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THE SEVENTH FLOOR > A Contemporary James Bond Novel. Is it possible to do it well?

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message 1: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Very soon, a new James Bond novel is going to be published, titled, Solo. It's 1970 and we cut to a middle aged Bond who has to fix a mission gone wrong while getting shot at in South Africa and New York.

However, attempts have been made to modernise the series and drag it out of the 20th century. Most have been unsuccessful. But Jeffrey Deaver pulled it off very well in Carte Blanche, dragging Bond into the war on terror but with a plot and colourful cast of characters that would have made Fleming feel honoured.

If the book after Solo was in a contemporary setting, where would you like it to go in terms of issues, plot (elevator pitch, doesn't have to be detailed) and other things? I Would love to hear your thoughts.


message 2: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
To kick off, Bond vs Assad? Plot would be SIS sending 007 to Syria to try put an end to the civil war quick by beheading the dictatorship. Could explore the theme, "damned if you do and damned if you don't" through interactions with the raving mad Anti-Assad forces. Locations easy say Lebanon, Istanbul, Damascus and Aleppo? And the cast of characters can be drawn from MOIS, GIP, Assad's faction and the anti assad group.


message 3: by Jack (new)

Jack (jackjuly) | 145 comments Samuel wrote: "To kick off, Bond vs Assad? Plot would be SIS sending 007 to Syria to try put an end to the civil war quick by beheading the dictatorship. Could explore the theme, "damned if you do and damned if y..."

I don't think Bond would waste his time in Syria knowing Assad is a puppet of the Iranian regime. Bond would be a Nuclear scientist in it for the money and destroy the program from the inside out. Just my thoughts.


message 4: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
good point.


message 5: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Iran would be a great setting along with the nuclear program.


message 6: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Just thought about Putin's Russia, a glamarous, gritty and paranoid place fit for a Bond story


message 7: by Jack (new)

Jack (jackjuly) | 145 comments Samuel wrote: "Just thought about Putin's Russia, a glamarous, gritty and paranoid place fit for a Bond story"

Indeed, the biggest mystery would be who your friends really are. The good guys are the bad guys, the bad guys the good. The old soviet secret police network compromised? or is it? A person so motivated could put together a wild ride.


message 8: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
How events have moved since I was on this thread. Vladimir Putin's current actions make "The New Russia" an even more desirable setting for a contemporary James Bond novel.


message 9: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Now, the next James Bond book set to be released this year....is once again set in the 1950's-60 heyday. It's about Bond doing a bit of close protection work for the legendary Stirling Moss. The Soviet Union wishes to cause a national tragedy by assassinating Britain's greatest racing driver and Bond is sent to intervene.

A discussion question. Why is it that going back to the time period of the original books is so popular among the authors contracted by the Fleming estate?


message 10: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Hood | 161 comments Because the game changed after 9-11. Bond isn't the same anymore


message 11: by Samuel , Director (last edited Feb 16, 2015 12:28PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Joshua wrote: "Because the game changed after 9-11. Bond isn't the same anymore"

I suppose so. Not to mention characters like Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp taking advantage of the geopolitical changes before James Bond did.


message 12: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
And old article focusing on how Bond has evolved and the tangents said evolution has taken. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newst...


message 13: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Amazon page of 2015's new James Bond novel. The author is famous for a young adult series of spy novels. However, that series was one of the finest deconstructions of the spy fiction genre and a brilliant attack on the idea of spying being a glamorous, desirable profession.
http://www.amazon.com/Unti-Bond-Novel...


message 14: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Amazon page of 2015's new James Bond novel. The author is famous for a young adult series of spy novels. However, that series was one of the finest deconstructions of the spy fiction genre and a br..."
Interesting....I knew Ian Fleming once wrote a few TV scripts, some which he turned into the "For Your Eyes Only" collection, but it seems he wrote a lot more short stories than previously thought, one which was provided by his estate to Anthony Horowitz. Assassination attempt on one Stirling Moss by the Soviet Union.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...


message 15: by Bodo (new)

Bodo Pfündl | 208 comments Horowitz seemed also able to catch the essence of Sherlock Holmes. I think he might the right one to pull it of!


message 16: by Nick (new)

Nick Brett | 141 comments I just hope Horowitz can step up from the YA space he normally occupies. I have been a Bond fan most of my life, so of course I will but this and hope to enjoy it. Have to say the initial plot leaks about close protection for Sterling Moss I find a little underwhelming. Hope I am proved wrong!

