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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Thank you  ajb007/smile

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Just finished FAAD yesterday, now starting with The Man With The Golden Typewriter. Really enjoyed it the story. Sixtine was a nicely written character, although I didn't really like the fact that Bond got his Martini from her. On the other hand, I did like the Morlands, that's something that seemed logical to me. But the Martini is something Bond made up himself. Did like the ending, it was very suspenseful. But the betrayal of Reade wasn't really into character for me.
Horowitz did describe a lot of details; locations, food, people. Really fun to read. I hope he'll write a few more.

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

I ask my friends is this book and the trigger mortis book on audio book?

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Forever and a Day won't be published in the U.S. until November, but your globe-trotting Hardyboy happened to be in England last July and he returned to the States with a copy.  What's more, it's a "Waterstone's Exclusive," with a photostat of Ian Fleming's two-page treatment for "Russian Roulette," an episode for the proposed Bond TV series that never came about, and which Horowitz uses as the basis of the anecdote Bond relates in chapter 7.  Oh, and the book was three pounds off.  Anyway. . .

I finished the novel yesterday, and I enjoyed.  Horowitz does a good job of capturing the voice of the early Fleming and of telling a solid adventure.  I also like his imagining of Bond's first mission as a Double-0, with such details as his first meeting with M and the fact there was a "007" before Bond--and Bond asks for the number to honor the previous holder of it.  I also think Scipio is a decent Flemingesque minor villain, and Sixtine is a good love interest.  Still, the problem with these continuation novels is that it all seems to have been done before. . .I kept getting strong whiffs of Live and Let Die--both the novel and film--and it seems Bond has to be given a quip at the end of every scene of action or violence, just like in the movies.  And though he is good at capturing Fleming's voice, it's hard to escape that Horowitz is writing in the early 21st century. . .just as in Trigger Mortis he had to undo Bond's "conversion" of the lesbian Pussy Galore, in FAAD he has Bond expressing a cynical view of Americans and the CIA that is more 1960s Graham Greene than 1950s Ian Fleming.

But these are minor quibbles.  It's an enjoyable novel, one that keeps the Bond flag flying.  I hope Horowitz is asked back to deliver another.

Vox clamantis in deserto

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Just finished FAAD. I really enjoyed it. Great atmosphere, and the conclusion with Reade at the end was very well done. The biggest weakness was the lack of a stand-out villain, but Sixtine was so well-written that she more than made up for it.

Although I continue to believe that the continuation novels should be set in the present, Horowitz is probably the closest thing to Fleming we are ever likely to get. I’d like it if he did another.

Also, how great was the Fleming material? I’m surprised that this is the first time it’s ever seen the light of day.

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

BBC radio are rerunning William Bond's Solo. Patterson Joeseph is doing a great job as Bond and all in all I'm enjoying it more on the 'Wireless'

Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

zaphod99 wrote:

BBC radio are rerunning William Bond's Solo. Patterson Joeseph is doing a great job as Bond and all in all I'm enjoying it more on the 'Wireless'

I had just finished listening to the audio book on Audible when this came out. If it’s still on in a few months I will listen.

