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Christopher Wood's THE SPY WHO LOVED ME


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#1 Harmsway

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:20 PM

I finally got ahold of this in an old, used bookstore (as well as picking up countless Signet paperbacks of the Fleming novels and a 1st US Edition of TMWTGG with cover intact for all of $3.25).

But I've been reading it. This novelization is superb. It's not what you'd expect - it's far more than that. This novelization is as good as post-Fleming Bond writing gets. The character's down pat, the characters are great and well fleshed-out, and the prose is delightfully detailed.

If you can find this, get ahold of it. It puts the Gardner and Benson novels to shame and is worth of standing alongside the Fleming novels!

#2 Bon-san

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:29 PM

Agreed. I've been championing Wood's novelisations for ages. TSWLM is significantly better, IMO, than Moonraker, which is more straight novelisation and less of the great stuff he's infused into TSWLM.

I don't know who picked Gardner over Wood, but that was a HUGE mistake, IMO. Not to diss on Gardner, but Wood's stuff was just wonderful.

#3 Lounge Lizard

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:33 PM

I agree too, Harmsway. I was pleasantly surprised by Wood's effort, and after reading it I immediately forgave him for some of the excessive silliness in TSWLM and MR- he can't have been the only one to blame. He's a witty writer and I really believe he should be brought back to do dialogue polishes on future Bond films.

This novel has some terrific passages, Bond's arrival in Cairo, the subsequent meeting with Felicca and the fight with the henchman are top-drawer Bond. Even Jaws and his metal teeth get a convincing background. Like Bon-san said, Wood's MR novelisation is not as good as his TSWLM one, but it's still a good read- he uses Fleming's Drax description almost verbatim.

#4 Harmsway

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:59 PM

I was impressed with his Stromberg background. A villain who was incredibly boring and dull in the film came across and lively and intriguing here.

#5 DLibrasnow

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 01:02 AM

You will find that there are a great number of CBners who believe that Christopher Wood's novelizations are the best Bond continuation novels out there. I for one agree with this position and if you want to get a taste of how much better Moonraker would have been if they had stuck to Wood's original script then check out his novelizarion to that movie.

Christopher Wood's novelization of The Spy Who Loved Me was the first Bond novel I ever read (back in the late 1970s) so I have a particular soft-spot for it.

#6 ACE

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 01:13 AM

Christopher Wood was a die-hard Fleming fan and chose to display that in the novelizations safe in the belief that no-one at Eon would read them! He describes the process of compromise and committee in writing a Bond film vividly and believably. Wood is very self-deprecating about the process.

The excellent novelizations (I agree, JBSWLM tips JBAMR) are written by an excellent writer with the class, tone and insider polish that a good Bond author needs. Regardless of the plotting and characters (although Sigmund Stromberg and Zbigniew Krycsiwiki aka Jaws are wonderfully extrapolated), the writing is terrific and captures that high old tone of Fleming's.

Those who keep ragging on Purvis and Wade should heed Wood's experience. The "writer" of a Bond film is a significant minority influence on these productions not the major guiding force some posters would have us believe.

#7 Turn

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 01:54 AM

Ace makes a good point in that I also had the experience of reading Wood's novelizations after watching the film versions and was stunned at how much more I enjoyed reading them than the films. I totally was not expecting that when I first got them. I reread them a few years ago and was reminded of this.

Particularly memorable is the beginning of JBATSWLM where they describing the cabin girl's death and all that. Very disturbing. It kind of makes me wish he'd been asked to do novelizations of some of the other films that followed.

#8 Qwerty

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 02:29 AM

I was impressed with his Stromberg background. A villain who was incredibly boring and dull in the film came across and lively and intriguing here.


Agreed. I love the backrounds Wood added in both James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me and James Bond And Moonraker. I'd love to see reprints of these two novelizations some day, but I highly, highly doubt that will ever happen.

I'd also have liked to see more books from Wood.

#9 wattenscheid09

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 05:11 AM

May major problem with TSWLM was that my paperback has Roger Moores face on it - that and the fact that it recreates (in a more intelligent way) the scenes of the movie (d'uh!) makes it difficult for me to forget the movie, which would make it a real enjoyment.

As I stated in another thread, literary Bond becomes interesting when I can blend out the movies. This one is too close to THE SPY WHO LOVED ME for total enjoyment. Anyone else with that problem?

#10 Double-Oh Agent

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 06:41 AM

I enjoyed Christopher Wood's novelizations as well--with James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me just a little bit more than James Bond And Moonraker. One thing I wish we could have seen that was omitted from either film was Bond's space walking scene in JBAM. They already have him in outer space so why not take it a baby step further. It was a really good scene. Very suspenseful. But despite my liking of Wood's novelizations, I enjoy some of John Gardner's and Raymond Benson's novels more.

Just one question: How do you pronounce Zbigniew Krycsiwiki? Anyone?