I think the Bond books are classics of their time, but occasionally I go back and read them and it is amazing how, like some of the films, they have aged. It is brave to go back to the era of the 50s/60s where the original books have definitely aged.


message 17: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Horowitz is experienced and a good author. I'm sure he'll be able to make a good story out of the material he's been given.


message 18: by James (new)

James III | 27 comments I've bought all the Bond novels since Benson. They've been hit or miss. Solo was pretty good, just not what I expect from a Bond book.
I'm not familiar with Horowitz but if it's got 007 on the cover, I'm gonna buy. Just like Clancy - I keep complaining but I still buy 'em.


message 19: by James (new)

James III | 27 comments Samuel wrote: "Joshua wrote: "Because the game changed after 9-11. Bond isn't the same anymore"

I suppose so. Not to mention characters like Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp taking advantage of the geopolitical changes ..."


I think also Bond is an international property. It's far safer to pit Bond against the mean ol' Commie rather than a current threat and run the risk of offending someone (*gasp!*) Most American technothriller heroes haven't cut their teeth if they haven't sent liberals into a swoon.


message 20: by Samuel , Director (last edited Apr 14, 2015 03:25PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
James wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Joshua wrote: "Because the game changed after 9-11. Bond isn't the same anymore"

I suppose so. Not to mention characters like Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp taking advantage of the geopo..."


Good point. Come to think of it, Bond has never gone up against any post 9/11 Islamic extremists in any of the continuation novels. Former communists and insane businessmen however are fair game.


message 21: by James (new)

James III | 27 comments Samuel wrote: "James wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Joshua wrote: "Because the game changed after 9-11. Bond isn't the same anymore"

I suppose so. Not to mention characters like Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp taking advantag..."


And Nazis. Don't forget Nazis.


message 22: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
James wrote: "Samuel wrote: "James wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Joshua wrote: "Because the game changed after 9-11. Bond isn't the same anymore"

I suppose so. Not to mention characters like Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp..."


Indeed.


message 23: by Samuel , Director (last edited Apr 16, 2015 01:15AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Here's a little side project Ian Fleming did which most of you might be interested in. It's a conversation with a legendary crime thriller writer. Although in different genres, they have a blast with analyzing certain fundamentals, elements, writing styles and a few other things. Tradecraft for instance. http://www.brainpickings.org/2013/07/...


message 24: by James (new)

James III | 27 comments Bond could go against SPECTRE and the organization could serve the same purpose as it did in the movie- the modern SPECTRE could be a go between for terrorist organizations so that Bond would have to directly fight Islamic extreme just as in the movies he didn't have to fight the Russian directly.


message 25: by Samuel , Director (last edited Apr 16, 2015 03:08PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
James wrote: "Bond could go against SPECTRE and the organization could serve the same purpose as it did in the movie- the modern SPECTRE could be a go between for terrorist organizations so that Bond would have ..."

Perhaps. I however suspect they will go back to basics and return to the original concept of SPECTRE. A non-state actor shaping world events for profit, beholden to no one but themselves. And they won't need any clunky super-weapons to operate.


message 26: by Samuel , Director (last edited May 28, 2015 05:04PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Cover art and synopsis revealed. There will be a surprise guest appearance by someone from the original Fleming books.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trigger-Morti...


message 27: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Background material. WARNING. MANY SPOILERS.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015...


message 28: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Background material. WARNING. MANY SPOILERS.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015..."


So it's much bigger in scope than initially thought. The part with close protection duties for one S. Moss is only the starting point.


message 29: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Background material. WARNING. MANY SPOILERS.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015..."

So it's much bigger in..."


Then again, the smaller scale Bond books were frowned upon. The criticism about SOLO for instance was that the antagonist had mundane, down to earth motivations.


message 30: by Samuel , Director (new)


message 31: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Statement http://www.ianfleming.com/new-bond-no..."

So it means SMERSH is back. Literary Goldfinger was their treasurer/resident financial wizz. With him gone, they're presumably once again angry at Bond and have sent another agent after him.


message 32: by Feliks (last edited May 28, 2015 07:42PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) I'm the kind of guy where, if I don't see society giving me what I want, I do it myself. I actually sat down once and came up with my own Bond movie plot. Fun exercise. I basically pretended to myself: 'what if I was John Gardner?' I simply asked myself whether it was possible that 'trad' Bond plots were impossible to devise anymore, and then by coming up with one, I proved to myself that yes, they could still keep making old-school Bond movies if they really wanted to.

I despise both the Brosnan & the Craig Bond movies. But it is..what it is. What can one expect these days? Everything is crap.

