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The Raymond Benson CBn Interview


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#1 zencat

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 04:37 PM

Today CommanderBond.net launches a series of in-depth interviews with author Raymond Benson. Raymond has had a long career

#2 doublenoughtspy

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 05:36 PM

Very nice interview John. I remember when Raymond changed his email address and did some other things to avoid fan harrassment - but I didn't realize it went to that extreme.

I look forward to part 2 and I just sent in a question about proofs.

#3 Loomis

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 05:53 PM

Really wonderful work, zencat. :) Benson seems like a class act (I truly mean that).

I notice you brought up the McDonalds quotation I mentioned the other day. :)

BTW, any more news on IFP and their supposedly imminent important announcement?

#4 Ry

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 05:55 PM

John, excellent article. Some of those questions were exactly the ones that I have been thinking for quite some time. It's too bad he's received so much harsh criticism from the fans. I for one am a big fan of Benson and love Red Tattoo and think the idea of Draco was excellent. Can't wait for the second article.

#5 deth

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:08 PM

great article!! Goes right in-depth....... great stuff!

#6 zencat

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:09 PM

Thanks for the congrats, guys, but I really don't deserve all the credit. Raymond really wanted to answer the "tough" questions. Yes, he is definitely a "class act."

No news on the IFP "announcement." My fear is it's not going to be Bond related. Hope I'm wrong. And, Ry, I was surprised to hear RB say RED TATTOO was his least favorite. I really love that book. I think it's one of his best.

Already getting in some good questions for part two. :)

I'm sorry to have throw this up on top of Athena's very cool DAF house story (I had no idea this house was still around, let alone a rental!), but I promised RB it would go up today and I have to run out and get my teeth drilled (literally -- eek!). I'll check back in later today, if I can. :)

#7 Loomis

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:10 PM

No news on the IFP "announcement." My fear is it's not going to be Bond related.

Well, Benson seems to have more or less confirmed that the literary series is dead, at least for now. :)

Oh, and BTW, an exclusive interview with Raymond Benson! How cool is that? :) What a great day to be a member of CBn! :) Piss off, MI6! :)

#8 Genrewriter

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:19 PM

Very nice interview, I can hardly wait for part 2. :)

#9 BONDFINESSE 007

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:30 PM

i really like raymond and thought he was a great choice for bond and to me he had the right touch for bond...going to miss his bond work

#10 ChandlerBing

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:42 PM

If anyone wants to read the interview I did with Raymond Benson in March of last year, I can send it to them. It's similar to the one Zencat did.

#11 stromberg

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:47 PM

Great interview, John. And of course thanks to Mr. Benson for speaking out frankly.

And not only that it contains lots of good and genuine information (but I'm used to nothing else when it comes to CBn :) ), it also (like your other recent articles) reminds us that there is always interesting news on Bond, apart from the question who's going to be in the next Bond movie and who's not.

#12 Xenobia

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 06:56 PM

It sickens me to read that folks went so far to discredit him. If you don't like him as an author, don't buy the books.

This is amazing article. As a writer just starting out, I can sympathize with a lot of his points, especially the temp work. I personally disagree with him about the influence of the Net on the Bond community, but I can see where he would have some serious reservations.

Too bad he will now look back on his time with fondness. I wish he would continue writing. The Bedside Companion needs updating and someone should do it.

Amazing work Zencat!

-- Xenobia

#13 marktmurphy

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 07:12 PM

Very good stuff. Brave work on the 'are you a bad writer' question. And big kudos to Mr Benson for doing it.

He comes over reasonably well, but is extremely defensive (possibly with good reason). I'm not sure I warm to him from this and all his asides and sneers at messageboards wore me down after a while. I wonder if his opinion of them would have been different if his work had been enjoyed by the majority? And yes Ray, people are nice to your face about your work; that's how the world works. People are allowed to say what they like on the net and I reckon it's a pretty reasonable sample of fandom. After all, I think most people here like the films, don't they?
Plus, the 'I like Bond AND Ingmar Bergman' comment makes me think he has a rather inflated opinion of himself and his amazingly diverse interests (er; films. Yeah- how bizarre!).

Good read, though. Well done John and Mr Benson.

#14 Loomis

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 07:37 PM

Plus, the 'I like Bond AND Ingmar Bergman' comment makes me think he has a rather inflated opinion of himself and his amazingly diverse interests (er; films. Yeah- how bizarre!).

