CommanderBond.net
  1. The 007th Chapter: Licence Renewed – King of the Castle

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart (yep, this one should have come before For Special Services, you get a cigar…)

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    In my youth (that’s not a location update) I set a “quiz” for my College. Brain-mashers like “Abbreviations excluded, name the only U.S state written using one line of typewriter keys” (Alaska; no-one knew (no-one cared)) and “Name the only country written using one line of typewriter keys”. Peru, but some “body” said Eire (fair point), another that “it’s Republic of Peru, actually, I know thart, actually, because I gap-yeared tharh, actually, licking yurts, communing with my spirituality, yah, and photocopying for my uncle at KPMG Lima.” There was such a fight. I encouraged it. Ectually.

    I also had a round on “James Bond”. This was 1993 (hence “typewriter”), with 007 as relevant and welcome as anything else dead for four years that sane folks hoped would never return, like Eastern European communism, that Dr Who children’s programme or the Ayatollah Khomeini (give him time). Select questions went:

     

    1. Which two Bond films to date do not feature a helicopter? (Child-like optimism to say “to date”, but child-like I was (rather than current lifestyle choice of childish), and brilliant. Precocious, smackable little weasel)

    2. Why is A View to a Kill unique amongst the Bond films? (Keep it clean. In early 2015, this answer still holds)

    3. Which author has written the most James Bond novels?

     

    There were others, such as Q’s I.Q. to the nearest five points (it’s five; trick question), something something watches something (it really doesn’t matter) and Anne Fleming’s inside leg measurement (loads of people knew it; some reputation, that) but I’ve forgotten the rest.

     

    Question 1? Yes, you, with the mittens…

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2016-05-09
  2. Peter Janson-Smith dies

    According to various sources, Peter-Janson-Smith, Ian Fleming’s long-time literary agent, has passed away aged 93.

    Janson-Smith was a key figure behind the success of the James Bond novels. His relation to Ian Fleming started in 1956, when Janson-Smith got the job of selling the foreign language rights for the Bond books.  After Fleming’s death in 1964, he became a board member and eventually chairman of the board of Glidrose Publications (now Ian Fleming Publications), which he remained until 2001.

    In 2010, Commanderbond.net published an extensive article on Peter Janson-Smith by Bond continuation author Raymond Benson, which was also published in the March-April issue of Cimespree Magazine of the same year. Unfortunately, the images to the article went lost during an update a while ago.

    Condolences to family and friends.

    Heiko Baumann @ 2016-04-16
  3. The 007th Chapter: For Special Services – Invitation by Force

     

     

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart – cunningly presented out of sequence…

     

     

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    Contains huge spoilers. Of a book over thirty years old. Isn’t it terrible, that news about The Titanic? Bet you can’t guess who Darth Vader really is. I think I’ve drunk wine younger than this book. Once, with regret. 

     

    I’m thinking… Ronseal.

     

    I haven’t succumbed to product placement (yet) but as I age, I dwell on how to keep wood. If none-the-wiser, or just aghast at the squalor of that joke, Ronseal is a creosote (this won’t get more exciting). Other brands are available but Ronseal stands out for possessing a bouquet that smacks-up dead quick dirt cheap, and having been advertised with the slogan “it does exactly what it says on the tin”, a phrase that has entered the wider lexicon, like those “Keep Calm” things – Keep Calm and Drop Dead – and “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and cultivate Type-2 diabetes”.

     

    This springs to mind not through an urge to paint the fence – one engages the little people for that, how charming they are with their “vans” and their “views” – but because I hold a-mitt a 1987 Coronet UK paperback of For Special Services. It looks chewed. There’s a distinct – dog?  – toothmark at the moment Bond eats a tuna sandwich and drinks Perrier. I might be blaming the hound unfairly; could have been me, enraged at this dumbing-down / plebbing-up of 007. There’s another incision just as Bond crams his gut with “chicken pie” and Apple Jonathan – presumably not Sir Jony Ive, although since Bill Gates gets an oblique reference in Role of Honour one can’t dismiss the thought. Fair’s fair, both meals are comforting beige stodge, so I might have been trying to join in. “Beige stodge” seems apt, somehow.

     

    Back to the “point” – the selling (or selling out) of Gardner Bond. Can’t judge a book by its cover, say “they”. Codswallop: the cover has “James Bond” in letters larger than both title and author, there’s a silhouette of a dinner-jacketed man taking aim and the base has “007”, big and bold. Little else upon which to judge it, frankly. It does exactly what it says on the tin. The book has James Bond 007 in it, although moot whether it’s ectually Ken Spoon (or Ron Seal). For Special Services might be open to many criticisms – on their way, lovey – but terminal ambiguity is not one. There is nothing else this could be. Anyone spotting you reading it – once they’ve stopped pointing fingers and whispering (although that’s nothing to do with the book and you know it) – would be in no doubt about what it was; similar absence of doubt in their deciding to flee, chop-chop quick.

