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Posts Tagged ‘James Bond’

Identity Crisis

December 10, 2015 | by

Lois Maxwell, the original Miss Moneypenny.

 

“Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.” ―Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

In kindergarten, no one but Michael L. had actually seen a James Bond film. (Michael L., as opposed to Michaels A. and T., was very sophisticated, and his parents let him watch lots of movies.) But thanks to Michael L., we knew all about them: James Bond was a spy who wore a suit. He had girlfriends called Octopussy and Pussy Galore, presumably because he liked cats. He often said “Bond. James Bond,” and sometimes “007: License to Kill.” Armed with this information, we played James Bond every day at recess. Michael L. was always James Bond. My best friend was one of the cats; it varied. I was Moneypenny. Read More »

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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The Most Expensive Book in the World, and Other News

April 15, 2013 | by

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  • This is the most expensive book in the world.
  • “Because the Pulitzer board couldn’t possibly be so cruel two years in a row, right?” We shall see.
  • We have a title: the new Bond novel is called Solo.
  • Neil Gaiman left a little guerrilla artwork on the New York streets.
  • Julian Barnes: England “has always been a comparatively philistine country.”
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    James Bond’s Breakfast, and Other News

    February 25, 2013 | by

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  • Well, this is depressing: for fiscal reasons, a Tennessee post office has taken to tossing books that get returned to sender. Hopefully Dolly Parton, whose charity is involved, will intervene and make everything right.
  • Ten “unfilmable” books, made into films of varying quality.
  • Meanwhile, Penguin has been toting up the Oscar wins on adaptations of their titles, all of which are discounted. (The Shakespeares seem like cheating.)
  • If all that was old news to you, perhaps we can interest you in a literary Oscars quiz?
  • “Meticulous breakfast prep often signals violent tendencies.” On James Bond’s prandial fussiness and breakfast as character indicator in fiction. 
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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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    007, Moby-Dick, Literates

    October 19, 2012 | by

  • The handwritten contract for Moby-Dick.
  • The top ten literary parodies! (Warning: highly subjective and skews very British. But then, it would.)
  • Watch the trailer for Midnight’s Children. In the words of one YouTube commenter, “can b a gud movie for literates.”
  • In news that will shock no one, Swedish researchers find writers are unusually prone to depression, mood disorders, and substance abuse.
  • The Economist charts the kills, conquests, and tipples of the various James Bonds.
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