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Runcible Cat
May 28, 2007

A post? Never!!


chitoryu12 posted:

And that's it, the worst of all the books we've read. A marvelous example in mediocrity at best, outright offensive to Fleming's memory and the concept of literature itself at worst. I have no shame in saying it should never be read.

Next, we go on to two film novelizations written by the films' scriptwriter. They are....something.

God drat. Swarms of giant carnivorous mutant gerbils. With a killswitch. I'm mesmerised by the awfulness.

I can't believe Confessions of a Double-O Agent are going to be any worse, but I've been wrong before...


Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

Well, this might be a stiff test, but I guess we're just going to have to stand proud and erect and prepare for what's coming.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

chitoryu12 posted:

But Moonraker was too silly to be real

New thread title?

chitoryu12 posted:

As such, for these two books I will be implementing the Horny Counter. It shall mark every time Christopher Wood unnecessarily incorporates something sexual into the books, often in a way that makes the reader feel awkward or uncomfortable.

I fear it will be hard for many of us, but we'll just have to get a grip and finish it quickly.

Dec 21, 2012


I can't understand these kinds of games, and not getting it bugs me almost as much as me being weird

James Bond acts cold, has a hard exterior, but it's really an attempt to armor himself against his own vulnerability. Deep down inside, he is absolutely full of fucks to give.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 1: Love in the Afternoon


The girl lay back against the pillow and looked out on to the balcony. The man was still leaning against the balustrade, his hands spread wide and his head tilted forward as he examined something that was happening on the beach. He was naked except for a light-blue towel hitched round his waist. Although in repose, there was a quality of tension about him, like a baited trap. His body was not conspicuously muscled, but lean and hard. The girl knew that.

She pulled the sheet up about her own naked body and willed the man to turn round. He did not move. She turned and looked at the mans watch beside the bed. It was a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The slim antennae hands showed four o'clock; an afternoon when the heat still clung persistently, sulkily refusing to give way to the inevitability of evening. The girl dabbed her cheek with the sheet and changed her position against the pillow. She wanted him to come back to her, but she was a proud girl and she did not want to ask. Nothing that she could think of saying sounded anything more than an attempt to make conversation. And conversation was a way of asking.

The girl looked down at the innocent swelling of her breasts beneath the sheet and blushed. Was it obvious? Could anybody tell at a glance that she had been making love, wild, beautiful love? She pulled her fingers through her hair trying to find how tangled it was. There had been a Greta Garbo film about a queen who was trapped in a wayside inn with a man. He did not know that she was a queen and as the snow separated them from the outside world they had stayed in a room and made love. And the queen had wandered round the room touching the now familiar objects and consigning them to her memory. For she would never come back to this room and nothing with the man would ever be the same again.

Horny Counter: 1


What in this room was to be stored away? It was a sad room, the furniture heavy and ill-matched as so often in hotels, and the lining of the tall curtains beginning to drift away at the seams. No paintings hung on the heavy wood panelling and the carpet was an unlovely grey.

A cry from the beach distracted her and she looked out once more towards the man on the balcony. A shiver of wind, the first of the day, tugged at the curtains and he turned and approached her. She gazed at the face as if seeing it for the first time. It was dark and clean-cut, and the eyes were wide and level under straight, rather long black brows. The longish straight nose ran down to a short upper lip below which was a wide and finely drawn mouth. The eyes were harsh and the mouth was cruel, the line of the jaw was straight and firm.

The girl felt herself becoming hot and moist and was ashamed, because she was not a promiscuous girl. She lowered her gaze. The man took her chin in his hand and forced it up so that he could look into her eyes. ‘You know that I'm going this evening. I have a job to do.’

Horny Counter: 2


She nodded. ‘You told me.’ Why was he telling her again? Was it his way of saying firmly that the pleasant interlude was over? Or was he in a way excusing himself? Apologizing for making love to her and then leaving her? Whatever it was, she wanted him to kiss her. To kiss her and press her back into the pillows and hold her tight and make her forget everything except the marvellous feeling that had spilled over her the last time.

The man leaned forward again. ‘You are probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.' He looked into her eyes for several seconds and then abruptly kissed her with such passion that she expected to taste blood on her lips. His hard, blunt shoulders bore her down and the sheet was contemptuously torn aside like a leaf from a calendar. The girl closed her eyes.

Suddenly, the telephone next to the bed rings. Annoyed, the man snatches up the receiver and listens to what the man on the other end of the line has to say.


The girl watched the man’s face as he talked, and her last hopes disappeared. Eventually, he held the receiver over the rest like a bomb waiting to be dropped.

‘A change of plan?’

The man nodded glumly. ‘Apparently. You are to report to Moscow at once.’

The girl smiled a brief, sad smile of farewell and then swung her long legs from the bed. ‘Tell them that I am leaving immediately, Sergei,’ she said.

Our bait-and-switch character, Sergei Barsov, was played in the film by British actor Michael Billington. He had recently appeared in the historical shipping company drama The Onedin Line as Daniel Fogarty and as Czar Nicholas II in the 1975 TV drama Edward the Seventh. Appropriate for Wood intentionally making him seem to be Bond at the start, Billington supposedly screen tested for the role of Bond more than any other actor and was even Albert R. Broccoli's first choice for For Your Eyes Only in case Moore didn't come back. He would die of cancer in 2005.

Chapter 2: Piste Dangereuse!


James Bond was angry with himself. He had committed a number of elementary blunders which a man of his training and experience should not have committed. He had been guilty of hubris and complacency. To put it in more direct terms, he had been a drat fool.

Ah, he's back in character!


To start with, he should never have trusted the girl. Women you pick up in casinos are either straightforward whores or have run out of money playing some ridiculous system. Either way they are going to be very expensive and probably very neurotic. Bond loved gambling because to him tension was a form of relaxation, but he should have been more wary of the lynx-eyed redhead spilling five-hundred-franc plaques round his ankles and receiving his offer of a drink with an alacrity considerably less discreet than the scent she was wearing - Fracas by Piguet. Anybody knowing that he was in town would have expected him to make an appearance at the casino and could have organized the assignation accordingly. Mea culpa.

While Wood's writing is often questionable, it's refreshing to finally abandon Pearson forever.


Bond was in Chamonix. M had suggested that he needed a few days’ ‘holiday’ and that the mountain air - a little skiing, a little walking - would do him good. In the summer you have to go high to ski. Through the Mont Blanc tunnel and up the Italian side of the Monte Blanco - somehow it did not seem to be the same mountain in Italian. Bond was not feeling charitable towards Italians. They had descended like a cloud of black corbeaux on the casino at Chamonix, wandering from table to table casting plaques upon the water and making too much noise. In an attempt to parlay large numbers of inflated lira into deflated francs they played everything badly and impeded Bond’s concentration with their nudging badinage.

The girl said that she came to Chamonix every summer though in winter she skied at Courchevel. Yes, the skiing at Tignes was excellent but it was bleak and there were too many Germans. The Germans were not sympathique. She hoped Bond did not mind? Bond did not mind.

The girl also had a friend who worked for Heliski. He would be able to lift them high into the mountains by helicopter where they could find the best snow conditions. There were huts with bunks up there. They could spend the night.

Bond accepts, and the two find themselves in a helicopter flying up the steep face of the Aiguille du Mort. The helicopter hits an air pocket that abruptly drops it, and the girl seems nervous. But Bond notes that her nervousness is a little more than just at the turbulence.


Do I have an alternative? thought Bond. He wished he could feel his Walther PPK 7.65 mm nestling inside his trouser band. But like a drat fool he had left it behind, hidden in the recess of the hideous cuckoo clock that guarded the exterior of his room in the Hotel Dahu.

Bond tapped the glass of his Rod 88 goggles and examined the girl more closely. She had, he supposed, a typically French face. A dark gypsy slutishness tamed into sophistication. Her green almond eyes seldom seemed to be more than half open, and sheltered between a foliage of long untidy lashes which looked as if she had just washed them and found them impossible to manage. Her nose was short and tilted up at the end and her lips thrust out, permanently pert and premeditated as if she was just about to blow a kiss. Her hair, now tucked under a close-fitting, knitted woollen cap, was cut casually to fall across her forehead and hang in inverted question marks about her shoulders.

Horny Counter: 3

The girl with her "gypsy slutishness" (a phrase I would like never to see again) was unnamed in the film and played by Sue Vanner. She had a decent career for about a decade before marrying future multi-millionaire property tycoon Warren Todd in 1987 (stepson of Lisa Vanderpump). Todd just happens to be 16 years younger than Vanner, with his stepmother being younger than her. They remained married until Warren abruptly moved out last year with a much younger girl, reportedly an Eastern European woman named Anya that he met at the gym.


‘Why do you bring this?’ She pointed to the small red haversack that Bond had taken from his shoulders when he climbed into the Gyrafrance.

‘It’s my mountain survival kit.’

‘There is everything we need to survive in the ’ut. You will see.’

‘I was brought up never to take chances.’ Was it his imagination or did the pilot’s mouth tighten into a faint smile?

Now they were over the lip of the Aiguille and the turbulence ceased. Chamonix had disappeared but at least he was spared that nerve-fraying view down the cliff face.

'On va descendre toute suite,’ said the pilot without turning his head. ‘Two minute,’ he repeated, presumably for Bond’s benefit, and jerked a thumb towards the snow.

The helicopter skimmed over a ridge and Bond looked down on a wide undulating expanse of snow broken by occasional rock formations. Far, far to his right was the line of squat télécabines, etched against the sky like a string of pack ponies, that made their way from the Aiguille du Midi to the Italian side of the frontier. To the far left of his vision must be the Swiss frontier. Three countries interlocking in a vast white wilderness. It must be easy to move from one to the other if you knew the mountains. What country were they in now? The helicopter came down to hover above the snow, the blades stirring up a blizzard. The pilot said something to the girl which Bond did not catch because of the noise, and pushed back the hatch cover. The rush of cold air stung Bond's cheek.

The helicopter sets down on the packed snow, the air hard to breathe at such altitudes.


