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Never Dream of Dying


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#1 TheREAL008

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:01 PM

For alittle while now I've been thinking about Benson's legacy on the literary Bond. My opinion of him has declined steadily since he made his infamous comment about John Gardner's contributions. Regardless that he's apologized is a moot point to me because you don't insult another professional in the same line of work. Critique respectfully and maybe give advice here and there, perhaps...all acceptable.

His novels aren't too bad, but I feel that he relied too heavily on OHMSS and YOLT to carry his contributions. Granted IFP gave him permission to do whatever he wanted but I think he just went too far in some instances.

Take Never Dream of Dying. We're supposed to just take it at face value that a certain someone would want revenge over circumstances that weren't totally in Bond's control 38 years prior? Just because Benson states that "He's a criminal and he'd naturally want to get even" doesn't actually make it true.

I have a big problem with this because in all actuality it doesn't make sense and it it's erroneous in many ways.

The first and (to me) main concern being that Bond and the this person are united through a holy union. Regardless of what happened...REGARDLESS this person would have known that Bond wasn't at fault and if Ian himself would have gone into more detail, Fleming probably would have this character understand and then find his own independent means of finding the culprit and possibly working alongside Bond in YOLT.

The very least: the character in question just ceases all contact with Bond and tries to go on about his life. He's there for James in a supporting manner from time to time, but keeps Bond at a distance because he knows the life James lives and doesn't wish to get involved.

I can say this with some expertise: If you marry into an Italian family and are either divorced or widowed, you are still a member of that family regardless. Benson's vendetta angle doesn't fly, nor is it even plausible. It would only be contrary if Bond was directly involved with his own bare hands.

But unfortunately, Fleming concentrated solely on Bond's grief and need for revenge and Benson, trying to prove to everyone that he's the ultimate Bond fan, tries to give us an interpretation that we're lead to believe at face value simply because of his 'reasoning.'

Well sorry Raymond, you failed and your Union trilogy suffers from your take on past events. You should have known better.

I apologize if this appears to flogging a dead horse, but some characters should have been left alone. I'm certain Benson could have thought up a much better subplot than the one we're given in the novel.

I'm so very glad he's not writing Bond anymore, in retrospect I now wonder if he was the right person to take after Gardner in the first place.

Edited by TheREAL008, 14 April 2011 - 07:27 PM.


#2 zencat

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 08:13 PM

Q. Some people have accused you of bad-mouthing John Gardner. There’s an oft-quoted line from The James Bond Bedside Companion in which you said that Gardner’s books were like eating at McDonald’s. What do you say to that?

RB. What I said with the McDonald’s thing was over 20 years ago, when I was in my twenties, when I was just a smart aleck Bond fan trying to write clever critiques. I’ve since apologized to John and I tried to make it up to him by writing that lengthy and detailed analysis of his books for “007″ magazine in 1993. I have great respect for John. I’ve never said anything negative about his books since then, certainly since I got the Bond gig, and whatever mild criticisms I made in the Bedside Companion (other than the McDonald’s line) were nothing compared to what I see written about him–and me–on Bond fan website message boards! I enjoyed Gardner’s books–I own them all in first editions, some of them signed, and I’ve read several of them more than twice.


It's all here, including RB's answer to the criticisms of NDOD.

http://commanderbond...iew-part-i.html

And, yes, this is beating a dead horse.

#3 TheREAL008

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 09:58 PM

I apologize.

#4 David Schofield

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 07:36 AM

Q. Some people have accused you of bad-mouthing John Gardner. There’s an oft-quoted line from The James Bond Bedside Companion in which you said that Gardner’s books were like eating at McDonald’s. What do you say to that?

