Jump to content


The forums are moving

Please head over to our new forums at https://quarterdeck.commanderbond.net/ as these forums will soon be converted to a read only archive.



Photo

ChickenStu on Gardner's Sequels and Novelizations


  • Please log in to reply
61 replies to this topic

#31 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:21 PM

Licence To Kill

 

The first of Gardner's two novelizations. Finished it not long ago. Strong familiarity with the source material assured a nice easy read. He did a pretty good job of capturing the feel and tone of the film and I appreciate his efforts by altering certain elements of the story to place the story into the continuity of the books rather than the films. 

However, doing this led him open to criticism I feel. By referencing the Fleming book Live And Let Die he had us believe this was a SECOND shark attack on Felix Leiter. That asks us to suspend disbelief as a reader - and is admirable. However, he made no attempt to address why Milton Krest was in the story (the character having appeared and gruesomely dispatched in Fleming's excellent short story The Hildebrant Rarity). 

I think it would have been more prudent for Gardner to rather than try and tie it into book continuity he should have began the book with an explanation saying that this tale is within the film series continuity and asking the reader to just go with it. Cause all the good work he did explaining the Leiter situation was ruined by the inclusion of Milton Krest. There's just no way to have the best of both worlds in a situation like this. Maybe he could've created a new character in place of Milton Krest? Or made this guy Milton Krest Jr? Even throw in a line from Our Man saying "I knew his old man and he met a very fishy end?"

Oh well. I suppose it's very easy for an armchair critic to poke holes in these things. 

 

I'm usually pretty sniffy about adaptations and generally don't regard them with much literary merit. However with my journey with the Bond books I have an "in for a penny, in for a pound" attitude and have broken my usual rule to avoid them like the plague. You'll see in my Christopher Wood thread I DID enjoy HIS novelizations and I guess I enjoyed this one. I must admit - I am now left curious to see how he handles Goldeneye. But all in good time! 

 

Where is everyone by the way? I was expecting at least one response to my Win, Lose Or Die critique. Shape up people!  ;)



#32 Major Tallon

Major Tallon

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2107 posts
  • Location:Mid-USA

Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:37 AM

We literary fans are out here, ChickenStu, even if we're not commenting every time.  Your comments on Gardner's straining to fit the events of the film LTK into Fleming's "continuity" are well taken.  The novelization could and should have been a stand-alone story.  And I'm not in favor of a Krest Junior.  Having Bond, who knew the old man, coincidentally encounter the son would be almost as much an eye-roller as the two-shark-tank scenario.



#33 Jim

Jim

    Commander RNVR

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 14266 posts
  • Location:Oxfordshire

Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:39 AM

ChickenStu - if you make it through Brokenclaw without pausing regularly to stare at the wall in bleak despair, you're a stronger man than I am.



#34 Simon

Simon

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5884 posts
  • Location:England

Posted 11 April 2014 - 11:14 AM

We literary fans are out here, ChickenStu, even if we're not commenting every time.  Your comments on Gardner's straining to fit the events of the film LTK into Fleming's "continuity" are well taken.  The novelization could and should have been a stand-alone story.  And I'm not in favor of a Krest Junior.  Having Bond, who knew the old man, coincidentally encounter the son would be almost as much an eye-roller as the two-shark-tank scenario.

 

How did you feel about Cedar Leiter in For Special Services?



#35 Major Tallon

Major Tallon

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2107 posts
  • Location:Mid-USA

Posted 11 April 2014 - 07:30 PM

I've got mixed views on Cedar Leiter.

 

To begin with, I became quite fond of Felix while reading LALD, and he and Bond work well together.  His dialog isn't truly American, but I buy his relationship with Bond as sincere friendship and mutual regard.  I think he's an admirable sidekick. 