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Got FAAD for Christmas. Was very excited as I'm a huge fan of Horowitz. I read the Alex Rider series when I was younger and I love his TV show Foyles War, with the marvellous Michael Kitchen. I was also a fan of Trigger Morris, which I rate as one of the best continuation novels, definitely the best in recent times.
With that in mind, I was hugely disappointed with this novel. Maybe I came in with expectations too high, but I found it a bit of a let down. Which is strange for me because there's not many things with Bond I find disappointing. (Even Die another day has its moments for me).
The only thing I can judge with Horowitz is that he got lazy.
The villains plot was nicked from LALD. It's pretty unique, flooding the market with heroin, not like holding the world to ransom with nukes. Sure, the British did something similar to the Chinese with opium, but you could have thought of a better plot.
Sixtine was tiresome.
Bonds supposed to be cynical against women in the field. He shows it very clearly with his first thoughts about Vesper in CR. But following Horowitz, he should be in awe of them by the time of CR, because of how badass and Mary Sue Sixtine is. Hit feels like this author is pressured to excuse Fleming of his sexist writing by cramming in needless and anachronistic details. So Bond's Martini is taken from her, so is his cigarettes. It all feels like she's meant to be some sort of Vesper or Tracy. And that whole scene where he reaches into kiss her and gets a verbal talking to reeks of 21st century metoo movement back writing. If he wanted Sixtine to put him in his place, get her to slap or punch him, not give some wink wink lecture to the reader who needs to be reminded of Bonds behaviour. I only liked Sixtine when she died. Not in a good riddance sense, but the fact that Horowitz wrote her final moments and her death so well that he redeemed part of her character to me, and I was genuinely sad that she was gone. But still, I'm sick of Bond girls being secret agents or bonds equals. Is it wrong to request a damsel in distress, not even that, just a normal person who's caught up in the action?
And Bond himself! Seems to have lost all agency.
Few other gripes.
The real villain being an American businessman is cliche and stupid. Echoing another person's thoughts about it reeking of post cold War attitudes about the US. Things I liked, Scipio and his translator, the Russian roulette chapter, how it fit into the story line felt perfectly Fleming. The Prose is strong most of the time, but it did slip into juvenile language sometimes, plus some awkward tense issues.
I'm willing for Horowitz to have another shot, but I'd be keen for someone else to have a go now. For me, you don't have to have the most perfect Fleming prose, as long as you provide a strong 007 and have a good story to tell.

“The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. "
-Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

My review will appear here:
https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/51225/bo … els-vol-3/

CJ

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

well I thought it was swell. In and of itself a very good read: fast moving, action packed, with lots to think about and some very good individual scenes. It hung together better than Trigger Mortis, with its conspicuous three part structure, and definitely better than other recent continuation attempts I have read, where the authors seemed to lose interest in their own plots midway through. And unlike those, I was always convinced I was reading about the character James Bond, but that may have been due to the constant insertion of continuity details and other easter eggs. Several of the major setpieces seem to have been recycled from Fleming's books or the films.


How about that Number Sixtine? I pictured a cross between Monica Belluci and Ursula Andress' version of Vesper from the "funny" version of Casino Royale. The older self-reliant independent mercenary masterspy with her own network and resources. When she took Bond back to her place I almost expected her to have an aquarium, and "The Look of Love" playing on the hifi.
Bu  she does put on an lp: Edith Piaf Chansons Parisiennes, a ten inch lp released in 1949, featuring "La Vie En Rose". We know from DaF Bond had bad memories of that song, up til now we believed because that was the song playing when Vesper was abducted in CR. Is Horowitz here subtly undermining that story? It seems to conspicuous to be a coincidence.

Does his relationship with Vesper still mean anything? Why did he dismiss her as a "bitch" hanging onto his gun-arm when he had already been taught everything he knows by this milf-tastic mentor just months before? Why should he still be a misogynist, underestimating a woman's abilities?
Perhaps because Sixtine was an older woman he thinks of her differently. He himself states she is ten years older than himself, thus fifteen years too old for his tastes. As we have seen him guesstimated as "about thirty" elsewhere in the text, this makes Sixtine forty and his ideal woman twentyfive (indeed the average age of Fleming's heroines). And we see him casually fantasising about "meek" secretaries and cabin-girls before getting taught a few things by this older woman.
So maybe Vesper just didn't measure up, and Sixtine was unique? In the book, Vesper is not employed in the Treasury Dept as she is in the film, but is the assistant to the head of Station S (a meek secretary?). She is assigned to this mission because a gambler like Bond is supposed to be playing is expected to have picked up a chick, she is part of his cover, pure armcandy. I can see how Bond might think of Vesper as being unworthy after meeting a real woman like Sixtine. But why then would he fall for Vesper anyway? Was his love for Vesper just an overenthusiastic reaction after nearly being castrated?
anyway, he does think enough of Vesper to visit her grave every year. But Sixtine is never mentioned again.

speaking of Sixtine's outro: it is almost clever, like Horowitz is setting up the prototypical liferaft scene. Then it turns into the ending of Titanic! I didn't need to be reminded of that movie … except suddenly I realise the Craig version of Casino Royale also is reminiscent of the last scene of Titanic!


the villain's Isolationist reading of WWII is practically ripped from the headlines isn't it, Isolationism is back in style again. Except there are no Russian colluders in this story, just Corsican mafia and the CIA. Not really any mention of Russia at all, nor SMERSH.
Again, given the messy moral ambiguities of his country's allies in this book, why should Bond suddenly be confused about good and evil at the end of Casino Royale? For all his careful insertion of authentic Fleming continuity, I think in many ways he is undermining the big ideas in Fleming's first book.

