1

Topic: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

...into the late 1960s and the 1970s, where would he have taken James Bond? Ian Fleming would hardly have approved of the direction the world took post-the 1964 General Election and the end of 'The Land of Lost Content'. The Beatles, The Rollng Stones, Harold Wlson's brand of new Socialism, 'White Heat', The Beat Movement, the Energy Crisis, the Man on the Moon, the Hippy Revolution, habitual illegal drug use, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Ian Smith in Rhodesia, the Nuclear Deterrent etc. etc. etc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what Fleming might have written about in this broad subject area on the background of the late 1960s and 1970s.  ajb007/smile

Last edited by Silhouette Man (2nd Jul 2019 20:06)

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).

2

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

By the time YOLT (Novel) came out, Flemming was pretty much finished with the Character. But obviously changed his Mind and wrote Man with the Golden Gun. I think he would write a few more after that and then put James Bond to Bed for good.

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

3

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

I agree AlphaOmegaSin, Fleming had run out of Ideas and seemed Bored with Bond.
Perhaps he might of got another writer in to co-wright some, as some modern writers
have done. but in the end, I think he'd of put Bond to bed.

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

4

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Thunderpussy wrote:

I agree AlphaOmegaSin, Fleming had run out of Ideas and seemed Bored with Bond.
Perhaps he might of got another writer in to co-wright some, as some modern writers
have done. but in the end, I think he'd of put Bond to bed.

The Ending to YOLT was a perfect, mysterious end to the Character. He should of left it there and then.

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

5

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

He might have done it for money, and cashed in. But the mellow tone of the last novels suggests he knew his time was up physically.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

6

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:

...into the late 1960s and the 1970s, where would he have taken James Bond? Ian Fleming would hardly have approved of the direction the world took post-the 1964 General Election and the end of 'The Land of Lost Content'. The Beatles, The Rollng Stones, Harold Wlson's brand of new Socialism, 'White Heat', The Beat Movement, the Energy Crisis, Man on the Moon, the Hippy Revolution, Habitual drug use, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Ian Smith in Rhodesia, the Nuclear Deterrent etc. etc. etc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what Fleming might have written about in this broad subject area on the background of the late 1960s and 1970s.  ajb007/smile


I thought he pretty much ended it at the end of TMWTGG.

"And if I told you that I'm from the Ministry of Defence?" James Bond  - The Property of a Lady

7

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Yes, sadly one gets the feeling that ILF was pretty much burnt out by the time of TMWTGG - as he said to William Plomer - "This is the last - I've run out of puff and zest." or words to that effect. So there probably would have been no further James Bond novels from Fleming anyway. Sad but true, I fear.  ajb007/frown

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).

8

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:

Yes, sadly one gets the feeling that ILF was pretty much burnt out by the time of TMWTGG - as he said to William Plomer - "This is the last - I've run out of puff and zest." or words to that effect. So there probably would have been no further James Bond novels from Fleming anyway. Sad but true, I fear.  ajb007/frown

He probably would of passed it onto someone else, and became a background Ideas Person.

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

9

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

AlphaOmegaSin wrote:
SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:

Yes, sadly one gets the feeling that ILF was pretty much burnt out by the time of TMWTGG - as he said to William Plomer - "This is the last - I've run out of puff and zest." or words to that effect. So there probably would have been no further James Bond novels from Fleming anyway. Sad but true, I fear.  ajb007/frown

He probably would of passed it onto someone else, and became a background Ideas Person.

Yes, that seems to be a modern trend with thriller writers, e.g. Alistair Maclean, Tom Clancy et al.

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).

