Saturday, May 28, 2011
American Public Media [The Writer's Almanac]...
It's the birthday of author Ian Fleming, born in London in 1908. His family enjoyed wealth and social standing; his father, Valentine, was a Member of Parliament, and when he died in World War I, Winston Churchill wrote his obituary. All doors were open to young Ian, and he worked as a foreign journalist, a banker, a stockbroker, a high-ranking officer and assistant to the director of British naval intelligence, and foreign manager of London's Sunday Times before he took up the career, and the character, that would make him famous. Casino Royale (1953) was the first of his many "James Bond" novels, which featured the playboy spy — code name "007" — and a host of fast cars, nifty gadgets, and hot women.
Fleming also wrote a children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964). In it, his character Commander Pott gave some advice that Bond might have heartily endorsed: "Never say 'no' to adventures. Always say 'yes,' otherwise you'll lead a very dull life."
James Bond confronts billionaire industrialist Hugo Drax, who plans to destroy life on earth and establish himself as king of a super-race in outer space.
From the original jacket copy...
"It was Monday and a routine day for James Bond in the quiet office at the headquarters of the Secret Service. Idly he ticked off his number - 007- on the charge sheets of the Top Secret files that had come in over the week-end. He was bored. Mondays were hell.
Then, suddenly, the red telephone screamed in the quiet room. 'M wants you.' And Bond walked out of his office and into the assignment that was to put even his adventures in France (Casino Royale) and Harlem and Jamaica (Live and Let Die) in the shade.
And yet what was to happen to him was to happen out of the clear blue skies of early summer, here, in England. As it might have been yesterday. Or, as it might be, some dreadful tomorrow."