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Topic: Exclusive info on Kingsley Amis' Proposed 2nd (70s) James Bond Novel

I was doing some searching over at another James Bond forum (CBn) in 2013 as I remembered the forum member Mark Hazard had told me on AJB in 2005 or thereabouts that he had cuttings from a newspaper that had referred to Kingsley Amis as Robert Markham writing a follow-up to Colonel Sun (1968) which would no doubt have been published in the early 1970s (possibly 1971 or 1972) given the dates from newspaper sources. Below you will find quotes from posts made by my good friend Jeremy Duns (aka spynovelfan). There is also another quote from the member Trident. I'd really love to hear more of your views on this subject matter as I see it's never been discussed before here on AJB. If any member here know more about the projected second Kingsley Amis novel, I'd love to hear from them. This is a subject that surely cries out to be written about at some point in the future and I intend to do just that.

FIRST QUOTE- SPYNOVELFAN

"Incidentally, for those interested in COLONEL SUN - yes, we were discussing that, a long time ago! - in 2005, there was a very detailed 12-page article about it in Issue 47 of OO7 magazine by Hank Reineke. Reineke traced the history of Amis' involvement with Bond, and quoted at length from many of the (mostly somewhat negative) reviews the novel received. Reading the article again now, I see that Amis' appointment to write the novel was announced to the press on April 24 1967. On April 13 1967, Ann Fleming wrote to Lord Campbell saying 'Since Peter Fleming agrees to the counterfeit Bond, I am prepared to accept his judgement.' And on May 21, 1967 Amis mentioned in a letter to Philip Larkin that he had finished his 'Bond novel'.

If Amis' appointment hinged on having Ann Fleming's permission - which I'm not sure it did, mind - this is all rather extraordinary, because Amis had started researching the book in September 1965 - what state was the book in a year and a half later? He can't have finished it in a month, so who was the central character? What would have happened if Ann hadn't given the green light - or had they already given it to Amis without her knowing? Add in the contract with Jenkins and it's a pretty curious state of affairs!

Reineke also discussed two mentions by Amis in The New York Times in 1968 regarding a follow-up to COLONEL SUN to be set in Mexico, featuring an assassination on a train: 'I can just see the beginning: Bond had never cared for Acapulco. That's the way to start.'

Not mentioned in the article, and something I suppose I might have mentioned earlier, as it is fairly arcane (I don't believe it has ever been mentioned in Bond articles or books, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong), is that Amis seems to have developed this idea a little more. And it might surprise you who was going to be assassinated. On 24 October 1970, several newspapers around the States ran a very short Associated Press story, with minor variations in some cases. Here's the one that appeared in the Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan, on that date:

'James Bond to Die

(London (AP) - James Bond is about to die for what may or may not be positively for keeps. Kingsley Amis, who succeeded the late Ian Fleming as author of the agent 007 series said today that in the next book his hero will be blasted by a bazooka-wielding bartender on a train in Mexico.'

Quite a headline, no?"

SECOND QUOTE - TRIDENT

"It was mentioned, although only briefly and in a different context in Siegfried Tesche's 'James Bond - Autos, Action und Autoren' (James Bond - Cars, Action and Writers). Tesche writes that this bazooka/Mexico/bartender-affair would have been Amis original idea for a continuation. Most unlikely, as it basically meant to ask Glidrose to slaughter their goose."

THIRD QUOTE from the JBIFC Update Email, 2 May 2013:

"Son of Sun?

While on the subject of 007 book continuity authors, one of the Bond discussion forums recently carried some interesting speculation about the possible sequel plans of author Kingsley Amis, who had penned the first post-Fleming Bond book Colonel Sun, under the pseudonym ‘Robert Markham’. Amis, who was a big Fleming and Bond fan, had shown his love of the character in two non-fiction books, The James Bond Dossier and the more light-hearted The Book of Bond, a guide for budding spies supposedly written by Bill Tanner. Amis was commissioned by Glidrose Publications to write the first Bond continuation adventure, which was published in March, 1968. The recent forum discussion focused on whether Amis had considered writing a second James Bond adventure, or whether this was just rumour. It would now appear that there may have been something to this, in the sense that Amis briefly contemplated writing not another novel but a short 007 story instead. Earlier in 1968, Amis had visited Mexico, travelling from St. Louis to Mexico City by train. Amis had remembered that Fleming had enjoyed placing his secret service hero on trains and, according to his correspondence (Amis was a prolific letter writer), Amis considered a short Bond story involving an incident on a train in Mexico, possibly with an assassination attempt on Bond’s life. Alas, there is no evidence Amis took this any further."


END OF QUOTES.

Last edited by Silhouette Man (1st Aug 2015 14:07)

Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog (TBB)
On Twitter: @Dragonpol 
'Like' TBB on FB: TBB Update Page
"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

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Re: Exclusive info on Kingsley Amis' Proposed 2nd (70s) James Bond Novel

Silhouette Man wrote:

I was doing some searching over at another James Bond forum (CBn) in 2013 as I remembered the forum member Mark Hazard had told me on AJB in 2005 or thereabouts that he had cuttings from a newspaper that had referred to Kingsley Amis as Robert Markham writing a follow-up to Colonel Sun (1968) which would no doubt have been published in the early 1970s (possibly 1971 or 1972) given the dates from newspaper sources. Below you will find quotes from posts made by my good friend Jeremy Duns (aka spynovelfan). There is also another quote from the member Trident. I'd really love to hear more of your views on this subject matter as I see it's never been discussed before here on AJB. If any member here know more about the projected second Kingsley Amis novel, I'd love to hear from them. This is a subject that surely cries out to be written about at some point in the future and I intend to do just that.