Bond kept a wary eye on the pilot and indicated with a courteous extension of the hand that the girl should descend first. He did not want to step in the snow, receive a bullet in the stomach and live just long enough to see the helicopter spiralling away into the sun. To his relief the girl acknowledged the gesture with a smile and swung her legs out of the cabin. He dropped down beside her and removed his Rossignol ST Competition skis from the outside of the Gyrafrance. The pilot was looking back impatiently as if eager to be off.

In case the namedropping of skis seems excessive, please go back and read about how much Fleming waxed poetic on them in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.


‘Is he picking us up?

‘No. We will ski down.’ The girl took her skis and moved away from the helicopter. Bond pulled on his gloves, adjusted his goggles against the glare and followed her.

‘Why are you looking at me?’ said the girl.

‘I was just thinking how pretty you were,’ said Bond, examining the outline of her suit for any sign of a concealed weapon.

The girl was called Martine Blanchaud and had said that she lived in Lyon where her father owned a business. She had been unhappily married and stayed with friends when she came to Chamonix. Bond had never seen any of the friends. She was always alone when he had seen her at the Casino.

Bond stares as the helicopter departs in a swirl of snow. The view stretches across three countries, with airplanes flying just above them in the distance.


‘Do you not want to ski?’

‘I was looking at the mountains,’ said Bond.

The girl rested her hand lightly on his shoulder so that she could brush the snow from her boot. ‘When you see them all the time you get used to them.’

‘Perhaps.’ Bond felt a sense of unreality. He had been dropped on to the roof of the world and he had done nothing to earn these spirit-enriching vistas, the reward of those who had bravely scaled the face of a mountain. Bond preferred his pleasures hard-won. He stamped hard into his skis, hunched his shoulders and stabbed at the snow with his sticks. Some expiation was dearly necessary.

‘You ’ave old fashioned batons,’ said the girl. ‘You should get the new ones. See ’ow they curve round be’ind your back when you schuss? There is less wind resistance.’

Bond looked at the girl’s sticks, which looked like alloy pigs’ tails. He shook his head. ‘They’re not going to make any difference to my skiing. I’ll stick to these, thanks.’

If you've seen the movie, you know that Bond's got some unique skiing gear!


The girl shrugged and poked at one of her ski bindings. ‘Follow me. There are some crevasses here.’ Are there indeed, thought Bond. A man can lay for a long time in the bottom of a crevasse. He cursed himself again for his folly.

The girl started to ski, carving out a zig-zag pattern in the deep snow. She skied very upright, like most women, but she was graceful and had perfect balance. Bond watched her with grudging admiration. As a rule he admired women practising any sport as much as Dr Johnson admired them preaching, but he made an exception in the cases of fencing and skiing. These were two pursuits that could enhance their feminity rather than grotesquely diminish it.

I will not add that to the Horny Counter but you're on thin ice, buddy.


Bond tightened the clasp on his haversack and felt the steel frame bite into his shouderblades. There was a touch of condensation in his goggles and he pulled them away from his face a couple of times and adjusted the visor to clear the mist. The leather-buckled straps of his Kerma Zicral sticks sat lightly on the tops of his hands and as a gust of wind cuffed snow into the air so he shifted his weight and sent the two-metre Rossignol STs sliding down the slope.

As always with any sport not constantly practised, there was a moment of doubt. Would the skill return when summoned? As he gathered speed and prepared for the first turn, Bond told himself to relax. No one skis well when they are contracted. Ahead, the wide expanse of snow lay unbroken save for the graceful tracery of the girl’s track. Bond’s skis rattled and he moved them an extra inch apart before picking his spot with his stick. His body rose and he pressed down hard, carving the pattern of the turn with his knees. The skis hissed through the snow and Bond felt himself secure in the perfect arc of movement that makes a good turn. He sank down and then rose again effortlessly into the next. A glance behind told him that it was better than the first, more crisply etched and with less powder thrown out at the edge. Satisfied, Bond skied fast to where the girl was waiting.

She looked at him admiringly. ‘You are a very good skier.’ There was a slight note of surprise in her voice.

‘I try,’ said Bond.

"Let me tell you of how my mentor was murdered."


They skied for another hour before they came to the chalet- refuge. Bond had kept careful watch but had seen no sign that there was anyone in this part of the mountains but themselves. He had noticed chamois tracks, but that was all. Perhaps his instinct had been wrong for once. The helicopter pilot had been disgruntled because he was having problems with his wife or mistress - or both - and Martine Blanchaud was like himself; merely looking for congenial company and not part of some sinister plot. Maybe M’s surmise that he was run down and needed a few days’ holiday had been correct. M’s surmises usually were.

The hut was of typical alpine construction - wide and low and backed into the mountain as if prepared to sell its life dearly against any avalanche that rolled down from above. The logs from which it was made criss-crossed and stuck out at two corners and the tiny windows were sunk back in the walls like old man’s eyes. Six feet of snow on the roof gave it the appearance of some exotic gateau.

Bond was glad to see that the snow around the door was undisturbed. He took off his skis and tried the door. At first he thought it was locked, but it was merely frozen. He put his shoulder against it and it gave with a sound like a pistol shot. Some snow fell on his head and the girl laughed. ‘Careful said Bond. ‘I might put you across my knee.’

Horny Counter: 4


The girl raised an intrigued eyebrow and Bond wondered if she understood the exact meaning of the expression. She was very pretty and the mornings skiing had rekindled a number of his appetites. Perhaps it had been the Italians and the losing streak at the casino that had made him liverish.

As was his habit when playing roulette, Bond had borrowed the chef’s card and studied the run of the ball since the session opened at three o’clock. He knew that mathematically it meant nothing, but it was his convention to take careful note of any peculiarities in the run of the wheel and to act upon them. In this instance the card had told him nothing of interest except that five of the last six numbers to come up had been lower than twenty-five. It was Bond’s practice to play always with the wheel and only start on a new tack when zero came up. On this night he had decided to follow the wheel and back the first two dozens. The dozens pay odds of two to one, which meant that for every thousand francs Bond bet he would make a profit of five hundred francs provided that neither zero nor a number higher than twenty-four came up.

On the first throw, the ivory ball had dropped into the twenty-five. The second throw was thirty-two. Bond had made no sign but merely marked his card. The third throw was another twenty-five. Bond had stayed with the first dozens and increased his stake to the maximum.

The film does not include this casino setup, nor any gambling from my memory. I guess Wood wanted to throw as much of the classic Bond into the book as possible.


As he did every time, the croupier had picked up the ball with his right hand, given one of the four spokes of the wheel a controlled clockwise twist with the same hand, and flicked the ball round the outer rim of the wheel anti-clockwise against the spin. The ball had run smoothly at first and then jiggled and joggled happily over the slots as the wheel began to lose momentum. Its carefree progress contrasted with the drawn faces round the table, some of them trying to keep pace with its movement like spectators at a tennis match.

‘Zero!’ Had there been a hint of triumph in that cry? Nobody had been on zero and the table had been cleared in favour of the bank.

So opened one of the least successful gaming sessions Bond had ever known. He had limped away from the tables with Martine Blanchaud in exchange for a total loss of eight thousand francs. Perhaps now was the moment to discover if Mademoiselle Blanchaud could provide adequate recompense for such a loss.

You're testing me, Wood.


The inside of the hut was sparsely furnished with a few solid wooden chairs and a hewn table. There was a large woodframed fireplace with a fire laid and waiting to be lit, and a two-tier bunk bed, each compartment being of strictly single dimensions. Panicles of dust hung in the descending shaft of sunlight that penetrated one of the small, thick-paned windows, and there was a thick coating of dust on most surfaces. Two tall doors flanked the fireplace and were presumably cupboards.

‘It needs a little money spent on it,' said Bond. ‘Kind of someone to leave
us a fire.’

'Tu as du feu?'

Bond proffered his battered Ronson and enjoyed the line of the girl’s behind as she sat on her haunches to light the fire. Nobody has yet managed to design a ski outfit that enhances the work God put into the female body, but this concealed less than most.

Horny Counter: 5


There was a crackle, a flame, a thin, determined column of smoke and then the fire began to draw lustily. The girl rose to him triumphantly. ‘Voilà!’

‘Do they have girl guides in France?'

Again the look of puzzlement. ‘You mean, on the mountains?’

Bond took the girl into his arms and felt her warm, soft breasts against his chest. Soon he would kiss her and make the nipples hard.

Horny Counter: 6

Purely because that was just so egregious.


‘No,’ he said. ‘I mean something completely different. Girl guides are-' He broke off, staring through the fragment of window not obscured by drifts. He was looking at a perfect field of snow traversed by distant ski tracks weaving down the side of the mountain. Three pairs of ski tracks. Bond’s heart raced. The tracks had not been there when they came. Somebody was coming towards the hut.

Bond pushed the girl away and immediately saw fear in her eyes. She knew. What the hell was he going to do? Certainly not stay here. He looked into the frightened, betraying eyes and threw his arm roughly round the girl’s waist. He snatched her to him so that her lips trembled an inch from his.

‘Might as well find out what you taste like! ’ He kissed her hard and cruelly and hurled her back across the room so that she sprawled dangerously close to the fire she had just lit. Turning his back contemptuously Bond stooped to gaze through the window. The path of the ski tracks was obscured by an outcrop of rock in the foreground. For two hundred yards in front of him there was no sign of movement. The men must be in the hollow behind the rock. He could imagine them briskly side-stepping up the slope, the locomotive spurts of breath escaping from their lips. He turned towards the girl, who was still squatting in the fireplace watching him warily. Get going!

Bond begins running for the door, but a sudden impulse makes him pause. He checks the cabinets and finds one of them locked.


Bond took his knee to it and then followed through with the whole weight of his foot encased in its Handson ski boot. Splinters of wood burst from the area of the lock and the door crashed open. What Bond saw made him want to be sick. A pretty girl in a transparent laundry bag. Naked. Dead. Her hands tied behind her back. Her body mutilated. Disgusting smears of blood on the thick polythene. Her flesh bruised and swollen.

