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review 2018-07-05 20:15
Casino Royale / Ian Fleming
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming

In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table.

One of SMERSH’s most deadly operatives, the man known only as “Le Chiffre,” has been a prime target of the British Secret Service for years. If Bond can wipe out his bankroll, Le Chiffre will likely be “retired” by his paymasters in Moscow. But what if the cards won’t cooperate? After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon finds himself dodging would-be assassins, fighting off brutal torturers, and going all-in to save the life of his beautiful female counterpart, Vesper Lynd.

 

***2018 Summer of Spies***

Two things about this book surprised me—first that Fleming was a pretty good writer, second that the book was so short! I’ve never attempted any of Fleming’s fiction before, partly because I saw some of the films of these works back about 30 years ago. You can’t live in a co-ed residence in university without at least having some of these movies on the lounge television set and I think I may have been dragged to the movie theatre as well (back when a movie only cost $5 and a person could afford to go).

Bond in the book is much less charming than Bond on the screen. He’s rougher around the edges and the racism & misogyny of earlier times are very apparent. It’s difficult for me to judge—how much of this is the fictional character, how much is just the zeitgeist of the 1950s, and how much of this is Ian Fleming himself?

I’ve requested a biography of Fleming from the library, to help me try to sort this matter. I’m also intrigued by how much he was influenced by the work of Agatha Christie. One of the very first scenes in Casino Royale involves Bond checking to see if his room has been searched, using exactly the same stratagem as a character in Christie’s They Came to Baghdad (the use of precisely placed, unobtrusive hairs). Undoubtedly Fleming read Christie, so I’m interested in that angle as well.

One can’t claim to have read spy fiction without reading Fleming, so I will pick up Live and Let Die in the near future and continue on during my Summer of Spies.

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text 2018-06-29 21:58
Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 178 pages.
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming

 

I complete see the scene that Broken Tune pointed out as very, very similar to one in They Came To Baghdad.  It would be really hard to miss!

 

The chapters are short & snappy.  I'm having a good time, despite Bond's attitude toward women.

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text 2018-06-28 15:45
TBR Thursday
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming
The Desert Spear - Peter V. Brett
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold - John le Carré
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie
Jade City - Fonda Lee

After a very fun buddy read, I must now settle down & finish both a book club selection (Looking for Alaska) and a non-fiction selection (The Good Gut).  Also for book club (because we are combining two months' meetings) I better start The Name of the Star.

 

Then I'm going to move on to Casino Royale while I still have They Came to Baghdad clear in my memory.  Also on the Summer of Spies list are The Spy Who Came In From the Cold and The Secret Adversary.

 

Looking towards my writers' conference in August, I'll be reading The Desert Spear (second book in the Demon Cycle by Peter Brett) and Jade City (by Fonda Lee, one of this year's panelists).

 

July 1st is Canada Day, so I get July 2nd off work as a statutory holiday.  I've booked this Friday as vacation too, to give myself a 4 day break.  Right now the weather predictions are not all that promising, so I may get more reading time than anticipated!

 

Have a great weekend, friends!

 

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text 2018-01-24 04:10
Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
Casino Royale (James Bond, #1) - Ian Fleming

我是在看杰姆斯邦德电影长大的,最近我喜欢看电影是从哪里来的。

 

当我决定读邦德小说时,我知道有很多人不喜欢性别歧视的电影,但我仍然认为詹姆斯·邦德电影仍然是最好的间谍电影之一。

 

今天有很多网上赌场,我想知道这部电影的背景是什么,并把它与网上赌博联系起来。也许让杰姆斯邦德成为一个知道如何破解网上赌场的间谍。您是怎么想的?

 

哦,当我在网上查找,有James Bond Skyfall的场景,他们是黑客的东西。我还没看过那部电影,也许以后再看吧。

 

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review 2017-05-05 09:18
The more I though, the more I raged
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming

I have so many issues with this. The rampant misogyny, of course. The fact that, personally, I find the whole espionage reason d'etre detestable. And generally, the part where this was not the story I was expecting.

Let's say I waive away the misogyny with a bit of dark amusement (passing the middle-point, I just wanted Vesper to stick it to Bond; and then there is the line "sweet tang of rape" that should be killed with fire, you can get some great examples under the spoiler tag), and take the spy tale on the hope that it'll be some fast action cheap-thrill. I did not get even that. I got a lot of card-playing, torture, and then a mess... I don't even know of what category, certainly not romantic, maybe melodrama. Hell,  I though it was already cheap that a woman couldn't be competent unless she was evil, but it was something (see, even lowering my standards to not be an angry female, what a waste), and then Vesper couldn't even rate to Femme-fatal. So no, there is no way to waive the misogyny. It's entrenched into the plot.

Someone could argue it's truer to the real world and the era, either the unexciting grimness or Bond's stance. I say fuck all that. Let us please have no more Vespers in real life, no more Bonds being glorified in fiction. Let us find other icons.

 

You can find some the shout-inducing bits here

Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around. One had to look out for them and take care of them.

 

Charming, huh? Another beauty:

 

And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued. But he was honest enough to admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women.  One day, and he accepted the fact he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck. When that happened he knew that he too would be branded with the deadly question-mark he recognized so often in others, the promise to pay before you have lost: the acceptance of fallibility.

 

Women, if they defeat you, take away you self-assurance.

 

This was just what he had been afraid of. These blithering women who thought they could do a man's work. Why the hell couldn't they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men's work to the men. And now for this to happen to him, just when the job had come off so beautifully. For Vesper to fall for an old trick like that and get herself snatched and probably held to ransom like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon. The silly bitch.

 

He really likes that word.

 

'Torture is a terrible thing,' he was saying as he puffed at a fresh cigarette, 'but it is a simple matter for the torturer, particularly when the patient,' he smiled at the word, 'is a man. You see, my dear Bond, with a man it is quite unnecessary to indulge in refinements. With this simple instrument, or with almost any other object, one can cause a man as much pain as is possible or necessary. Do not believe what you read in novels or books about the war. There is nothing worse. It is not only the immediate agony, but also the thought that your manhood is being gradually destroyed and that at the end, if you will not yield, you will no longer be a man.

 

The bad guy has more respect for a woman that the "hero". Women are more difficult, not because of some chivalrous bullshit, but because men are so attached to their organ *eye-roll*. And for the WTF crown:

 

And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape.

 

It's supposed to be romantic. But then, this is just the inner character commentary, you have to still contend with the plot if you can go past that. Fuck this, I'm done.

(spoiler show)

 

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