The very latest, Mr Bond?

You may not have known that even though Ian Fleming died almost 50 years ago, his creation James Bond has been experiencing many new adventures. Various authors have been allowed to try their hand at new Bond novels, and this week it has been announced that US author Jeffery Deaver has written the latest one, Carte Blanche, to be published in May. It is set in present-day Dubai. In addition of course, whoever writes the scripts for James Bond movies has been going far beyond Fleming.

And James Bond is not alone. In 1991 Alexandra Ripley wrote Scarlett, a badly received sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. And there have been several new Sherlock Holmes stories.

Should this bother us? After all, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes have probably developed a life beyond the control of their creators. Or should we be purist and insist that fictional figures should die with their original authors? Agatha Christie was careful enough to kill off Hercule Poirot in a posthumously released novel, making his re-appearance less credible.

I guess in the end I am a purist, and prefer these characters to remain the property of the original authors. Though I’ll stretch a point for another movie featuring Sean Connery; I wouldn’t object to a new script for that. Connery, after all, was the only real Bond.

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9 Comments on “The very latest, Mr Bond?”

  1. jfryar Says:

    yesh, I agree and schall have that vodka martini – schaken not schtirred.

  2. anna notaro Says:

    Actually, Scarlett in spite of the bad reviews was a bestseller in the US and was turned into a TV mini-series. For an overview of the most popular literary sequels see this short article
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3583430.stm
    The artcle above concludes that ‘As the proverb goes “everyone has a novel in them” – but for some, it may mean borrowing someone else’s ideas.’
    This is a simplistic dismissal of the practice of literary rewriting. If I were to wear my literary critic hat (from a previous professional life)I’d say that rewriting is as old as the literary system itself. Rewriting as formal imitation, recycling, reprocessing, reworking is crucial to the history of communication and artistic production because it opens up questions of originality, intetextuality and authorship (digital technologies make this process even easier and relevant to our times). Particularly when it comes to literature written by women authors there are some excellent examples ( Angela Carter,Ursula Le Guin, Sena Jeter Naslund, Jeanette Winterson and Christa Wolf).
    With regards to the Bond sequels, for some (and critics are divided) this might fall into the derogative category of ‘formula writing’, still as far as I am concerned I can do without the male chauvinism of the ‘original’ character, besides and many women (and not just) readers of this blog might agree with me Daniel Craig makes for a great looking Bond🙂


  3. I would have to say that The Daniel Craig/Casino Royale appearance was by far the closest to the original spirit of the books. If you haven’t read the books, I heartily recommend them, in an early edition hardback if you can get them. With good scotch.
    If you are an fan of that sort of thing, this link may entertain. It’s a conversation between Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler, recorded in 1958.
    http://www.openculture.com/2011/01/raymond_chandler_ian_fleming_in_conversation.html

  4. Jilly Says:

    And while we’re thinking about Ian Fleming, let’s not forget the (really strange) point that he also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

  5. Triona Brick Says:

    No I completely agree. It’s ridiculous. Like the JM Barry works.

    It’s just like the way they bleed every last drop out of quality TV shows until they’re awful in the name of making money


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