#11 K1Bond007

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 07:42 AM

I guess I have to be the negative one here. Personally, I disliked both novelisations. Moonraker, for what it's worth wasn't as bad, but The Spy Who Loved Me was not good. I didn't care for Wood's writing style at all; his attempt to make it Fleming-esque. It came off as second-rate to me. IMHO, the story for Spy was also inconsistant and spotty. Part of the problem, I believe, was that the screenplay wasn't finished or was being continuously updated during shooting and he apparently attempted to keep it in line with film, but didn't make the necessary changes to his novelisation to account for the newer changes he later incorporated into the novelisation because of the screenplay. Does that make sense? For instance, he would write a detail early in the book that would be a fact and then later on this fact would be contradicted somehow. I'm talking entirely in the novelisation. I'm not comparing to the film.

In comparison to the film, theres a few odd changes (that really don't matter) that are confusing like Karl Stromberg being renamed as Sigmund Stromberg. :tup: I believe Wood even stated in an interview that he ... just forgot the character's name when writing the book.

I think I once said that I disliked Wood's books so much (the style, flaws, etc) that when I read Gardner's Licence Renewed (when reading them in order) it was like a "breath of fresh air." In hindsight, having read most of Gardner's now, I'm a little surprised I said that. Maybe I've just grown used to Gardner (see my other posts about Gardner's...)

#12 stamper

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 08:37 AM

I'll be with the majority here, praising these novelisations.

Also, you have to realise, Wood penned the two most profitable Bond of the whole series. I agree the silliness may not have been his work, but comitee writing. Those two novels were published in France, I will try to get Fleming estate to let me rerelease them !

#13 David Schofield

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:29 AM

Wood's Spy is far better than anything by Gardner, Benson, Higson or Pearson. Even against Amis, its close. It is everything a book involving Ian Fleming's James Bond should be.

Enough said.

#14 Qwerty

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 03:05 PM

In comparison to the film, theres a few odd changes (that really don't matter) that are confusing like Karl Stromberg being renamed as Sigmund Stromberg. :tup: I believe Wood even stated in an interview that he ... just forgot the character's name when writing the book.


http://shatterhand00...dInterview.html

#15 DLibrasnow

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 03:55 PM

If you can find this, get ahold of it. It puts the Gardner and Benson novels to shame and is worth of standing alongside the Fleming novels!


Incidently these books are available used on Amazon.com. JB,TSWLM for instance is less than $2.

#16 Qwerty

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 03:57 PM

I would love to someday get the UK hardback of James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me. For some reason, I see that one far, far less for sale on the internet compared to Wood's Moonraker.

#17 Harmsway

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 05:42 PM

I think I once said that I disliked Wood's books so much (the style, flaws, etc) that when I read Gardner's Licence Renewed (when reading them in order) it was like a "breath of fresh air." In hindsight, having read most of Gardner's now, I'm a little surprised I said that. Maybe I've just grown used to Gardner (see my other posts about Gardner's...)

I really can't get used to Gardner. I've read all of his Bond books now and the only one I like at all is NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. The rest I find instantly forgettable. Benson may not be able to write prose on his level, but I find Benson's books much more striking (especially DOUBLESHOT).

#18 K1Bond007

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 07:49 PM


I think I once said that I disliked Wood's books so much (the style, flaws, etc) that when I read Gardner's Licence Renewed (when reading them in order) it was like a "breath of fresh air." In hindsight, having read most of Gardner's now, I'm a little surprised I said that. Maybe I've just grown used to Gardner (see my other posts about Gardner's...)

I really can't get used to Gardner. I've read all of his Bond books now and the only one I like at all is NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. The rest I find instantly forgettable. Benson may not be able to write prose on his level, but I find Benson's books much more striking (especially DOUBLESHOT).


I'm not saying I really like Gardner. I don't. I only like a couple thus far. I meant that Gardner's style and storytelling has just become stale to me. But when I went from James Bond and Moonraker to Licence Renewed. . . .

#19 Harmsway

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 09:09 PM

I just read Wood's MOONRAKER novelization. It left me fairly unimpressed, unlike his previous effort. It was just too... movie novelization-ish. But it was still far above the Gardner/Benson novelization efforts.

#20 Streetworker

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 09:15 PM

I finally got ahold of this in an old, used bookstore (as well as picking up countless Signet paperbacks of the Fleming novels and a 1st US Edition of TMWTGG with cover intact for all of $3.25).

But I've been reading it. This novelization is superb. It's not what you'd expect - it's far more than that. This novelization is as good as post-Fleming Bond writing gets. The character's down pat, the characters are great and well fleshed-out, and the prose is delightfully detailed.

If you can find this, get ahold of it. It puts the Gardner and Benson novels to shame and is worth of standing alongside the Fleming novels!


