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Solo = QOS for the literary Bond


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#1 CasinoKiller

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:10 PM

Having just finished reading 'SOLO', I could not but help feel that in many ways, it seemed like the literary 60's version of the 'Quantum of Solace' film.

 

We have a conspiracy to capture the resources of a Third World country (in Africa this time, not South America), with the connivance of certain Western powers. Bond goes rogue. And one of the 'Bond girls' is brutally murdered by the villain and left in a hotel room...which actually triggers Bond's brutal campaign of revenge...

 

Of course, Bond's attitude in the end does highlight how Fleming's incarnation of the character is different from the contemporary Craig version. While Craig's Bond is very much a product of the 21st century, and the era of increasing suspicions towards the policies and motives of even one's own government...Fleming's Bond is still very much a loyal servant of Queen and Country. He knows very well the moral ambiguity of his master's actions, but beyond a point he wouldn't think of questioning it and gets back to the job.



#2 TheREAL008

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:08 PM

You're not being fair to QoS. QoS had to endure the ravages of the writer's strike of 2008. What little plot there is within QoS, is far superior to Solo.

 

Solo is the worst literary Bond novel ever written. It makes TSWLM and DMC look like Charles Dickens by comparison. It certainly wasn't the thinking mans Bond novel. (Apologies Zen, I respect you greatly) There was hardly any thought put into Solo. A chimpanzee could have written a better story.

 

I would rather eat at McDonalds than suffer through another William Boyd novel. I think people are too caught up in the euphoria of a new Bond novel, but come back a year and let's see if opinions differ or not.

 

I'm thrilled he wont be writing another one.



#3 Dustin

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:30 PM


Solo is the worst literary Bond novel ever written. It makes TSWLM and DMC look like Charles Dickens by comparison. It certainly wasn't the thinking mans Bond novel.

 

No, I don't really think so. What SOLO is not is: a genre novel. It uses a genre theme (spy), a genre series (Bond), genre elements and of course it meets with the genre expectations of a thriller - cars and girls and action - and maybe it also adds a bit of realism - Africa with its starving bodies, butchered people and the mindless violence of its wars, the passport affair (Would Bond on his own really get by without Q-branch? No, he'd be as helpless as many of us without travel agent...) - but in the end the book is really only about Bond, how he celebrates, dines, lives in London and abroad, works and kills. And how he avoids serious relationships. If only he had done so a few years earlier...

 

SOLO is a character study, it just doesn't do too well on the genre part. You might also compare - a stretch, I grant you - THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN and ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. The latter, despite using elements of the further, is a completely different affair. The question is, would SOLO have been better if Boyd hadn't bothered with the assignment?    

 

 

 

I would rather eat at McDonalds than suffer through another William Boyd novel. I think people are too caught up in the euphoria of a new Bond novel, but come back a year and let's see if opinions differ or not.

 

I'm thrilled he wont be writing another one.

 

And that may be the point where we disagree, I very much would like to see Boyd coming back for a second part.

 

By the way, why are you so sure he won't be back? Indeed I think it's unlikely, but I would never say never...


Edited by Dustin, 31 October 2013 - 09:52 PM.


#4 saint mark

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:36 PM

I did just finish "waiting for sunrise" by William Boyd and that was just a great book. I feel that Boyd is a very capable writer but not very much suited for a 007 novel.



#5 OmarB

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:00 PM

QOS was a good Bond movie with a vital and viable character with lots of good action.  Solo is a book with a washed up old drunk.

 

These two are not the same thing.  The more I think of Solo the more I come to the realization that it's the worse thing to ever bear the Bond name.



#6 sharpshooter

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 12:20 AM

What little plot there is within QoS, is far superior to Solo.

I am in agreement. For my money, QoS is the better Bond experience. I have found the last three Bond novels so-so. The next author needs to find a really killer, exciting plot next time. I think that's what has been lacking. I just think there's so much more they could do with this brand and character. I found the pre-cursor material prior to Solo's mission starting the best bits. 



#7 indy_chic

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 04:38 AM

I'm just over half way through it...it's not great but it is ok. Just taking my time reading it as nothing in it yet has me glued to the pages.



#8 A View To A Teabag

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:09 PM

I'm a fan of both QoS & SOLO. Both have their problems and both deal with very different Bond's, but I enjoyed reading Boyd's effort and unlike a few, I would say it will be seen as an important novel in the franchise in years to come. With QoS, I think it's a lot closer to Dalton's LTK than it is SOLO.



#9 OmarB

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 03:55 PM

Boyd was pretty terrible, QOS is a gem compared.  Boyd most likely killed literary Bond for the next few years.



#10 glidrose

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 08:05 PM

Boyd was pretty terrible, QOS is a gem compared.  Boyd most likely killed literary Bond for the next few years.


O hyperbole, hyperbole! Wherefore art thou hyperbole?

Boyd killed literary Bond for the next few years? Some people said the same about Faulks' effort.

#11 OmarB

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 02:42 PM

He was pretty dreadful too.  Deaver has been the best in the past few years.  We need to get back to PX.



#12 billy007

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 03:52 AM

Do we want a contemporary 007 or a "period" 007.
Deaver played some homages to Fleming and it worked IMO.
Faulks played up that 007 was burning out.
Boyd played to history.
What are their individual selling numbers compared to Gardner and Benson?
Are current novels merely time-killers awaiting a new movie?

#13 glidrose

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 08:55 PM

Sales on any one of those three are much better than mid and late-period Gardner and all of Benson.

#14 Flash1087

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 05:55 PM

I think the QoS comparisons are apt. Now, before I continue, I'd like to clarify that I liked Solo the best of the three - I liked DMC at the time but I was like 19 when it came out and now I don't remember much about it at all, and Carte Blanche was well done but struck me as a weird and unneccessary choice.

 

Solo, to me, was pretty awesome. The earlier stretches about Bond's current life reminded me a lot of Licence Renewed (a book I am exceedingly fond of) and Boyd is a great writer - good with detail, describes action very vividly and effectively, and the plot kept me interested. But...yet, in the back of my mind, I couldn't shake the feeling of "ugh how many times is Bond going to break off from MI6 and go do whatever he wants?". License to Kill has its defensable points, and I've really liked Quantum since its release. But there just seems something so...well-trod about the concept. And that's my only problem with the plot of Solo - if James had just remained active with MI6 it really could have proceeded pretty similarly to how it already did, without feeling like we've already had this movie twice (and arugably this book once) already.






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