Saturday, March 16, 2013

James Bond Is NOT the Worst Spy Ever

I am often amused when noted authors, critics, literary scholars, et al, state with the kind of authority reserved only for God himself that James Bond is the worst spy ever. A simple Google search will reveal a lot of writing on that subject, and a lot of it very vitriolic, especially from authors who were contemporaries of Ian Fleming but did not then and do not now share his kind of success.

These critics procede to note with great enthusiasm all of the parts of the Bond movies and books that "just aren't realistic" and "not what a real spy would do."

For some reason, these guys and gals do not like James Bond.

Is it the success of Ian Fleming and the Bond films, which have done more to influence spy stories than Brian Freemantle ever will, and who the hell is Brian Freemantle anyway? John le Carre is a known Fleming-basher, but I'll dare say more people know Fleming's name than le Carre's, and I will bet that many more have been entertained by Fleming's work than le Carre', it certainly isn't drivel. But it's not terribly entertaining.

Perhaps it's the influecne of the Bond Lifestyle, because most guys want to be Bond. Maybe that's what makes the critics angry. Guys want to have the clothes, the cars, the women, the guns, and the adventures, that James Bond has. Other writers and filmmakers have been able to tap that area of the imagination, but Fleming/Bond are tops in the category; we note that the Bond critics have not been able to achieve the same result.

Maybe Graham Greene and Len Deighton wish they had created a hero that influential.

The value of the Bond character goes beyond the millions of dollars the books and films generate. Ian Fleming and James Bond inspire the imagination. If you remember nothing else about the adventures, you know were you somehow transported into a world where a spy could indeed behave the way Bond does, and not only get away with it, but still accomplish his missions, get the girl, and, basically, stick it to the slug heads who say that's not the way it's supposed to be.

Nobody wants to read about a paper-pushing desk-jockey. (Sorry, Len--I tried but I couldn't get through The Ipcress File.) I don't want to know that the CIA and MI6 are bloated bureaucracies where it's a miracle anything ever gets done and how the hell did we survive the Cold War with such asinine egos working in those buildings?

That's why Bond is popular. He gets the job done. Oh, and he's fun. That's something the slug heads seem to forget. They also seem to forget the fact that James Bond isn't real, and that's important.  Fleming never claimed to be writing non-fiction. Why y'all so upset? Why cut down more trees just to write books that are "more realistic."

Nobody reads fiction for realism.

We read fiction to be entertained. Ian Fleming has been enteraining me since I was 13 years old, and I'm almost 40 now. There is no other author who has remained at the top of my reading list for so many years.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


You may have noticed there are a few things missing from this blog. Like the links to my books that are not The Rogue Gentleman. While giving allowing Bullet for One, my private eye story, which received very nice reviews from pros like Paul Bishop and Wayne Dundee (thanks, guys), to be downloaded free was a huge success, for better or worse, I have decided to pull the old books for a variety of reasons, most of which are to do with the fact that those books suck.

Well, maybe suck is the wrong word. But they done got their problems, Horace.

I was learning when I wrote them, and they could be better, and maybe in the future they will be available again, slightly revised with the help of my awesome editor Elaine Ash. For now, they're gone. Not many people bought them anyway, and those who did have not come back for more (that tells you something, doesn't it?) so it's best to move on.

For now, my efforts will be on launching Steve Dane, the aforementioned rogue, in paperback (coming soon and priced to move), and keeping that series going. The Rogue Gentleman: Mine to Avenge is well on its way to completion; at least two other Dane adventures have been fully outlined and are ready to go.

There are other non-series surprises coming too.

Thank you for all of your support; let's raise a glass to Steve Dane and carry on.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Sinister Activity of My Neighbor Part Two

You remember Mandy, right? The neighbor I think is spying on me. I returned home from an overnight visit to my father today and saw her collecting her mail. I went over and said hello, and we chatted for a spell.

Turns out she's involved in Wicca, which Wikipedia says, "is a pagan, witchcraft religion...developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and...introduced to the public in 1952 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. It draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practice."

I guess Christianity is boring.


Mandy is now considering becoming a "high priestess" or whatever Wicca's version of that rank is, but she's in a pickle. Apparently such a position would require her to give up smoking, drinking, and sex.

"I would die," I told her.

She thought that was funny, but only a little. She had one of those thousand-yard looks in her eyes that made me realize she was genuinely serious and genuinely concerned about the decision. I guess one of the Warlocks, the male version of the high priest, asked her about it at the last meeting. One can only imagine what such a meeting might be like.

To each his own, the lady said, as she kissed the cow. I'm not here to pass judgement, but, like Han Solo, I think hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

You will be proud of me, though. I refrained from from suggesting I could be her last fling. Somehow it didn't seem appropriate.

At least now she'll be busy thinking of other things and not spying on me when I leave for work in the morning. Cherish small victories.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Another Super7even Adventure!

Call me crazy but I've been thoroughly enjoying an ongoing web series called The Adventures of Super7even. Here's one episode:

Produced by stuntman Scott Rhodes and a variety of other Hollywood folks who, apparnently, do this on the side, the series features our costumed hero, Super7even, as he battles the evil forces of Worldwide Evil in their attempts to...oh, you get the idea. This show doesn't require any brain work. Good guys vs. bad guys, lots of style, some humorous quirks and tongue-in-cheek moments; it's just plain fun. It shows that there is plenty of talent in Hollywood and maybe even a few original ideas but unfortunately the Hollywood culture is such that alternative methods of production and distribution are required to get that talent in front of viewers. Thank goodness for YouTube.

Anyway there are a lot of episodes to watch. Check out the website for more.