Jump to content


Photo

Just Another Kill


  • Please log in to reply
230 replies to this topic

#211 volante

volante

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 1806 posts
  • Location:GCHQ

Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:53 PM

Well Done Jim,

apparently "Just Another Kill" Chapter 11 "Killing in the name" has just reached No1 in the UK charts

#212 Jim

Jim

    Commander RNVR

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 13764 posts
  • Location:Oxfordshire

Posted 21 December 2009 - 04:08 PM

Well Done Jim,

apparently "Just Another Kill" Chapter 11 "Killing in the name" has just reached No1 in the UK charts


Arf!

That was where I ripped off borrowed the title from. Nice to have it get a bit of airplay.

#213 George88

George88

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 90 posts

Posted 29 December 2009 - 06:29 PM

Just Another FanFic?

A Review of Just Another Kill by George Burton

Since no-one else seems to have done this! Quite a lot to say, but there is a lot to review. THIS DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS.

I am reviewing this under a new account rather than the one I have used more often for the forums because otherwise some might think “oh, xxx is always creeping to Jim” or “xxx was moderated by Jim and he’s having a go”. Jim, I will send you a pm with my actual forum identity - even though my name above is my real name!

The basic answer to the question above is “no”.

Just Another Kill - JAK - is not another fan fiction at all. In fact, it’s rubbish as fan fiction because a ) it is coherent b ) it’s well - in certain places beautifully - written and c ) it is complete. To call it fan fiction elevates the rest of fan fiction alongside it, which is unfair to JAK and exaggerates the quality of the other stuff. Bluntly, this should be read by every Bond fan who likes the Bond novels, and basically should be read by anyone who can read.

It is long, and it is complicated, but it works so well as a novel that it doesn’t have to be a James Bond story to succeed. It is possible to look at this without it being a Bond story, which is the trap practically every other exercise in fan fiction falls into and gets stuck. There are several extremely clever touches here which demonstrate a writer who is a ) knowledgeable enough about the object of the book - James Bond and James Bond things - not to have to show it off every five lines and b ) knowledgeable enough about the subject of the book for it to convince, utterly. Evidently it is the work of someone who is extremely well-read - absurdly well-read - and well-read outside the “thriller” genre.

Where this is most shown is in the choices take in the structure of the book.

Others have already commented in this thread about the slightly disconcerting - but obviously deliberate - removal of the reader from the narrative at certain points. The digression into the history of the location of the story. Half a chapter told from the first person voice of the “villain” (putting that in quotes might be a spoiler, sorry). Starting the second half of the book with a distinctly different plot line (more of which later). The thirteenth chapter (very unlucky for one poor soul) which
Spoiler
. A weird moment in “Archives of Pain” - which must be deliberate - when we are reading a paragraph about Bond doing something - I think it was leaping from an aeroplane - and as he falls to Earth we suddenly get moved into the other plot line and then later we move back using the same trick. There are probably loads more.

Some might find this distracting and irritating. I am sure Mr Stewart would admit to showing off here. But this is confidence and technique worth showing off. Wow. I think what he is up to is deliberately distancing the reader, telling the reader not to get too immersed - and because of the plot and the quality of prose, it is easy to get immersed - as if he’s saying “it’s only a book; look, I’ll now do something structurally clashing that proves this to you.” I like this; I thought it was funny. I suspect others may fume. Regardless of whether you like it, it does demonstrate that he is totally in control of what is going on. As suggested above, that is a novelty for fan fiction, most of which tends to happen and wait around for James Bond to do something.

Is the Stewart Bond actually James Bond? He does appear crueller than the original and what happens to him and what he does is some distance away from where I suspect Fleming may have gone but there’s enough about the character without having to rely on the old routines to remind us it’s him. For example, references to the comma of dark hair are totally gone, given that Mr Stewart has Bond’s hair shaved off early on. Another wink to the audience, no doubt.

What we get is Bond stripped of his surroundings - there is little fine living, save for the “classically Bond” opening chapter and some references dotted here and there, the sad Featherstonehaugh interval one of them - and he is basically on his own for much of the book. This is obviously deliberate and what the writer is showing us - in my view successfully - is that shorn of all of this stuff, James Bond is not nice and there’s not much there, and to survive he has to rely on the patronage of others who would use him to their own political ends. It’s an explicit statement of what has been implicit (and is more subtle in execution than in how I’ve just set it out).

