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Topic: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

After my last thread on Self-Parody in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, I got to thinking about self-parody in the Bond Continuation novels from the first continuation author Kingsley Amis all the way through to the incumbent Anthony Horowitz.

What elements of self-parody exist in the Bond Continuation novels from 1968 to the present day? I of course expect this to be a larger topic than that which the original Fleming novels provided.

I'm sure there are many examples in the Continuation Bond novels but one of the most overt to my mind is the Main de Singe or monkey's paw hand Sebastian Faulks adorned his villain Dr Julius Gorner with in his Centenary Bond Continuation novel Devil May Care (2008).

Although Mr Faulks said he based it on a real person his father had known at university, it does come across as self-parody and is the best example I can think of parodying the physically afflicted Fleming Bond villain trope. It comes off as too extreme and ridiculous even for a Bond villain and is surely more an example of pastiche more than a serious literary continuation. Perhaps that is what Mr Faulks was aiming for of course, but it still rankles. Perhaps it was even a reference back to the early script idea of Wolf Mankowitz to make Dr. No a monkey rather than the main villain! Dr Julius Gorner does sound very close to Dr Julius No.

So, I open the floor to you and look forward to hearing your personal examples of self-parody at work in the Continuation Bond novels.

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"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Sillhoutte, you yourself were suggesting the cliffhanger ending of Pearson's 007 Biography was intended as parody. Irma Bunt is still alive and breeding giant rats somewhere near Australia, for some evil purpose. You said that's so silly that's gotta be a joke right?

I'm more convinced than ever the joke is a reference to the Giant Rat of Sumatra, the title of an untold adventure Watson mentions in passing in one of Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes adventures. Many would-be continuation authors have had a try at telling that missing story. Pearson's whole 007 Biography is an attempt to insert missing adventures in between what Fleming actually wrote, sometimes expanding on Fleming's own brief references (the chambermaid, the Parisian bordello, the first two kills), so he is sort of doing the same thing. Suddenly introducing a real Giant Rat right next door to Sumatra is like a punchline, he is having a laugh at what he himself has been daring to do with this very book.



You might be able to count Christopher Wood's books, I don't know. Using Flemingesque language to tell these completely unFlemingesque stories is pretty funny, in concept. But those are the plots he had to work with, so maybe he meant the books to read more serious than they ought to be, thatd be the opposite of parody.
He did introduce some Flemingesque digressions not in the films, that were still "over the top". I seem to remember genital torture with electrodes, and also details about what Anya has been studying (sex technique for spies) before Gogol assigns her the mission. Those seem more like naughty parodies of Casino Royale and From Russia With Love than anything that actually would have been in any early drafts of the script.

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

one more from the Biography: the very last line.
Honeychile Rider is a character in this book, she has reentered the "real Bond"'s life, and sits there listening through most of the framing passages as "real Bond" relates his life story to "Pearson". Then on the last page, she and "Pearson" watch "real Bond"'s plane fly off to his next mission, and she says...

‘Well, that's that,’ she said as she turned back to the Rolls, ‘the bastard's gone.’

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

I'm having trouble understanding. what is a self parody exactly?

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

mckillop wrote:

I'm having trouble understanding. what is a self parody exactly?

Try reading your posts...the ones I’ve left anyway  ajb007/shifty

YNWA: Justice For The 96

The Joy Of 6

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Is naming one of the Bond Girls in Icebreaker Paula Vacker ('Vacker' means 'beautiful') a from of parody?

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Number24 wrote:

Is naming one of the Bond Girls in Icebreaker Paula Vacker ('Vacker' means 'beautiful') a from of parody?

Thanks, N24. Yes, I think we could add that one to our list. I never knew that was what her name meant. An interesting and very welcome addition to this thread.  ajb007/martini

Last edited by Silhouette Man (28th Dec 2018 17:45)

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

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Number24 wrote:

Is naming one of the Bond Girls in Icebreaker Paula Vacker ('Vacker' means 'beautiful') a from of parody?

Please excuse my complete ignorance in my post directly above! I'm currently rereading Icebreaker again for the third time for a long planned new article on the possible inspiration behind the NSAA organisation.

As I haven't read it in full for many years I had completely forgotten that Gardner explains the meaning of her name in Chapter 2 ('A Liking for Blondes'). I mistakenly thought that as a Scandinavian, you were translating her name for us, N24! It just goes to show how timely my reread of the novel really is!

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

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

I did translate the word for you as a Scandinavian, a group of people that knows everything about being know-it-alls. But as a person who hasn't read the novel in years I didn't remember Bond's Liking For Blondes and the fact that the name Vacker was explained in the novel. Thank you for reminding me that I forgot this.

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Number24 wrote:

I did translate the word for you as a Scandinavian, a group of people that knows everything about being know-it-alls. But as a person who hasn't read the novel in years I didn't remember Bond's Liking For Blondes and the fact that the name Vacker was explained in the novel. Thank you for reminding me that I forgot this.

Ah, I see. So I was right the first time then! Thank you, N24!

I suppose it might have been interesting if Gardner hadn't explained the use of the name. It would have added a nice little "Easter Egg" layer that only a native speaker would recognise.

Anyway, I'm enjoying Icebreaker so far. Just started it today. It's one of my favourites from Gardner's Bond novels, and it was his favourite up until he wrote TMFB.

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: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

I think Icebreaker was OK, but Fleming's novels, Colonel Sun, Trigger Mortis and Forever and a day are all much better.

