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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

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My name:  Brian Martin

Notes on Octopussy and The Living Daylights by Ian Fleming

Octopussy and The Living Daylights (James Bond) - Ian Fleming

* The fourteenth Bond book.

* The last Bond book by Ian Fleming, published posthumously but including three short stories originally published (by Playboy and Argosy) between 1962 and 1965 (roughly between The Spy Who Loved Me and The Man With the Golden Gun). (Later editions than mine include a fourth story, "007 in New York.")

* Bond here gets to demonstrate an unattractive yet very human failing: having rather more sympathy for a beautiful woman than a plain one. And perhaps it is too bad: if the plain woman had been beautiful, the story might somehow have been better. As it is, this story, "The Property of a Woman," is the weakest of the lot, though only because the climax is the stuff of routine spycraft. The rest is well-told and involving, about a double-agent being paid off in an unusual way by her Soviet masters. (Her fate is not revealed in the story, but is provided in the first part of The Man With the Golden Gun.)

* "Octopussy" is another one of those Bond stories that has little to do with Bond himself, but it's a satisfying tale of a retired British military man whose wartime greed finally catches up with him.

* "The Living Daylights" has the cold-blooded setup that many casual Bond fans associate with the character: Bond is sent to Berlin to assassinate an assassin. Trouble is (as any dedicated fan of Bond knows), he despises missions like these, and it's interesting to see how far he will go to maintain his own sense of propriety in such matters.

* In all, a very good collection and a worthy addition to the Bond library.