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SPOILERS: Member Reviews of Carte Blanche


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Poll: What did you think of Carte Blanche - having read it?

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Having read it...

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On a rating of 10 to 0, 10 being deliciousness and 0 being a bit like having one's face levered off with a claw hammer, I rate CARTE BLANCHE

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Were Jeffery Deaver to write another one, I would say...

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#91 TheREAL008

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 11:51 PM

Since when did people here become so cynical? Honestly, if some of you were such Fleming purists then why did you all even bother picking up Carte Blanche in the first place?

I'm really starting to believe that most of you haters never did bother to read the book at all and are just badmouthing it for the sake of criticizing it. I'm halfway through it and I find it to be a great read and way better than Faulk's Devil May Care and Benson's entire tenure.

Honestly, the nitpicking about one little book makes you all look like senior citizens.

Stop being so judgmental, get off your pedastools, and quit being so close-minded.

#92 Santa

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 06:58 AM

Since when did people here become so cynical? Honestly, if some of you were such Fleming purists then why did you all even bother picking up Carte Blanche in the first place?

I'm really starting to believe that most of you haters never did bother to read the book at all and are just badmouthing it for the sake of criticizing it. I'm halfway through it and I find it to be a great read and way better than Faulk's Devil May Care and Benson's entire tenure.

Honestly, the nitpicking about one little book makes you all look like senior citizens.

Stop being so judgmental, get off your pedastools, and quit being so close-minded.


Correct me if I've got this wrong, but what you're saying is that people here should only express their opinion on the book if it agrees with your own?

#93 Jim

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 07:17 AM

I'm not sure anyone's really expressing "hate" per se. Being underwhelmed is probably about as strong as it gets; seems most are overwhelmed to, um, whelmed.

As an artisitc endeavour, expect diverse reaction.

#94 Jim

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 07:30 AM

Stop being so judgmental, get off your pedastools, and quit being so close-minded.


Bit judgmental, non?

#95 Dustin

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:19 AM

I think there is no cynism involved here. As a continuation Carte Blanche has to face the ultimate criticism: It's not Fleming. But then again it didn't claim to be and IMO that alone outclasses the "writing as Ian Fleming"-curiosity in comparison to Carte Blanche several times over. Still, the basic failure not to raise Fleming from the dead is present and cannot be undone. For many fans that's the ultimate criterium to judge and they need not seek further for flaws. It can't be helped and the only thing I can think of is that if I want to read Fleming I just read Fleming, nothing else.

Beyond that there are in my opinion two major fields of critique. One is Carte Blanche as a continuation work of a pop-culture hero. Here of course is the main interest for us fans, the die-hard Fleming buffs and the casual the-odd-Fleming-Benson-Gardner-Higson reader alike. The focus is on how successful the re-imagination or reinvention of the character has worked within Mr Deaver's work. My feeling is that some things worked fine and some didn't at all. This is of course mainly due to personal preferences and opinions and somebody loving for example the Bentley may hate the ODG idea or vice versa.

My own main issue here is that Carte Blanche features a Bond that is decidedly different from the original not so much in behaviour than in his overall character. This Bond, while certainly no sissy, is a much more cerebral creature, almost in Holmesian manner. The way he anticipates his adversaries' moves, the way he always is a step ahead is something new to the character and IMO doesn't tally with the general idea of Bond. If you take a closer look at Fleming's books (as well as most continuations, but let's forget them for a moment for the sake of the argument) there is one single reason for Bond's success in the end, his giant gift of endurance and simple stubborn tenacity. Bond survives the torture in CR because he can take enormous pain and just clings on to dear life. And it's the same in every single book until he takes Scaramanga's Derringer slug into his stomach in TMWTGG. James Bond doesn't survive because of his monumental cleverness or his superior tradecraft. In terms of personal intelligence he's far from being a dumb pillock, but the reader never gets the impression Bond would outclass him or her in terms of IQ. Deaver here breaks ground where I'm not sure it was necessary or advisable to do so in the first place.

