Thursday 6 October 2016

Worth a read - who is the ... 'anti-Bond'

A new article up this week on the Literary 007 blog looking at the literary legacy of James Bond writer Ian Fleming.

This two-page article by writer David Craggs asks the question: what was the impact of James Bond? Much like matter has anti-matter, his contention is that the creation of Bond enabled the creation of a number of 'anti-Bonds', including - famously - the unnamed spy created by Len Deighton.

Share your views in the comments below.


  1. i'll take the middle-aged, over-weight, out-of-shape, no-named guy who uses an ashtray as a weapon over the slick guy who uses fancy gizmos and drives a car that sprays both oil and bullets.

  2. Bond made adolescent boys realise that we could never reach those dizzy heights as we'd never have that incredible range of skills 007 had amassed eg pilot, gambler, martial arts expert, etc etc but on the other hand as it was all too risky, rather him than me(even if he did get to seduce an awful lot of women). 'Harry Palmer' on the other hand, even if he did seem to be more of a put-upon lowly civil servant at times, usually got to sleep in his own bed most nights and didn't risk his life every time he went to work. He probably gets more than his fair share of danger at times thanks to his creator but we can identify with him as he's not some super being and often thinks of changing careers if it means an easier life. He's got a bit of an anti attitude and good for him! Up the establishment, as in right up 'em!

  3. I read the first Bond novel in 1958 when I was studying in the University-we university mates, pooled our pennies together, and bought the hardback of Dr NO. I read the first Deighton Novel", the IPCRESS file in 1962, by which time, I had watched the James Bond (Sean Connery) on the big screen, as I could afford the cinema ticket price, having got a nice job by then. I would not call "Ipcress file" creating an anti-Bond, the term if I am right, reading from the reviews of the novel then and story of this "an anti-Bond" film in 1964 being filmed which presumably emerged from Harry Saltzman's quarters.
    Saltzman, though held film rights to the character, thus forcing Albert Broccoli to partner with him, wanted always to be the producer of his own films, digressed into other film ventures, after 2 Bond films: Dr No and From Russia with Love were released. He would have liked this term “anti- Bond” being heavily promoted in the newspapers.
    In my personal opinion, the two characters are different: Palmer was a mundane civil servant albeit in the intelligence service. Deighton then was much like all ordinary Brits, and created this character to reflect that status. Ian Fleming had an upper class pedigree, like his Bond, a naval officer, classy wearing suits from bespoke tailors in Sevile Row where had his suits made. Bond reflected better the spies involved in prevailing international espionage games as seen from across the Atlantic ( note the CIA and MI6 cooperation –James Bond and Felix Leiter) where he depicted high living ,risks and danger being shot at. For Fleming, who had a part in the WWII time espionage, the enemies were outside the British Empire. Deighton seemed to depict better the infiltration of the enemies’ influence within Britain. That also justified the “anti-Bond” tag then.
    To me, having seen the first Bond film in 1962, some 54 years ago, the longevity of the Bond character amazes me today. Then we never thought that the character would last very long.