writing professor.
  • “Fleming was essentially a bureaucrat during the war. But, being an imaginative man, he could not help thinking about a more active role as a secret agent.” The real story behind the birth of James Bond.
  • Yup: the Library of Congress is closed, too.

 

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Bond. James Bond.

November 26, 2012 | by

James Bond was a well-known ornithologist. His Birds of the West Indies is an unusually rich source of names. According to Bond, the Sooty Tern is also known as the Egg Bird; Booby; Bubí; Hurricane Bird; Gaviota Oscura; Gaviota Monja; Oiseau Fou; Touaou. But when the keen birdwatcher Ian Fleming needed a name that sounded as ordinary as possible, he had to look no further than the title page of Bond’s great work. Why does the name of an actual ornithologist sound so right as the name of a fictional spy? Why couldn’t Fleming have used another pair of common monosyllables—John Clark, say? Bond is a solid, blue-chip, faith-giving kind of a name. Who wouldn’t prefer a government Bond under their mattress (we’re talking AAA British) to a petty clerk? Is your word your clerk? I don’t think so. Bond. It’s in the name.

—Colin Burrow, London Review of Books

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Burning Books, Listening to Just Kids, Casting Fleming

May 22, 2012 | by

  • For those with Spotify, all the songs mentioned in Just Kids, in playlist form. (Perfect for a rainy day!)
  • Duncan Jones has signed on to direct a biopic of Ian Fleming, based on Andrew Lycett’s The Man Behind James Bond. Everyone knows the man himself okayed Sean Connery to play 007, but who should fill the enigmatic writer-spy’s shoes?
  • A letter from Edgar Allan Poe to Sarah Josepha Hale, author of the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” has sold at auction for $164,000. In it, Poe refuses an offer to publish in Hale’s magazine, explaining, “To send you a crude or hastily written article would be injurious to me, and an insult to yourself—and I fear that I could, at present, do little more.”
  • William Peter Blatty, better known as the author of The Exorcist, is suing Georgetown University in church court, disputing his alma mater’s right to still call themselves Catholic given some of its secular policies.
  • “Frat boys burning textbooks to celebrate graduation burn down frat house.”
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    Special Agents: The Women of SOE

    May 21, 2012 | by

    Christine Granville

    They ranged from girls barely out of high school to mature mothers, from working-class women to aristocrats, from the plain to the beautiful, from the prim and proper to wild high-lifers. The only women from the Western Allies to bear arms in action during the Second World War, they suffered torture, the misery of the concentration camps, and death at the hands of Nazi butchers. They were a band of sisters such as has not been seen before or since, and the only thing they had in common was language—they all spoke French. Now, sixty-seven years after peace broke out in Europe, all but one or two are dead. They are the women agents of the Special Operations Executive, the special force founded in 1940 on the explicit orders of Winston Churchill to “set Europe ablaze.” Read More »

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