 

As for Cedar (a decent name for a Fleming heroine, though not a name you'd associate with Felix, or from a typical Texan), I think Gardner labored mightily to bring her to life.  At various points, we see playfulness, seductiveness, competence, indecision, and vulnerability.  For all that, I don't find her compelling.  She strikes the wrong note when introduced to us in M's office, where her appearance and behavior strike me as more associated with a college sophomore than a CIA agent meeting the head of an important allied service.  Afterwards, though she helps Bond at various points in the adventure, she impresses at other points as the kind of woman Bond said he didn't want on an assignment, one who hangs on his gun arm.  Her attempts to seduce Bond, who's got to be twenty to thirty years older than she is and the daughter of Bond's long-time friend, make me uncomfortable.  (They make Bond uncomfortable also, as he rebuffs them.) 

 

The character isn't a failure.  Her character has potential, but I don't think she's right for the role she's assigned.



#36 freemo

freemo

    Commander RNR

  • Veterans Reserve
  • PipPipPip
  • 2995 posts
  • Location:Here

Posted 13 April 2014 - 05:07 AM

Scorpius is decent, but the enemy is advancing now. There’s seems to be a little less time and care put into this one than earlier Gardners, and like the Meek Ones (actually one of JGs better terrorists-of-the-week types, the wreck alot of havoc) themselves, there’s loads of means but few coherent ends, and the result is something that’s both too much and not really enough. This is the beginning of loads of chapter long briefings in hotels / safe houses too.

 

A pity, really, because the premise is better than average, the villain’s ultimate demise is nasty, and the first two thirds does has a certain kinetic energy to it (even if it is loads of rush about and not necessarily a whole lot actually happening). Interesting conceit to have Bond start the mission dead tired, and unable to get a moments rest amidst the chaos. I enjoyed it. It's Good, but it could have been great.



#37 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:19 AM

ChickenStu - if you make it through Brokenclaw without pausing regularly to stare at the wall in bleak despair, you're a stronger man than I am.

 

Well my friend I just finished Brokenclaw and I'm surprised to admit (after reading your not exactly ringing endorsement) that it isn't too bad! Rushia makes for an interesting sidekick, Chi-Chi is a nice (but admittedly vapid) love interest and the title character was indeed a snarling rotter. I did wonder where the hell the final confrontation came from... it seems like the book wrapped things up nicely - then ANOTHER 46 pages of "wtf"? But I think I'd be churlish to complain when this one is delightfully free of "surprise inside men" and badly written sex scenes. 

 

BTW - I'm taking some advice given to me earlier in this thread and am kind of pacing myself with the remaining books in Gardner's run. Maybe that's why I enjoyed Brokenclaw because I was somewhat refreshed when I went back into the monkey cage. 

 

Back to the subject of the sex scenes if I may - and this is meant in general for all the books - I really wish Gardner would stop. I've never read (nor will ever read) a Fifty Shades Of Grey book. However, from what I understand Gardner's clumsy attempts to be a bit "spicy" as it were don't sound too far removed from some of the rot that's described to me from those excuses for books. Obviously not as in your face (ahem) in terms of content - but more in the way it's handled so awkwardly.

 

I literally cringe when I see one (do I really have to use the following non-pun?!?) "coming" as it were (so so sorry...) cause I feel like an embarrassed 12 year old getting "the talk" from my Dad. Any eroticism is (OH PLEASE JUST SHOOT ME!) "stripped away" when one pictures a middle aged man sitting at a typewriter and typing it.  

 

I've got six more books to go and am not really sure how much more of that stuff I can force myself to read... 



#38 Major Tallon

Major Tallon

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2107 posts
  • Location:Mid-USA

Posted 18 April 2014 - 02:35 AM

Given your views on Gardner's sex scenes, you've got quite a shock awaiting you when you get to the Bensons.  Get those puns ready.  You're going to need a bushel of them.



#39 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:38 PM

Given your views on Gardner's sex scenes, you've got quite a shock awaiting you when you get to the Bensons.  Get those puns ready.  You're going to need a bushel of them.

 

I am so, so sorry about those puns. Really, I am. 