That part is also not in the movie. I should also point out that this book is unusually gory for the series.


Bond spun round towards Martine Blanchaud. The expression of stupefied horror on her face saved her life. This was one turn of the wheel she did not know about.

Bond clattered clumsily across the room and threw open the door. The midday sun had been strong enough to start the icicles dripping, and a ragged trench mark followed the line of the eaves. Bond snatched his skis, which were propped up against the wall, and threw them down in the snow. drat! There was ice on one of his boots. He tried to force it into the binding and then hacked savagely with the tip of his stick. The black, hard rime fell away parsimoniously as if being sculpted.

The men must be near now. Bond scraped again and drove his foot down savagely.


It was not the sound of the binding gripping but of a carbine being cocked. Bond ducked instinctively and the shot sprayed him with splinters of wood from the spot where his head had been. One ski was now secure and Bond kicked the other forward and hopped after it so that he did not present a sitting target. He glided on one ski and, catching up with the second, brought his foot down until it made contact with the binding. A second bullet kicked up snow a couple of feet behind him. Bond felt the desperate electricity of fear circulating his body. If he could not get his boot in the binding ... bending forward with his weight agonizingly poised on his right knee, Bond steadied the errant ski and slid the toe of his boot under the expanded C of metal that manipulated the front release mechanism. His heel wavered and then steadied momentarily between the sprung platform of the back restraint. He sucked in his breath and pressed down. The automatic stop resisted and then clicked down. The boot was held.

Because this is a novelization of an action movie, it contains considerably more action than Fleming's books described in far more detail.


Bond skate-skied behind a pile of logs buried by the snow and surveyed the open ground before him. There were two men on skis wearing white military-type one-piece suits with hoods. They were both armed with carbines and one of the men was kneeling to take up a better firing position. Even as he ducked back behind the logs a bullet screamed into them, kicking up a flurry of snow. Bond jump-turned and headed for the slope, running at a reverse angle to the one by which he and the girl had reached the hut. He drove his skis against the snow as if they were ice-skates and dropped to the schuss position as soon as he began to pick up speed. That way he made a smaller target and moved faster. There was a pause in which he could hear his heart bearing and then another shot that whistled over his right shoulder. He rose just long enough to turn and then took the steepest line.

The film assassin outfits are considerably more "Bond Henchman" than white suits with hoods. The rifles are some sort of FN FAL with suppressors.


Within a second he knew that he had made a mistake.

The shot that sang off his boot buckles had come from below him. The first two men had been beaters driving him towards the third. They must have realized that there was a good chance of them being seen approaching the hut, and had laid their plans accordingly. Once again he, James Bond, had been found wanting. He was skiing into a trap.

He could see the third man now, fifty yards below him and to the right. The man was holding his rifle but not bothering to take aim. He was waiting to see what Bond did. Whether he stopped or came into closer range. Bond glanced behind him. There was no sign of the other men over the brow of the slope. Below, steep crags rose up on both sides, funnelling him towards a narrow, precipitous corridor. It was this that the third man was guarding. A cold sweat prickled Bond’s armpits. Think fast, drat you! You got yourself into this, now get yourself out. The soft life has caught up with you, Bond. The next comfortable, plush-lined boîte you find yourself in will not be a boîte de nuit but a boîte de la longue nuit - a coffin.

Bond slips his hand out of the restraining straps on his ski pole and begins skiing straight at one of the men, shouting at him in French. It confuses him long enough that he lowers his rifle for a moment.


Bond raised the stick in his right hand in a gesture that must have seemed like admonishment. His fingers fumbled and twisted at the point where the zicral shaft met the grip. Something gave and Bond could feel a pressure against the glove- clad pad of his thumb. The barrel of the machine carbine was on a direct line for his heart and the man's shoulder hunched forward. Bond squeezed the metal nerve with a desperation born of fear. There was a violent yellow flash and a pall of blood and guts was thrown twenty feet behind the man with a noise like a whipcrack. Through the smoking end of his now pointless ski stick Bond watched the rifle drop, the hands involuntarily fall to the obscene, pumping hole, the look of unbelieving amazement on the face, the ghastly recognition, the two steps back taken in death, and the final collapse into the bloody shroud of snow. It was over in seconds but Bond knew that the picture of that death would stay with him for the rest of his life.

Who needs a PPK when you have a ski pole gun? On the other hand, putting Bond in a canary yellow ski suit may have been a mistake.


Another shot from behind, no better directed than the rest. Farewell to obsequies. Bond dropped to his now familiar crouch and skated for the corridor between the rocks. Sufficient momentum attained, he dropped to the egg-shell position and hugged his knees.

Behind him, the eyes of the two men were not for their stricken comrade but for the departing Bond. One of them quickly snapped into a firing position and spun round angrily as his comrade knocked aside the barrel of his rifle. The second man smiled and nodded towards the corridor. ‘Aiguille du Mort.’

Bond is skiing too fast, faster than he can control. Suddenly, he finds nothing but air underneath him.


Bond began to turn in the air like a rag doll dropped from a window. The force of descent ripped a ski from his boot and he felt a sharp pain in his knee as it was twisted savagely by the motion. His widespread arms clawed at the air trying to achieve some balance, but the world spun past - granite, sky, snow. The wind screamed. It had been like this in dreams. The sudden jolt and the falling, falling, falling. But in dreams you woke up before you were spattered against the rocks like a bird’s dropping. Bond fought to reach his right arm behind his left shoulder. The second ski had gone and there was now some pattern to his descent. His fingers closed against the edge of the haversack and then lost contact. It seemed that he had been kicking in space for minutes. He clamped his hand to his shoulder and fumbled desperately. This time his fingers felt something. A semi-circle of metal. He pulled and closed his eyes.

Suddenly something behind him crackled like machine-gun fire and there was a billowing glimpse of red, white and blue. A giant hand seized him by the scruff of the neck and pulled the world into focus. His speed of descent slackened magically and suddenly he could see his boots dangling below him. He had time to breathe, to look up at the bulging panels of silk above his head, to realize that he was alive.

In the town of Chamonix an old man shaded his eyes against the sun and looked up into the mountains. A man had just parachuted off the Aiguille du Mort. He must be an Englishman because it was possible to see the reverse side of the Union Jack emblem on his parachute and because only an Englishman would do a thing like that. 'Ils sont fous, les anglais,’ he said, not without a trace of grudging admiration, and hurried on down the Avenue du Bouchet.

The film's opening ski chase is one of the most famous Bond scenes of all time, though I personally think the first ski chase of On Her Majesty's Secret Service is much better....until the final jump. For Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee year of 1977, they ended the chase with Rick Sylvester taking a leap off a cliff thousands of feet high from Mount Asgard in Auyuittuq National Park. Sylvester had been hired because he performed a similar stunt for a Canadian Club commercial; it turned out the stunt was just special effects, but he decided he could pull it off for real. They had only a 15 minute window for the jump, only one of the three cameras captured it, and one of his skis nearly hit his chute. There were reports of standing ovations in theaters when this happened.


Nearly nine thousand feet above the town, Sergei Borzov of SMERSH Otdyel II, the Operations and Executions branch of the murder apparat of the Russian KGB, lay with his mouth open and watched his blood melting a hole in the snow. It would not be melting it for much longer. Already a long shadow was falling across the slope and the cold reached out ahead of it. He would never see her again, or the hotel on the Black Sea, or the children playing on the beach. All that he had consigned to memory before turning and funnelling his soul into her eyes. The room had been cool and dark and deep like a grave. The curtains stirring in a dying wind. The sheet above her breasts white as snow. White as snow.

The black shadow passed over the man and he closed his eyes and died.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 04:01 on May 13, 2020

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

You know, if we hadn't just come off Pearson, the shamelessness with which Wood just rips directly from Casino Royale when describing Bond at the roulette table would probably be rather obnoxious:


But on this June evening when Bond walked through the ‘kitchen’ into the salle privée, it was with a sensation of confidence and cheerful anticipation that he changed a million francs into plaques of fifty mille and took a seat next to the chef de partie at Roulette Table Number 1.

Bond borrowed the chef’s card and studied the run of the ball since the session had started at three o’clock that afternoon. He always did this although he knew that each turn of the wheel, each fall of the ball into a numbered slot, has absolutely no connexion with its predecessor. He accepted that the game begins afresh each time the croupier picks up the ivory ball with his right hand, gives one of the four spokes of the wheel a controlled twist clockwise with the same hand, and with a third motion, also with the right hand, flicks the ball round the outer rim of the wheel anti-clockwise, against the spin.

It was obvious that all this ritual and all the mechanical minutiae of the wheel, of the numbered slots and the cylinder, had been devised and perfected over the years so that neither the skill of the croupier nor any bias in the wheel could affect the fall of the ball. And yet it is a convention among roulette players, and Bond rigidly adhered to it, to take careful note of the past history of each session and to be guided by any peculiarities in the run of the wheel. To note, for instance, and consider significant, sequences of more than two on a single number or of more than four at the other chances down to evens.

Bond didn’t defend the practice. He simply maintained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.

On the record of that particular table, after about three hours’ play, Bond could see little of interest except that the last dozen had been out of favour. It was his practice to play always with the wheel, and only to turn against its previous pattern and start on a new tack after a zero had turned up. So he decided to play one of his favourite gambits and back two – in this case the first two – dozens, each with the maximum – one hundred thousand francs. He thus had two-thirds of the board covered (less the zero) and, since the dozens pay odds of two to one, he stood to win a hundred thousand francs every time any number lower than 25 turned up.

He does at least have the sense to twist it by having Bond losing heavily in the end, instead of winning heavily as he does originally to prepare for facing Le Chiffre.