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Number24 wrote:

I think Icebreaker was OK, but Fleming's novels, Colonel Sun, Trigger Mortis and Forever and a day are all much better.

That certainly seems to be the general consensus among Bond fans. I think Colonel Sun is the best Bond continuation novel of the lot, but I still regard the Gardner Bonds very highly, as members here well know!

I think he made a massive contribution to the literary Bond continuation, which cannot and should not be easily overlooked.  ajb007/martini

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).

13

Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

caractacus potts wrote:

You might be able to count Christopher Wood's books, I don't know. Using Flemingesque language to tell these completely unFlemingesque stories is pretty funny, in concept. But those are the plots he had to work with, so maybe he meant the books to read more serious than they ought to be, thatd be the opposite of parody.
He did introduce some Flemingesque digressions not in the films, that were still "over the top". I seem to remember genital torture with electrodes, and also details about what Anya has been studying (sex technique for spies) before Gogol assigns her the mission. Those seem more like naughty parodies of Casino Royale and From Russia With Love than anything that actually would have been in any early drafts of the script.

I don't know about self-parody, but I'm fairly certain the scene with the electrodes on the genitals was originally in Wood's working script. I haven't read his biography, so I'm only quoting from p.147 of Steven Jay Rubin's The James Bond Films:

"Certain details present in the scripts were eliminated from the final film... Bond is overpowered and knocked out to awaken in another part of Cairo... he looks down the length of his body and sees electrodes have been applied to his vital areas."

This is the kind of scene which Cubby Broccoli would have absolutely hated, I'm sure. It's interesting to read Wood's 'adaptation' of TSWLM as it is probably closer to his original shooting script and features 'Fleming' elements that would not materialise on screen. The fight with Sandor doesn't exist, for instance, Bond shoots him. The Naomi character isn't present at all.
I also prefer elements of his MR novel - no Hovercraft-Gondola, no Jaws in the PTS. Both novels while retaining the humour have a harder edge which fairly replicates the sort of thing Fleming wrote.

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

chrisno1 wrote:
caractacus potts wrote:

You might be able to count Christopher Wood's books, I don't know. Using Flemingesque language to tell these completely unFlemingesque stories is pretty funny, in concept. But those are the plots he had to work with, so maybe he meant the books to read more serious than they ought to be, thatd be the opposite of parody.
He did introduce some Flemingesque digressions not in the films, that were still "over the top". I seem to remember genital torture with electrodes, and also details about what Anya has been studying (sex technique for spies) before Gogol assigns her the mission. Those seem more like naughty parodies of Casino Royale and From Russia With Love than anything that actually would have been in any early drafts of the script.

I don't know about self-parody, but I'm fairly certain the scene with the electrodes on the genitals was originally in Wood's working script. I haven't read his biography, so I'm only quoting from p.147 of Steven Jay Rubin's The James Bond Films:

"Certain details present in the scripts were eliminated from the final film... Bond is overpowered and knocked out to awaken in another part of Cairo... he looks down the length of his body and sees electrodes have been applied to his vital areas."

This is the kind of scene which Cubby Broccoli would have absolutely hated, I'm sure. It's interesting to read Wood's 'adaptation' of TSWLM as it is probably closer to his original shooting script and features 'Fleming' elements that would not materialise on screen. The fight with Sandor doesn't exist, for instance, Bond shoots him. The Naomi character isn't present at all.
I also prefer elements of his MR novel - no Hovercraft-Gondola, no Jaws in the PTS. Both novels while retaining the humour have a harder edge which fairly replicates the sort of thing Fleming wrote.

That's a very interesting find there, chrisno1! Although I have read both the novelisation of TSWLM and Steven Jay Rubin's superlative book on the Bond films I had missed that reference to the original script.

I think that the Bond film novelisations by Messrs Wood, Gardner and Benson are often interesting time capsules on the actual film, showing earlier versions of the scripts. They thus provide an alternative take on the finished film.

Last edited by Silhouette Man (14th May 2019 12:12)

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

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Silhouette Man wrote:

I think that the Bond film novelisations by Messers Wood, Gardner and Benson are often interesting time capsules on the actual film, showing earlier versions of the scripts. They thus provide an alternative take on the finished film.

If you plan to write this up, SM, don't forget that the whole novelisation thing started with Fleming himself. DN = "Commander Jamaica" for instance, several of the short stories started as prospective TV treatments, and of course there's the whole TB saga. MR also.

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Re: Self-Parody in the James Bond Continuation Novels?

Barbel wrote:
Silhouette Man wrote:

I think that the Bond film novelisations by Messers Wood, Gardner and Benson are often interesting time capsules on the actual film, showing earlier versions of the scripts. They thus provide an alternative take on the finished film.

If you plan to write this up, SM, don't forget that the whole novelisation thing started with Fleming himself. DN = "Commander Jamaica" for instance, several of the short stories started as prospective TV treatments, and of course there's the whole TB saga. MR also.

That's true, Barbel. Thank you. I hadn't actually looked at it that way before, in that the origins of a good few of the Fleming Bond novels and short stories were bound up in unmade TV treatments and film scripts. So the novelisations in truth started much earlier than 1977!

I don't presently have any plans to write anything on the Bond film novelisations as a whole but I do have several article ideas on aspects of the two Christopher Wood novelisations especially and on John Gardner's GE novelisation and Raymond Benson's TND novelisation.

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