The other main level of critique is Carte Blanche's relative merit as an ordinary piece of entertainment. Here I think it's probably fairly average or maybe a little above average; I'm not too familiar with the present state of mystery/crime thrillers in 2011. I've read several more engaging books and abandoned a lot more after a few hundred pages. The reason that Carte Blanche doesn't shine in its chosen field in my opinion is closely related to the new interpretation of Bond I previously touched. This Bond's superior intelligence and clever use of his QiPhone prevents him from really getting into a dangerous situation. The best Bond adventures see him in situations he has to fight like mad to escape from. He get's smashed, burned, beat up, shot and cut and so on and it often enough takes some old-fashioned luck on top of it for Bond to see his next adventure. No such thing to be found in Carte Blanche. His intellectual potential simply makes things too easy for this adventure to really care for this version of Bond. I just can't worry about this hero because I never feel he's in danger. That one would be a major flaw for any work in the genre and I wonder how this could have escaped a seasoned pro in the field such as Deaver doubtlessly is. A scene where Bond, alone or with a girl, has to endure the boiler hose such as in MR and a lot could have been forgiven. As it is there is little to divert from such shortcomings.

That said Carte Blanche can still be worthwhile enough for many readers and sales already suggest it has achieved its main raison d'être, to put Bond back onto the thriller map.

Edited by Dustin, 17 June 2011 - 05:22 PM.


#96 ACE

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:36 AM

I think there is no cynism involved here. As a continuation Carte Blanche has to face the ultimate criticism: It's not Fleming. But then again it didn't claim to be and IMO that alone outclasses the "writing as Ian Fleming"-curiosity in comparison to Carte Blanche several times over. Still, the basic failure not to raise Fleming from the dead is present and cannot be undone. For many fans that's the ultimate criterium to judge and they need not seek further for flaws. It can't be helped and the only thing I can think of is that if I want to read Fleming I just read Fleming, nothing else.

...

That said Carte Blanche can still be worthwhile enough for many readers and sales already suggest it has achieved its main raison d'être, to put Bond back onto the thriller map.

:tup: :tup: :tup:

#97 Jim

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:40 AM

Yes, I agree with all of that: this is a Bond in clever detecting mode, rather than his physicality and desire to cling onto life (despite his ostensible cynicism) outdoing cleverer or more cerebral people, which is a common (if not universal) feature of the Flemings - the thuggery behind the veneer of manners. The deaths of Goldfinger, Dr No and Blofeld are viscerally and violently satisfying rather than Bond actually outwitting them. Killing a giant squid then finding Dr No and dumping a load of poo on him is not particularly thought-through or twisty-turny. The Deaver Bond is a bit more of a tuned precision thinking (and outthinking) instrument - he does appear to be quite clever whereas the Fleming Bond, whilst not thick, isn't the greatest intellect - and appears suspicious of intellect. That's the comic value of the classic villain chapter of rant - all that effort to explain their brilliant schemes to Bond and he'll just end up strangling them anyway. Victor Ludorum. I've always assumed that was the joke, and a deliberate move on Fleming's part and testament to his oft-reported insecurities academically (see both the Pearson and Lycett biographies). This may be why some of the more "Bond equal" villains or less ostensibly intelligent ones - the Spangs, Horror and Sluggsy etc - aren't quite as memorable or satisfying (albeit I acknowledge I'm subjectifying that).

Whilst making Bond more thoughtful is not necessarily a bad thing - and is probably far more realistic insofar as recruitment goes, one hopes - it is a different thing. Different can be good, though, and it's an entertaining read.

#98 Dustin

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 09:20 AM

Whilst making Bond more thoughtful is not necessarily a bad thing - and is probably far more realistic insofar as recruitment goes, one hopes - it is a different thing. Different can be good, though, and it's an entertaining read.


Indeed, I suppose there is no way the blunt instrument of Fleming's originals - who only happened by accident to end up in the Secret Service - could find its way into modern intelligence bureaucracy. Thus Deaver's Bond necessarily had to turn out as a professional intelligence officer (continuing Gardner's tradition there) and I have no problem with that, although I'd prefer Bond to also ponder different, non-firm-related issues. What I missed was the need for physical durability. We are told he's spending at least an hour each day with working out and running and some such. But we seldom see the need why Bond takes all this trouble in this outing.

#99 Jump James

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 10:51 AM

I agree to what you both eloquently wrote. ICarte Blanche did lack the wonderful down time I like to see Bond enjoying. Be it a Casino, Spa or Café in Paris. And I do like for some perverse reason Bond to have been run through the mangle a little. To endure physically and mentally a dammed good thrashing where towards the end his is battered and bruised but overcomes the evil. Perhaps Carte Blanche isn’t that bad. It is hard for me to judge as I really did get myself far too unnecessary about it all.
 
