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Benson's Bond


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#61 zencat

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 05:12 PM

I have just finished Never Dream of Dying. Another triumph for Mr Benson IMO!
I liked the continuation factor regarding The Union and their leader Le Garant.I thought Le Garant warrants a place in the hallowed realm o classic Bond villains. Oh and the torture scene! The threat of being blinded must surely rank as one of the most feared torture threats. I thought that Benson wrote the torture scene with great skill. The fact that his torturer had no interest in extracting information , only ‘carrying out his job’ only added to the effectiveness of this scene. I liked the characters created (apart from the afore mentioned Le Garant, Tylyn Mignonne and Rene Mathis warranting special mention.)
Yet again Benson succeeded in creating a good sense of location and this combined with a fast pace resulted in another ‘Fun read’. Only ‘The Man With the Red Tattoo’ to go! :)

When it comes down to it, I think NDOD is my favorite Benson novel. It's his masterpiece, IMO. Interesting it's the only Bond novel in recent history to not go through a tortured titling process. Never Dream of Dying was Benson's original working title. Seemed everything clicked with this one.

Now we sit back and the Benson bashers take their usual shots. But I'll see you back here, marmaduke, when you've finished TMWTRT. Another book I think you will really enjoy.

#62 Lazenby880

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 11:41 PM

Now we sit back and the Benson bashers take their usual shots.

This is the second time you have made this sort of point in this thread; the first time no-one responded to your suggestion that 'twenty rabid Benson bashing posts' would follow. However, I really must query the rationale behind your statements. You think Benson was absolutely wonderful as an author, I happen to think his writing was ghastly. I have no issue with the former, so why have an issue with the latter?

I have not read anything vaguely 'rabid' or 'bashing' in this thread. Why is it not possible for some who affirm themselves Benson fans to accept criticism of Benson's work? There is no quarrel with Mr Benson as a person; I have no doubt that he is a thoroughly charming chap and I wish him every success in the future. No-one here, to my knowledge, is suggesting otherwise.

We all have differing opinions on the subject and I certainly do not object to positive appraisals of Benson's oeuvre; why object to negative assessments? It is an attitude I find perplexing.

Edited by Lazenby880, 19 October 2006 - 11:48 PM.


#63 marmaduke

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 04:28 PM

The Man With the Red Tattoo

Having completed TMWTRT so my

#64 marmaduke

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:50 PM

Gardner or Benson?

Having completed TMWTRT so my

#65 marmaduke

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 04:39 PM

My ranking of the Raymond Benson original Bond novels is as follows:

1. The Man with the Red Tattoo

2. High time to kill

3. Doubleshot

4. The Facts of Death

5. Never Dream of Dying

6. Zero Minus Ten


Thats All Folks! :)

#66 zencat

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 04:57 PM

Nice work, marmaduke. Good to see TMWTRT on top. It really is a great Bond novel. Benson went out on a high, that's for sure. And I agree with you, the train sequence is a classic.

#67 00Twelve

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 03:53 PM

Marmaduke, I thought you adored NDOD, but it's next-to-last on your ranking? I'm not in any way criticizing you for that, just curious at how it appears to have taken a 180 in terms of your preferences.

#68 manfromjapan

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 01:07 AM

My rankings -

THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO ****1/2
HIGH TIME TO KILL ****
NEVER DREAM OF DYING ***1/2
ZERO MINUS TEN ***1/2
DOUBLESHOT ***1/2
THE FACTS OF DEATH **

#69 marmaduke

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 10:11 AM

:)
Hi 00twelve, re my ranking of NDOD. Yes you have a valid point.To be honest with you when it came to ranking the 'Benson's' i found it quite difficult.,much more so than i had when ranking the 'Gardners'.The truth is that i did enjoy NDOD , as indeed i did all of the 'Benson,s'. All i was sure of was that i knew my least favourite was ZMT. As for the others , in all honesty i could have re shuffled them numbered 1-5 !I guess however that TMWTRT will always remain my favourite Benson, if pushed. :P

#70 Willowhugger

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 06:52 AM

Raymond Benson's books aren't remotely Flemming-esque but Flemming wasn't always Flemming-esque either. Let's not forget that Thunderball and Goldfinger are quite far removed in style from Casino Royale. I accept Benson takes place in a "James Bond world" and assume it's going to be more movie based than it is going to be about the book world. In this context, his books are not just enjoyable but they are VERY enjoyable.

