Monday, December 6, 2010

Morning 007

Normal day at the office
I decided to give some Ian Fleming a go, mostly because of my brother, for 2 reasons.  He's a James Bond fan and I'm pretty sure his last job was for a James Bond-esque villain.  Maybe not Dr. No but at least someone like Hank Scorpio (who by the way is one of my favorite one-time Simpsons characters).  He described some of the projects he was working on and they all seemed to involve lasers pointed at a person, usually aimed at the jugular or eyeball.  Sure, he claims it was part of some elaborate lie detector test that involves measuring heart rate or eye movements, but I assume it's a lie detector that involves making the person tell the truth or you shoot them with lasers.  He also recently described part of his office as the "command center" and this is apparently not just some nerdy nickname but the actual name of the place.  I've advised him to quit immediately if they ask him to start wearing a jumpsuit to work.

I haven't see the movie Dr. No, so other than the usual Bond hijinks I wasn't too sure what I was in for.  My initial thoughts are this book has not aged all that well.  The book was written in '58 and displays the racial sensitivities you would expect of a book from this time.  One of the characters, Quarrel, is described as "West Indian" and is given the dialect to match.  I hate when authors do this because it makes it that much more difficult to read unless I'm reading it out loud, which is generally discouraged when in public.  Here's a bit of his speech describing Dr. No:
"'Him have plenty watchmen. An' guns - machine guns.  An' a radar.  An' a spottin' plane.  Frens o' mine have landed dere and him never been sen again. Dat Chinee keep him island plenty private.  Tell dat trut', cap'n', Quarrel as apologetic 'dat Crab Key care me plenty.'" (40)
So that's been fun to wade through so far. There are also some Chinese-Africans called Chigroes (racial sensitivity!)

Even though I haven't seen Dr. No, I can't help but already have a vision of what Bond is like.  Thus far he's somewhere between Connery and Craig, although I understand that Bond as Fleming has written him is even more amoral than the version Craig plays.  So far M fits this description.  In the first few pages he's listing off organs that his agents can go without, including: "one of his two lungs" and "two of his four or five quarts of blood," (13).  Considering this is Bond's boss, no wonder he's a bad ass.  There's also a picture of Fleming on the inside cover and I now picture him as M.  He has this expression on his face that says "I'm tired of your bullshit and if you keep this up, I'm putting this cigarette out in your eye."  M is so well defined in a few pages, I'm hoping Bond gets fleshed out more.  Hopefully once Quarrel has wandered off so I don't need to read his lines anymore.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes.  If anyone has read any of the Bond books, let me know which you liked better: the book or the movies.  I know in general the books are better but so far this has the potential to show me that I like the film version of Bond.

Fleming, Ian.  Dr. No.  Penguin Books, New York.  2002.