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The Bond Dossier: You Only Live Twice

By Nick Ostdick. Mar 22, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

It’s perhaps tragically ironic Ian Fleming’s eleventh James Bond novel is titled You Only Live Twice. That irony stems from the fact it was the last Bond novel Fleming completed before his death in August 1964. While a handful of other Fleming-conceived novels were published after his death, You Only Live Twice was the final 007 story Fleming saw from start to finish. He passed away just five months after the novel’s publication.

     
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The Bond Dossier: On Her Majesty's Secret Service

By Nick Ostdick. Feb 17, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

It’s early 1962 and James Bond author Ian Fleming is hard at work on his next Bond adventure. At his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica, Fleming artfully plots Bond’s next move, how his foes will oppose him, and the romances at stake. At the same time, just down the beach a film crew is working on the first big screen adaptation of Fleming’s work, Dr. No, with Scottish actor Sean Connery in the title role.

It must have been a surreal moment, but one that cemented Fleming’s place as one of the most popular crime/adventure writers of his time. Still, even with all the fame, fortune, and accolades, Fleming’s tenth Bond novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was crafted just as deliberately and painstakingly as those that came before itwhich is perhaps why the novel was and remains one of the most popular and fastest selling of Fleming’s career.

     
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The Bond Dossier: The Spy Who Loved Me

By Nick Ostdick. Jan 4, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

“The experiment has obviously gone very much awry.” Ian Fleming

This line, taken from a letter James Bond creator and novelist Ian Fleming wrote to his publisher upon the release of his ninth Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, is the perfect encapsulation of when an artist attempts to reinvent his art and fails. Published in 1962, The Spy Who Loved Me is not only thought to be Fleming’s most drastic shift in his portrayal of both Bond and his titular spy’s adventures, but it’s also the most poorly received of Fleming’s Bond novels. So poor was the reception, in fact, that Fleming himself went to great legal lengths to prevent reprints and subsequent editions in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

     
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First Day of Winter Reading Guide (Or, Four Strategies for Ringing in the Season)

By Brian Hoey. Dec 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, James Bond

Winter, let us say, has its detractors. Beyond a certain latitude, the Winter Solstice is a symbol of minimal sunlight, bracing cold, and brutal snowstorms. This does not mean that the season has nothing to recommend it. The colder months offer the opportunity to stay in, drink hot cocoa, and watch something seasonal or festive, say, It's a Wonderful Life (1946). And really, snow’s not so bad if you’re watching it fall from the comfort of your own home. Here are four strategies for reading around the winter solstice.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Thunderball

By Nick Ostdick. Dec 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There are some books where the story behind the story is just as interestingif not more sothan the story itself. 007 creator and novelist Ian Fleming had largely avoided this scenario in the publication of his first seven Bond novels; however, Fleming’s eighth 007 novel, Thunderball, found Fleming and his protagonist in some of the most high-stakes peril yetthough Bond’s struggles against international crime syndicates pales slightly in comparison to Fleming’s entanglements with copyright lawyers.

Whatever the case, Thunderball marked several turning points for both Fleming and James Bond. While the novel was one of the most well-received and commercially successful Bond novels to date, the composition of the novel was fraught with roadblocks and speed bumps, which is perhaps part of what drove Fleming’s creative process and allowed him to unfold one of his more spine-tingling plots.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Goldfinger

By Nick Ostdick. Nov 11, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

It’s a central question in the journey of any artist: How do you bounce back from a project that didn’t meet audience expectations? For novelist Ian Fleming, the answer lies in the publication of his seventh James Bond novel, Goldfinger.

Coming off a somewhat tepid response to his previous novel, Dr. No, Fleming was determined to turn out a Bond story that would not only further the development of the series and its central character, but also give readers what they had come to know and love in the Bond seriesaction, adventure, thrills, romance, and style. And Fleming’s efforts to write a ‘return-to-form’ novel paid off handsomely.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Dr. No

By Nick Ostdick. Oct 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There comes a time in any great series of books when the tides turn—when, for some reason or another, the characters, plots, themes, or messages of the books fall out of favor or have their relevancy or worth challenged, both for the writer and the reader. For Ian Fleming and his James Bond novels, that time came with Dr. No. (1958), the sixth book in the Bond series under Fleming’s watch.

In hindsight, perhaps the spiral in critical appeal—though the commercial success of Dr. No remained aligned with the Bond novels that came before—was inevitable. After all, Fleming was uncertain about Bond’s future following the completion and publication of the previous 007 adventure, From Russia with Love, so much so that he waffled on whether to kill off his titular character. In fact, early versions of the book actually saw Bond’s death scene played out in some kind of melancholic, triumphant glory.

     
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The Bond Dossier: From Russia with Love

By Nick Ostdick. Sep 9, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There comes a point in every artistic endeavor when an artist grows tired of the very creation that once thrilled them, that took them from struggling nobody into the stratosphere of fame and fortune. For James Bond creator and author Ian Fleming, that moment of doubt, frustration, and uncertainty finally reared its ugly head with the fifth novel in the James Bond 007 series, From Russia with Love.

Published in April 1957, the novelwidely considered to be one of Fleming most interesting and captivating Bond novelrepresents a moment in Fleming's career where he seriously considered giving up the Bond mantle. In writing to friend and fellow crime writer Raymond Chandler, Fleming lamented his perceived lack of originality and staleness with where the Bond series had gone and his desires to end the series with From Russia with Love in favor of moving on to other novels, stories, or projects.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Diamonds Are Forever

By Nick Ostdick. Jul 7, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, James Bond

With any series of novels, there comes a pivot pointa moment when the author decides to move away from familiar themes and tropes in the hopes of breaking new ground for his characters and worlds, exploring previously untapped themes and ideas in an effort to create greater depth and complexity for his readers. One could argue Ian Fleming’s fourth James Bond novel, Diamonds Are Forever, is just such a pivot point.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Moonraker

By Nick Ostdick. Jun 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

If there’s one overarching fear authors experience when creating novel series, it’s repetitiondrudging up the same plot twists and themes and motifs novel after novel until each story essentially becomes a parody of itself. In fact, Ian Fleming expressed that very sentiment to friends and confidants during the early stages of writing his third Bond novel, Moonraker.

But if Fleming had any anxieties about rehashing material from Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, those trepidations did not present in the final product. Moonraker, which many consider to be Fleming’s best Bond novelnoted author and close friend Noel Coward remarked as such to Fleming and in the press on several occasionsstrives for greater depth and complexity than Fleming’s previous Bond novels, investigating both the quieter aspects of Bond’s personal life and the state of British culture and identity in the early 1950s, post World War II.

     
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