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Sorry. No rerun.

I'm afraid you'll be subjected to a fresh comic today. Sorry about that.

Now a little news. A friend of mine from Seattle just won a contest for creating something awesome (which is usually a prize in and of itself.

I'm currently reading Goldfinger. I've always loved the movie, so I figured I'd give the original novel a shot. I'm 25% of the way through it and it is breathtakingly slow.  Here's a synopsis of the story so far.

Bond sits in Airport. His flight is canceled.

 

Bond meets someone he knows. They share a big crab dinner, about which Bond feels guilty.

 

Friend tells Bond he's being cheated at cards. He offers Bond money to find out how.

 

Bond meets Goldfinger, and watches him cheat his friend at cards.

 

Bond figures out how Goldfinger is cheating and foils him by intimidating a woman.

 

Bond spends lost weekend with the woman. We hear about it after the fact and get no details.

 

Bond goes back to London and is assigned a desk job he finds boring. He considers writing a book about beating people up.

 

M assigns bond to investigate Goldfinger. First stop, the bank of England for a chapter long speech about gold. Turns out it’s quite valuable!

 

Bond goes to Goldfinger's favorite golf course, which; coincidentally, Bond spent a whole summer playing at when he was a teen. There he has a long conversation with a caddy.

 

That's where I am right now. At first I found the book confusing, after all it's a James Bond adventure and the closest thing there's been to action is Bond remembering killing a Mexican while he sits in the airport. Now I see that my mistake was in approaching it as an adventure book. I have started seeing it as a comedy, where the joke is to plunge Bond into a series of situations, each more stupefying boring then the last. Approached this way, the book is a masterpiece.

I’ll let you know how it ends.

Reader Comments (8)

What about all the product placements???

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian

Hey, even high-powered professional secret agents have mundane lives most of the time.

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfluffy

Yeah. I had a similar experience with Casino Royale. I don’t know that I’d say “boring”, but it was certainly not the action story I was expecting. In fact, Bond did and said very little at all. I couldn’t finish it. I’ll have to try again sometime now that I know what to expect. (Or maybe, what not to expect.)

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Fisher

You should try From Russia With Love. Bond doesn't even appear until about 80 pages in.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZach

The Bond books are quite different to the films, which became action sequences strung together by a 'plot'. And the action sequences in the books are slower than the films too.

The thing about Ian Flemings writing was not the overall quality of the book - which could be flakey at the best of times - but some of the characters/descriptions/prose/turns of phrase. A good example is when he meets Pussy Galore, if you haven't got there already, and right at the end of the book when he gets the girl.

Read Thunderball. It's my favourite and generally regarded as Fleming at the height of his powers. The few paragraphs describing his first meeting/appraisal of Domino are superb - unquestionably sexist and rather bigotted, and kind of funny because of it. But also how every heterosexual man probably appraises a pretty woman when he meets her.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob

As a huge Bond fan myself I had the same idea as you - "if the movies as this great the books must be amazing"! I have read Goldfinger and Thunderball (my two favorite movies) and I agree with the other poster - Thunderball is much better and probably worth a read.

Oh and I got some product placement for you (if its not forbidden, if so sorry) I love Bond so much I named my business "Pussycat Galore" :)

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJillian

Ditto on the prose comment. If you're only familiar with the movies, you might expect physical details of the women, but books also go into detail about the men (down to the thin blond hairs on the rear end of a naked KGB assassin, for example), and the food, and (as you've discovered) the golf.

Fleming, of course, was in Naval Intelligence during the second World War, so his real-world experience was likely a series of boring situations punctuated by moments of extreme personal interest, so you can say he writes what he knows.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDPR

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July 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamel

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