RB. What I said with the McDonald’s thing was over 20 years ago, when I was in my twenties, when I was just a smart aleck Bond fan trying to write clever critiques. I’ve since apologized to John and I tried to make it up to him by writing that lengthy and detailed analysis of his books for “007″ magazine in 1993. I have great respect for John. I’ve never said anything negative about his books since then, certainly since I got the Bond gig, and whatever mild criticisms I made in the Bedside Companion (other than the McDonald’s line) were nothing compared to what I see written about him–and me–on Bond fan website message boards! I enjoyed Gardner’s books–I own them all in first editions, some of them signed, and I’ve read several of them more than twice.


It's all here, including RB's answer to the criticisms of NDOD.

http://commanderbond...iew-part-i.html

And, yes, this is beating a dead horse.


Come on, Zen, don't let you friendship with Benson over power the freedom to allow The Real008 to express his personal opinion. There seems to be nothing particularly malicious in it!

An old cynic like me, however, would point out that Benson probably genuinely did believe Gardner wrote rubbish - being in his 20s really isn't much of an excuse, and it's an opinion he's perfectly entitled to hold anyway - and that he only "publicly revised" his opinion when he had to "step up to the plate" as you Yanks say, produced his own Bond books, and got pretty widely slaughtered for their quality in the Bond press and general literary reviews.

And The Real008 is right, NDOD does stretch credibility. That was Benson's choice with his plotting so he must be prepared to accept those who find it less convincing.

Had the revenge against Bond taken place in the immediate aftermath of OHMSS it would have been sort of believable (the points The Real008 listed not withstanding); for a hot blooded Corsican to let it cool for 38 years is totally ludicrous.

But of course even Benson knows this. His NDOD 'PTS' shows Bond causing the death of that gentleman's second wife and daughter. How clumsy and unfortunate can two people - Bond and the gentleman concerned - be????? :rolleyes:

#5 Dustin

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 09:12 AM

Was that ever mentioned in NDOD? The events of OHMSS being 38 years in the past? I can't remember but I doubt it, would have been very odd to say the least. I think it merely was referred to as being some time ago.

But of course that's not the point. The long period between losing his daughter and deciding to hold Bond responsible is, I agree. I have to admit here, when I first read OHMSS some years ago I immediately suspected Draco would be likely to put the blame on Bond. After all it was Bond's job that got her killed and it was his responsibility that Blofeld was allowed to do so, however unlikely it had been that he and Bunt are hanging out in Munich and Bunt is able to identify Bond and learn about his plans to marry. To me it wouldn't have been a surprise at all if Draco had turned out to be after Bond in YOLT and I was a bit disappointed that Fleming never picked that theme up again.

What I didn't like about NDOD was more the decision to make the book's villain, the Union head, another relative of Draco. That one was perhaps a bit much in my view, particularly as he had built himself his own version of Spectre.

#6 TheREAL008

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 02:35 PM

Was that ever mentioned in NDOD? The events of OHMSS being 38 years in the past? I can't remember but I doubt it, would have been very odd to say the least. I think it merely was referred to as being some time ago.

But of course that's not the point. The long period between losing his daughter and deciding to hold Bond responsible is, I agree. I have to admit here, when I first read OHMSS some years ago I immediately suspected Draco would be likely to put the blame on Bond. After all it was Bond's job that got her killed and it was his responsibility that Blofeld was allowed to do so, however unlikely it had been that he and Bunt are hanging out in Munich and Bunt is able to identify Bond and learn about his plans to marry. To me it wouldn't have been a surprise at all if Draco had turned out to be after Bond in YOLT and I was a bit disappointed that Fleming never picked that theme up again.

What I didn't like about NDOD was more the decision to make the book's villain, the Union head, another relative of Draco. That one was perhaps a bit much in my view, particularly as he had built himself his own version of Spectre.


I used the years as a reference point only. For all we know it could have been perhaps a decade between the two events. However since Benson is kind of a purist I don't think he took it into account. But just kept events within their original timeline.

If Zencat ever gets the chance to interview Raymond again, perhaps he might want to ask for us? :D




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