What puzzles me somewhat is we were told he was going to have James Bond appear in a Deaver novel but how come Deaver tried to English it up so much? Couldn’t he keep his trademark Deaver prose?

#100 TheREAL008

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 02:50 PM


Since when did people here become so cynical? Honestly, if some of you were such Fleming purists then why did you all even bother picking up Carte Blanche in the first place?

I'm really starting to believe that most of you haters never did bother to read the book at all and are just badmouthing it for the sake of criticizing it. I'm halfway through it and I find it to be a great read and way better than Faulk's Devil May Care and Benson's entire tenure.

Honestly, the nitpicking about one little book makes you all look like senior citizens.

Stop being so judgmental, get off your pedastools, and quit being so close-minded.


Correct me if I've got this wrong, but what you're saying is that people here should only express their opinion on the book if it agrees with your own?



Not at all. I was trying to convey that people shouldn't feel so disappointed with the book overall. IFP wanted something new, fresh, and different. At least they didn't give up after the disappointment of DMC.

#101 Jack Spang

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 11:01 PM

I too get the impression that certain people have provided reviews without even having read the book. It’s hard to fathom how some people can be so sad and pathetic. LOL. Ah well, that’s life I suppose.

It’s nice to see many positive reviews. The trend I have noticed in such reviews however are that they tend to overlook the absence of Bond’s CORE personality. Just because Bond’s background history and interests remain intact it’s not enough to convince me that we are reading about the same man. Moreover, the fact that he exists in another period is irrelevant in terms of his essential personality except for affecting his chauvinism and racial tendencies. I don’t mind if these attributes are now a thing of the past.

This is all coming from someone who embraces the continuation books. I am not one of those people who refuses to pick up a non Fleming book or writes off such books just because the style is too different to that of the original creator. I really enjoyed Carte Blanch but it’s major demerit is that much of the time I don’t feel like I am reading about Bond. I am open to Deaver returning to write another because he is a talented man but I do feel he needs to get inside the character of Bond more. There’s no denying the fact that he requires greater fleshing out.

Oh, to add something else to my earlier modest, casual collection of sentiments on the book, I loved the scene in and around the motel at the base of the rock face. Most suspenseful. Loved how Bond left his jacket hanging on the cliff face thereby fooling Dunne. The atmosphere in the motel and it’s decor reminded me of TSWLM.

Charlie Higson and Samantha Weinberg should write an adult Bond book. I think they'd do a splendid job.

Edited by Jack Spang, 21 June 2011 - 01:28 AM.


#102 Dustin

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 05:03 PM

I too get the impression that certain people have provided reviews without even having read the book. It’s hard to fathom how some people can be so sad and pathetic. LOL. Ah well, that’s life I suppose.


I found most of the critique here on CommanderBond quite detailed, profound and well formulated, and certainly substantive enough to suggest the entire book has been read cover to cover. At times the effort may not have made the difference, but I'm sure the effort has been made.

Some of the reviews on amazon in contrast make me wonder whether each of the reviewers went to the same lengths.

#103 Santa

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 08:28 PM



Since when did people here become so cynical? Honestly, if some of you were such Fleming purists then why did you all even bother picking up Carte Blanche in the first place?

I'm really starting to believe that most of you haters never did bother to read the book at all and are just badmouthing it for the sake of criticizing it. I'm halfway through it and I find it to be a great read and way better than Faulk's Devil May Care and Benson's entire tenure.

Honestly, the nitpicking about one little book makes you all look like senior citizens.

Stop being so judgmental, get off your pedastools, and quit being so close-minded.


Correct me if I've got this wrong, but what you're saying is that people here should only express their opinion on the book if it agrees with your own?



Not at all. I was trying to convey that people shouldn't feel so disappointed with the book overall.

Why shouldn't they feel disappointed? Some people didn't like it. People don't all like the same thing and there's nothing wrong with that. Your original post was basically saying that you liked it so everyone else should too or just shut up, and it was pretty unpleasant. How boring would the world be if we all agreed on the same things?

#104 Jack Spang

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 10:53 PM


I too get the impression that certain people have provided reviews without even having read the book. It’s hard to fathom how some people can be so sad and pathetic. LOL. Ah well, that’s life I suppose.


I found most of the critique here on CommanderBond quite detailed, profound and well formulated, and certainly substantive enough to suggest the entire book has been read cover to cover. At times the effort may not have made the difference, but I'm sure the effort has been made.