'Ils sont fous, les anglais,’

"Ils sont fous, les [people]" ("These [people] are crazy!") is the catchphrase of Asterix's sidekick Obelix as he travels about the place and sees how different people do things. Original Asterix writer Rene Goscinny died in 1977 after 19 best-selling albums with artist Albert Uderzo. The comics are also relatively popular in the UK (alongside Tintin, they're a mainstay of any good children's library and some rubbish ones as well), aided by the legendarily skilful translation work of Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge, and I very much hope this was an intentional tribute.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 3: Death to Spies


Anya Amasova felt uneasy as the nondescript ZIS saloon approached the familiar drabness of the Sretenka Ulitsa. Why did they want her at such short notice? Why had no reasons been given? What had she done wrong? The last was the most persistent and worrying consideration. Nobody who worked for the KGB or any other branch of the Soviet bureaucracy could afford to believe that they were beyond blame. Original sin was as much a tenet of the Communist faith as of the Christian. Perhaps they had found out about her affair with Sergei - she interrupted her train of thought to scold herself. Not affair, that was one of their words. Cheap and shoddy. Transitory. She must find a better way to describe what had happened. Perhaps they had found out that she and Sergei had fallen in love. The room was almost certainly bugged and there might even have been a concealed camera. Such things were not unknown.

But could they object to her falling in love? Yes, they could object to anything. The state was your only lover and the penalties for unfaithfulness were severe.

The previous thread covered Barbara Bach as Anya Amasova in the original The Spy Who Loved Me posts.


‘Comrade-Major.’ The driver had turned round and was looking at her with deadpan eyes. They had arrived. Number 13 Sretenka Ulitsa, headquarters of SMERSH.

Anya glanced up and caught a glimpse of her eyes in the driver’s mirror. It is at such offguard moments that you really see yourself and Anya was disturbed by the look of fear in her eyes. The open, vulnerable wariness.
Not for the first time, she wondered if she was cut out for the work the state had chosen for her. Perhaps her superiors at Otdyel 4 had come to the same conclusion.

SMERSH is a contraction of Smiert Spionam, which means ‘Death to Spies’. The organization currently employs a total of 60,000 men, women and transvestites, although the number changes continuously as a result of operational losses and the elimination of weak and unreliable elements.

Horny Count: 7

As we all should remember, SMERSH only existed for a few years during World War II specifically to counter military subversion and had not existed since 1946. Fleming's continued usage of it was potentially a mistake that Wood has found a way (as we'll see) of keeping.


Anya Amasova’s progress within Otdyel 4 of SMERSH - the section responsible for internal security in the armed forces - had been steady rather than spectacular. She had been the youngest of four children born to the
wife of a country doctor. With his death in a car accident, Anya’s mother had been grateful for the suggestion from the headmistress of the local school that Anya was a bright girl who might qualify for training at a special ‘Technical College’ near Leningrad. Anya had passed the examination with flying colours and was soon attending classes in ‘General Political Knowledge’ and ‘Tactics, Agitation and Propaganda’. In her third year she moved on to ‘Technical Subjects’ and became proficient in the use of codes and ciphers. She was marked ‘satisfactory’ in Communications and became conversant with the intricacies of Contacts, Cutouts, Couriers and Post Boxes. Her Fieldwork was also deemed satisfactory. In tests she received high marks for Vigilance, Presence of Mind, Courage and Coolness. Her mark for Discretion was average.

After Leningrad came the School for Terror and Diversion at Kuchino, outside Moscow. Anya’s marks in judo and athletics were high and she became a capable wireless operator and excellent photographer. She also had her first lover, her small-arms instructor who was runner up in the Soviet Rifle Championships. Anya became an excellent pistol shot.

Anya was assigned to an outpost in Czechoslovakia after her training, surveying and occasionally liquidating Soviet spies and party members in the Warsaw Pact; she always delegated the actual act of killing. As a Major in Moscow, she has access to all personnel files below the rank of General and is responsible for the reports preceding a promotion or demotion (unbeknownst to her, resulting in 3 executions).


The bizarre course from which she had just been summoned was one that united several branches of the ever-expanding octopus of SMERSH, and it was here that she had met Sergei Borzov for the first time. He had been reticent about his role in the organization, as had she. It was never wise to talk too much) and dangerous to ask questions.

One of the two sentries outside Number 13 bent down to open the door of the car and his sub-machine gun banged against it clumsily. The driver began to protest about his paintwork and then stopped abruptly when the sentry looked at him. Anybody involved with SMERSH was to be feared. Anya left the car and walked up the broad flight of steps leading to the big iron double door. She continued to feel uneasy.

At first glance the large olive-green room on the second floor could have been mistaken for a government office anywhere in the world. The floor was fitted with finest quality carpet and a large oak desk dominated one end of the room. Two spacious windows gave on to a courtyard at the back of the building and were fringed by heavy brocade curtains. On one wall was a large portrait of Brezhnev surrounded by a thin border of faded wallpaper which indicated where an even larger portrait of Stalin had once hung.

On the desk were two wire-frame baskets marked IN and OUT, a heavy glass ashtray, a carafe of water and tumblers and four telephones. One of the telephones was marked in white with the letters V. Ch. These letters stood for Vysoko-Chastoty, or High Frequency. Only fifty supreme officials were connected to the V.Ch. switchboard, and all were Ministers of State or Heads of selected Departments. It was served by a small exchange in the Kremlin operated by professional security officers. They could not overhear conversations on it, but every word spoken over its lines was automatically recorded. It was this telephone that had summoned Major Anya Amasova.

As you may recall, this is basically a copy of From Russia With Love.


‘Ah, Major Amasova. Come and sit down.’ The warmth in the man’s voice surprised Anya. She had only met him on three occasions when answering questions about reports she had submitted.

Colonel-General Nikitin, the Head of SMERSH, was standing behind his desk and extending a hand towards a straight- backed red leather chair. He was a tall man dressed in a crisply pressed khaki tunic with a high collar, and dark blue cavalry trousers with two thin red stripes down the side. The trousers disappeared into riding boots of black, highly polished leather. On the breast of the tunic were three rows of medal ribbons - two Orders of Lenin, Order of Alexander Nevsky, Order of the Red Banner, two Orders of the Red Star, the Twenty Years* Service Medal and a ribbon that Anya did not recognize. It must belong to the newly struck Sino-Soviet Friendship Medal. Anya remembered the colours so that she could look it up when she got back to Military Records. Above the rows of ribbons hung the gold star of a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Such a close copy, in fact, that Nikitin was actually one of the officers present at the meeting that determined the plot with the Spektor device!

Rather than Nikitin, the Moore films beginning with this one (as well as The Living Daylights) featured General Gogol of the KGB, played by German-British actor Walter Gotell. Gotell grew up a fluent English speaker as his parents fled the rise of the Nazis when he was a child and he first worked for Albert R. Broccoli on The Red Beret in 1953; much of the crew from that film moved on to Eon when it was formed to work on Dr. No. Gotell achieved fame in the repeat appearances of Gogol as the more reasonable side of the Soviets in the Bond films, earning him many TV guest appearances through the 1980s. He would die of cancer in 1997.


‘I apologize for my late appearance, Comrade General. You heard of the technical problems with the Ilyushin?’

Nikitin held up a peremptory hand that told her that her question was unnecessary. ‘I was informed.’ He paused and looked hard into her face. ‘How was the course?’

Anya was thrown by the suddenness of the question. It redoubled her fears that she had been summoned because of her relationship with Sergei. She could feel herself blushing. For the first time she wondered if his mission might have been engineered to separate them.

‘Very interesting, Comrade General.’

‘Very interesting?’ General Nikitin smiled. His face was rough and calloused, like a potato left to dry in the sun, but the eyes could have been prised from a week old corpse. There was no visible sign of life behind them.

Anya felt her blush deepen. ‘It was a most unusual and unexpected assignment.’

‘Which you took the fullest advantage of.’

Somewhere, in a distant corner of the room, a blue-bottle was beating against a window pane. A furious, high-pitched buzz and then silence for ten seconds. Then the buzzing starting again. Nikitin was still probing her with his cold, lustreless eyes.

Ah, we do have a fly on the wall here!


‘The scope of the course came as a surprise to me.’ This was if anything an understatement. The movement order assigning her to the dacha on the south-eastern coast of the Crimea had confined itself to the words ‘Cold War Techniques’. It had come as considerably more than a surprise on the first morning of the course, in the company of twenty attractive young men and women, to be confronted by a folder with ‘Sex as a Weapon’ printed in bold letters on its shiny cover. What followed had been a revelation. Lectures, films, demonstrations, what was discreetly described as ‘Controlled Participation’ with electrodes attached to various parts of the body to measure the degree of response, tests, more measurements, interviews, instruction in the latest cosmetics available in the west and how to apply them, a course in haute couture. Military Records had suddenly seemed like a different world. Anya’s final rating had been ‘E Sensual’, which she knew meant that she made love well and enjoyed it. Despite every laboratory test that the scientists could devise her emotional stability had remained an unknown quantity. The private report which she did not see said that she had exceptional potential but with an element of risk attached to it.

And in the middle of all this she had fallen in love. It must have been that to which Colonel General Nikitin had been referring with his talk of taking the fullest advantage. Suddenly she felt a rush of anger. What right did they have to tell her if she could love or not? Was she to be punished because amongst all the guile and artifice, the antiseptic passion and the throbbing wires she had found something that could never be contained in any tawdry manual of eroticism? She stared back into Nikitin’s soulless eyes with a new determination.

Horny Count: 8


The Colonel-General nodded as if in agreement with some sentiment that needed no expression. ‘He was a fine young man. One of our best operatives.’ He studied her wondering face. ‘Your’ - a slight pause - ‘relationship could not escape notice.

Anya felt alarmed. What did he mean - ‘was’?

‘And up to now, conspicuously efficient. It just shows how these affairs of the heart can affect people.’

‘What do you mean?’ Anya saw the pinpoint of red behind the eyes and corrected herself. ‘What do you mean, Comrade General?’

Nikitin must unfortunately inform Anya that her boyfriend was killed in action. After getting an initial reaction out of her, he quietly turns off the tape recorder under his desk.