#40 Double Naught spy

Double Naught spy

    Sub-Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • Pip
  • 169 posts

Posted 20 April 2014 - 02:16 AM

I felt the sex scene between Bond and Nena in For Special Services was only about half as 'titillating' as the others Gardner wrote. 

 

 

(That sentence is proof that your puns could've been a lot worse, ChickenStu.  Your welcome.  :D)



#41 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 20 April 2014 - 05:56 PM

I felt the sex scene between Bond and Nena in For Special Services was only about half as 'titillating' as the others Gardner wrote. 

 

 

(That sentence is proof that your puns could've been a lot worse, ChickenStu.  Your welcome.  :D)

 

Thanks for letting me off the hook there my old man. Although after reading your one I do think I need to lie down in a dark room... especially once I got it!


Edited by ChickenStu, 20 April 2014 - 05:56 PM.


#42 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 20 April 2014 - 09:10 PM

All that apart I found Brokenclaw to be the last of Gardner's truly ripping yarns. The length and pacing were just right for the story he wanted to tell.

 

Next: TMFB (AKA The Man From Briefathons).



#43 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 20 April 2014 - 10:18 PM

Ugh, The Man From Barbarossa has got to be one of the most laborious, over complicated and damn near impenetrably written books I've ever been unlucky enough to come across. The blurb on the back made it seem interesting but the book was just chore to wade through. It really was. I literally finished it five minutes ago and cannot think of anything I can REMEMBER about it - let alone worth talking about in here. Blah, blah, blah. For me so far - this is the real low point of the Gardner run. I look forward to the next one simply because from here - surely the only way is up - right? 

 

That is all I really have to say on the matter. 



#44 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 20 April 2014 - 10:51 PM

Since you've already read No Deals, Mr. Bond, you've already read Death is Forever.



#45 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:05 PM

Death Is Forever

 

Hmm. This one started off pretty well and began telling a pretty engaging story. "Easy" seemed like an interesting sidekick/love interest for Our Man and the plot moved at an engaging pace as he tried to track down the other members of the "Cabal" and save them from assassination. However once "Gus Whimper" came into proceedings the tight grip Gardner had on the story seemed to slacken and by the time of the climax - I'd just about lost interest. Still - surprised to find Gardner on such bloodthirsty form. This one had some of his most inventive deaths - and the sheer number of characters killed off in the narrative was actually genuinely surprising. Just a shame it fell apart so spectacularly at the end. When this began, I really thought it was going to turn out to be one of the better ones. 



#46 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:16 PM

Never Send Flowers

 

I actually REALLY enjoyed this one! Flicka Von Grusse is probably my favourite yet of Gardner's sidekicks/love interests for Our Man. Dragonpol is also one of the most interesting villains. The twist in the tale was superb and I really didn't see it coming. To me this ranks as one of Gardner's best. Very, very entertaining. Loved it!



#47 glidrose

glidrose

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2469 posts

Posted 23 April 2014 - 10:19 PM

Given your views on Gardner's sex scenes, you've got quite a shock awaiting you when you get to the Bensons.  Get those puns ready.  You're going to need a bushel of them.

 

Benson's sex scenes?

 

Never Dream of Dying has a "finger lickin' good" one. But don't worry. In "The Facts of Death", Bond keeps the business firmly in hand.



#48 Major Tallon

Major Tallon

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2107 posts
  • Location:Mid-USA

Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:06 AM

Oh, good night.  There are two of them!



#49 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 24 April 2014 - 08:09 AM

Seafire

 

Again hugely enjoyable. Was lucky to see Flicka Von Grusse back in the thick of things again. I like that character. I love how this one began with a bang and didn't really let up. The scenes with M seemed to have a genuine warmth to them this time around.

I love it when Our Man is dogged and determined and his quest to put an end to Max Tarn's dastardly scheme was vivid and gripping. 

Also - one thing that sets this apart from others is that it has a pleasingly offbeat feel. The change is welcome, never distracting and engaging. Bit of a first for a Gardner there. This really is one of the better ones and I really enjoyed it. 



