Official Novel Timeline

#1

This has always bugged me. What is the official novel timeline? I know that most people don’t consider Gardner’s and Benson’s works as part of the official canon. Benson especially screws with it as his Bond references the films (if anything, I felt his Bond was part of the Brosnan films, not the books). I know Deaver’s Bond is in a new timeline, but where do Amis, Faulks, Boyd, and Horowitz fall in with Fleming’s timeline and where do the short stories fit in? To my knowledge this is the most accurate timeline:

  1. Forever and a Day
  2. Casino Royale
  3. Live and Let Die
  4. Moonraker
  5. Diamonds are Forever
    a. From a View to a Kill
  6. From Russia with Love
  7. Dr. No
    a. Quantum of Solace
  8. Goldfinger
  9. Trigger Mortis
    a. For Your Eyes Only
    b. The Hildebrand Rarity
    c. 007 in New York
    d. Risico
  10. Thunderball
    a. Octopussy
    b. The Living Daylights
  11. The Spy Who Loved Me
    a. The Property of a Lady
  12. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  13. You Only Live Twice
  14. The Man with the Golden Gun
  15. Colonel Sun
  16. Devil May Care
  17. Solo

The Spy Who Loved Me, I believe takes place during the events of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but I could be wrong about that. I think Bond also muses about his boredom about some of his lesser assignments in one of the novels, which point to the short stories. It’s easy to fit most of the continuation novels into the timeline with the exception of one: Devil May Care.

Sebastian Faulks wrote his novel after reading all of Fleming’s but did not include Colonel Sun. Colonel Sun is interesting as it is the only continuation novel to have parts that have appeared in the films. Both IFP and EON seem to regard Colonel Sun as official Fleming-timeline canon. DMC pretty much ignores it, does that mean DMC is non-canon and takes place in an alternate timeline or does DMC just take place after Colonel Sun and just not reference it? I believe Colonel Sun is meant to take place in 1965 and DMC in 1967 so I guess that could work, but I’m genuinely confused by this.

4 Likes
#2

It’s confusing because not only does CS reference Scaramanga as Bond’s last major adversary (fair enough) but then so do both DMC and Solo, without - as you point out - mentioning Col. Sun.

#3

Its in a weird limbo, i would personally consider Colonel Sun more canon than DMC or Solo though obviously they are taking Fleming only as “canon” - the real answer is whatever an author decides is canon is canon and theres not really any such thing

2 Likes
#4

Yea, the way I see it is the official canon is everything Fleming and Colonel Sun. I say Colonel Sun because it is the only continuation novel that has elements adapted for the films: Colonel Tan-Sun Moon in DAD is named for Colonel Sun and was actually named Colonel Sun in an early draft I believe, Spectre’s torture sequence is nearly verbatim lifted from Colonel Sun, and M’s kidnapping in TWINE is part of Colonel Sun’s central plot. After that, I think it’s really how you see it. I think Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day could be considered “more canon” having directly used Fleming material, but I don’t see them as more canon than DMC or Solo.

#5

Very strictly speaking, Fleming and Fleming alone is a self contained series. Anything else is optional, or as theSpectre puts it, how you see it.

My canon ignores Devil May Care and Solo - they’ve never done anything for me. I very happily include Colonel Sun, Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day. Three quality novels.

#6

Good effort on this list! It’s always been a fun mental activity to sort and fit the Fleming novels together. I, too, regard CS as canon, and happily accept the recent Horowitz books as well. DMC and Solo, for me, remain interesting curiosities, and I can see them being accepted and dismissed per the reader’s tastes. Of the two, I’d probably prefer to fit in Solo, as it’s original, fresher and does something interesting with Bond. And while I’ve enjoyed Higson’s books, they just never felt authentic to me. That is, I just can’t accept Bond’s teenage years being as exciting as his adult ones!