With unusual haste, the general levered himself from his chair and circumvented the desk. ‘You must not blame yourself too much, my dear. Others might read more into the whole business than it warrants but you can rely upon me to keep an open mind. If Sergei’s judgment was at fault it was not because of you - because of your, your affair.’ The General seemed pleased at having found the word. ‘You are young and very beautiful, and you have need of guidance - of protection. You need a friend who is well placed. Especially at the moment.’ The rough hand dropped to her knee like a paw.

‘Where did he die?’

‘In the French Alps. He was on a mission to eliminate a British agent. He failed.’ With the recorder turned off, Nikitin was letting the words tumble out. His eyes had found life from somewhere and they glistened as he watched his hand push up her skirt like a burrowing animal. Anya felt her nostrils twitch before the scent of roses that some Russian men wear to disguise the fact that they cannot be bothered to wash. Nikitin’s head was bending towards her lap and she saw that the crimped line across his forehead denoted a wig. An obscene dribble of rust-coloured adhesive leaked from beneath the hairline.

Horny Count: 9


Anya fought a desire to be sick. Her skirt was now pressed back against her waist and the animal hand ... She rose to her feet and thrust Nikitin aside as she launched herself at the desk. She pressed a finger to her lips and snatched up a thin state-issued ballpoint. Nikitin watched her like an animal ready to spring.

And she stabs him, right?


The record of Sergei’s death still lay on the desk and Anya turned it over and wrote urgently. This had to work. She had seen Nikitin’s hand drop below the desk and she knew what it meant.

That has an unintentional double meaning here...


She finished her message and thrust it into Nikitin’s wary hand. He looked at her with slow-burning hate and raised it to his eyes. ‘Most honoured. But I know from Military Records that there is another microphone hidden in your room.’

Nikitin raised his eyes from the message and for a second let them rest on the ceiling. Then he slowly made his way back round the table. He lowered himself into his chair and a slight subsidence of the right shoulder revealed that a hand had been dropped. The eyes that looked towards Anya were as devoid of expression as the face of the moon.

‘But I did not bring you here to discuss the unfortunate death of Comrade Borzov. There is an assignment of great importance for which I think you may be suited ..

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 4: Hunt the Submarine


August had committed an act of treachery against the English summer and rain was lashing the windows of M’s office overlooking Regent’s Park.

The old man was having trouble with his pipe as usual. Bond let him get on with it and gazed around at the familiar fittings he had come to know so well over the years. The Venetian blinds that gave an impression of coolness even on the hottest day; the dark green Wilton carpet leading to the big, red leather-topped desk; the twin-bladed tropical fan, now immobile, set in the ceiling directly above M’s desk.

The Head of Britain’s Secret Service had lost no time in summoning Bond to his office. No sooner had Station J contacted him at Chamonix and told him that his presence was urgently required at headquarters than he had screamed down the motorway to Geneva and caught the first plane to London. And no sooner was he behind his desk staring glumly at the pile of routine signals and reports marked ‘for your urgent attention’ that always arrived in droves when he left the country than the telephone had rung.


‘Can you come up?’ It was the Chief-of-Staff.



‘What’s it all about?’

‘I don’t know, but it’s serious.'

It always is, thought Bond as he put down the receiver. He left his office and took the lift up to the top floor. The walk down the long, quiet corridor was familiar and he knew exactly how many paces it would take. Thirty, before he came to the outer door of M’s office. The girl behind the desk was unfamiliar and unbeautiful so the smile that Bond bestowed upon her was dutiful rather than anticipatory. She bent forward and pressed the switch of the intercom.

I have no idea why a random, unnamed secretary is here. The films have dutifully retained Moneypenny through the entire series without fail.


‘007 is here, sir.’

‘Send him in,’ said the metallic voice, and the red light which meant ‘on no account must I be disturbed' glowed above the door.

That had been ten minutes ago and Bond was still listening to the rasping and sucking noises. At last they stopped and M dropped the still smoking husk of a match in the big copper ashtray.

‘So you found Q’s gadgets useful did you, James?’

‘Very efficacious, sir.’

'I thought you were going to fire them into the side of mountains. That sort of thing.’

‘That was my intention, sir.’

Despite what it may seem, Q (as played by Desmond Llewellyn) will not be appearing in this book.


M attacked his pipe with a small pick and turned away to billow clouds of smoke towards the ceiling. There was a dry twinkle in his eye as he turned back towards Bond. will be very impressed when you submit your report. I don’t think he had any idea that you were going to be so zealous in your testing of his new toys.’

‘It came as a surprise to me, sir.’

M looked at Bond, not without affection. ‘While we’re on the subject. We had a signal from the French DST.’

‘What are they going to do?’

‘Nothing.’ M registered the sharp rise of Bond’s right eyebrow and continued. ‘They’re leaving the matter in the hands of the local gendarmerie. A chalet fire of this description is not uncommon.’ Bond was now sitting forward in his chair. ‘Perhaps you did not notice that there was petrol stored by the hut - for the Snowcats. The young people must have tried to start a fire and - well you know how dangerous it can be with petrol.’

‘A man and a girl.’ Bond nodded. A sensible way for them to have covered their traces. The man he had shot and the girl in the cupboard consigned to flames.

‘There appear to have been two women and one man,’ said M. ‘The bodies burned almost beyond recognition. Any identification will have to wait for the next of kin to come forward.’

Martine is dead as well. As far as Bond is concerned, only SMERSH would ever be so brutal.


‘I think it was SMERSH, sir. They were after me. But, like last time, they wanted to make me stink even before I was rotting in my coffin. There was a dead girl in the hut - some drugged little tart from the back streets of Lyon, most probably. They’d hacked her up like shark bait.’

This book is...not kind.


‘And you were the shark.’ M nodded grimly. He could see the newspaper headlines (‘DRUG-CRAZED BRITISH AGENT SLAYS IN MOUNTAIN LOVE NEST!), the Home Secretary on the telephone, the official denials, the snide questions from the fellow- travellers in the House of Commons, the satisfied smiles round the table of the High Praesidium in the Kremlin. Yes, once again 007 had been fortunate. Was it Napoleon who had always supported one of his marshals because he was lucky? ‘Strange that this should happen now, James.’

Bond looked at M inquiringly and reached for the flat, light gunmetal case containing fifty Balkan and Turkish mixture cigarettes, specially made for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street. He extracted one and ran a finger over the triple gold band before placing it between his lips. ‘What’s up, sir?’

M’s tranquil, lined sailor’s face suddenly became tense. ‘What does HMS Ranger mean to you, James?’

Bond flicked through the card index in his mind. ‘One of our Resolution Class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines, sir.’ M’s approving silence told him to continue. ‘Laid down by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrowin-Furness in 1967. Operational in 1971. Length approximately three-hundred and seventy feet. Beam thirty-three feet. Surface displacement seven thousand five hundred tons - submerged eight thousand four hundred. Speed reputed to be twenty knots on the surface and twenty-five submerged - although the submerged figure may be on the slow side. Ship’s complement, a hundred and fifty-one men; sixteen officers and one hundred and thirty-five ratings - they operate on a two-crew basis to get maximum time at sea.’ Bond broke off and put the battered, oxidized Ronson to work on his cigarette. M’s demanding eyes bored into him as he directed a thin stream of smoke towards the ceiling.

‘And the armament?’

‘Six conventional 533 mm torpedo homing tubes placed forward and sixteen Polaris surface-to-surface intercontinental missiles with a range in excess of two thousand five hundred miles.’

Note that the above clip has a bunch of porn pics in it.

This information is accurate (though the first subs were actually laid down and entered service a few years earlier than Wood gets it), and even the naming scheme follows along with the real Resolution-class subs. In real life, 4 were built and served until 1996.


M continued to stare levelly. Bond noticed that his pipe had gone out. ‘HMS Ranger has disappeared.’

The rain persisted in its attack on the windows and for long seconds its angry patter was the only sound heard in the cool dark room. ‘You mean, there’s been an accident?’

M shook his head. ‘We don’t know. Radio contact is intermittent. The Admiralty first became alarmed when there was no Sitrep from the last reporting point.’

The Ranger was on a pre-determined course. Bond's initial thought is that it's a simple accident, but the US Navy has combed the entire course and found absolutely no trace of the sub. M brings out the diplomatic bag from Cairo.


M produced a scuffed leather map-case and drew out a cylinder of tightly rolled, translucent parchment. Bond moved to his side and looked down at the surface of the desk that had been specially prepared for his interview. Under a sheet of glass lay a chart of the Southern Atlantic revealing the telltale bulge of the West African coast line. A thin black line zigzagged from north to south like the sales curve of a unsuccessful company.

In California, Elon Musk awakes in a sweat.


‘This is the course that Captain Talbot, commander of the Ranger, was following,’ said M, following Bond’s glance.

‘How many people knew it?'

‘The Head of Operations at Holy Loch and Captain Talbot. A copy would be “posted” to Supreme Defence HQ.’

‘So there’s little chance of a leak.’

‘I would say none.’

M struggled with the parchment and eventually anchored it with his ashtray and an imposing heavy leather pen-holder and inkwell set that Bond had never seen him use before. Bond knew better than to try and help. Once the parchment was in what M considered to be a satisfactory position, he began to unfurl it laboriously. Bond watched patiently and saw a pattern beginning to emerge, identical to that on the chart but out of true, like the four-colour reproduction in a cheaply produced magazine. M extended the parchment to its fullest extent and edged it to the left until the two lines mated, one on top of the other. The line on the parchment stopped at a point where there was a cross on the chart and the submarine’s course had changed to the next, unfinished leg of its voyage.

The lines are so close to identical that either the Navy has a huge leak, or someone has figured out how to plot the course of their submarines. Q believes the mysterious villain is using heat signature recognition (the same technology used by satellites to track missiles) to trace submarines. And someone in Cairo is claiming to be selling the blueprints for the system.


‘And don’t forget, James’ - M broke off to strike a match - ‘Sixteen Polaris missiles have a greater destructive potential than all the explosives used in the last war including the atom bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. They could blast this country into the earth so that the North Sea and the Atlantic met at Birmingham.’

As if in awe of M’s speech, the rain subsided to a steady drumming. Bond looked at the grey sky and thought of the England that he loved with an intensity that was almost painful.