     

    The back cover risks undermining this single-mindedness, instilling anxiety whether such tin-based-promise will come true. Things start “well”, boasting that Bond comes armed “with a new pair of Sykes-Fairburn commando daggers and a new Heckler & Koch VP70 hand gun”, as if that can impress non-mental people, and evidence of a burgeoning trend that hardware gets top billing. Still, the book delivers, narrating inanimate serial-numbered murder-things in greater detail than its characters. Possibly the point is that 007 is just an inanimate serially-numbered murder-thing too. Mr Gardner, you scamp. As if that wasn’t enough tedious name-checking of story-hijacking objects, the “turbo-charged silver SAAB 900” clanks back. The author’s note thanks SAAB (GB) Ltd for “proving that the James Bond SAAB really does exist” even if they don’t any more. Karma caught up with them. Because it wasn’t driving a frickin’ SAAB.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-12-24
  4. The 007th Chapter: Icebreaker – Rivke

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart

     

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    A famous episode of Hancock’s Half Hour is “The East Cheam Drama Festival”. Hancock, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr and Daniel Craig Sid James grapple “Look Back in Hunger” and “The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven and the songs that made him famous” and, titweepingly magnificently, “Jack’s Return Home.” In a coruscating exposure of the zeitgeist, poverty-stricken Joshua (Hancock) and wife Martha (Hattie) are menaced by landlord Jasper Stonyheart (Sid). It’s complex. Their son Jack is presumed dead – impaled by “the Zulus” – but Martha claims she insured his life, so all is well. Inopportunely, Jack (Bill) returns home, penniless. So Martha shoots him. ©BBC Worldwide, amongst others (prob’ly).

     

    Hancock: Aha, me old darlin’, you’ve shot Jack.

    Hattie: Yes, and I took out a policy on you as well, so watch it.

    Hancock: Wait a minute, I have a surprise for you. For thirteen years, you have thought I am Joshua, your husband.

    Hattie: Well, aren’t you?

    Hancock: No; stand back while I take my wig off. There…

    Hattie: Good heavens! Frederick!

    Hancock: Yes, Frederick. What do you say to that, Jasper Stonyheart?

    Sid: I’m not Jasper, I’ve been wearing this wig and pretending to be Jasper. This is who I really am. There!

    Hancock: Good heavens! Jonathan!

    Sid: Yes, Jonathan. I didn’t trust either of you, especially you, Martha.

    Hattie: And you were right not to, Jonathan, for you see, I am not Martha!

    Hancock: Not Martha?

    Hattie: No! There, now do you recognise me?

    Hancock: Gad! It’s Gladys.

    Hattie: Yes, Gladys, the girl you wronged.

    Hancock: Then who pray is the poor wretched we’ve killed?

    Bill: Fear not! You didn’t kill me! I was saved by my silver cigarette case. There! Do you not recognise me without the wig?

    Sid: Yes, I should have guessed – Ronald!

     

    Welcome to Icebreaker.

     

    We’re in a hotel room. Again. A formula emerges.

     

    Some label Bond “formulaic”, usually to disparage the films and/or books as poorer endeavours than ventures that would assault their Gran to grab a tenth of Bond’s money attention money. Optimistic rivals occasionally claim to better 007 with “reality” or “pop music”, then implode into obscurity whilst Bond rumbles on, chiselling the best ideas from their lukewarm corpses but otherwise as untroubled in its way as a triple-hulled supertanker is by one sickly anchovy. “Formula” – the disdain clinging to 007 films for decades, grot from the Bond factory family, complacent and undeserving of serious critique or awards. Populist with a capital Pee, consumer goods as soulful as a hubcap in a hedge, made for a stunningly plebby denominator that can’t do hard Italian neorealist cinema and sneered at as anti-artistic crap. F’rexample, every decade Sight & Sound conducts a poll of the greatest films of all time: A View to a Kill’s never on it. Some say that’s their loss (the same some who can’t have seen any other film ever made, mind), but indicative of an attitude as lofty as the hillock of cash sat upon by those making 007.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-12-15
  5. Title of new “Young Bond” novel revealed

    “Heads you die” is the title of the second YOUNG BOND novel penned by Steve Cole.  It will be published in paperback by Red Fox in the UK on 5th May 2016.

    Following series creator Charlie Higson, Steve Cole published his first Young Bond novel “Shoot to kill” in November 2014.

    heads you die

    Stefan Rogall @ 2015-10-11
  6. Homme de lettres complet – Ian Fleming’s James Bond Correspondence

    The Man With The Golden Typewriter coverIn his day Ian Fleming used to be not just a journalist and author, he also was – little surprise there – an avid writer of letters. Over the years he corresponded with famous contemporaries and friends – amongst them Raymond Chandler, Somerset Maugham and Noël Coward – as well as with editors, readers and fans all over the globe. Ian Fleming’s nephew Fergus Fleming now compiled and edited a volume of Ian Fleming’s Bond-related letters that Bloomsbury publishes this Thursday, October 8th. On 400 pages readers will catch a backstage glimpse of Fleming’s writing process, on the thought process that went into many curious details of the original Bond novels, and also on the effect the Bond phenomenon had on his creator.