But (imho), when they did have a chance to reboot the series, (Casino Royale) they should have made it a 'period-piece' series, re-doing the whole thing from scratch set in the Ian Fleming era as they were written. In the right order, and faithful to the books. Why not? Why keep on trying to shoehorn a classic series into today's puny, milksop world?

But no. They just didnt have the guts.


message 33: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "I'm the kind of guy where, if I don't see society giving me what I want, I do it myself. I actually sat down once and came up with my own Bond movie plot. Fun exercise. I basically pretended to mys..."

Mr Gardner....his attempts at making a good contemporary Bond novel failed. Several dozen times.


message 34: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Feliks wrote: "I'm the kind of guy where, if I don't see society giving me what I want, I do it myself. I actually sat down once and came up with my own Bond movie plot. Fun exercise. I basically p..."

Although it seems the Fleming estate are actually making an effort at pulling out the stops with this one.


message 35: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "I'm the kind of guy where, if I don't see society giving me what I want, I do it myself. I actually sat down once and came up with my own Bond movie plot. Fun exercise. I basically pretended to mys..."

Apart from providing source material/concepts by the man himself, unlike the all the other continuation authors, the one they've selected actually has experience with spy fiction.


message 36: by Samuel , Director (last edited May 28, 2015 07:42PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Feliks wrote: "I'm the kind of guy where, if I don't see society giving me what I want, I do it myself. I actually sat down once and came up with my own Bond movie plot. Fun exercis..."

I'll concede that his spy thriller series was a YA one, but it gradually evolved into one of the finest deconstructions of the entire super-spy concept, bordering on Le Carre style psychological brutality.


message 37: by Feliks (last edited May 28, 2015 07:47PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Samuel wrote: "Mr Gardner....his attempts at making a good contemporary Bond novel failed. Several dozen times. ..."

Well, naturally I don't have the ego to say to myself, 'let's pretend I'm Ian Fleming'. For the sake of my private experiment.

I had to say, 'temporarily imagine I'm a John Gardiner'. I mean, let's be realistic here. I'd never have the chutzpah to think I could write a Bond tale undetectable from Fleming, but yes, I could write a yarn as good as a 'Gardiner knock-off'. Or any of these other knock-offs.

I mean if they're gonna release a film like, 'Die Another Day', I can certainly do better than that.


message 38: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Mr Gardner....his attempts at making a good contemporary Bond novel failed. Several dozen times. ..."

Well, naturally I don't have the ego to say to myself, 'let's pretend I'm Ian ..."


Indeed. We all could all make a better concept than
Die Another Day :)


message 39: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "I'm the kind of guy where, if I don't see society giving me what I want, I do it myself. I actually sat down once and came up with my own Bond movie plot. Fun exercise. I basically pretended to mys..."

Period piece....like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?


message 40: by Samuel , Director (last edited May 28, 2015 08:14PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Statement http://www.ianfleming.com/new-bond-no..."

So it mea..."


I've seen some people criticize the title. Considering this is the James Bond book series we're talking about here, it is kind of petty. "Murder on wheels" doesn't have much gravitas and would be more fit for a Stephen King supernatural/horror thriller.

Compared to "SOLO" the upcoming book's title is far more appropriate, evoking the main theme of James Bond. Death, and those that dabble in it.


message 41: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Samuel wrote: "Period piece....like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? ..."

When Craig came on, and 'Casino Royale' was chosen as the first film of the rebooted series, it should have been done as a period-piece, yes. I don't know how else to make my point clear. However they wanted to tell the story, they should have set the story in 1958 or 1962 or whenever Fleming set the original story. EON should have rigged everything up to tell the story in the original timeperiod. Instead of telling a 'modern plot', calling it 'Casino Royale' and doing the usual mishmash of past/present. James Bond came out of WWII, he is 'Commander' James Bond because he served in that war. Anytime you stretch that, you're asking for trouble. The best move is to return to the character in his original timeframe. Stop apply veneer and shellac.


message 42: by Feliks (last edited May 29, 2015 01:53PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) The thing which differentiates Fleming from Gardner is vision. Fleming had actual life experience with spy intrigue, he wasn't just a writer. He lived his character. He had scads of invention to draw from. Any story he wrote --no matter how small--had pizazz. 'The Spy Who Loved Me' for example. Just a tiny anecdotal episode really, but one which enjoyed the same finesse as any of the bigger sagas.

Fleming always had the vision to coin something original like, 'Goldfinger'. Whereas Gardner comes along, adopts a 'formula' for writing the exact same kind of story...but all he can come up with is something like, 'Icebreaker'... which evokes no interest at all.