‘I’ll get right on to it, sir,’ he said.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005


M registered the sharp rise of Bond’s right eyebrow and continued.
M’s tranquil, lined sailor’s face suddenly became tense. ‘What does HMS Ranger mean to you, James?’

Bond flicked through the card index in his mind. ‘One of our Resolution Class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines, sir.’ M’s approving silence told him to continue. ‘Laid down by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrowin-Furness in 1967. Operational in 1971. Length approximately three-hundred and seventy feet. Beam thirty-three feet. Surface displacement seven thousand five hundred tons - submerged eight thousand four hundred. Speed reputed to be twenty knots on the surface and twenty-five submerged - although the submerged figure may be on the slow side. Ship’s complement, a hundred and fifty-one men; sixteen officers and one hundred and thirty-five ratings - they operate on a two-crew basis to get maximum time at sea.’ Bond broke off and put the battered, oxidized Ronson to work on his cigarette.

These bits are both pure Roger Moore; the eyebrow is obvious, but also the ability to do his own technical explanations on any subject at the drop of a hat, rather than having Q or an expert do it.

It's a pretty huge giveaway that this is a film novelisation that here we get the infodump in the form of a conversation between Bond and M; Fleming would surely have delivered the same information via a bridging scene of some sort, with Bond alone in his office, turning over some problem in his mind while reading a routine briefing about the capabilities of Britain's nuclear deterrent.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

The horny counter was definitely warranted.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 5: Introducing Sigmund Stromberg


The room was large and splendidly furnished. The chairs in which the three men sat were deep and luxurious, and the cheerful gleam of the highly polished leather complemented the mirror sheen of the silver bowl tastefully arranged with dew-anointed red roses on the small glass-and-steel table between them. A heavy silver box lay unopened in the middle of the table and contained a mixture of Virginia and Turkish cigarettes both tipped and untipped. Thick glass carafes rested upon circular green mats. At one end of the room was a charming Romney of two small, rosy-cheeked children in Regency dress playing with a kitten.

Two of the three men were dressed in conventional suits, and there was about them an air of respectful unease. The man before them, on the other side of the table, was different, what could be seen of him was enclosed in a loose-fitting black tunic that rose to his neck like a priest’s surplice without the collar. Although he was of more than average height his features were small, and his mouth exceptionally so. It was like a child’s mouth, with the fat Cupid’s bow of the upper lip grotesquely dominating the lower. Had it been possible to turn the feature upside down it would have looked better in the long, thin face although its extreme narrowness would always have seemed incongruous. The short nose barely broke away from the bulbous upper lip and one had to peer closely to see a pallid streak of near-white hairs above the watery blue eyes. The head was not prematurely bald but had never grown hair and the small ears clung to the head like sucker fish to the side of a shark.

If you've seen the movie, you're probably confused! One of the changes Wood made from the film script was turning "Karl" into "Sigmund." I find the original much punchier. Also, does anyone find it kinda mean for him to describe Stromberg this way when the actor wasn't even wearing makeup for it?

Stromberg was played by German-Austrian actor Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens (pauses for breath), a journalist-turned-actor who was sent to an internment camp in Hungary in 1944 for his criticisms of Nazism. He became a common German language war film actor, transferring to Hollywood in 1957 with The Enemy Below where he played a U-boat commander. He also had a prolific stage career in Austria before dying of a heart attack in 1982 shortly after his final appearance on Smiley's People.

Stromberg was originally written as Blofeld. Due to Kevin McClory filing an injunction against Eon, the film was delayed and rewritten to an original villain.


‘Doctor Bechmann. Professor Markovitz.’ There was no trace of warmth in the voice. ‘We come to the parting of the ways..

The two men looked at each other nervously and then studied the impassive face before them.

Sigmund Stromberg had been conceived on mid-summer’s day in Apvorst, a small village in northern Sweden. There, the arrival of the longest day is still celebrated with dancing round the maypole and much drinking and fornication.

Horny Counter: 10


Sigmund Stromberg was conceived as an indirect result of the second of these pursuits and a direct result of the third. His father was a fisherman, which may have had some hereditary influence on his eventual choice of career; not an immediate one, though, because his father never married his mother and as soon as the young Stromberg found himself anywhere it was with an aunt of his mother’s who lived a respectful distance from Apvorst. She was a kindly woman with no children of her own and she and her husband lavished all the love and care that they could muster on young Sigmund - neither name was his by birth but bestowed by his new ‘parents’. Sigmund Stromberg was not a warm-natured child but he worked conscientiously at school and became passionately interested in the sea. Not in ships and naval battles, like other boys, but in life below the surface. He was fascinated by fish and Frun Stromberg became disturbed by the long periods of time that the boy spent watching a fish tank in the window of a restaurant in the nearby small town of Magmo. Even on the coldest winter days young Sigmund would be staring through the condensation at the speckled trout living out their last days, a look of rapt concentration on his face, his skin pinched to an onion pallor by the cold. When he was older, he obtained a piranha fish from somewhere, which he kept in a small tank in his bedroom. Frun Stromberg had no idea where the fish came from and did not ask. She was already rather in awe of her adopted son as she chose to think of him.

There's a lot going on here, and Wood actually has even more to say on Stromberg's background than Fleming ever did in his villains.


At night, Sigmund would take a flashlight and go out to seek food for his pet. Frogs, toads, mice and shrews. These were its summer fare.

One night, as she was passing his room, Frun Stromberg heard the agonized squeaks of a mouse and asked if it was necessary for the food to be fed to the fish while it was still alive. Sigmund assured her that it was. She did not
believe him but she did not argue, because, when crossed, her ‘son' underwent a strange and disturbing metamorphosis. He would suck in his lips so that his mouth disappeared into his face to be replaced by a tiny dimple like a baby’s umbilicus. His skin would turn a deathly white and his eyes suddenly fill with red as if the blood drained from his cheeks had rushed to fill their sockets. At the same time he would wrap his arms round himself and shake in silent, inchoate rage.

Frun Stromberg was frightened, the more so when she discovered Sigmund having one of his strange shaking fits before the fish tank. She wondered if he was working too hard at school. Reports were coming in that the boy was academically brilliant, with a natural bent towards the sciences. His IQ was so high as to be unmeasurable.

Wood is trying incredibly hard to create a Fleming-esque deformed, insane villain.


Herr Stromberg was an undertaker. Sigmund would stand in his father's workroom much as he had stood before the fish tank and observe the skills of the trade. The construction of the coffins, the linings, the woods that could be used, the styles and range of handles and accessories, the methods of presentation to the prospective customer.

Although she was wary of mentioning it to her husband for fear of hurting his feelings, Frun Stromberg was worried that her son’s obvious talents might be wasted if he went into the family business.

She did not worry for long. Shortly after Sigmund’s seventeenth birthday, the Saab in which she and her husband were travelling went out of control on a notoriously dangerous comer and plunged into a lake. Both passengers were drowned. Apparently, the brakes on the normally reliable Saab had failed.

Sigmund Stromberg was phlegmatic in the face of the tragedy that had for a second time robbed him of parents, and won the respect of the neighbourhood by undertaking the funeral arrangements himself. His schoolmasters urged him to sell the business, or take on a manager, so that he could continue his studies at university and proceed to the brilliant future that seemed his by right. He disappointed them by saying that he was going to devote himself to running the business.

Stromberg did very well running the funeral home. He advocated cremation as the most ecologically sound method of corpse disposal, but his efforts to build a private crematorium were delayed by the firm he contracted having a slightly larger contract with the Nazis.


Stromberg became the man whose advice was always sought when there was a bereavement. Any man or woman of consequence would expect to be cremated by him and would know that in the manner of their going, the world would see ample evidence of their means. Stromberg specialized in the production of very expensive coffins with very expensive fittings. He argued - though with most of his clientele it was never necessary to argue - that the consecration of so much wealth to the flames was a kind of absolution, a purification of the body physical from the taint of Mammon before it passed into the everlasting twilight. It was the equivalent of the old Norse heroes being burned in their long boats. It also showed the world that one had money to burn.

Most clients, racked by emotion, pressed back a tear and nodded. It was only several weeks later, when the body of the loved one had been consigned to the flames and an enormous bill had arrived, that some of them thought again. But who could query, and who could quibble in such a situation? And anyway, what was there to discuss? Everything had passed into the furnace. In fact, only the corpse had been burnt - usually without any gold fillings that its teeth had contained. The same coffin, which was designed like a Japanese trick box to be capable of a number of subtle variations of shape, was used again and again with a variety of gold-plated handles. Stromberg realized that few people attended so many funeral ceremonies that they would recognize one coffin from another. Some wives even assisted him by expressing a wish to be cremated in the same style of coffin as their departed husband and this instruction he was able to fulfill to the letter.

Once the electrically controlled rollers had carried the coffin through the curtains and the hardened-steel shutter had slid shut, the record of a blast furnace in operation would be turned on and the corpse quickly tipped into a plywood box reinforced with struts. The coffin would be swiftly dismantled and the corpse examined for items of value. Any fingers containing rings that had become moulded into the flesh would be chopped off and the rigid mouth prised open. If it contained any teeth, and they in turn contained gold, these would be wrenched out with a pair of pliers. The ‘funeral assistants' would then withdraw and the true furnace sound would overlay the recorded roar preying on the minds of the mourners as they sped with restrained haste from the ghastly place of death.

I'm honestly not sure if any future Bond authors manage to get more graphic and gruesome than Christopher Wood.


It was on this grim fertilizer that the seeds of Stromberg’s fortune had flourished. With the end of the war he moved his business to Hamburg, where the opportunities for expansion were so much greater. But his mind was already on other things. Most of Europe’s merchant fleet had been sunk during the war and Stromberg was swift to see the possibilities as Marshall Aid began to pour in to help the stricken continent to its feet. He moved his money into shipping and was soon on smiling terms with Greeks as his first shabby cargo boats gave way to tankers. By his middle twenties Sigmund Stromberg was a dollar millionaire.