But if we don't worry about all that, it's an exciting read, complete with casino scenes, car chases, labs full of minions, and a big explosion at the end. Something for every level of Bond fan.

Last edited by caractacus potts (6th Jan 2019 20:12)

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

and how does this fit into Fleming's continuity?

Forever and a Day takes place approximately five years after VE Day (May 8 1945), therefor in the summer of 1950. The Zapiska in FRWL tells us Bond was promoted to double oh no later than Dec 1950, and GF tells us (1) he has been a double oh for six years and (2) that CR took place in 1951. So this date works. Also, Fleming gave us no hint to any double oh mission prior to CR, but neither did he exclude the possibility.

Fleming implied the first two kills took place in WWII, but gave no explicit dates. Instead he used the confusing phrase "in the last few years". The assassination in the Japanese consulate must have taken place prior to America's declaration of war on Japan (otherwise wouldn't the consulate be closed and diplomats expelled or interned?) so that would be at least ten years before CR, not "a few years". And why wait almost a decade to promote Bond?
By moving the second kill forward in time (and presumably the first as well) Horowitz actually cleans up this ambiguity. He explains it took five years to gather conclusive proof of the double agent's collaboration and crimes, so that explains why it happens in 1950, as opposed to during WWII. There is no explanation why Bond should assassinate a Japanese cypher agent after the war is over, but Horowitz doesn't give a date to the first kill so maybe ten years did still go by between kills.

Passing mention is made to Bond having visited Jamaica (where he has seen the ShameLady flower). This is consistent with the hints of an Unseen Mission after the war, in both CR and LaLD.

No reference is made to the Roumanian gamblers in Monte Carlo prior to the war though, you'd think that'd come up as the action moves from Marseilles to Cannes to Nice, just a few miles down the coast.
Mathis is never mentioned either, despite all the action taking place in France and Mathis being "a very good friend"

Maybe the reason is Bond's age? The double agent he has just killed guesstimates him to be about thirty. A dying man may not be the most reliable witness (and when did he have time to write down his observations about his killer anyway?). But thirty in 1950 places Bond's birthdate as approximately 1920, halfway between the birthdates implied in MR and YOLT. A neat solution to the sliding birthdate, but that would make Bond 19 in 1939, maybe too young to have experienced the Monte Carlo mission?

There are already two double oh agents: 008 and 0011. These are the same numbers still in use in MR. Bond is the senior agent in his department in that book. So were the other two agents also killed and replaced in that time, or was Bond promoted ahead of them, perhaps because he's friends with Tanner? they must have hated him for that.

Speaking of Tanner, Bond first met Tanner "in the Ardennes" in the last days of the war. In DN, Bond reminisced about the sound of machine gun fire in the Ardennes.


Easter Eggs:
Irwin Wolfe's estate is named Shame Lady. This was Fleming's original choice as a name for his Jamaican residence, before settling on Goldeneye.
Reade Griffith uses the alias Bill Plover when visiting Scipio's factory. William Plomer (with an m not a v) was Fleming's friend and editor. It was Plomer's suggestion Casino Royale should be the first volume of a series, not a selfcontained novel. The very use of a friend's name for a character in a book is something Fleming frequently did.


general historic details:
The film Sunset Boulevard is referenced in the final chapter. This came out in 1950.
The Edith Piaf album Sixtine is listening to was released in 1949.
Both passing references are accurate.

Sixtine lectures Bond on consent. I believe she is such a selfreliant woman she would do exactly this (and could have easily killed him at any point if she chose), but would she use that word? Legally speaking consent is a fairly recent concept, with reactionary judges still arguing the point, so is the word in that context an anachronism?

Last edited by caractacus potts (6th Jan 2019 19:54)

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Good analysis, cp. ajb007/cheers

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

One error that keeps bugging me...