Left at that, this would be meaty, but there’s much more. Hidden under a James Bond story with a plot about wars and violence and rockets and things, the actual idea of the story is a tale about abusive relationships, and (oddly) the parent - particularly the father. Obviously there is the relationship between Sycorax and his son - the subject of some very disturbing ideas in the last chapter - but also the parallel “control” relationships of M and Bond - upon which Bond is utterly dependent and is the abused party - and that of Torpenhow and Camille. These final two appear (or not…) in chapter 10, in which two utterly Fleming histories are presented to us. The point of these two - and you have to read that chapter because it’s insanely good and overflowing with mad, funny ideas - is to mirror the Bond/M thing - a scarred and programmed weapon used by a faceless
Spoiler
man. We also get the statutory “Bond as child / Villain as parental figure” scene in chapter 11 and again Mr Stewart is using a staple of the Bond series to great - and subversive - effect.

That’s a really unsettling chapter, actually. I wonder if much of what Sycorax says represents Mr Stewart’s own view?
Spoiler
. Also, there’s a really very strange but satisfying explanation for
Spoiler
. Some of the finest writing appears here.

The other significant relationships are in the “second plot“, the tale of Yuri the dying man, and what he does at Baikonur. The usual way of these things is that Bond and this “villain” would meet - it doesn’t take too long to work out that they never will, given the timeline of the story and the distance between them. It took me a while to work out why we were being told all this but by the conclusion of the tale it is clear - it is another series of abusive relationships and a very, very bleak look at how we are powerless in our own plans to stop the effect of others upon us.

There’s a definite nihilistic streak in the whole book, none more so than in this plot. Some of the musings on parenthood read as genuinely felt. I suspect it’s at this point, the introduction of the Yuri and Baikonur plot, that some may give up on the book. This is a shame; the second “half” of the book contains the best stuff - part one was only set-up, however wild and violent it all was. Obviously there’s another parallel in how Yuri’s own ambitions and skills for good or evil are used and abused by others in how Bond is used - the “arty” switching between the two (which creates a lot of lovely mini-cliffhangers) is clearly meant to demonstrate this.

So, everything is thought through and everything has a point - still then, there’s more. The quality of prose in this sets it apart from all other fan fiction - or all other non-Stewart fan fiction - and as Mr Stewart has hinted, this may not be his first work. What is very distinctive is the style and the gleeful invention of new words and mucking about with structure and prose style and a massive vocabulary that pretty much hits the spot every time. It’s showing off, but worth showing off. Something that doesn’t initially convince is a debate between Bond and Sycorax about Suetonius, but Stewart does put this in the context of the “parent/child/villain/Bond” discussion and having Bond regress, under the influence of a drug that sounds very horrible, to his childhood, so it probably does work after a bit of thought - odd at first reading though.

The big standout success of all of it though is the character work. It’s a long book and a lot of it is spent in character moments - there is action (when it comes it is vicious and vivid). But characters like Sycorax, Fajeur, Yuri, Torpenhow, Camille, Bewick and what there is of Bond and even minor characters like Mrs Rickattson really stick in the mind. Fajeur perhaps is the most unremittingly one-note in that he is a villain and remains a villain but he does have some really arresting moments - including his very satisfying but very, very dark, death. His sexual fascination with Bond and the way he wakes him up - great stuff. The one character who seems a little underdone is Tempest - just like Bond does, we abandon her after the first part of the book - I guess that’s the idea
Spoiler
. On reflection, there’s no real “Bond girl” here, but I think that’s probably just Mr Stewart messing about with the limitations of the structure. The
Spoiler
reads to me as a statement about how fleeting and instant and sudden and unfair death can be
Spoiler


I’ll finish in a bit, but even writing all this - which has taken me days so it’s not surprising JAK took Mr Stewart years - has got me back in the mood to jump in again, which must be the mark of a good book. The other thing to note was the Stewart M, who in the last chapter is far darker and more politically motivated a character than the standard M, but given the context of what has happened it rings true, and what doesn’t then ring true is how disassociated from things M has previously seemed to be. There are some really odd and disturbing ideas in the final chapter - not surprising when you know what the “twist” is (nasty twist) - and some may find Bond’s declamatory speech about his own nature at the end to be unsubtle, unBondlike and a bit obvious but I’ve seen Bond think those things before (in Goldfinger, I think) and it’s evident that M., the abusive parent, has taught Bond how to think and how to keep their own little secret. It’s a very, very dark ending, not only in what happens and what is reported in the final chapter, but in what it all comes to.