One might argue, though, that your comments, Mark, exemplify what Benson's going on about (and, no, I don't say he should be exempt from criticism): he only has to make (what reads to me like) a jokey, throwaway remark, and instantly (via that evil medium known as the internet) there's a Bond fan throwing it back in his face. I mean, if zen had asked him how he liked to spend his free time, and he'd answered something along the lines of "I enjoy kicking back with my wife and kids in the evenings and watching EastEnders" (well, whatever the US equivalent would be), some "purist" Bond geek would be demanding to know why the holy heritage of Glidrose had been entrusted to a guy who liked slobbing out infront of the tube.

I didn't get the impression of a chap given to bigging himself up. Actually, his admission (if I've read this correctly - I just skimmed this bit, so I might not have done) that he goes in for occasional office temping to make ends meet was extremely honest and, er, "small-headed".

Still, point taken. I, too, think Benson came across as too negative in his outlook on the internet fan "community" (mind you, he agreed to give us an exclusive interview, so....).

#15 marktmurphy

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 08:17 PM

I think that's the problem with the written word, not with the internet per se.


I didn't get the impression of a chap given to bigging himself up. Actually, his admission (if I've read this correctly - I just skimmed this bit, so I might not have done) that he goes in for occasional office temping to make ends meet was extremely honest and, er, "small-headed".



It's equally easy to interpret that as 'Oh look, I'm down with the little people like you' or 'poor hard done by me; nasty fans think I live in an ivory tower and I don't'. I'm not saying that is what he means at all, but that is the problem with written interviews (no criticism directed at John).
The internet allows others opinons to be broadcast (and why should that be any different to mates chatting down the pub?) whereas I would have got the same reaction from his words whether they were printed in the net or a magazine. And I have found many of his comments printed in magazines to be irritating too and of the nasty fan-nature which he criticises here. Why should someone's opinions or work be more valid and more above criticism because they are broadcast to more people?

#16 clinkeroo

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 08:25 PM

Wow, that is quite a bit to digest. Great to hear/read Raymond's words and opinions again, they have been missed in the Bond community. I believe I'll read it a few more times. I don't remember Raymond being that bitter and defensive toward the online Bond community, but he does make some great points about how it only represents a portion, a relatively younger portion, of Bond fandom as a whole.

Bravo, Zencat, and welcome back, Raymond :) .

#17 Qwerty

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 08:31 PM

The things people did and said to him are totally distasteful. His books are enjoyable, fun, exciting, adventerous, action filled and just plain James Bond!

I think he did a fine job on them and a certain few are some that I truly love.

No doubt, another fantastic bit of work from Raymond Benson and CBn! Superb interview!

#18 Genrewriter

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 08:34 PM

The things people did and said to him are totally distasteful. His books are enjoyable, fun, exciting, adventerous, action filled and just plain James Bond!

I think he did a fine job on them and a certain few are some that I truly love.

No doubt, another fantastic bit of work from Raymond Benson and CBn! Superb interview!

Once again we are in total agreement. I think his stuff is great. The Union Trilogy is terrific.

#19 Qwerty

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 08:38 PM

LOL! Good minds think alike. :) :)

Actually yes, I loved all his books completely the very first times I read them, except for ZMT and TMWTRT, after a second reading or so of each, I grew to love them more.

I think his ideas and plots were witty, considering all of the past literary adventures Bond had already gone through.

#20 Athena007

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 10:10 PM

Yes the interest... a way to speak, and that's exactly what Benson did. I do read a lot (used to more) and have read some of his books), I don't really go about discussing books even though I enjoy them. But I always like heard word from the author. Those who get critized the most are usually the best :) It's actually truer than you would think.

ZenCat and I are hoping to have lunch with Benson when he's in LA is early April (this might be news to Benson at the moment :) casue I'm not sure ZenCat's brought it up with him yet. SupriZe! lol). Anywho, it'll be great meeting him in April always, most defiantly. And I did have a thought. I know this is a multi part interview, so perhaps when meeting him part of the interview could be done via a Quicktime movie [?] or sound file [?] Not all of the interview of course, but it would be a neat little sideline... and I always have my camera ready.

