Cheating Death – Part 1 of 2
John Hutchinson, VJ Books
November 5, 2015
We were just discussing how our favorite characters seem to cheat death. Some are immortal. They are ageless, and only improve with time, their qualities and limitations becoming clearer with each new story. I’d like to tell you about three such characters, men who have met the test of time.
When Ian Fleming died in 1964 we thought that the man with a “license to kill” died with him. Fleming wrote 14 James Bond books starting in 1953 with Casino Royale. His last Bond book, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, was released after Fleming’s death.
Bond was on hiatus until 1981 when John Gardner resurrected him in License Renewed. Gardner wrote more than a dozen Bond books, with his last, COLD, appearing in 1996.
Without missing a beat, Bond continued the next year under the guidance of Raymond Benson, with Blast from the Past, a Bond short story appearing in Playboy. A dozen books later Benson laid down the Walther PPK.
For the next five years Bond looked for a new sponsor. He twice approached Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels, but was turned down.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fleming’s birth, Bond reappeared in Devil May Care written by Sebastian Faulks. Faulks’ hold on Bond lasted about as long as Francisco Scaramanga held the “golden gun.” Three years later Jeffery Deaver took one shot at Bond in Carte Blanche.
23 films have featured Agent 007, starting with Dr. No in 1962 with Sean Connery as Bond. The 24th film, Spectre, starring Daniel Craig is scheduled to release in October.
It seems like no matter how skilled his adversary, or how sinister the plot, James Bond is here to stay.