That's the key contrast between Fleming and all his imitators. They come up with thin, pallid, hokie-ness like, 'Nightfire' and 'EagleClaw' (or whatever) but none of it has any real *verve*. No true ingenuity or flair.

Its exactly what it looks like: all formula and sham. In Fleming, you get 'Live and Let Die' ...and in the knock-offs you get 'Die Another Day'. (What the f*** does that even mean?? "Die Another Day"? yeah come again, whut?

Or, in a movie-premise like 'Man with The Golden Gun' the macguffin for the plot was something called, 'the Solex'. Yawn. Fleming would never have written an idea like that. When Fleming wrote a movie premise, he comes up with something like, 'Thunderball'. What does 'Thunderball' actually mean? No one knows. But it has pizazz and it works.

Another angle: Fleming could coin a fun novel based around a new missile: 'Moonraker'. At the time, the concept of a new space-rocket was tantalizing to the public. Everything was forward-looking. Ideas were new.

But in the modern world, we don't want anything to succeed. We're tired of missiles and submarines, nuclear power plants, world monuments..most movies these days are about blowing all this stuff up, destroying it, obliterating it. No one cares about the objects anymore. We have more fun watching them get trampled and stomped on.

Bond movies have a tough time finding an audience these days for a lot of reasons other than just finding a macho Bond actor.


message 43: by Samuel , Director (last edited May 28, 2015 08:34PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "The thing which differentiates Fleming from Gardiner is vision. Fleming had actual life experience with spy intrigue, he wasn't just a writer. He lived his character. He had scads of invention to d..."

A most interesting perspective. One that I agree with up to a point. I agree with you is that Mr Fleming was tenacious with trying to be creative unlike Mr Gardener. Heck, he was even willing to throw in the towel during "From Russia With Love" when he began to think he was done as a spy thriller novelist, something you wouldn't catch most thriller authors doing in this century.


message 44: by Michel (last edited May 28, 2015 08:58PM) (new)

Michel Poulin | 167 comments Irrespective of whether someone else can write as good a James Bond novel as Fleming, maybe the question should be: is the concept of a lone superspy like James Bond utterly outdated, thus new novels/books should be dropped? I know that this will sounds harsh to many, but the James Bond template is actually a nearly farcical image of what true spies are in real life. The biggest point is that modern espionnage is a teamwork made by the connection together of many individual efforts (individual due to need to stay undercover from counter-espionnage forces). One so-called superspy cannot anymore pretend to pull a one-man show. You now need too many diverse types of talents in order to fulfill a clandestine mission (analysts, linguists, hackers, counterfeiters, surveillance specialists, etc). What I would rather like to see is more, reality-based novels depicting good espionnage teamwork. James Bond types may be glamorous, but they don't bring in the bacon these days in real life. In fact, good spies often look like anything but spies.


message 45: by Michel (last edited May 28, 2015 09:05PM) (new)

Michel Poulin | 167 comments To add to my previous post, I want to say that modern spies who are part of mission teams can be as brave and skillful as James Bond types, but with the added benefit of being anonymous. Thus, their stories are in my opinion as worthy, if not more worthy, of a novel or film than James Bond.


message 46: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Well, the book now has a product description. Sounds far more interesting than the previous continuation novel SOLO at any rate.
http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Mortis-...


message 47: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Well, the book now has a product description. Sounds far more interesting than the previous continuation novel SOLO at any rate.
http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Mortis-......"


I'll be interested to see the antagonist Horowitz has created for his book. Not to mention the evil scheme, which concerns one of the big national competitions of the Cold War.


message 48: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Now this is rather concerning. Although, at least it's confined to one country.
http://io9.com/what-does-it-mean-now-...


message 49: by Samuel , Director (last edited Jul 30, 2015 11:01PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Oh now this is just fantastic! Now, some of you might not know this but comics aren't just the domain of super-powered heroes. Espionage and spy fiction also have a small but solid niche. From the Queen and Country comic to the critically acclaimed "The Activity" which stars the American Special Forces very own intelligence service, we now have a series which fits the requirements of the discussion thread.

It's James Bond. The writer is one of the best in the business. He and his team plan to make contemporary plots and compliment it with a look into the mind of Britain's best, but damaged government assassin.
http://www.avclub.com/article/legenda...


message 50: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Oh now this is just fantastic! Now, some of you might not know this but comics aren't just the domain of super-powered heroes. Espionage and spy fiction also have a small but solid niche. From the ..."

So, it might not be a novel. But with Anthony Horowitz taking his book to the original novels 1950's chronology, this comic book might be a fine consolation prize due to it being set in this decade.


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