(and really who the DEVIL reads closely sex scenes? All I need to know is Bond is having sex with a woman on the ground of a horse ranch. Is there that much else that needs to be said?)

Compared to Gardener's books, the Benson series also has a steady stream of character development that also is important to note. Events from one story carry over into the next and Benson gets into his version of Bond's head. I like to think there's a different actor for each Bond author with Flemmings being David Niven, Benson's Bond LIKES being an intelligence agent and playing the cavalier but bad stuff happens to him in the series. Especially regarding Draco and the botched anti-Union mission.

But what makes Benson's books work for me isn't their exceptionally original plots (they're not) but the fact that Benson has the benefit of being genuinely easy to visualize. Benson's style is visual (Flemmings was not, his was "mood, mood, mood and atmosphere"). It's practically impossible to envision stunts in literary format but Benson does it. He also conjures crazy moments like Mathias' revelation, the final showdown on Gibralta, and the blatant Spectre Pastiche of the meeting halls of Union.

Edited by Willowhugger, 09 December 2006 - 04:25 PM.


#71 manfromjapan

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 09:10 AM

Well put Willowhugger. Benson's Bond novels are extremely enjoyable and remarkably easy to viualise. the characterisations are great. Going through the Gardners right now, and whilst he is technically a more polished writer and I love his way of describing action and his plots, I prefer Benson overall.

#72 Willowhugger

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 04:51 PM

I also confess I liked that Benson went to the trouble of tying Union and his characters into the Bond world. The explanation for its name (it was there all along in Flemming) and its origins were much better than just plopping another Spectre rip off into the world.

#73 glidrose

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:00 PM

Actually, Duncan Kyle was a more-than-competent thriller writer who could have made a decent stab at a Bond novel. I mean if Geoffrey Jenkins can apparently do it...


A Kyle Bond novel wouldn't have been much different from a Jenkins one. They were pretty similar writers in many ways. Jenkins even had a book called A GRUE OF ICE. But Jenkins knew his Bond, knew Fleming, and had more of a taste for the macabre.

I'll shut up now.



I strongly believe that Duncan Kyle was on that shortlist Glidrose drew up in 1979 when casting about for a new author. Mystery novelist and London Times crime fiction reviewer H.R.F. Keating drew up the shortlist of six thriller writers. Keating called Kyle a fine adventure writer. Kyle and Keating were friends. Kyle, like Keating, had been chairman of the Crime Writers Association.

#74 Dustin

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 05:19 AM

Another once prominent name that has become all but forgotten outside the circles of thriller and adventure enthusiasts. I've never read any of his books, but judging from some of the descriptions there are a number of interesting plots to be found. I'll have to pick up one of those soon.



#75 Golddragon71

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 06:03 PM

I was a huge fan of the Benson Novels when they came out. In Fact I pre-ordered NDOD and TMWTRT the moment they were announced.
reading them now I still enjoy them to a great degree my personal favorites are The Facts of Death the Man with the Red Tattoo and the Union Trilogy (in order) and finally Zero Minus Ten
as for the Short stories benson wrote at the Time I've only read the two printed in PLAYBOY and of those two my personal favorite was Mid-Summer Nights Doom

(BTW Willowhugger, the sex scene in the woods was no big deal but Benson got almost X-Rated when he wrote out the much later scene when they were at the film location in her cabin.)

Edited by Golddragon71, 24 May 2012 - 06:06 PM.





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