10

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:

...into the late 1960s and the 1970s, where would he have taken James Bond? Ian Fleming would hardly have approved of the direction the world took post-the 1964 General Election and the end of 'The Land of Lost Content'. The Beatles, The Rollng Stones, Harold Wlson's brand of new Socialism, 'White Heat', The Beat Movement, the Energy Crisis, Man on the Moon, the Hippy Revolution, Habitual drug use, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Ian Smith in Rhodesia, the Nuclear Deterrent etc. etc. etc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what Fleming might have written about in this broad subject area on the background of the late 1960s and 1970s.  ajb007/smile

Fleming would have undoubtedly disliked much of what happened after 1964, though whether he'd have hated every new development is up for question. Perhaps he might have found some aspects of the counterculture of interest--or perhaps future Bond villains would have relied on student protesters. We can't be sure. Fleming's ecological interests would have likely made him sympathetic to the environmental movement.
Imagining what would have happened if Fleming lived also involves rewriting established history, because if Fleming survived then he would not have been afflicted by the illnesses of his final years, and that means both YOLT and TMWTGG would be different books from those we know today. (YOLT would have likely had a tighter structure and less travelogue material.)
My own predictions are that many future Bond villains would have been KGB agents, though like Amis Fleming might have gravitated to the Red Chinese. There would be plots involving NASA-type space programs, and perhaps some involving drug smuggling (Fleming's interest in this is clear from The Poppy Is Also a Flower). Bond would go to some of the places Fleming was captivated by in Thrilling Cities, like Hong Kong and Macao. And the books would probably grow slightly more self-parodic and humorous, though there would be further griping and bitterness on the decline Britain. Fleming certainly died on the cusp of a new era, and wondering how Bond would have reacted to it is one of the great what-ifs of spy fiction.

11

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Revelator wrote:
SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:

...into the late 1960s and the 1970s, where would he have taken James Bond? Ian Fleming would hardly have approved of the direction the world took post-the 1964 General Election and the end of 'The Land of Lost Content'. The Beatles, The Rollng Stones, Harold Wlson's brand of new Socialism, 'White Heat', The Beat Movement, the Energy Crisis, Man on the Moon, the Hippy Revolution, Habitual drug use, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Ian Smith in Rhodesia, the Nuclear Deterrent etc. etc. etc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what Fleming might have written about in this broad subject area on the background of the late 1960s and 1970s.  ajb007/smile

Fleming would have undoubtedly disliked much of what happened after 1964, though whether he'd have hated every new development is up for question. Perhaps he might have found some aspects of the counterculture of interest--or perhaps future Bond villains would have relied on student protesters. We can't be sure. Fleming's ecological interests would have likely made him sympathetic to the environmental movement.
Imagining what would have happened if Fleming lived also involves rewriting established history, because if Fleming survived then he would not have been afflicted by the illnesses of his final years, and that means both YOLT and TMWTGG would be different books from those we know today. (YOLT would have likely had a tighter structure and less travelogue material.)
My own predictions are that many future Bond villains would have been KGB agents, though like Amis Fleming might have gravitated to the Red Chinese. There would be plots involving NASA-type space programs, and perhaps some involving drug smuggling (Fleming's interest in this is clear from The Poppy Is Also a Flower). Bond would go to some of the places Fleming was captivated by in Thrilling Cities, like Hong Kong and Macao. And the books would probably grow slightly more self-parodic and humorous, though there would be further griping and bitterness on the decline Britain. Fleming certainly died on the cusp of a new era, and wondering how Bond would have reacted to it is one of the great what-ifs of spy fiction.

Thank you, Revelator. Yes, he certainly did die on the cusp of a new era, didn't he?

The end of the short orthodox premiership of Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Tory grandee and his replacement at the October 1964 election by Harold Wilson by the tiny majority of just four seats brought the end to what was dubbed the "13 years of Tory missrule" (1951-1964) and it ultimately brought about the end of the "Land of Lost Content". Interestingly, Lord Home's brother Henry was responsible for breaking Ian Fleming's nose at a football match at Eton, resulting in a permanent break and a metal plate having to be fitted.

Last edited by Silhouette Man (10th Mar 2013 16:53)

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).