It’s not perfect - I’m sure Mr Stewart, several years on now - would probably review the thinly veiled Brosnan-abuse in the character of Cremmer and - although leading to a characteristically bleak and brutal sets of incidents - I suspect he invented the character of “John” to write himself out of a corner and get the story going again. But this is minor quibbling - Just Another Kill is so much of a triumph that these can be ignored.

We got it for free. Mr Stewart could have renamed the character as something else and I think made quite serious money out of this if published without the usual copyright constraints (which seem to have seen fit to the presentation of this in PDF form - they should be proud someone as able as this and as interested in the literary Bond takes such effort to homage James Bond in this way). I suspect someone may do that and pinch Mr Stewart’s hard work for their own benefit somehow - but you read it all here first. Given what it says about James Bond, Just Another Kill had to be a James Bond story and it’s a great, great shame that it will never be recognised as such. Without any doubt the best bond novel since the sixties and better than several in the sixties (and as a piece of literature, is light-years in talent ahead of so much published stuff it's untrue), this is an absolute treat for discerning Bond fans and if anyone’s put off by it’s apparent length, it’s due to the quality - take it slow and let it sink in - it is massive, in every sense of the word. And, despite some very serious stuff in there, it is also at times very - and surprisingly - amusing - blackly comic rather than ha-ha, but there are some very good jokes and “fun” moments in there.

Jim - bravo. A masterpiece.

Thank you.

The biggest disappointment is that no-one else seems to be commenting!

#214 Harry Fawkes

Harry Fawkes

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2228 posts
  • Location:Malta G.C

Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:28 AM

JIM, I can only say that this is the best Bond thriller since John Gardner's days. Now I know a lot of people don't like Gardner but what I am getting at is that not since Fleming and Gardner (I'm a great fan of his by the way) have I enjoyed a Bond story as much as I did JAK. I wish I could come up with as good a review as, for example George88 above, but I'm not that good at doing that sort of thing. However, I'll have you know that I either like something or not. I either become fully involved in a story or not, and I think it is the same for everyone out there. In your case, I simply can't wait to see what you've got up your sleeve for your next Bond adventure which simply means I am now addicted.

Well bloody done!

Roger Mulvaney

#215 Jim

Jim

    Commander RNVR

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 13764 posts
  • Location:Oxfordshire

Posted 09 January 2010 - 10:41 AM

Both, many thanks for your comments, most kind. George - I think you may be reading a little too much into it (and thank you for your PM) but I'm happy it prompted such thought.

And Harry, since you asked (and we do like playing this trailer game...)

In 2010, from the man what brung you / inflicted upon you The Heart Bleeds Ice, Skeletons of Yesterday and Just Another Kill...

...Bets and Jets; Cigarettes

#216 George88

George88

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 90 posts

Posted 23 January 2010 - 11:27 AM

Sounds interesting.

Still pretty amazed that JAK isn't getting more feedback.

#217 Trident

Trident

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2658 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 23 January 2010 - 11:50 AM

Sounds interesting.

Still pretty amazed that JAK isn't getting more feedback.



'Just Another Kill' is very high on my 'to read' list. I started reading it some time ago but decided to stop after chapter six and give it the proper reading it deserves once it's finished. As so often is the case, other circumstances prevented me from doing so up to now. But rest assured, it's neither forgotten nor will I keep my thoughts for myself once I'm done with JAK. B)

#218 George88

George88

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 90 posts

Posted 30 May 2010 - 08:10 AM

Still pretty stunned both by this Bond novel, and the lack of response to it. Am reading it again and finding all sorts of stuff in there. This isn't the sort of fan fiction that requires multiple trailers to get attention. Or perhaps it does, to get attention.