Some of the reviews on amazon in contrast make me wonder whether each of the reviewers went to the same lengths.


I wasn't really referring to CBn but reviews floating around on various websites.

Edited by Jack Spang, 18 June 2011 - 10:54 PM.


#105 Loomis

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 11:00 PM

I was trying to convey that people shouldn't feel so disappointed with the book overall.


Why not? And particularly when they've spent good money on it?

IFP wanted something new, fresh, and different. At least they didn't give up after the disappointment of DMC.


Why would they give up? Bond is a huge moneyspinner for them. They're putting these books out to make money, not to do us fans a favour.

#106 Jack Spang

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 01:09 AM

There was very little down time as someone else said. I loved reading in the earlier books about Bond sitting in some cafe, nursing an Americano or what have you while reflecting on certain topics to an admirable extent – what’s going on behind the closed doors of the town in which he is presently domiciled, the pedestrians, the contact he is meeting, his assignment... Such passages are unquestionably part of Bond’s literary universe. They allow the reader to really soak up the atmosphere and become more than acquainted with the character. Carte Blanche is just too fast paced in parts and lacks these facets. As I said, it’s a good book but we need to know a great deal more of what is going on in Bond's head.

Charlie Higson, John Pearson, Samantha Weinberg and Christopher Wood (who should come out of retirement :) ) should write an adult Bond book. I think they'd do a splendid job. Especially Wood and Pearson! I suspect IFP wish to recruit authors who are very much in the limelight however which is unfortunate to a point.

Edited by Jack Spang, 21 June 2011 - 07:13 AM.


#107 Donovan Mayne-Nicholls

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 02:28 AM

I found the novel to be an entertaining yet on the whole empty excercise. Overlong, Deaver spends too much time on Bond's past and that detracts from the actual plot. Granted, that was a requirement of rebooting but I didn't feel it added too much. I keep thinking that if this had been a real "first", it wouldn't be generating a series after it. People tend to go crazy for the 15 minutes of newness but this is by no means the literary equivalent of 2006's Casino Royale, from which clearly IFP took the notion of rebooting. No wow factor here. I felt the novel could have done with the rebooting altogether. Deaver's prose is good but one recurring complaint about contemporary writers is clearly illustrated by his comparisons: he resorts to movies in order to achieve "immediate description". That was an mayor issue with Benson, too and it sadly generates not very flattering comparisons to Fleming, he was a master of description.
The plot starts intriguing enough but the end is a letdown since Bond's after all working on a decoy mission. Fleming's was a fantasy vision of espionage and Deaver tries at the same time to have the spectacular element of megalomaniac villain's plots while trying to root in "proper" espionage background. It doesn't gel quite well and I felt it read a lot like a Gardner Bond but second time around and hence not such a novelty. Faulks' novel, although flawed, had hints of brilliancy that could have been developed into something really good.
I don't mind Americans writing Bond scripts or comic strips as these are "product" and have no prose but when it comes to writing a novel, it'd take a far better writer to fake englishness satisfactorily. Deaver tries and it shows (it shouldn't). Typically, Americans can't help being self-centred and Deaver makes far too many unnecessary American comparisons. It's as if he were trying to write a proper espionage novel for people who've never read one and need everything explained. A good espionage novel makes you think, doesn't give you the answers, you provide them.
I'd have really prefered IFP to have stuck with continuing after DMC with novels set in the late 60's-early 70's. A much more interesting period and one you don't have to be politically correct about (if in doubt, browse through Weinberg's brilliant trilogy. This doesn't hold a candle to it). Most if not all the people posting here have read Fleming way after original publication. The literary Bond, let's face, IS a period piece.

#108 TheREAL008

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 06:25 PM

Finished reading it yesterday and enjoyed every minute of it. I loved how Bond was initiated into ODG, it was handled very well. The story was fantastic overall. I enjoyed Deaver's views on how a covert agent would handle himself in a post 9/11 world. Granted this seemed like another Deaver novel featuring a character named James Bond, but that's really nothing in comparison at all.

Could we all say differently if Ian Fleming himself were a forty four year old man living in today's world, would he have done any differently?

I'm intrigued about the Double One Section, what do they do exactly? How many members of that department are there? Hopefully more about them might be elaborated in the future?