#21 Qwerty

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 10:15 PM

And I'd be more than thrilled to listen to that Athena! Good ideas and good show! :)

#22 The Silver Beast

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 10:43 PM

Sounds to me like Peter Janson-Smith was the Cubby Broccoli of the literary Bond (Gardner also spoke very highly of Mr. Jason-Smith) and when he left things changed and not for the better -- at least for the Bond fan. So the Fleming family now runs the show? But didn't they HATE the idea of continuation novels? I think Ann Fleming slammed Colonel Sun and this was part of the reason Amis (Markham) didn't continue. Not a good sign for the future.

A 3000 print run? Well, that explains why we never saw these books on the best seller list.

I miss Benson, I loved his books, I wish him well. I think it was very cool of him to be so candid here.

Edited by zencat, 24 March 2004 - 08:49 AM.


#23 zencat

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 10:53 PM

Plus, the 'I like Bond AND Ingmar Bergman' comment makes me think he has a rather inflated opinion of himself and his amazingly diverse interests (er; films. Yeah- how bizarre!).

One might argue, though, that your comments, Mark, exemplify what Benson's going on about (and, no, I don't say he should be exempt from criticism): he only has to make (what reads to me like) a jokey, throwaway remark, and instantly (via that evil medium known as the internet) there's a Bond fan throwing it back in his face. I mean, if zen had asked him how he liked to spend his free time, and he'd answered something along the lines of "I enjoy kicking back with my wife and kids in the evenings and watching EastEnders" (well, whatever the US equivalent would be), some "purist" Bond geek would be demanding to know why the holy heritage of Glidrose had been entrusted to a guy who liked slobbing out infront of the tube.

I didn't get the impression of a chap given to bigging himself up. Actually, his admission (if I've read this correctly - I just skimmed this bit, so I might not have done) that he goes in for occasional office temping to make ends meet was extremely honest and, er, "small-headed".

Still, point taken. I, too, think Benson came across as too negative in his outlook on the internet fan "community" (mind you, he agreed to give us an exclusive interview, so....).

Nicely said, Loomis. Frankly, I'm finding myself agreeing with Benson more and more everyday about the net. Yes, there are good people (mostly here on CBn :)) and I get a lot of nice things said about my own work (this thread is a good example), but you'd be amazed at the jerks and weirdos who come out when you sign your name to something (or maybe not -- I think everyone has had a close encounter of the weird kind online). I'm feeling the sting just from working on CBn, I can't imagine what would happen if I did something "official." I think I would just avoid the net altogether.

#24 Sensualist

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 11:33 PM

Sensualist would like to thank John and CBn for a terrific Q&A with Ray Benson. A class act who deserved a lot better than the treatment he received from the geeky dorks who went out of their way to give him a hard time during his tenure.

Sensualist would like to thank Ray for one of the most memorable pieces of fiction of Sensualist's life: High Time To Kill. :)

#25 thuffner

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 12:58 AM

Cool interview! Benson's the man! :)

#26 Tarl_Cabot

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 02:37 AM

nice job Zencat;I only red two andf a half of his books. I like his take on Dalton and LTK. A true Fleming fan knows a good Bond/film when he sees one! :)

#27 Triton

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 04:27 AM

Thank you very much for posting this part of the interview zencat. It answers many questions that I had about the announcement that Raymond had gone on to do other things.

Interesting to hear Raymond's comments about why the novels seemed to do relatively poorly in the bookshops, when compared to the interest and shelf space given to the films, tie in products, and video/computer games. Its also nice to know that the publishers were happy with the number of copies sold.

zencat can you please extend my thanks to Raymond Benson for participating in the interview? I really appreciate that he took the time to talk to us fans after he had been treated so inexcusably badly by some fans.

#28 zencat

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 04:31 AM

zencat can you please extend my thanks to Raymond Benson for participating in the interview? I really appreciate that he took the time to talk to us fans after he had been treated so inexcusably badly by some fans.

Will do. I think it will mean a lot to him to see he has so many fans. :)

#29 Triton

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 04:51 AM

Will do. I think it will mean a lot to him to see he has so many fans. :)

Thanks zencat for passing my thanks along. :)

I hope that writing the continuation novels didn't seem like a thankless job for Raymond at times. I have had many hours of enjoyment reading Raymond's novels. My biggest criticism of them is that they seemed too short to me, I always wanted them to last a little longer because I was having so much fun.

The James Bond Bedside Companion is still one of the best books that I have read about the literary and cinematic Bond.

#30 brendan007

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 10:07 AM

Great article, how many parts are there going to be do you know?




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