#219 Jim

Jim

    Commander RNVR

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 13764 posts
  • Location:Oxfordshire

Posted 25 July 2010 - 12:38 PM

Just mucking about with a couple of "covers". Not sure how to upload photos.

[removed]

#220 stromberg

stromberg

    Commander RNVR

  • The Admiralty
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5777 posts
  • Location:Saarland / Germany

Posted 25 July 2010 - 12:42 PM

Just mucking about with a couple of "covers". Not sure how to upload photos.

[removed]


Doesn't work when you link them from your mailbox. Has to be somewhere on the net where it's accessible for everyone. Better try it as file attachments to the post.
It won't be displayed (or as a mere thumbnail only), but it'll be downloadable.

#221 Jim

Jim

    Commander RNVR

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 13764 posts
  • Location:Oxfordshire

Posted 25 July 2010 - 01:11 PM

Attached File  jakHB.jpg   152.75KB   59 downloadsAttached File  HJKH.jpg   433.31KB   56 downloads

#222 Harmsway

Harmsway

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 12537 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia, PA

Posted 30 July 2010 - 10:15 PM

The first one, the one with the bright red lettering, is the better of the two.

#223 George88

George88

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 90 posts

Posted 09 January 2011 - 09:29 AM

Read this again over Christmas. It's still amazing; great characters, tangible atmosphere, brutal and tragic ending. Some fantastic set pieces too. If Project X comes close, it'll be great.

#224 Automan

Automan

    Sub-Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • Pip
  • 210 posts
  • Location:Swindon

Posted 09 January 2011 - 09:52 AM

Read this again over Christmas. It's still amazing; great characters, tangible atmosphere, brutal and tragic ending. Some fantastic set pieces too. If Project X comes close, it'll be great.


Excellent story alright no argument there.

But as you commented on JAK last January; and told us you'd read it again in May and now again over Christmas; can I ask have you read any other Fan Fics?

#225 George88

George88

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 90 posts

Posted 16 January 2011 - 09:30 AM


Read this again over Christmas. It's still amazing; great characters, tangible atmosphere, brutal and tragic ending. Some fantastic set pieces too. If Project X comes close, it'll be great.


Excellent story alright no argument there.

But as you commented on JAK last January; and told us you'd read it again in May and now again over Christmas; can I ask have you read any other Fan Fics?


Yes, I have read a lot of them. I think I wrote elsewhere that I would provide feedback of any substance only if I could make it positive. Unfortunately there's too much to be negative about. Most of it is anaemic; some physically unreadable - there's one person who writes each sentence as an individual paragraph, which hurts to look at and distracts me from whatever it is he or she is writing. Don't know if that's a good thing or not. Lots of it seems to be Bond as some sort of commando figure, which doesn't really appeal to me.

Sorry about that.

Many of the Christmas ones were entertaining.

#226 Harry Fawkes

Harry Fawkes

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2228 posts
  • Location:Malta G.C

Posted 03 February 2011 - 08:54 PM

I like the covers Jim!

#227 marktmurphy

marktmurphy

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 8808 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:42 AM

Somehow I completely managed to missed the fact that you'd finished it. I'll be right on this.

#228 Loomis

Loomis

    Commander CMG

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 21862 posts

Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:33 PM

Somehow I completely managed to missed the fact that you'd finished it.


Me too. I've read - and been most impressed by - bits and pieces of JUST ANOTHER KILL, years ago, but now that it's complete I'll read the whole thing.

It's also nice to be able to read it in the form of posts. I never got on with those PDF things, which was one reason I tuned out of JAK while it was still a work in progress.

#229 marktmurphy

marktmurphy

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 8808 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 04 February 2011 - 01:00 PM

Yes; there was too much scrolling in those pdfs.

#230 Loomis

Loomis

    Commander CMG

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 21862 posts

Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:47 PM

It was a pain to get them to open and close. Perhaps I didn't have the right software.

#231 George88

George88

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 90 posts

Posted 15 February 2011 - 06:49 PM


Somehow I completely managed to missed the fact that you'd finished it.


Me too. I've read - and been most impressed by - bits and pieces of JUST ANOTHER KILL, years ago, but now that it's complete I'll read the whole thing.


Will be interesting to read what you both think.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users