In my light, humorous spy romances, I like to poke fun at iconic fictional spies, in particular, James Bond. After all, he is the classic, the quintessential spy. I was watching True Bond last week on Netflix and one of the narrators said something to the effect of Bond is the man every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with. Which, in my opinion, makes Bond a great romance hero archetype. If you can tone down some of his chauvinist views.
In order to playfully have good fun with something, you have to be familiar with it, and maybe even love it. I love Bond movies and novels, and spy thrillers in general. As well as, of course, romances. Last year I was wandering through one of my favorite stores—Costco—and found four centenary releases of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels. Okay, the Fleming centenary was 2008 and this was 2011, but I was still happy to find them and pick them up for a good price.
From Russia With Love was one of the books I bought. I read it this past week and was struck again by what an excellent writer Fleming was. His writing is descriptive and evocative. And the man knows how to create suspense. The book opens with a woman giving a man a massage. Fleming makes the scene scary and suspenseful without shedding a drop of blood. And in the books, Bond is a man who has emotions and is much more dimensional than the celluloid Bond. I actually like the literary Bond much better than the any of the movie Bonds.
This weekend I also had a disappointing experience of seeing a movie adapted from one of my favorite series of books, a movie that fell way flat of the book. I wonder—would I love the Bond movies as much, if I’d been a fan of the novels first?