With the announcement by the Ian Fleming estate that English author William Boyd has been chosen to pen the next James Bond novel, the UK’s ‘Sunday Times’ (April 15) devoted a whole page to a discussion of the implications of the new appointment.
The article, entitled ‘Sequels Are Forever’, and written by James Gillespie, tried to raise questions about whether there should be any more Bond continuation novels. It noted how the work of Sebastian Faulks (‘Devil May Care’) set Bond in the 1960s, while the work of Jeffery Deaver (‘Carte Blanche’) was a ‘very modern reinvention’ of the fictional spy created by Ian Fleming. Now the latest author, William Boyd, has decided to return James Bond back to the 1960s.
Boyd was quoted as saying: ‘I don’t quite see the point of moving the novel forward in time. What’s fascinating about Fleming and Bond is the time in which it’s set’. Gillespie’s article said this begs the question, is it time to finish Bond off for good?
However, according to Gillespie, whether he is in ’classic’ or ‘modern’ guise, the consensus is still that 007 remains forever. Among those who see the merit in keeping Bond going, for example, is Andrew Lycett, who wrote a major biography of Ian Fleming. Lycett commented: ‘Fleming would have been pleased and rather astounded by all the fuss being made of his work. He certainly wouldn’t object to the idea of Bond using apps and the latest in modern technology. That was one of the things about his books: they introduced aspects of contemporary life in that period just after the war when everyone was feeling a bit low. He had a taste for the new’.
Moreover, according to Gillespie’s article, John Carey, the literary critic and emeritus professor of English Literature at Oxford University, also has few quibbles with other writers taking on Bond – provided the quality is maintained: ‘I’m in favour of keeping the Bond brand alive if possible. It can be done’.
Jonny Geller, literary agent for Ian Fleming Publications, when asked by Gillespie about their choice of Boyd for the new novel, explained: ‘You never ask anyone who is not a fan or hasn’t grown up with Ian Fleming. William Boyd had written an essay about Fleming, and he (Fleming) appeared as a character in Boyd’s novel Any Human Heart, so I knew he was deeply knowledgeable’. Geller added: ‘The family are singularly open to other people’s ideas and William had a very strong vision of the story’.
William Boyd’s new James Bond novel will appear in 2013.