How old were you when you first read 'Brokenclaw'?
Posted 20 December 2007 - 05:21 PM
How old were you when you first read John Gardner's Brokenclaw?
Posted 02 January 2008 - 04:28 AM
Posted 02 January 2008 - 05:17 AM
I don't understand all these "how old were you..." threads. How is it of interest to anyone how old someone was when they read X/saw Y/did Z? Why do you want to know, Qwerty?
It's merely a way to spark some discussion on the current book in the series. Some Bond fans like to reminisce on their first Bond film, the first Bond book, etc...
Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:07 PM
I was 20 years old and I remember I was teaching life saving skills for the local RLSS branch on a beach when one of my mates came up to me and said he saw the new Bond novel in the bookshop down the road. It was summer and very hot. I remember I just uped and left, there and then and in the middle of a lecture, to buy it. The class didn't mind though, they knew I was Bond crazy. The excitement I felt walking down that street on my way to buy it was indescribable. I hated waiting between one Bond novel and another (still do in fact). I am, first and foremost an Ian Fleming fan but having said that John Gardner is my second best Bond author and, although Brokenclaw is not my best JG novel, it is amongst my best.
Posted 11 January 2008 - 10:15 PM
Just a point about these threads. I guess only Qwerty, me and occasionally zencat reads them but it is interesting to contextualize the Bond world, now long passed.
It no longer exists. Like Krypton. Like Alderan...
There was no internet.
There was little news on the Bond 17. Apart from trade announcements that there would be a Timothy Dalton Bond in 1991 and 1993 and the large image of Dalton as Bond standing astride the Carlton Hotel at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival announcing the 17th Bond Film, there was the usual outer darkness of Bond film information. Oddly, we were just beginning to hear that Danjaq may be up for sale and that the Broccolis may be getting out of the Bond business. Could this really be? LTK had disappointed at the box office. It had not been the massive US hit hoped for or predicted. Dalton had an uneasy relationship with the press and it showed in publicity and reviews. Curiously and strangely, Dalton had forseen an omen of the imminent end of the Bond film series in a superb Richard Schenkman interview in Bondage #16 magazine.
We had such high hopes. But now those mountain passes were slipping into stone...
All we had from now for the next 5 years was the new Gardner Bond novel and, briefly, the James Bond Jnr cartoon.
I was explaining to a pal of mine who is just now reading the Gardner Bonds in order, what the impact of having the most regular lit Bond fix since the 1950-60s was like. By now, the quality of Gardner Bonds was variable and would grow increasingly erratic. Gardner's 9th Continuation Bond novel in 1990 was yet another inconsistent entry.
The excellently titled Brokenclaw has an impressive, over-the-top villain, original setpieces but a silly and familiar story. The plot revolves around kidnapped scientists, a familiar MacGuffin which can track submarines, detecting them by their wake and some ho-hum Chinese villainous topicality, post-the Tianamen Square massacre. There are some pedestrian North American locations, meals ripped directly from Fleming (apart from Bond drinking tea!) and things that just don't make sense. The regular Gardner reader by this stage had developed a Pavlovian reaction to the imminent double crosses which would be inserted with about as much finesse as a robot proctologist. Gardner seemed not to have kept faith with the changes he himself wrought to Bond - this novel seemed curiously unconnected to the hierarchy and developments of the recent 5 novels. There is a nice slice of continuity when there is mention of Ebbie Heritage, a previous Gardner Bond girl, who we discover taught Bond about lips - ahem, how to lip read (which comes in handy in this story). Regardless of the faults of the Continuation Novels, we read on to pan the book for the gold of the odd inspired sequence and the finale of Brokenclaw is painfully good and original for Bond.
By now, all the uncertainty and surprise of the release of the new 007 novel was ironed out. I would be told by copyright holders the release date and then head to Murder One bookshop on Charing Cross Road where it would be, a few days earlier than the official date. I recall noting the book was a larger size, in keeping with that of WLOD, the cover placing the emphasis on John Gardner rather than James Bond - the 007 tucked away neatly on the Chinese fan. The US versions would be published in advance of the UK ones and I have a feeling I picked up the US 1st in the summer of 1990. I read it, by now, tentatively in one sitting and felt like a junkie given methadone - unsated...
...but irrationally enthusiastic for the next fix.
All I had was a new CD player and my favourite reccud ever, Paul Simon's The Rhythm Of The Saints
"Olodumare spins on his crutches, says,
'Leave if you want to, if you want to leave...'"
Posted 17 January 2008 - 04:51 AM
Until i stumbled upon this site I wasn't even aware of the continuation authors so i'm reading them all for the first time now.
Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:50 PM
Must have been sometime in the latter half of 2003 (I'm once again inclined to guess in the summertime). Brokenclaw had one of the better opening half "hooks" of the Gardner series with a pretty striking villain, but the plot just seemed to unravel and the final confrontation suffered a bit as a result.
Still, it's been a while since I last read this one...