But this was not enough. As he became richer and more successful and as his net of power and acquaintance extended, Stromberg realized that the world is not controlled by kings or presidents, but by criminals. Kings and
presidents are ephemeral; organizations like Cosa Nostra and the Tongs go on for ever.

So Sigmund Stromberg decided that he had to become a criminal. The transition was not going to be too difficult; after all, he was already a swindler, a murderer and a corpse robber.

Stromberg learned of a planned protection racket among the various criminal organizations on the Mediterranean, planning to sell these "services" to the wealthiest Greek shipping magnate. Stromberg exaggerated his relationship with the Greek, arranged for a meeting with all of them aboard his largest tanker (headed up by one of his oldest companions who knew all of his secrets), and had them all promptly blown up by a bomb before the Greek arrived.


Those who were in the know believed that the Greek had caught wind of the plan and taken his own retaliatory measures to nip an incipient protection racket in the bud. It therefore came as no great surprise when two months later, his chauffeur started the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud and saw his legs passing his eyes as an explosion carried the vehicle, his master and himself to a height of forty-five feet before depositing their mangled remains in a smoking crater half that depth.

Stromberg had sent a wreath to the funeral - his taste in such matters was, of necessity, exemplary - and three months later, by a series of very complicated but very logical deals, had taken over the dead Greek’s shipping interests.

Now, Stromberg’s cold, watery eyes flowed over the two uneasy men before him.

‘Gentlemen, there is a problem.’

Jul 23, 2000

Wow, this guy is actually a good writer of disreputable pulp, and I mean that as a compliment. I only remember the film Stromberg as the guy with the fish tank and the neat table.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 5: Room 4c


Stromberg allowed his words to sink in and stroked a weblike fold of skin that stretched between the smallest finger of his left hand and its neighbour. He had been born with this, and Frun Stromberg had been eager to have it removed. However, even this simple operation had been beyond the family’s means when Sigmund was an infant, and as he grew older and more assertive he had resolutely refused to undergo surgery. He even affected the mannerism of dosing the finger and thumb of the right hand round the translucent curve of flesh and tugging at it ruminatively.

You can see their attempt at this in the shot of Stromberg in the previous post. They didn't do a whole lot so you'd likely watch the movie without even noticing.


‘Sir, with respect, surely the technical Stromberg silenced Bechmann with a gesture. ‘The problem is not of a technical nature. I have nothing but admiration for the work you have both carried out on the Submarine Tracking System. The first stage of its exploitation has been conspicuously successful.’ He paused. ‘Perhaps too successful. Perhaps it has encouraged thoughts of covetousness and greed.’

Small beads of sweat appeared on Markovitz’s forehead. ‘To put the matter in a nutshell, gentlemen,’ Stromberg continued, ‘I have discovered that we have a traitor in this organization. Somebody who is even at this moment engaged in trying to sell the plans of your Tracking System to competing international governments.’

He raised an arm with a lazy, swimming motion and extended a long, bony finger behind his right shoulder. ‘My assistant will be able to throw more light on the matter. Fetch the evidence, Miss Chapman. From the safe in Room 4c.’

The girl who appeared from the shadows had been sitting, quietly taking notes since the meeting began. She was tall, dark and slim, and by any standards beautiful; she wore that look of haughty disdain and scarcely veiled contempt which is the hallmark of all secretaries of the rich and successful. Her black dress with the little white collar was so simple that it had to come from one of the more discreet Paris fashion houses, and she moved with the casual, aristocratic grace of a purebred Saluki. As she left the room, Stromberg watched her approvingly

Unnamed in the movie and looking completely different, Miss Chapman was played by Royal Shakespeare Company actress Marilyn Galsworthy. She acted alongside such illustrious alumni as Patrick Stewart and Alfred Molina, but never went for more than a handful of minor film and TV roles.


Room 4c was long and narrow, and painted a brilliant, almost blinding white. The girl had never been in it before, and was surprised to find it empty. She had supposed that this was where Stromberg kept papers too secret even for her eyes. As she walked through the door she was startled by a high- pitched buzz and a red flashing light at the far end of the room. She stopped, then relaxed. It must be some kind of security device. Stromberg had sent her here, so presumably it was safe to proceed.

Drawn by the light, she strode down the room towards what looked like sliding doors. The safe must be behind them.

Suddenly there was a solid clunk behind her. She whirled. The door had shut. As she started towards it there was a whir of machinery and a partition fell from the ceiling like a guillotine blade, missing her by inches. The room had shrunk to a quarter of its original size.

As the girl jabs at buttons (breaking a nail in doing so), the doors on the other end of the wall slide apart to reveal a massive aquarium filled with colorful fish and coral.


‘Stay calm!' She said the words out loud and peered across the tank to see if she could make out where she was. In the murk something moved. The girl saw what it was and screamed again. The nose appeared first, like a streamlined shell. Then the small pig eyes. Then the whole fish. It was a great white shark. The girl shrank back in terror and the shark sped towards her. She caught a glimpse of the two rows of jagged teeth set back beneath the pointed snout and then the fish keeled away, its white belly nearly brushing against the glass. The girl sank to her knees and started to sob hysterically. What did this nightmare mean? What in God’s name was happening to her?

Crack! The sudden jolting noise was like someone freeing a window that has become frozen by frost. The glass before her lurched and water burst into the room at floor level like a sluice-gate being winched up. The water splashed against her knees and she screamed and scrambled to her feet. Her desperate hands thrust against the glass and tried to push it down but it was a pathetic, useless gesture. Her fingers slid down the glass as it remorselessly continued to force its way upwards and the rising tide of rushing water drove her skirt above her lovely legs and soft, unplundered thighs. She screamed words that had no meaning and offered no hope of salvation, and as the water rose above her shoulders and her bruised head beat like a cork against the roof, the light went out and a loudspeaker crackled into life.

Horny Counter: 11


‘It is you who betrayed us, Kate Chapman, and you will pay the penalty!’

The water closed above the girl’s head and the shark turned and sped in for the kill.

In the room above the figures of the two children in the Romney painting shivered as if in sympathy with the fate of the girl and then moved obediently to one side. Enclosed within the ornate, gilded frame of the painting was now revealed a television screen.

Bechmann and Markovitz sat with the sweat of fear sticking to their bodies and watched the screen as if hypnotized. The shark had the girl by the thigh and was worrying her like a bone. A disgusting pink candy-floss of blood spurted in all directions. For an instant, the shark’s head filled the camera and it was possible to see the triangular saw teeth grinding their way through the white bone, the terrifying glint of incontestable purpose in the small, evil eye. Then the leg came away from the body and dropped slowly to the floor of the tank leaving a corkscrew spiral of blood. The shark chased it for a moment and then turned like a whiplash to snap its mouth about the girl’s waist. There was an impression of the girl's suppliant head jerking forward, the long, black hair smeared across the face, the arms pushing vainly against the brutal, gut-ripping maw. And then the stomach burst and the horrifying carnage on the screen was mercifully obliterated in a thick red cloud.

This man leaves nothing to the imagination! Maybe he should start!

The film, for obvious reasons, is substantially less gruesome.


The silence in the room was broken by a soft purr as the Romney slid back into place and two sweet and wholesome eighteenth-century children beamed down upon the three men in the room. Bechmann fought a desire to be sick and Markovitz wiped the sweat from his forehead with a wide bandana handkerchief.

Dr. Bechmann was played by Cyril Shaps, who served as an ambulance driver and then a warrant officer in the Royal Educational Corps in WW2. Despite his low prominence to modern viewers, his film and TV career spanned 194 credits over almost 50 years from Lawrence of Arabia to classic Doctor Who, almost always in minor or background roles but always present. He was acting all the way until his death in 2003, with his final role being a pew opener in The Importance of Being Ernest.

Professor Markovitz was played by Milo Sperber, a Polish-British actor who (like quite a few of our actors for some unexplainable reason!) came to England from fleeing the Nazis. He worked in anti-Nazi BBC propaganda during the war and worked in West End theatre until 1984, and film and TV until 1990 just two years before his death; his final role would be as Poirot's tailor, Fingler, in the TV film adaptation of The Kidnapped Prime Minister.


The red slowly oozed from Stromberg’s eyes and his mouth regained its normal shape. During the television transmission, the two men sitting on either side of him had been aware of an increased pattern of breathing from their employer, and on one occasion a long, sibilant hiss. Nevertheless, no sum of money on earth would have induced them to turn and look at him. The horror of the television screen was enough.

‘Gentlemen.’ Stromberg’s meticulous enunciation brought the heads swinging dutifully round. ‘Is there any other business?’

The words toppled one after the other like giant dominoes of ice. He rose, and neither of the men spoke.

‘Good. Then you are free to leave.’

When the two men had hurried from the room, Stromberg returned to his chair, made a note on his pad and pressed one of the switches on the small rectangular console in front of him. He inclined his head and spoke calmly.

‘Send in Jaws.’

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

chitoryu12 posted:

The film, for obvious reasons, is substantially less gruesome.

Successfully keeping a great white in captivity would certainly be a feat worthy of a Bond villain. Sadly it looks like the movie's shark is merely a dead or drugged tiger.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 6: On The Scent


The muted drone of the fanjets changed key and Bond felt himself projected forward as the nose of the British Airways VC10 tilted and began its long descent towards Cairo International Airport. The North African coast had been crossed west of the Ras el Kenayis and Bond calculated that with any luck he would be on the ground within thirty minutes. Just time to review the situation and consume another dry martini. He reached above his head and pulled the call button for a stewardess. Was it a sign of growing old or was it really true that stewardesses were not as beautiful as they used to be? The girl approached him, brushing a wisp of errant hair away from her forehead.

As usual, Bond is flying in the latest aircraft. BOAC first got the Vickers VC10 in 1964 a few months before Fleming's death. It held the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing by a subsonic passenger airliner (at 5 hours and 1 minute) until it was beaten in February 2020, and only because that plane was propelled by the jet stream of Storm Ciara. While they left passenger service in 1981, they were used until 2013 by the RAF as aerial refuelers.


