Agreed. I’m all about telling a good story. Horowitz did that for me the first time, so I’m not pessimistic about another novel from him. The CR era Bond is a dark, raw guy of guy, so that appeals to me as well. Devil May Care, Carte Blanche and Solo didn’t do much for me, if anything. Trigger Mortis represented a change in fortunes, regardless of how many copies it sold.
To each his own, but I just don’t understand judging a book before actually reading it. I mean the man hasn’t even finished writing the thing yet…
It might turn out splendidly.
But I understand the reservations, based on the premise which seems to cash in on the current prequel-mania: “If you don’t know how to proceed tell the backstory!”
That’s exactly what this reeks of, to be honest. It’s been clear for nearly 20 years now that the publishers don’t have any idea where to take the literary franchise. Between the prequel gimmick as well as the need to lean on unused Fleming material, it’s just a “no” for me.
Do something original and put it where Bond belongs, in the modern day. That’s where Bond has always belonged and, up until the publishers completely lost their way, operated in. Combine all of that with this being their second go-round with this kind of promotional gimmick. It didn’t work out particularly well TRIGGER MORTIS either.
Are you at least open to the possibility that Horowitz does a good job with the story and you actually enjoy it?
I’m not planning on reading it.
I guess I would be open to it if I had plans to read it, but I refuse to give them any more of my money. The whole “fool me once” quote comes to mind when it comes to giving IFP (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) any more of my money for what has been increasingly diminishing returns.
I see no problem with it. For years, on these forums and others, many have asked to see adult Bond novels set either during WW2 or in the early years of Bond’s career. I’m glad to see them taking it on, using an established author who I feel did a good job with his first Bond novel, and who clearly has a lot of love and respect for Fleming’s creation.
I think alot of you are placing too much faith in Horowitz. If the new one were set in contemporary times it easily could have replaced Carte Blache. However, given Horowitz’s (past) overt arrogance about writing for IFP overall Im hoping this is his last one and he just sod’s off.
His Alex Rider series hasn’t aged well and from what Im understanding of Trigger Mortis, there are some minor inconsistencies people are just willing to overlook for the sake of a Bond novel.
At least Boyd didn’t get another chance, I think most of us can be glad of that.
I’m optimistic as I enjoyed TM a lot more than I expected to. DMC was a bit too slowly paced. Not a terrible road to travel, but it took a long time to get there. SOLO oddly reflected a lot of my own life in some respects at the time, but again, a bit slow IMO. CB I quite enjoyed though. Liked a lot of the elements and it’s more softer approach to a ‘reboot’ of Bond of the time. I’m also a fan of Deaver’s other works and actually met him during an L.A. signing.
So, I’m open, but I’d still like to see Bond in the present. I’ll be surprised if there’s a third book. As Cubby said “Five minutes into the future.” which is where the novels need to be as well.
If it’s well written like TM (and there no reason to expect that it won’t be) then I’ll be happy. Since DMC there hasn’t been a literary effort I haven’t enjoyed. At the very least in this instance I’m excited to see Horowitz’s approach to the character. And really at the end of the day it’s always nice just to have something new to enjoy. Looking forward to it.
I actually have the opposite opinion. From Gardner and Benson through the “author-du-jour” period, I never thought Bond worked in a contemporary setting. Either you try and account for the passage of time in some “kinda sorta” way like Gardner or you just try to ignore the elephant in the room, but in my opinion if you want Bond to be operating in 2018, you forfeit all right to “call back” to the events of the Fleming novels, because it is physically impossible for Bond to have experienced any of those events in the times they were set. And let’s be honest, if it’s not the guy who fought Goldfinger and Dr No, then why do we care about him anyway?
The problem of time – for such it is – plays out in different ways in the films, from the early Connery’s where it’s still mostly plausible that Movie Bond could link to Literary Bond, to the Moore films where we alternately acknowledge and ignore Bond’s approaching Senior Citizen status, to the Dalton/Brosnan era, where we have to start treating Bond as a cartoon character who magically remains young even while the world changes around him, like Dick Tracy starting off fighting bootleggers and ending up fighting cyber-terrorists. The Craig era re-writes the rulebook by making Bond a wholly different character with (for my money) no real link to what went before (no matter how many times they stick that damned car in) and certainly no ties to Fleming, but while I (mostly) enjoyed that in the films, it was much less compelling in “Carte Blanche.”