You're right. I bought my copy in the summer of '77 before I saw the movie. I also bought Moonraker in '79. Both are still in very good condition. Wood's TSWLM is a very good piece of writing in its own right. His descriptions of the tanker are particularly well-handled. The Moonraker novelisation isn't as accomplished in my view, but I still enjoyed it.


I think I once said that I disliked Wood's books so much (the style, flaws, etc) that when I read Gardner's Licence Renewed (when reading them in order) it was like a "breath of fresh air." In hindsight, having read most of Gardner's now, I'm a little surprised I said that. Maybe I've just grown used to Gardner (see my other posts about Gardner's...)

I really can't get used to Gardner. I've read all of his Bond books now and the only one I like at all is NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. The rest I find instantly forgettable. Benson may not be able to write prose on his level, but I find Benson's books much more striking (especially DOUBLESHOT).


We may disagree about Thunderball :tup: , but we seem to concur to a worrying degree when it comes to the books, as I abominate Gardner's Bond scribblings. Funnily enough, I quite like his non-Bond books, my favourite of which is The Dancing Dodo.

#21 Napoleon Solo

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:55 AM

I still have both novelizations, purchased when their respective movies came out. As I recall, in JBAMR, Bond dons a pressurized suit and does a space walk during the big climatic sequence. Also, in the novelization's equivalent of the pre-credits sequence (where Bond gets pushed out of the plane without a parachute), I kept imagining Connery, rather than Moore, which was an odd experience.

#22 coco1997

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 04:06 AM

What's the context in which Bond space-walks?

#23 Napoleon Solo

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:39 PM

What's the context in which Bond space-walks?

I *think* he had to get from one section of the space station to another and for some reason (maybe damage from the big fight), he had to go outside the station.

(update)

On page 200 (first Jove paperback edition, 1979), Bond sees the laser gun turret that could destroy any shuttles coming to fight drax (one U.S. shuttle has already arrived). To get to the location through the station would mean fighting a lot of thugs in-between him and his target.

On page 201, he dons a space suit and heads out an airlock with the intention of sabotaging the laser gun. On page 202, he is about to head into space. "No Edgar Allen Poe story he had read as a child had adequately conveyed the sense of mouth-drying terror that now engulfed him."

Bond has some trouble to adjust to using the propulsion unit. At the end of the chapter, he witnesses a U.S. "space marine" flung into space

Edited by Napoleon Solo, 02 December 2007 - 02:54 PM.


#24 coco1997

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 09:05 PM

Cool, thanks for the info, Napoleon!:D

#25 Donovan

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:37 AM

I agree with everything that's been said about Wood's novelizations. I'm a fan of them as well and storngly encourage any Bond film, especially literary ones, to pick them up. Wood does a very good job of mimicking Fleming's ability to delve into detail and keep the story flowing at a good pace.

I'm glad to see this forum was started, as it was something I had asked about years ago. Obviously, there's only so much you can discuss with two books by one author (especially when those books aren't exactly mainstream items). But Wood deserves this recognition at least as much as Kingsley Amis does.

#26 zencat

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:00 PM

I think Woods Spy is excellent. In fact, I think it could be put over Amis. I'm not sure why Colonel Sun is instantly considered the best of all the continuations novels. Have you read it lately? It's good...but I'm not sure it's the Best. Woods Spy, Blood Fever, Pearson's Bio, even License Renewed I think are worth considering over CS.

#27 Mr. Blofeld

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 08:43 PM

Sounds pretty nice. :D

#28 Donovan

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 04:53 AM

I think Woods Spy is excellent. In fact, I think it could be put over Amis. I'm not sure why Colonel Sun is instantly considered the best of all the continuations novels. Have you read it lately? It's good...but I'm not sure it's the Best. Woods Spy, Blood Fever, Pearson's Bio, even License Renewed I think are worth considering over CS.

I've only read CS once, like most of the continuation novels. It seemed to me that Amis was trying too hard. I'm very tough to please when it comes to the literary Bond. With Fleming it came naturally. Not just because he started it and set the course. But because with his background in the war, intimate knowledge of the British Secret Service, his own tastes for the finer things in life, and a writing style honed through his journalism trade, all though things combined to create a great character mixed a great method of telling his stories.

I think Wood liked the same things about reading Fleming's Bond that I do, and he was able to emulate those things in his two books. It makes the centenary novel by S.F. an interesting project since it's being touted that he's writing as Ian Fleming. That's exactly what Wood did.

#29 Mr. Blofeld

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 05:09 AM

I think Wood liked the same things about reading Fleming's Bond that I do, and he was able to emulate those things in his two books. It makes the centenary novel by S.F. an interesting project since it's being touted that he's writing as Ian Fleming. That's exactly what Wood did.


Wood didn't write as Fleming; he wrote as himself. :D

#30 Thunderfinger

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 04:41 PM

After Fleming, Wood is the best.
Sorry to say I have never read Colonel Sun.




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