Character development overall was really good, Hydt's, Dunne's, and Willing's motivations were particularly scary and to be honest I kind of got a little vibe of the plot of QoS during some chapters.

Felix and Rene Mathis weren't underused, nor to me were they deemed incompetent. However my sole dislike about the novel were Osbourne-Smith's arrogance, along with Jordaan's utmost strictness to obey the laws of her country...seriously, she's NOT Judge Dread. I found myself caring very little for Bheka overall and actually wishing that Bond and Felicity could have worked something out instead.

Overall, I find Carte Blanche to be a great cornerstone for the rebooted lit Bond universe. It may not be what some people wanted, but hopefully the next writer can expand on CB and possibly give us all something we can enjoy.

#109 OmarB

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 08:39 PM

My quick thoughts on the book as of now. I've read it over a busy workweek and I really think I need to read it a second time before I pass any real judgement.

I do like it a lot. No, Felix and Mathis were not underused or just thrown in. In fact I think it was quite ingenious how Deaver got them in there. It's also slated to be the first of a series. In this way I saw CB as the pilot episode. You got to know the character, supporting characters, oft used locations, etc. So when another writer jumps in there is always a series bible as it were. Sure it felt like an info-dump to some of you, but I liked it.

Can you imagine the time-line conflicts or the conflicts with characterization that could occur down the line? The next author could have come in and w3rite Felix like the actor in CR rather than closer to what Ian originally wrote, now that cannot happen because he is established. Just like how now we are certain that M is the same Sir Miles from before (chapter 41) not Barbra Mawdsley or some other person. Ian had years to introduce elements slowly and we all accepted them as they came, Deaver is in effect the director of a TV show pilot. Think of all the great TV shows that bring in a big time director to do the pilot so they have a general visual style, storytelling sweep, cinematography nailed down so all the cast and crew that come after know the framework. Like David Nutter(too many to mention) or Jon Cassara (Queen Of Swords, 24) or Barry Sonnenfeld (the Tick, Pushing Daisies)or McG (Chuck) or Kevin Smith (Reaper).

I'm also reminded of Robert Ludlum's Covert One series which started after his death. He did detailed character outlines as well as detailed outlines for 5 books I think it was. The first book was written after he died, but it stayed with the format of establishing all the characters, the organization for which the main character works, how they do what they do and so on. Now it's beyond the outlines, but the characters and things established give new writers something to work with.

So as far as the first in a series it works for me. Just like the first of any series on TV or sci-fi novels or fantasy novels, a lot has to be established in the first one. Alongside telling an effective story, which I think Deaver most certainly did.

I'll write more later or tomorrow concerning the story and writing style itself. Or I might wait till I've read it through again since I've already started.

#110 Jack Spang

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 10:43 PM

"...but hopefully the next writer can expand on CB and possibly give us all something we can enjoy."

Yeah, hopefully. The extent to which ODG's origins were elaborated on were very limited. I liked the book too but with any luck Bond will be less one dimensional in the next novel. In order to partly achieve this we must be invited into his thought process a great deal more. In CB, Bond was too different to his former self. Deaver's Bond was missing many of his original attributes. Something else that was absent was his occasional flippancy. He just lacks overall personality.

Edited by Jack Spang, 22 June 2011 - 12:11 AM.


#111 Dustin

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 04:13 AM

Regarding the ODG I am particularly disappointed. I like the initial idea very much - the initial idea being an obscure governmental organisation as cover for intelligence operations of a doubtful nature, in case anybody wonders. Sadly, Deaver undermines his own good idea. Supposedly a so-called black operation the whole affair is notorious enough to have a murky reputation with a South African police officer. Probably somebody found the ODG's founding agenda, memberlist and activity reports lying around on the tube and sold the loot to the Sun.

Everybody seems in the picture on the purpose of the ODG. Everybody but the reader, that is. For despite the SOE allusions and the various detail that is mentioned over the novel's pages it's entirely over my head what the ODG does actually. There seems to be an awful lot of personnel involved, various Alphabet departments, double O and double 1 agents and whatnot. But their purpose is completely in the dark. Black operations seem an item, yet Bond is also concerned with analysis. Analysis that is done also at MI6, probably with surprisingly different results, one fears.

I suspected the ODG provided intelligence mainly by using non-official cover in the way Fleming described his Stations and their agents. But apparently the MI6 also uses that kind of cover. I really can't comprehend what the ODG's reason d'être is in the Deaver-scheme of things.