#50 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 25 April 2014 - 08:07 AM

Goldeneye

 

The second and last of Gardner's novelizations. I was looking forward to getting to this one in a way because Goldeneye is my all time favourite of the movies. There were a few superficial deviations for instance the beginning where we are shown more of Our Man infiltrating the facility. Reminded me somewhat of the beginning of the N64 videogame. Is this material based on deleted scenes? 

Generally speaking this just ticked the boxes that the film did. Any deviations like I said were largely superficial. In much the same way as Gardner's Licence To Kill adaptation - familiarity with the source material insured a nice - easy read. 



#51 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 25 April 2014 - 08:06 PM

COLD

 

The way this is split into two halves is very interesting - the first half occurring during the Cold War and the second half occurring almost directly after the events of Seafire. That first half is suitably action packed, especially when a certain character from Nobody Lives Forever makes a return appearance. Then a character from Win, Lose Or Die returns for the second half - which is the strongest part of the book IMO. I was a bit dissapointed when the reason for the plane bombing that kicks off proceedings was revealed. A tad underwhelming although it does illustrate how truly evil the bad guys are. Up until this point for the last few books that irritating "Gardner Twist" had not reared it's ugly head and I groaned when I saw it coming again. However this time round it was somewhat of a humdinger and when the identity of one of the book's two main bad guys was revealed - I was genuinely surprised that Gardner would go there. Not even Fleming attempted something like that and that's saying something. Not that I'd dare seriously compare Gardner with Fleming but hey - you gotta tell it like it is. 

 

Gardner obviously knew this was going to be his last book - and had obviously seen Goldeneye and written the novelization of it - so this serves as a sweet and poignant farewell as he telegraphs a female taking up the position of "M" and slyly predicts the repercussions of it in certain circles. 

 

With that in mind I think he could have gone a little further there. Maybe the new M's first action was to re-establish the 00 section? Maybe even have an appearance from Alec Trevelyan back in the days when he was on the side of the angels? Still, the little attempt he did make to tie things together was enough. 

 

So. This little journey I began on the 17th March 2014 is finally over. For Gardner's run as a whole I have to say it was largely hit and miss. I find it odd that he'd write these books for 16 years despite his initial misgivings on taking the job. Some of the books were so bad that one has to wonder if he did it deliberately in a passive aggressive attempt to prove how much he didn't really want to do it.

 

But that would be uncharitable. There were some good ones that WERE worth reading.

 

COLD is a fitting enough ending for Gardner's run at writing adventures for Our Man. Whilst I'm glad it's over I'm still glad I took the journey. 



#52 glidrose

glidrose

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 2469 posts

Posted 26 April 2014 - 08:53 PM

Glad to see somebody else likes COLD. Always thought that was one of his best. I liked JG's last three originals much more than many of what was then his more recent Bond attempts. Unlike you tho', I cannot stand his GE novelization which is a shoddy book all around. Too much padding at first, then it seems he's in a mad rush to get the story's 2nd half done and finished. And yeah, TMFB is truly dire. Possibly his worst. Yet that was JG's own favorite.

#53 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:32 PM

The thing is - Goldeneye is my favorite of the movies so I think I was just excited because of that. I just found it to be a straightforward adaptation though with no bells and whistles. I feel you do get the Goldeneye experience from it though. 

 

The Man From Barbarossa was horrible. A really really tough book to get through. I was almost ready to give up on the Gardner run completely after that one. Luckily things did improve but it was dicey there for a second. 



#54 tdalton

tdalton

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 11680 posts

Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:45 PM

I remember liking Cold Fall (as it's titled around here) at the time.  I can't say that I have much memory of the story now, as I believe I read it back in 1996 when it was first published.  Obviously not a classic Bond novel, but an enjoyable one nonetheless, and better than a lot of Gardner's Bond novels.