Chapter 18: “I actually knew President Woodrow Wilson when he brought in the Neutrality Acts back in the thirties and they were meant to keep us out of exactly this sort of situation.”

The US Congress did pass the Neutrality Acts during the 1930s (1935-39), but Wilson died in 1924.

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

I think an in depth analysis of the heroine will muddle most waters. I have only read the book once, but the difference surely is that Bond never offers to change his life for Sixtine, he becomes what she describes: effectively she has changed him. In CR Bond needs Vesper which is why he contemplates a life with her; there Bond changes because he also wants the woman to change. I think that's called LOVE. When Vesper betrays and dies, his brutal soulless self reasserts itself. There's no complication here, even if you can quibble timelines.
I also dislike reviewers comparing the literary canon with the movie canon; they run in separate worlds. When Vesper dies in the books, she commits suicide in her bed one morning. Much more apt for a woman who knows her time is up. The drowning stuff people have mentioned is a purely cinematic invention, done for drama and pictorial niceties. Sure, Horowitz is obviously borrowing the imagery, but I don't think it'd been used before by a Bond author...

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

chrisno1 you are right, the plot of Horowitz's books are only meant to be consistent with what Fleming wrote in his books, the films are irrelevant. That's why I think its good to remind ourselves bookVesper had a much different role in the mission than did filmVesper, which may in itself account for Bond's dismissive attitude towards her.

Horowitz does confuse this distinction by borrowing so many major setpieces from the films, and writing action sequences more like the films than what Fleming would have written. But the fact that a more cinematic type of story is being told does not change the fact that this story is supposed to be happening in FlemingBond's universe. The hype-text all over the book proclaiming it to be the "explosive prequel to Casino Royale" tells us this before we even read a word.


I have been thinking: to be precise, Horowitz's two books assume Fleming's chronology as a given, but I don't think either could be persuasively added within Fleming's chronology. If that makes any sense. As others have pointed out several times above, his experiences with Sixtine and Reade Griffith should have left him prejudiced against working with the CIA and enthusiastic about working with another woman, yet the very book this proclaims to be a prequel to has it the other way around. in fact, its quite possible to believe Casino Royale never happened following the internal logic of this book, disregarding the hype text. I think SMERSH may be mentioned once, but there are no plot threads introduced that will reappear in anything Fleming wrote. Most other prequels have some foreshadowing, but not this one.
More like this book shares the backstory Fleming established, but Fleming's books may not be the precise future timeline this book leads to.

Similarly, Trigger Mortis assumes Goldfinger happened, and mentions Moonraker in passing. Were there any other references to Fleming's first seven books? If not, they did not necessarily happen to HorowitzBond. I suspect HorowitzBond never spent a year living a year with Tiffany Case, because that experience ought to have soured him on cohabitating with American gangster chicks.

What I'm saying, is Horowitz's continuity looks persuasively like Fleming's, enough so we may passively assume every word Fleming wrote to be true in the Horowitzverse. But unless he specifically cites a detail from Fleming, its just as possible none of it happened at all. Horowitz's Bond may have lived through the 1950s, but he may have experienced completely different missions during that time.

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Caractacus,
Not sure if I want to argue the case one way or another, it's a very reasoned point [above].
I also agree that Horowitz as with all the continuation authors is influenced by the movies - and not always Bond movies - I think we have to resign ourselves to that - good or bad

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Re: Forever and a Day - reviews and open discussion (spoilers)

Number24 wrote:

How do you feel about the locations in the novel?
There was essentially only two locations outside of England, the south of France and Stockholm.

The last chapter was in the suburbs of Los Angeles.
The description was OK, reminded me of the landscapes described by Raymond Chandler and James Cain. That earlier version of L.A. I always forget about because I just assume Southern California was always endless sprawl and freeways. And Chandler was friends with Fleming, and Fleming would borrow from his style a bit in his American set novels, so that's a connection.
But Horowitz cheats, instead of actually describing the landscape in his own words, he says "you know that film, Sunset Boulevard? well the road Bond was driving down looked just like that".
I guess that's a problem describing a landscape that disappeared before you were born, knowable only from bits of pop culture. But Horowitz could have tried harder.