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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

Notes on Moonraker by Ian Fleming

Moonraker (James Bond 007) - Ian Fleming

* The third Bond book.

* And far and away the best of the three. Tense, exciting; cards and spycraft. Always hard to believe when such an excellent book is turned into such a dismal movie.

* Hugo Drax is the most fully realized villain, and the most frightening. Le Chiffre was a bit pedestrian, Mr. Big little more than a criminal; Drax is highly neurotic, yet a patriot, motivated by vengeance and national pride. He comes off as Bond's first truly worthy foe.

* Fleming devotes the first third to a card game in which Bond must cheat a cheater, and during which the author deftly lays his foundation for the real battle to come. The game itself is even better than the one in Casino Royale, and infinitely more personal.

* Interestingly, Bond has yet to kill his nemesis face to face. In fact, only once can he be said to kill him at all. I wonder how that compares to other similar novels both modern and contemporary.

* And as for "getting the girl," well, he hasn't had a lot of luck there, either. One commits suicide and another one runs off to get married to someone else.

* These aren't formula books, which must be one reason they continue to be so popular.

* The eleventh Bond movie (Roger Moore).

* No relation to the book, other than the presence of a secret agent named Bond and a character named Drax.

* Everybody's least favorite Bond movie, right? An opinion I shared at the time and for years afterward (as you can see from my comments above). Seeing it again, though, I had the same reaction I have to most Bond films: it has good moments and stupid moments, and (because the whole series takes place on some other-Earth where someone always possesses technology far in advance of our own) not even the battle in space fazed me. Hope, as they say, springs eternal, and I always have to fight with my brain at the beginning of a Bond movie, but, when I'm lucky, after a half hour or so, my brain shuts down and I just sit back and watch all the pretty colors. I was lucky this time, so I rather enjoyed it.

* I have this image of the screenwriters slapping themselves on the back and high-fiving each other when they somehow manage to work in a scene from the book. They got one in this time: when Bond and "a girl" are trapped under the shuttle just before take off. At least Drax actually admits that his attempts to kill Bond (he, like most Bond villains, is obviously a fan of the Batman TV series) have more to do with amusement than functional execution.