FIRST QUOTE- SPYNOVELFAN

"Incidentally, for those interested in COLONEL SUN - yes, we were discussing that, a long time ago! - in 2005, there was a very detailed 12-page article about it in Issue 47 of OO7 magazine by Hank Reineke. Reineke traced the history of Amis' involvement with Bond, and quoted at length from many of the (mostly somewhat negative) reviews the novel received. Reading the article again now, I see that Amis' appointment to write the novel was announced to the press on April 24 1967. On April 13 1967, Ann Fleming wrote to Lord Campbell saying 'Since Peter Fleming agrees to the counterfeit Bond, I am prepared to accept his judgement.' And on May 21, 1967 Amis mentioned in a letter to Philip Larkin that he had finished his 'Bond novel'.

If Amis' appointment hinged on having Ann Fleming's permission - which I'm not sure it did, mind - this is all rather extraordinary, because Amis had started researching the book in September 1965 - what state was the book in a year and a half later? He can't have finished it in a month, so who was the central character? What would have happened if Ann hadn't given the green light - or had they already given it to Amis without her knowing? Add in the contract with Jenkins and it's a pretty curious state of affairs!

Reineke also discussed two mentions by Amis in The New York Times in 1968 regarding a follow-up to COLONEL SUN to be set in Mexico, featuring an assassination on a train: 'I can just see the beginning: Bond had never cared for Acapulco. That's the way to start.'

Not mentioned in the article, and something I suppose I might have mentioned earlier, as it is fairly arcane (I don't believe it has ever been mentioned in Bond articles or books, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong), is that Amis seems to have developed this idea a little more. And it might surprise you who was going to be assassinated. On 24 October 1970, several newspapers around the States ran a very short Associated Press story, with minor variations in some cases. Here's the one that appeared in the Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan, on that date:

'James Bond to Die

(London (AP) - James Bond is about to die for what may or may not be positively for keeps. Kingsley Amis, who succeeded the late Ian Fleming as author of the agent 007 series said today that in the next book his hero will be blasted by a bazooka-wielding bartender on a train in Mexico.'

Quite a headline, no?"

SECOND QUOTE - TRIDENT

"It was mentioned, although only briefly and in a different context in Siegfried Tesche's 'James Bond - Autos, Action und Autoren' (James Bond - Cars, Action and Writers). Tesche writes that this bazooka/Mexico/bartender-affair would have been Amis original idea for a continuation. Most unlikely, as it basically meant to ask Glidrose to slaughter their goose."

THIRD QUOTE from the JBIFC Update Email, 2 May 2013:

"Son of Sun?

While on the subject of 007 book continuity authors, one of the Bond discussion forums recently carried some interesting speculation about the possible sequel plans of author Kingsley Amis, who had penned the first post-Fleming Bond book Colonel Sun, under the pseudonym ‘Robert Markham’. Amis, who was a big Fleming and Bond fan, had shown his love of the character in two non-fiction books, The James Bond Dossier and the more light-hearted The Book of Bond, a guide for budding spies supposedly written by Bill Tanner. Amis was commissioned by Glidrose Publications to write the first Bond continuation adventure, which was published in March, 1968. The recent forum discussion focused on whether Amis had considered writing a second James Bond adventure, or whether this was just rumour. It would now appear that there may have been something to this, in the sense that Amis briefly contemplated writing not another novel but a short 007 story instead. Earlier in 1968, Amis had visited Mexico, travelling from St. Louis to Mexico City by train. Amis had remembered that Fleming had enjoyed placing his secret service hero on trains and, according to his correspondence (Amis was a prolific letter writer), Amis considered a short Bond story involving an incident on a train in Mexico, possibly with an assassination attempt on Bond’s life. Alas, there is no evidence Amis took this any further."


END OF QUOTES.

This is extremely interesting and I vaguely remember all of this.

That said, the real travesty of Amis's Bond adventure was the absolutely dire decision to launch the book under the pseudonym of Robert Markham and the marketing associated with this disastrous move.

Back in '68 the practice of writing under a pseudonym was associated with low level work (the spinner rack thrillers of John Creasy and cheap romantic fiction) or works that famous authors were unsure about and wanted to distance themselves from.

Having decided on this tactic, Gildrose obviously saw it as a mistake and did the most bizarre thing and outed Amis marketing the book as 'Kingsley Amis writing as Robert Markham'.

It was this, in my opinion, that provoked a lot of the bad reviews from the literati who simply thought, if Amis is reluctant to headline the book himself, it must be bad and I should review it accordingly and the whole thing became a ridiculous negative spiral.

Most Bond fans that have read 'Colonel Sun' rate it quite highly. Personally, I think it's up there with Fleming's best but back in the day, the critics made sure it was still born.

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Re: Exclusive info on Kingsley Amis' Proposed 2nd (70s) James Bond Novel

As this thread is getting a revival on MI6 I thought I might revive it here too to see if anyone else has any further information on this or anything they wanted to add.

It still remains, for me, a fascinating "what if?" of literary Bond continuation history.

Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog (TBB)
On Twitter: @Dragonpol 
'Like' TBB on FB: TBB Update Page
"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

4

Re: Exclusive info on Kingsley Amis' Proposed 2nd (70s) James Bond Novel

No information, but fascinating.
Thanks Silhouette Man!
I was a bit despondent when I reviewed Colonel Sun all those eons ago and probably undermarked it. I was on a mission then and had just read and reviewed Fleming's canon. Comparisons were not good. But hindsight is wonderful and time a great healer. I think if I revisited Col Sun now, having read so much dross from Benson, Higson, Boyd, etc, I may well feel very very differently.

By way of a tangent, was there any suggestion John Pearson could follow up The Authorised Biography ?