The Bond Market
Today sees the release of the a new James Bond novel, entitled *Devil May Care*, celebrated by an aquatic release party in London, along with an accompanying press campaign. The novel is a one-off from British novelist Sebastian Faulks and finds Bond chasing a Blofield-esque villain through London, Paris and the Middle East. Much like the film series’ recent reboot with *Casino Royale*, the novel styles itself as a throwback, with action set in Bond’s heyday of 1967 and Faulks taking the unusual step of writing as Ian Fleming, which falls somewhere between marketing gimmick and postmodern conceit.
Through the kind of serendipity that can only arise from a PR department, the release coincides with Ian Fleming’s 100th birthday. Bond himself has been around for more than half that time: He’s nearing 55, making him older than Ronald McDonald but younger than Batman. And, like anyone who’s stuck around that many years, he’s been through more than a few adventures that everyone involved would prefer to forget.
Including Faulks himself, apparently.
In fact, Bond has been foiling plots at a fairly steady clip since the beginning, but after years of cashing in, the Fleming family has taken to politely ignoring anything written after 1966. We can’t say we blame them. 2003 was actually the first year for more than a decade in which a bond novel was *not* released, a streak that began with 1986’s unfortunately named *No One Lives For Ever*. One of the highlights of the series is the rarely mentioned *Colonel Sun*, written by the legendary Kingsley Amis (under a pseudonym, naturally), but the gems are mostly buried under mountains of semi-competent pulp. Add in the recent spinoff series like *Young Bond* and *The Moneypenny Diaries* and it’s no wonder that the series has run back to the Fleming name. It’s become the only way to avoid the cash-ins.
Unfortunately, that leaves Mr. Faulks to do his best impression of a writer who has been dead for forty years, and it leaves Mr. Bond stuck in 1967 forever.
- — Russell Brandom