That said I still find Deaver crowded the stage for his rebooted Bond. Not just are most of the characters for this tv-pilot Bond superfluous, I also don't get why all the departments and various agent types are mentioned. This indeed is a typical tv feature, the picture is filled with extras simulating activity but the actual motions don't make sense if you look closer. Ever wonder why House's team waits for him at the lift? Ever wonder why Goodnight sits in an open-plan office?

I would have preferred less exposition of the ODG and the original Fleming characters and leave something for the next writers to develop. Of course, tv series have their writers bible. But the best of them don't adapt the bible as the pilot.


EDIT: And I would really like to know how much editing - if any - this one has seen before it went to the printers.

Edited by Dustin, 22 June 2011 - 07:02 AM.


#112 David Schofield

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:32 AM

EDIT: And I would really like to know how much editing - if any - this one has seen before it went to the printers.


I suspect the end product was to the satisfaction of both Deaver and IFP.

Deaver got his endless, meandering plot which never seemed to know when to end. As I've said before, Deaver couldn't identifity his big set piece conclusion and went on, and on. Which appears to be his way.

As for chucking in all the old characters and Fleming-background refs, I suspect that was at IFP's instigation but something Deaver went along with; note in DMC it is full of references to old adventures - it would appear that IFP concludes the way to appease long-term Fleming fans is to try to tie together all the books in this way.

IMO, it is not.

#113 Dustin

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:17 AM


EDIT: And I would really like to know how much editing - if any - this one has seen before it went to the printers.


I suspect the end product was to the satisfaction of both Deaver and IFP.

Deaver got his endless, meandering plot which never seemed to know when to end. As I've said before, Deaver couldn't identifity his big set piece conclusion and went on, and on. Which appears to be his way.




I do wonder there and I'm not sure it's really an indication of satisfaction (on Deaver's or IFP's side) that the book was released the way it was. I read it once with a scrap of paper/my mobile at my side and made a few sparse notes on the things even I - a complete layman - could not help to notice. I suspect a professional editor would have picked up most of these points and a few more and would have suggested some alterations to make the whole book better. In some cases it really takes only minor cuts or a redraft of a chapter and would not call to start entirely from scratch. The meandering plot is indeed a hallmark of certain mysteries and as such unusual for Bond, but not beyond salvage if cut to size.

What I rather do suspect is a curious phenomenon that's common with many bestseller writers nowadays and Deaver is one of the bigger names, make no mistake. It seems to me that the more copies a writer sells the less constructive critique and the less actual editing he/she gets from the publishers. Stephen King published one of his first books minus a chapter involving a character attacked and eaten by rats. He loved the scene and fought to keep it, but his editor argued the book was better without it. Later King agreed with him, he had to admit that the scene didn't make the book better and that cutting it was the right decision. Several years after he became a famous writer the book was reprinted, including the previously cut material, and of course the rat scene, despite it not being an improvement on the first edition.

I feel with Carte Blanche something similar may have happened. Deaver is not at home in the superspy/espionage subgenre, but for a first effort (and a reboot on top) his book is not too bad. The thing is, it could easily have been several grades better without the fanboy ballast, with decent editing and a little more courage and boldness at times. It would still not have been to everybody's liking, perhaps may have upset and polarised fans. But it could have made much more use of its potential.

#114 Jim

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:23 AM

Stephen King published one of his first books minus a chapter involving a character attacked and eaten by rats.


Few books wouldn't be improved by such a chapter.

#115 David Schofield

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:24 AM

I feel with Carte Blanche something similar may have happened. Deaver is not at home in the superspy/espionage subgenre, but for a first effort (and a reboot on top) his book is not too bad. The thing is, it could easily have been several grades better without the fanboy ballast, with decent editing and a little more courage and boldness at times. It would still not have been to everybody's liking, perhaps may have upset and polarised fans. But it could have made much more use of its potential.


I certainly agree that Deaver's status allowed him carte blanche ( ;) ) in what and how he wrote, together with the provided checklist from IFP.

And I certainly agree with your final sentiments 100%.

#116 Dustin

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:27 AM

Stephen King published one of his first books minus a chapter involving a character attacked and eaten by rats.


Few books wouldn't be improved by such a chapter.


I try to use a similar scene for a popular children's programme, but for some reason they keep refusing it. Probably too high brow for today's broadcasters...