For the films, being “contemporary” is everything. They have to have tomorrow’s gadgets today, they have to reflect – even if only in a small way – some relevant current issue or interest. But then, the movie Bond is a different beast.
The books, I would argue, are different. It’s harder to treat Bond as an immortal superhero and get away with it. Either you are continuing the adventures of Fleming’s Bond – in which case he has to age like a human being – or you’re just telling stories about someone coincidentally named “James Bond,” as in Carte Blanche. For me, literary Bond belongs in the 50s and early 60s.
That said, I hate “prequels” as much as anyone, and feel the need to “explain” characters whose appeal depends in large part on their mysteriousness has already been ruinous for Batman, Wolverine, Indiana Jones, Darth Vader and soon, Han Solo. Nonetheless, I’ll likely give this book a chance based on my fondness for “Trigger Mortis” and given that it’s set “right before” CR (so how different can he be?), but my natural anti-prequel sentiment has kept me from sampling even the Young Bond books, which I gather are a lot of fun.
As a caveat, I should say that I regard all Bond continuation novels the same way I do Star Trek continuation novels: fun if you’re in the mood, but in no way essential. The only stories that were, are or ever will be “in canon” are Fleming’s, so I ask no more of these things than a few hours of fun distraction.
Setting a spy novel in modern day isn’t original. Setting it in 1950 is.
A lot of complaints seem to circle back to the “explaining the origins of the character” aspect, yet Casino Royale remains a favorite film of many.
Let’s not forget - Fleming himself was not above trying different things. The Spy Who Loved Me was a Bond novel that barely had Bond in it, after all.
I don’t for a second begrudge anyone from not liking the sound of the book, and I’m not even saying I disagree. But I’m darn well willing to give it an evening of my time come May and will reserve judgement until then.
Well stated gentlemen. It’s nice to have a new contemporized version of a favorite character, but the roots are what counts. I re-read the Fleming’s the most, but do enjoy what’s followed.
Looking forward to my next enjoyment.
Yeah I think most of them haven’t been superb novels but I’ve found all them pretty diverting and haven’t been bored- they’ve mostly all been better than the Gardner or Benson efforts.
One could argue that it would be fairly original for the Bond literary franchise, since we’ve had one modern-day set novel since Benson gave up the gig. The rest have been set at varying points in the Fleming timeline.
My point about them doing something original wasn’t really aimed at the time period, though. It’s aimed at this marketing gimmick of using unused Fleming material. Judging from the last go round with TRIGGER MORTIS, there’s probably a reason that Fleming left that stuff on the cutting room floor.
And place modern products in lovely close-up to please those contributing to the budget. Not much market for Bakelite telephones and transistor radios any more.
I expect I will buy the book, but that is because I am trapped. There comes a point where there might just be too much of all this.
Fleming never used a noun if he could name a product.
Why trapped? You don’t have to buy every Bond book just because it’s Bond. I bailed on Gardner at least 4 books before the end (maybe more, I don’t remember) and I only made it through two of Benson’s. I skipped “Solo” because I was indifferent enough that just the lackluster cover kept me away. I didn’t get “Trigger Mortis” until it came out in paperback, and only then because I loved the retro cover on the US version.
But I guess I know how you feel: Bond is the last franchise I support largely out of momentum. Or maybe inertia would be more accurate. When a new film comes out, I often think, “Do I want to break a 30-year-tradition and NOT see one in the theater?” Then it’s 32 years, next one will be 40, and so on. Sometimes I think I go for the same reason I show up at the family Thanksgiving celebration: purely tradition. But who knows, maybe someday I’ll be indifferent enough that I just skip one. It might even be the next one.
Anyway, nothing that happens in the books now matters one way or the other. Whether Bond marries, dies, sires an heir, comes out of the closet, becomes Prime Minister or shoots M, it doesn’t count. Only Fleming could make changes that counted, so there’s not much excitement around “what happens next?” and nothing to lose by skipping a book, or a dozen books. They’re only of merit inasmuch as they entertain you for a day or so, and if they don’t at all, then there’s no penalty for abstaining. Nobody will kick you out of the fan club. Indeed, I’m sure there are plenty of members who never even read a Fleming book.
Yes, and at the time that got him a rep as a “snob.” Now it would get him labeled a “sell out” or a “shill.” It would have been interesting to see how he would have handled offers of cash in exchange for endorsements, and whether it would have overruled his more natural tendency to just show off his superior personal tastes. My suspicion is he would’ve gladly gone for the bucks.
Having read Thrilling Cities, I’d be inclined to agree.