#55 DavidJones

DavidJones

    Sub-Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • Pip
  • 347 posts

Posted 27 May 2014 - 12:12 AM

I only read the first six Gardners, but rather liked Role of Honour and Nobody Lives Forever, which puts me in the minority.

 

If Gardner wasn't a Bond fan, and he didn't even watch the films, never mind like the books, why in the world was he top of IFP's list? Christopher Wood would have been the obvious choice, wouldn't he? Or was he 'tainted' because he was attached to the EON films (I always got the feeling that IFP are a bit sniffy with the films - they're glad they are there as they keep interest alive, but they wish the books the thing people think of when they think of JB). Gardner was pretty old even when he was offered the job: if they were really interested in having somebody who could make Bond relevant in the '80s, why not hire a writer who himself was relevant? Somebody young(ish), who loved the books and wasn't dragging his heals, hating on Bond and moaning about deadlines all the time.



#56 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 27 May 2014 - 02:05 AM

Read his Liquidator series, and the Herbie Krugers - that should explain why he was short-listed.



#57 Double Naught spy

Double Naught spy

    Sub-Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • Pip
  • 169 posts

Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:12 PM

ChickenStu, 

 

Now that you've read the Gardner series, you might get a kick out of reading the James Bond newspaper strips before (I'm assuming this is next for you) going on to the Benson series.   Aside from the (IMO) excellent work done by the strips' creators in faithfully depicting both Fleming's novels (and in case of TSWLM and TMWTGG - improved upon) and Colonel Sun, there are numerous original adventures of 007 set in the 1970s and 80s you might enjoy; some of which are surprisingly entertaining and easy to blow through in an afternoon.   And, on top of all that, at least one of the strips has Gardner's Q'ute in it!

 

I'm sure I speak for my other posters here in thanking you for letting us in on your journey so far.  Speaking for myself now - I hope you continue to entertain us with reviews of the various series by Benson, Higgins, and Westbrook and even the horrendous one-off books (this is the part where I'm speaking for myself!) IFP has been cramming down our all-too-eager gullets for the last few years. 



#58 billy007

billy007

    Sub-Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • Pip
  • 162 posts
  • Location:Delaware USA

Posted 28 May 2014 - 11:19 AM

Am I the only one that prefers Carte Blanche to all the other one offs?



#59 ChickenStu

ChickenStu

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 608 posts
  • Location:South East

Posted 17 June 2014 - 04:31 PM

ChickenStu, 

 

Now that you've read the Gardner series, you might get a kick out of reading the James Bond newspaper strips before (I'm assuming this is next for you) going on to the Benson series.   Aside from the (IMO) excellent work done by the strips' creators in faithfully depicting both Fleming's novels (and in case of TSWLM and TMWTGG - improved upon) and Colonel Sun, there are numerous original adventures of 007 set in the 1970s and 80s you might enjoy; some of which are surprisingly entertaining and easy to blow through in an afternoon.   And, on top of all that, at least one of the strips has Gardner's Q'ute in it!

 

I'm sure I speak for my other posters here in thanking you for letting us in on your journey so far.  Speaking for myself now - I hope you continue to entertain us with reviews of the various series by Benson, Higgins, and Westbrook and even the horrendous one-off books (this is the part where I'm speaking for myself!) IFP has been cramming down our all-too-eager gullets for the last few years. 

 

Funnily enough - I just started a new thread in the Benson section!  ;)



#60 Bond of Steele

Bond of Steele

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 54 posts
  • Location:Remington Steele Detective Agency

Posted 04 September 2014 - 02:21 AM

Thank you ChickenStu.  I've been reading your posts throughout and you inspired me earlier this summer to begin all the Gardner books as well.  Over the years, for whatever reason, I stayed away from the continuation books.  But having started them and now at MFB, I can't believe I missed out on some of the nice reads.  I will say that some reviews are maybe too harsh, but I think I may be a bit too lenient on some of my thoughts on the book.  Anyway, thanks for posting all of the reviews.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users