#117 Dustin

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:42 AM


I feel with Carte Blanche something similar may have happened. Deaver is not at home in the superspy/espionage subgenre, but for a first effort (and a reboot on top) his book is not too bad. The thing is, it could easily have been several grades better without the fanboy ballast, with decent editing and a little more courage and boldness at times. It would still not have been to everybody's liking, perhaps may have upset and polarised fans. But it could have made much more use of its potential.


I certainly agree that Deaver's status allowed him carte blanche ( ;) ) in what and how he wrote, together with the provided checklist from IFP.

And I certainly agree with your final sentiments 100%.



I think [SPECULATION!] that, while not having entirely free hands, he may have had actually only very little that he absolutely had to include. The forced description of Bond's looks seems an obvious candidate. And of course Bentley has become a promotion partner so important that even the Breitling (the Bentley's dashboard clock and cross-promotion partner) found its way into the manuscript.

Beyond that most other things, names, brands he may just have gotten a list of suggestions, probably conceived right here where the people reading Bond books gather. Where else to look for what people want from a Bond book? Here's the place, nowhere else, and right here the reactions towards May suddenly no longer being May probably lead to the retraction on that front.

Having that list Deaver probably just did the sensible thing and checked each item, character, title reference and fan favourite, trusting that whatever was felt was too much would be cut by the editor. Little did he know that not much in the way of editing would be coming Carte Blanche's way. [/SPECULATION!]

Edited by Dustin, 22 June 2011 - 06:05 PM.


#118 Jump James

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:30 AM

That’s an interesting theory as to why Breitling made such a prominent appearance in CB Dustin. It kind of hit me in the face the watch reference, two in one book. As did the other product placement items gently placed in with a crow bar. I know Fleming enjoyed product placement and was an innovator in that respect but I am sure Dubai was just put in so someone could get some fluffy pillows at a hotel there. Fleming only got a bottle of Floris Lime essence.

#119 Dustin

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:03 PM

That’s an interesting theory as to why Breitling made such a prominent appearance in CB Dustin. It kind of hit me in the face the watch reference, two in one book. As did the other product placement items gently placed in with a crow bar. I know Fleming enjoyed product placement and was an innovator in that respect but I am sure Dubai was just put in so someone could get some fluffy pillows at a hotel there. Fleming only got a bottle of Floris Lime essence.


Well, it's certainly not in the same league as in the films but the product placement in Carte Blanche is somewhat conspicuous still. Bentley already did well with the connection to the Faulks effort, special limited edition to boot, so that probably was a given from day one. There are numerous threads here debating various brands and models of cars but I doubt anything but the Continental ever could have been Bond's ride.

Interesting is that a number of other VW brands - Bentley's owner - also feature prominently in the book. I took that to be coincidence until suddenly a Mini appeared with a plastic vase on the dashboard, a feature of the VW New Beetle if I'm not mistaken. And I wonder now if that wasn't turned into a Mini at the last moment to prevent the VW predominance?

At any rate it's also interesting to note the many, many things in Carte Blanche that also saw discussion around these forums long before the first chapter appeared in The Times:

-vintage classic car, ideally Jaguar E-type
-return to original M
-return of Regent's Park headquarters
-Walther PPS
-mobile phone as main gadget
-Bond of independent means and rather on the posh side
-return of favourite allies Mathis and Leiter
-motorcycle BSA
-gourmet epicurean Bond
-jogging Bond
-martial arts Bond
-Dubai
-South Africa

In fact I think there is actually very little to be found in Carte Blanche that hasn't been suggested in the Deaver section of CommanderBond.net. This is doubtlessly very nice and flattering for all those involved in these various suggestions. But it comes all in one single avalanche where I for one often would have liked a little less or a little different or a little kept for future books.


EDIT:
Erm, just so everybody knows, is there a reason that I can view the results of the poll with each member's votes? Is this a new feature? Or did I stumble upon this by accident while it's been there for, like, months? Years? Ever?

Edited by Dustin, 22 June 2011 - 06:06 PM.


#120 Jim

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:08 PM

EDIT:
Erm, just so everybody knows, is there a reason that I can view the results of the poll with each member's votes? Is this a new feature? Or did I stumble upon this by accident while it's been there for, like, months? Years? Ever?


When a poll's set up, there's a box to tick (or untick, I forget) about whether the results can be viewed; probably not consciously I ticked (or unticked) it. No particular need for a secret ballot, on reflection.




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