12

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

I wonder if anyone knows if Eon own the rights to the continuing
Bond novels by Gardner, Benson etc. Or do they have some order
stopping any other company buying the rights.
   I know EON now own all the rights to all the fleming Novels but I
was wondering about the rest.
   The documentary on the book rights for Casino Royale ( On dvd )
is amazing, The rights went through so many hands, and companies
untill Eon finally got them.  ajb007/smile

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

13

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Thunderpussy wrote:

I wonder if anyone knows if Eon own the rights to the continuing
Bond novels by Gardner, Benson etc. Or do they have some order
stopping any other company buying the rights.
   I know EON now own all the rights to all the fleming Novels but I
was wondering about the rest.
   The documentary on the book rights for Casino Royale ( On dvd )
is amazing, The rights went through so many hands, and companies
untill Eon finally got them.  ajb007/smile

Eon owns the rights to the Continuation Bonds also as far as I  know but has so far elected to do nothing with them. They'd have to pay 10% to IFP and presumably 10% or less to the Estate of Gardner, to Raymond Benson etc. This puts them off filming the continuations, though they have of course used elements from them over the years.

Last edited by Silhouette Man (10th Mar 2013 17:54)

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).

14

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Thanks for the Information. SM  ajb007/martini

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

15

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Thunderpussy wrote:

Thanks for the Information. SM  ajb007/martini

My pleasure, Thunderpussy.  ajb007/smile

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).

16

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Does anyone else want to add their thoughts on this one. I'm currently writing a piece on the future Bond novels Fleming had ideas for so all input is very much appreciated, as always!  ajb007/smile  ajb007/martini

Last edited by Silhouette Man (25th Aug 2015 17:48)

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).

17

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Looking back on my earlier comment, I'd reiterate that drug smuggling would have definitely been a subject of future Bond novels--Fleming was investigating the topic before his death and marijuana features prominently in TMWTGG. Fleming was against the prohibition of heroin in GF--I wonder what stance he'd take toward pot and LSD.
Also, Richard 'Dikko' Hughes's "Sayonara to James Bond" (which can be read in Ian Fleming's James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies or Hughes's Foreign Devil) relates that Fleming was extremely interested in researching and visiting the Panama Canal. Hughes believes Fleming intended to send Bond there, and only illness got in the way.
Lastly, given how often Fleming said he was fed up with Bond, I wonder if he would have eventually accepted outside help with the series. Not necessarily ghostwriters, but committee-drafted plots and scenarios which Fleming would oversee and rework to his satisfaction. Alexandre Dumas's collaboration with Auguste Maquet, which produced The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, is an example.

18

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Fleming died before he saw how huge Bond would become with TB. I think this may have invigorated him and he almost certainly would have written some more novels perhaps imitating the style of the movies with grand set pieces and even more OTT villains.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

19

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Revelator wrote:

Looking back on my earlier comment, I'd reiterate that drug smuggling would have definitely been a subject of future Bond novels--Fleming was investigating the topic before his death and marijuana features prominently in TMWTGG. Fleming was against the prohibition of heroin in GF--I wonder what stance he'd take toward pot and LSD.
Also, Richard 'Dikko' Hughes's "Sayonara to James Bond" (which can be read in Ian Fleming's James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies or Hughes's Foreign Devil) relates that Fleming was extremely interested in researching and visiting the Panama Canal. Hughes believes Fleming intended to send Bond there, and only illness got in the way.
Lastly, given how often Fleming said he was fed up with Bond, I wonder if he would have eventually accepted outside help with the series. Not necessarily ghostwriters, but committee-drafted plots and scenarios which Fleming would oversee and rework to his satisfaction. Alexandre Dumas's collaboration with Auguste Maquet, which produced The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, is an example.

Thank you, Revelator. I have that book by Richard Hughes. It has some interesting details and is one of the cornerstones for my upcoming article, among some other forgotten things.

Some good food for thought there on Fleming and drugs - I concur.  ajb007/smile  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).

20

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Does anyone else want to add their thoughts on this interesting topic of what Fleming would have done next had he lived beyond 1964?  ajb007/smile  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).

21

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Most of the contributors have summed up my thoughts. Personally I feel Fleming had run out of steam with YOLT. I believe he may have done a couple more books post TMWTGG but would have (open) ended it thereafter. There is only so far any writer can go with one character & I feel Fleming had reached the end of his own road with Bond.

