Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS - Kingsley Amis's *Colonel Sun*

William Denton (
Wed, 24 Nov 1999 11:04:55 -0500 (EST)

On 24 November 1999, wrote:

: As has been pointed out, Bond, though tough as old shoes, lacks the
: "common-touch" colloquialism that I think is essential to be
: classified as hard-boiled (something that Adam Hall's British agent,
: Quiller, *does* have). On the other hand, Fleming did consider
: himself to be a member of the Hammett-Chandler school and said so in
: interviews. I've got no great objections to his being discussed on
: the list, if no one else does.

A few early Bond books appear on Geoffrey O'Brien's hardboiled reading list in _Hardboiled America_ [1].

Bond--the book Bond--is cold and sadistic. His job is to kill, and he does so with a great deal of skill. Bond is also a damned snobby Englishman who doesn't think much of any kind of foreigner, unless they're servile or female and willing. It's been a while since I read the books--the card game in _Moonraker_ stands out in my memory, though--but overall I prefer Matt Helm who I think is a better character, better written, and more hardboiled. Helm is also more of an average Joe, while Bond operates within the upper classes and probably pays far too much attention to what kind of silk his undies are made of.

I once read an interesting article about the fetish-like attention paid to his cigarettes, clothes, cars, etc., little of which appears in classic hardboiled stuff (except for maybe cigarettes). I think Fleming was an odd one.

Amis's Bond book wasn't pretty poor, as I recall.



William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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