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Topic: Blowing hot and cold? - Your views on John Gardner's SeaFire (1994)

I'd really like to hear your collective views here about John Gardner's SeaFire (1994). It features Bond settling down with Flicka von Grusse (from the previous year's Never Send Flowers). The plot is also rather convoluted (Sir Max Tarn wants to become the new Fuhrer of a new Fourth Reich in the newly (1990) reunified Germany (making this plot neo-Nazi plot element rather absurd, even for a Bond novel, IMHO) and create a giant oil spill and clean it up - not sure if I can remember how these two remote plans are related, though, if at all?

SeaFire is controversial for the inclusion of the MicroGlobe One department taking over M's department at SIS (it also features in Cold/Cold Fall) and a lot of readers really disliked this change in the last two books - but change was in the air from the end of Never Send Flowers onwards. It was a plot device to get a mole on the Board (shades of Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal here?) and is used by Gardner as a plot device to smooth over the transition between the old M and the new female M in the film series. The old M from the Fleming novels was rather put out to grass from SeaFire on (he was ill and in old age) and was replaced by the new female M from the film GoldenEye onwards, although he later reappeared in the new works by Faulks, Deaver and (in 2013) William Boyd. He also reappeared in his retirement at Quarterdeck in The Facts of Death (1998) by Raymond Benson.

I've already written one article on the novel on my The Bondologist Blog:

http://commanderbond...e-in-ww-ii.html

http://thebondologis...defence-of.html


I have ideas for a few other articles on this novel up my sleeve which will appear on my The Bondologist Blog in due course.

In the meantime, I'd really love to hear your views on John Gardner's SeaFire.

I really appreciate all of your views (and reviews), as always!  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

Last edited by Silhouette Man (21st Aug 2016 18:57)

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: Blowing hot and cold? - Your views on John Gardner's SeaFire (1994)

Anyone care to comment on this one, given the fact that the Gardners have all been published by Orion in the UK as of late 2012. There are links back to Icebreaker here - as John Gardner said, "The Nazis Are Always With Us" is the theme here.

Last edited by Silhouette Man (15th Aug 2016 17:09)

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: Blowing hot and cold? - Your views on John Gardner's SeaFire (1994)

Silhouette Man,
having read my review series, you already know my views!
I'd stress two things:
1. Micro Globe One is a half-hearted attempt to drag 007 into the modern era. Previously Bond was still meeting M in that wood panelled office and was still '007'. He appears to have been promoted and is not enjoying it. This of course is exactly the kind of transition Bond's career ought to take, which is realistic. What isn't of course, is that he's still galavanting around the world doing all the leg work. So who else is in this 'Double Zero' set up? Hands up anyone! The novel doesn't really need this scenario. Explaining it takes time and slows the first quarter to a standstill.
2. The plot is rather convoluted. When you read it you keep thinking it should be easier to fathom, but it isn't. By the very end, you wonder if it was all worth while. Tarn's motive and reward hardly seems worth the effort he puts into it. I also dislike the episodic nature of the book. Bond flies to Spain, does some spying, flies to UK, reports, flies to Germany, does some spying, flies to the UK, reports, etc etc.

My personal bug-bear, and one of my frequent criticisms of Gardner, is that the climax is too swift. It's wrapped up in about three chapters. Gardner seems to consider that a Bond book needs incident after incident to propel it. It doesn't. Fleming's novels often feature very little incident, perhaps only one or two highlights, before the eventual denoument. What Fleming succeeds at is raising the tension and atmosphere, examining the dynamic of the characters and how they fit into the plot, resolving the story with a long fuse and a large explosion. Gardner gives us several short fuses and small explosions. So much so that often the tension has been deflated by the time we finally reach his climax. Seafire is a particularly grating  example because the author has basically got all the ingredients right, but he has no idea how to blend them into a memorable recipe.

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Re: Blowing hot and cold? - Your views on John Gardner's SeaFire (1994)

There is a definite sense of an older Bond in this one...I remember someone saying that Bond was about 52 in this novel...just can't remember who said it though...its also a bit of a composite novel...its derivative of several other Gardner Bond books too...almost a 'Bond novel by numbers' type of book...its not a very good Bond book...but its a slight improvement on the dross he was trotting out around then...

YNWA: Justice For The 96

The Joy Of 6

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Re: Blowing hot and cold? - Your views on John Gardner's SeaFire (1994)

I'd love it if a few more members could give their views on John Gardner's SeaFire as I'm currently re-reading it again for the first time in years.

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: Blowing hot and cold? - Your views on John Gardner's SeaFire (1994)

Silhouette Man wrote:

I'd love it if a few more members could give their views on John Gardner's SeaFire as I'm currently re-reading it again for the first time in years.

I'll have to re-read it.  I do remember when Bond was clambering about inside the submarine. You could imagine/visualise that.

Bleuville.