Reading Bond: Back to the template

Recently finished my first-ever foray into the writings of Ian Fleming, who is, of course, the creator of James Bond (and, oddly enough, the author of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).

Having only been exposed to the movie Bond, the book was a revelation. For example, Quantum of Solace? Nothing to do with the desert. A View to a Kill? Nothing to do with Duran Duran (or the Golden Gate Bridge). In fact, I found little similarity between my movie image and the template that created him.

It was all about the writing. The writing is what I like to call “classic.” It’s not fancy, it’s not frilly, heck, it’s not even that action-packed; but it’s solid. This is huge because while the movie Bond is all about the action, the written Bond is all about the plot. Fleming’s journalism background gives him a “just the facts” prose that is straightforward and recalls other greats of detective fiction (note: not spy fiction): Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.

Fleming’s Bond has a soul that wrestles with his chosen profession, weighing out murder and loyalty. He’s a detective that visits scenes of the crime and is polished at the boring old stakeout.

In other words, this was a refreshing breath of fresh air. I saw Bond in a way that Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig (I won’t mention the other three … I’ll leave that to you) could NEVER replicate.

Sometimes, knowing the copy is nice, but getting to know the template makes the copy look pale.

Have you ever experienced that?


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