1. Charlie Higson Explains The Popularity Of James Bond

    By Devin Zydel on 2008-04-15
    Ian Fleming

    Ian Fleming

    A BBC News correspondent recently took an extensive tour of Goldeneye, Jamaica, Ian Fleming’s exotic villa and also the birthplace of the character of James Bond.

    Included in the article are four videos which give readers a closer look at the actual room where Fleming first began work on Casino Royale in 1952 (as well as the several 007 adventures that followed).

    The outside garden and the Green Grotto caves, which were used as Dr. Kananga’s lair in 1973’s Live and Let Die, are also examined.

    Young Bond author Charlie Higson was also at the location to discuss why James Bond became–and still remains–such a popular character.

    ‘One of the things that made the books really popular in the kind of drab English 1950’s was the feeling of all this [gesturing to the nearby Goldeneye beach], of all the exotic places and warmth and colour,’ he said. ‘Getting away from the ordinary lives that the readers were living.’

    ‘And famously after Moonraker his third book which he set entirely in England, he got floods of letters saying “I don’t want to read about James Bond in Kent.” They wanted [Bond] to be in someplace like Jamaica. That whole spirit of James Bond is sort of encapulated in [Goldeneye].’

    Continuing on the same vein of the never-ending popularity for Fleming’s original 007 novels, Higson said: ‘The books, when they came out, were the ultimate escapism. People very rarely travelled abroad. Jet flights to foreign places were still out of reach for most people. And then suddenly there’s this guy in these books who’s flying all around the world and drinking champagne and eating fantastic steaks and lobsters. He’s completely out of reach from the average reader. They just thought that this is fantastic lifestyle.’

    ‘I mean, Bond is the ultimate male fantasy. He’s got no wife and kids. He basically lives in hotels, eats in restaurants and travels around the world. He can basically do whatever he likes. He can even kill people–being allowed to by the government. And that’s a fantastic fantasy for men who have a complete lack of responsibility to anyone else.’

    ‘But right at the heart of it, he does go up against some nasty villains and does get knocked around a lot. But he comes out on top, which we’d all like to do.’

    Check out the full BBC News report here.

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