22

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

He actually was done with Bond when he killed him off at the end of FRWL (though he decided not to have it end with the authorities carting off Bond's corpse).  However, like Sherlock Holmes, Fleming was convinced to bring Bond back - he had very large bills to pay after all.
Obviously, even had his health not overcome him, the TB lawsuit, his troubled marriage and having a son to support took it's toll anyway.  I think he would have divorced, kept drinking and smoking and would have been even more depressed at the shrinking of the empire and the counter culture youth movement that slowly strangled to death his conservative world and the values, manners and attire along with it.  Though EON kept his character modern, Fleming was part of an anachronistic British culture that was fading away.

Given all that, he may have written a couple more novels and may have even placed Bond back in the fifties in them.  However, with the success of the films and all their clones, it's hard to say whether he would have done that or just would have let the whole thing go and lived off his money from the novels and films.

23

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

Another factor is that even if Fleming had decided he was done with Bond, very powerful commercial interests would have resisted his decision. By the time he died, Bond was an industry, and the annual novel was a vital part of it. Glidrose and half a dozen other companies wanted those books to keep coming. After Fleming died they were eager to keep the gravy train rolling by publishing TMWTGG and Octopussy, and after they ran out of Fleming they commissioned Colonel Sun. So even if Fleming said to hell with Bond, his publishers, the filmmakers, and Glidrose would have said "RECONSIDER." And the pressure would have quadrupled after the release of Goldfinger. If Fleming somehow resisted, then the powers-that-be would have likely said, "alright, but would it be okay if we got someone else to write Bond books? We'd put your name on them and give you a cut of the profits." Fleming, sick of Bond, probably would have blessed the deal. Perhaps Glidrose would have turned to Amis while Fleming was still alive, and Fleming would have looked over Colonel Sun the same way he looked over The James Bond Dossier.

24

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

The last two posts are very good.

Fleming, being the sort of character he was perhaps would have resisted any attempts to 'coerce' him into writing more Bond if he truly believed it was time for JB to be put to bed?

As mentioned elsewhere he could have lived quite handsomely from all the licensing revenue. Perhaps, just perhaps, had he given up on Bond he may have written one or more books after a few years break when his enthusiasm for the character returned?

25

Re: Had Ian Fleming lived beyond 1964...

I don't think anyone has as yet used the word proprietorial (or an implication of such): once upon a time I'd have been with Revalator, and the idea of IF letting someone else write the books while he enjoyed the profits and went down the golf club and the inevitable bar afterward. Charteris had already started something similar with the Saint after its TV popularity. And yet, I wonder now how much IF could actually have given the original Bond - his Bond - in its true format, away?

Sure, the idea of an Amis CS would certainly have appealed to IF's vanity and Jenkins PFO would most likely have seen the light of day, but I doubt much else. There would certainly not have been anything as remotely vulgar as JB by John Gardner nor - shudder at IF's reaction - Raymond Benson.

Consider: Fleming said the books go wildly beyond the probable but not the possible - imagine, then IF's reaction to the lunacy of the film of YOLT. It has been suggested that the film YOLT might have been a template for Fleming's new direction; I totally disagree. Fleming's last novel TMWTGG was understated and a return to the simplicity of DAF. Many suggest this is because the novel was half-formed. But what if it was as IF intended, a simple novel as a response to his over-inflated TSWLM and YOLT. Might Fleming have planned a series of gritty but straightforward thrillers?

I think its undeniable IF's input would have slowed; he seems essentially to be a lazy sod. But I can see him returning to HIS creation, as he had after FRWL and YOLT, though with the usual self-pitying background affectations of a man of his nature. And JB would have become more Connery as he had from OHMSS onward, culminating in the two becoming one in the steaming macho meeting of JB and Scaramanga in Savannah La Mar.

However, one can only imagine how IF would have recoiled at the sight of YOLT Connery? Would he have "rebooted" when he saw Lazenby? Would he have got round to the early 70s Bond novel where a semi-retired Bond has married for a second time, two kids, a Rover and a house overlooking Royal St Marks and is suffering from loads of ennui?