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review 2017-04-17 07:39
Octopussy and the Living Daylights
Octopussy and the Living Daylights (James Bond, #14) - Ian Fleming

This is Fleming’s second Bond short story collection, published posthumously. I’m sort of sad (but not really) that I’m at the end of my Bond reading journey. It’s been an interesting couple of months.


#1 OCTOPUSSY: 2.5* A tale of avarice and treachery told via a flashback within a flashback. Thrilling stuff. (Not really. Bond was hardly in it. He didn’t even have time to say or think something bigoted, racist, or misogynistic.)


#2 THE PROPERTY OF A LADY: 2.5* This one involves mild international intrigue at an auction. Also, Bond gets more than enough page time to think misogynistic thoughts about an unattractive, flat-chested Russian double agent.


#3 THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS: 2* In which Fleming once again works overtime to prove that Bond is “too good for murder”. Decent twist at the end, but the extra dose of sexism, including but not limited to the crack about how girls should play the cello “sidesaddle”, effectively cancels out any points the twist might’ve garnered.


#4 007 IN NEW YORK: 1* A super-short and pointless story about Bond’s polite contempt for New York City. Includes a recipe for scrambled eggs. Make sure you have a good English toast rack on hand. Heaven forbid you serve the eggs with “dank” toast.

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review 2017-04-16 13:59
James Bond, Vol. 2: Eidolon - Warren Ell... James Bond, Vol. 2: Eidolon - Warren Ellis,Jason Masters

Ellis' Bond is the best Bond. Read it already!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-04-14 13:24
The Man with the Golden Gun
The Man With the Golden Gun (James Bond, #13) - Ian Fleming

If you take bits of previous Bond adventures, throw them in a cocktail shaker, and give them an almighty shake, The Man with the Golden Gun is what will pour into your martini glass.


Once again, Bond is sent on a mission that is tantamount to suicide. [See: You Only Live Twice, etc.]


Once again, Bond finds himself in Jamaica kicking around with Felix Leiter. [See: Live and Let Die, Thunderball, etc.]


Once again, Bond is inexplicably hired as an assistant by a villain who doesn’t really need his services for a job that mainly involves listening to bad guys sit around and plan their crimes. [See: Goldfinger]


Once again, Bond ends up on a train fighting for his life. [See: Diamonds are Forever, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, etc.]


Once again, Bond somehow gets to take the high road even though he’s there to straight-up murder somebody. [See: every other Bond book]


Once again, Bond makes a series of moronic mistakes and yet is carried through on the back of his stupefying good luck. [See: every single Bond book]


Once again, Bond is severely injured and has a long convalescence with a beautiful woman to look forward to. [See: nearly every Bond book]


It’s like a Not-So-Greatest Hits, and it gets boring fast, naked women tied to railroad tracks notwithstanding.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-04-12 01:06
You Only Live Twice
You Only Live Twice (James Bond, #12) - Ian Fleming

‘Balls, James. You’ve been running through a bad patch. We all hit ‘em sometimes.’

(And by “bad patch” he means “severe depression”.)

‘M. just thought you’d be the best man for the job. You know he’s got an entirely misplaced opinion of your abilities.’

(Yes. Yes he has.)


Bond is understandably depressed after the events of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. After screwing up two assignments and generally losing the will to live, Bond is sent to Japan to try to winkle some spy secrets out of Tiger Tanaka, the head of Japanese intelligence. In exchange for these secrets, Bond is asked to cosplay as a deaf and dumb Japanese guy in a groan-worthy display of literary yellowface to infiltrate Doctor Shatterhand’s Castle of DEATH, which sounds cool but is really just an old castle with a garden full of fumaroles and poisonous plants and venomous insects that’s become a popular place for people to commit suicide.




Doctor Shatterhand is really Bond’s nemesis, Blofeld, and he has to be assassinated because he’s “collecting death” and this whole suicide thing is super embarrassing for the Japanese government, even though suicide is regarded culturally as a perfectly good way to restore your family’s honor, and this Castle of DEATH is saving the Transportation Dept. heaps of trouble by luring potential suicides away from train tracks all over the nation. Still, it’s unacceptable and this “Doctor” must die by a non-Japanese hand, because reasons.


So Bond, thirsty for revenge and totally prepared after a crash course in Japanese culture and a whole afternoon of watching other people train as ninjas, sets out to slay the dragon with the help of Kissy Suzuki, a former Hollywood actress who speaks English and might be slightly psychotic since she wants to keep Bond and love him and pet him and call him George. FOR-EV-ER. Or at least until he wanders off into Russia to find clues to his past after a traumatic brain injury leaves him with near-total amnesia.


(Actual footage of book’s plot.)


Seriously, though, the star of this book is Japanese culture, to which Fleming actually manages to provide some accurate insight (aside from some absurd assertions about sumo wrestlers, but I’m not convinced that wasn’t a case of Tiger Tanaka taking the piss). The rest is . . . well, I suppose it’s justification for my mental association of these books with old Dirk Pitt novels. All that was missing was a Clive Cussler cameo.

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review 2017-04-08 08:12
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11) - Ian Fleming

In this adventure Bond gets an undercover assignment to ferret out the elusive head of Spectre, who has developed a sudden and inexplicable hankering for membership in the Peerage. So Bond heads to the Swiss Alps posing as a heraldry expert . . . and almost blows his cover in the first 24 hours because he’s an arrogant prick. Bond is supposed to be one of the best agents in the Service, but in this book he borders on gross incompetence at times. His performance is so bad he even berates himself on occasion. Even though he has reservations about the job and going undercover, it’s like he’s still bought into his own myth and his stupid assumptions are quite costly.


This one was just okay for me. I was hoping to like it more, as the movie of the same title is one of my favorites in the franchise. Oh well. At least the “curing” of “allergies” through hypnosis was worth a giggle or three. This also got a giggle out of me:

Griffon Or broke in excitedly, ‘And this charming motto of the line, “The World is not Enough”. You do not wish to have the right to it?’

Sorry, Griff. MGM bought the rights. ;)

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