    You can order the book at Amazon UK and of course also at your local bookstore. Fans in the United States will have to be patient until November 3rd.

     

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-10-07
  7. The 007th Chapter: Licence Renewed – King of the Castle

    A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart

    LRWC600

    In my youth (that’s not a location update) I set a “quiz” for my College. Brain-mashers like “Abbreviations excluded, name the only U.S state written using one line of typewriter keys” (Alaska; no-one knew (no-one cared)) and “Name the only country written using one line of typewriter keys”. Peru, but some “body” said Eire (fair point), another that “it’s Republic of Peru, actually, I know thart, actually, because I gap-yeared tharh, actually, licking yurts, communing with my spirituality, yah, and photocopying for my uncle at KPMG Lima.” There was such a fight. I encouraged it. Ectually.

    I also had a round on “James Bond”. This was 1993 (hence “typewriter”), with 007 as relevant and welcome as anything else dead for four years that sane folks hoped would never return, like Eastern European communism, that Dr Who children’s programme or the Ayatollah Khomeini (give him time). Select questions went:

     

    1. Which two Bond films to date do not feature a helicopter? (Child-like optimism to say “to date”, but child-like I was (rather than current lifestyle choice of childish), and brilliant. Precocious, smackable little weasel)

    2. Why is A View to a Kill unique amongst the Bond films? (Keep it clean. In early 2015, this answer still holds)

    3. Which author has written the most James Bond novels?

     

    There were others, such as Q’s I.Q. to the nearest five points (it’s five; trick question), something something watches something (it really doesn’t matter) and Anne Fleming’s inside leg measurement (loads of people knew it; some reputation, that) but I’ve forgotten the rest.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-09-16
  8. Trigger Mortis pulls Bond back on track – racing track

    Photo posted to Twitter by Kate Mills (@Kate7Mills), fiction editor of Orion Publishing, used with kind permission

    Photo posted to Twitter by Kate Mills (@Kate7Mills), fiction editor of Orion Publishing, used with kind permission

    With the various news and goings-on around the latest cinematic James Bond adventure – mainly speaking about the musically side of affairs here, see below official announcement – another main event for fans is today’s release of Alex Horowitz’s brand new 007 adventure Trigger Mortis.

     

    Horowitz launched the book yesterday evening at a special event at Waterstones Piccadilly where he talked about the book, his writing experience and his connection to 007 and Ian Fleming. Huge stacks of copies were signed and our spotters report a fun evening filled with exciting details about Bond’s latest adventure, the first continuation effort to include material by Ian Fleming himself.

     

    As such Trigger Mortis is without a doubt a unique entry into the official canon, offering a splinter of Fleming’s idea for a – never realised – James Bond TV series. The idea, centred around the Grand Prix car race at classic German racing track Nürburgring, remained a fragment Fleming had no chance to use in further works. But so far reviews seem to indicate the original tallies nicely with Horowitz’s full-length novel and the overall verdict of the critics seems to be favourable (see the BBC’s overview here).

     

    The die-hard Fleming buffs are of course not satisfied by the media buzz and will want to judge for themselves. Once you’ve read the book you’re welcome to discuss your impressions in this thread of our forum.

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-09-08
  9. Some Kind Of Hero

    From the overbrimming vaults of The History Press tidings reached CBn of an intriguing upcoming project of theirs, due to hit shelves this October. While so far we’ve had no chance to take a peek at the book, their press release speaks probably best for itself.

    Follows the original text:

     

     

     SOME KIND OF HEROUnknown-1

    The Remarkable Story of the James Bond films

    By Matthew Field & Ajay Chowdhury

    Published October 2015

    Hardback, £25

    978-0-7509-6421-0

    THE MOST IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE JAMES BOND FILMS. EVER.

     

     

    The History Press is delighted to announce that it will be publishing Some Kind of Hero this October.

     

    For over 50 years, Albert R. Broccoli’s Eon Productions has navigated the ups and downs of the volatile British film industry, enduring both critical wrath and acclaim in equal measure for its now legendary James Bond series. Latterly, this family-run business has been crowned with box office gold and recognised by motion picture academies around the world. However, it has not always been plain sailing.

     

    Changing tax regimes forced 007 to relocate to France and Mexico; changing fashions and politics led to box office disappointments; and changing studio regimes and business disputes all but killed the franchise. And the rise of competing action heroes has constantly questioned Bond’s place in popular culture. But against all odds the filmmakers continue to wring new life from the series, and 2012’s Skyfall saw both huge critical and commercial success, crowning 007 as the undisputed king of the action genre.

     

    Written by Bond scholars Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury, Some Kind of Hero is based on over

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2015-06-05
  10. The 007th Chapter – The Ebook Edition

    To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s 007th birthday, CommanderBond.net today releases the ebook edition of “The 007th Chapter, Volume One: Happenstance”, a series of literary musings by Jacques I. M. Stewart, aka “Jim”. Volume One concentrates on the James Bond novels and short stories written by or “as” Ian Fleming.

    continue reading…

    Heiko Baumann @ 2015-05-29
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