‘Yes sir?’

‘I’d like another dry martini, please.’

The girl pursed her lips and tried to remember the lesson he had taught her.

‘Er - that’s three measures of gin


'- one measure of vodka -'

‘Polish or, preferably Russian.’

‘-shaken until it’s ice cold and then topped with a large, thin slice of lemon peel.’ The girl finished triumphantly.

Imagine being able to not only get a freshly mixed cocktail on regular passenger service, but being able to direct the stewardess in how to prepare it.


Bond did not care for the word ‘topped’ but he nodded agreeably. ‘And I'd like it in the largest glass you’ve got, please.’ Bond hated to see a good drink suffocating in a tiny glass. The martini would already be less than perfection without the addition of half a measure of Kina Lillet - a taste that his friends were always trying to cure him of, without success. There was no point in asking for it because airlines did not carry such fundamental treasures.

Also, that's not a "martini." You just poured a bunch of gin and vodka in a glass and slightly diluted it.


Bond adjusted a stream of cool air on to his face and told himself not to be grumpy and pompous. Perhaps it was that drat medical making him feel old. He knew that he smoked far too much and was at the upper level of what a man could decently drink without being considered to have an overreliance on alcohol. He did not need some apple-cheeked little whippersnapper fresh out of medical school leaning across a table and telling him that he was endangering his health.

Yeah, all those darn kids fresh out of *checks notes* years of medical school?

It's unclear if Wood is trying to maintain continuity to Fleming's stories, shift the timeline forward, or use Roger Moore's Bond. If it's the first one, Bond would be about 56 using the Pearson timeline. If it's the last one, Roger Moore was 49 when he filmed this.


Bond produced his gunmetal case and lit his fifteenth cigarette of the day.

Only the comely radiologist had introduced a note of light relief. Settling him down in his ridiculous slippers and shift, she had escorted two overweight Arabs towards their chest X-ray and said gaily, and in all innocence, ‘I’ll be with you in a couple of shakes, Mr Bond.’

Horny denied.


The stewardess saw Bond smile as she approached with his drink and thought how different his face suddenly looked. Something told her that he did not smile very often. It was a handsome face but something about it frightened her. When the smiled switched off, the features were cold and cruel, the eyes hard as flints. She thought that he would probably make love very well without saying anything.

Bond accepted his drink and stared down through the perspex at the scallop-shaped ridges of sand stretching into infinity. M was convinced that there was no chance of treachery in the U.K. Captain Talbot would have received his orders shortly before sailing, and these directly by word of mouth from Head of Operations at Holy Loch. Rear-Admiral Talbot, Talbot’s father, was a personal friend of M's and his son had received the Queen’s Sword at Dartmouth and done all the things expected of a young naval officer with a brilliant career in front of him. Still, although Bond respected M’s judgment and would willingly have died for it, he remembered that Burgess and Maclean had also had impeccable antecedents.

The possibility of a hoax also existed. If somebody knew of the disappearance of Ranger they might seek to capitalize on it by pretending that they could supply the answer to the riddle in exchange for a large sum of money. This kind of thing happened whenever there was a kidnapping case with a huge ransom demand. But who would know about the disappearance of Ranger apart from those responsible for it? No details had been given to the press. The whole business had been given a TS rating.

Bond (correctly) determines that if the blueprint of the tracking system used to find Ranger was for sale rather than the system itself, it must have been stolen from the owner to sell without their knowledge. His guess is that the Soviets must be the actual developers of the system; they'd already been working on something like it and it would be a massive boon to the war effort. Which means Soviet intelligence is probably in red alert mode trying to get the plans back, which makes this a bad time to be a spy on the move.


Bond took a taxi from the airport and checked in at the Nile Hilton on the island of Roda, stuck like a lozenge in the throat of the Nile. His suite was air-conditioned and functional, and a welcome escape from the hot sun that burned down outside. He took a cold shower, changed into a blue towelling dressing- gown and called room service for a long glass of tomato juice and a plate of scrambled eggs.

Checking the geography, the hotel Bond is staying at appears to be what's now called the Grand Nile Tower Hotel on the northern tip of the island. It was opened in 1974 as Le Meridien Cairo.


When this arrived, he was staring out of one of the double- glazed windows at the six-hundred-foot Cairo Tower - the tallest, and perhaps the ugliest, building in the East - and considering his first move. On the face of it, everything was very simple. A Mr Fekkesh was the ‘contact’ and Bond had his telephone number. Ring him up and talk business. It was like being given a list of contacts as a salesman. ‘Good morning, sir. My name is Bond. I represent the Great Britain Company. We're interested in old silver, antiques and nuclear submarine tracking-systems.' Bond shook his head at the idiocy of it all. One day, soon, there would be a computer doing his job.

While this seems like a surprising statement, remember that this book was written just a year before the release of the revolutionary Apple II. Unlike in Fleming's day, computers were becoming more and more common in business; he had died right at the beginning of the semiconductor era of computers when they were still room-sized devices. We're 13 years from Fleming's death, so technology has made a huge leap since his books.

Cairo Tower was finished in 1961, its unusual shape meant to evoke a lotus. President Nasser claimed that the funds came from a $6 million bribe from the US, which he put into the tower as a way of snubbing them. It's home to a rotating restaurant at the top, though I'm not 100% sure it existed in 1976 when this was written.


Bond finished chasing the last mouthful of scrambled egg round the plate and dressed himself in a pair of dark blue buckskin shoes purchased from Honest in the Rue Marboeut, off-white cotton trousers and a navy-blue silk shirt with a long collar. His cotton jacket with the propinquitous blue stripes and the single vent, made for him by someone in Hong Kong who makes such things better than anyone else in the world, he threw on the double bed.

Now, thought Bond to himself, we go to work. With a sigh, he drew a table to the window and placed on it the Olivetti Lettera 32 portable typewriter that he now carried with him every time he travelled by air. He unzipped the cover and with the aid of a small screwdriver swiftly removed the base plate of the machine. Skilfully tucked away beneath the ribbon spools and aligned with the direction-changing arms were the dismembered skeleton grip and breech mechanism of Bond’s Walther PPK 7.65 - Airline Model, as Q Branch called it. Bond unclipped the parts and put them to one side on a dean white handkerchief. Next to be removed was the cylinder. This was hollow and yielded up the barrel of the Walther, assorted pins and nuts and forty rounds of ammunition packed in cylindrical patterns of eight When these had been removed and placed on the handkerchief, Bond replaced the cylinder and unscrewed the nuts that held the ribbon spools in position. These were revealed as being round metal boxes camouflaged with typewriter ribbon. Each of them contained a further fifteen rounds of ammunition.

With his doctored Olivetti, Bond could bypass any airport check in the world. The machine worked when the keys were depressed and the arrangement of the Walther’s constituents had been done in such a way that only the most skilful and unblasé eye would be able to detect an unfamiliar outline when the machine’s working parts were exposed by an X-ray machine.

We get our first advancement of airline security hampering espionage. Gone are the days of Bond simply walking aboard a plane with a gun in his shoulder holster. Part of this was driven by the decreasing cost of air travel bringing even international flights away from wealthy upper-class white businessmen, but a major incident was the infamous Dawson's Field Hijackings of September 1970.

Four airliners were hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (plus an attempted fifth that ended when the hijackers were defeated) and landed at Dawson's Field, a remote airstrip in Jordan. After days of negotiation, the hostages were released and the empty planes destroyed by explosives by the hijackers. Aircraft security was rapidly ramped up, in particular the implementation of X-ray machines in international airports.


Bond deftly reassembled the Olivetti and typed ‘The quick brown dog jumped over the lazy doge’ to make sure that it was in perfect working order. Next, he picked up the screwdriver, looked at his watch, and went to work on the gun. Precisely four minutes, forty-eight seconds later he slapped the chamber of the assembled weapon and sat back to look at his Rolex Oyster Perpetual and expel a sigh of pleasure. It was the first time that he had beaten five minutes for the job. Bond cleaned the oil from the gun with the now soiled handkerchief and walked into the bathroom to wash his hands. He wrapped the handkerchief in two Kleenex tissues and dropped it into the waste bin.

This was the moment he loved. The moment when the adrenalin started to pump. The beginning of an assignment. To Bond it was more exciting than the beginning of a love affair. He sat down on the edge of the bed and picked up the telephone, feeling that the palms of his hands were already beginning to sweat. A girl’s voice answered in Arabic and then switched to near-faultless English. Bond gave the number that he had memorized and sat back drumming his fingers on the bedside table. There was a silence and. then he could hear the number ringing. And ringing.

Just before the call would be disconnected by the operator, the line connects (with the telltale second click that the call is being recorded). The woman on the other end hurriedly tells Bond to meet them at the Semiramis Palace hotel before hanging up.


He replaced the receiver slowly and picked up his jacket. The slight padding in the shoulder was in fact a substitute for a holster, which he now considered it unwise to carry when exposed to the attentions of hijack-happy security guards. The ‘padding' could be easily removed and rezipped under the arm pit, or inside the waist band of the trousers, to form a serviceable holster for the Walther. Some speed of draw was inevitably lost. Bond had been capable of hitting a man at twenty feet in three-fifths of a second with a conventional holster draw. With the reinforced nylon, he had never broken the magic second. Still, it was better than being held up at an airport for hours while his credentials were checked out and he was eventually released with grudging apologies - or at some airports, where he might be driven away to a small room with no windows and padded walls to suffocate the screams. Bond unzipped the padding, turned it inside out and zipped it against the armpit. He put on the jacket, inserted the Walther and checked his appearance in the looking-glass above the writing desk. Only a professional would notice the faint bulge. Still, he was up against professionals.

Bond makes the usual security features (a hair on the cupboard door, talcum powder on his suitcase locks, etc.) and heads out into the suffocating evening heat of Cairo.


The driver spoke fractured English, like a central European in an American situation comedy, and on the way Bond inquired about the imaginary address of a number of nonexistent friends in Cairo. Into this list he slipped the Semiramis Palace. The driver’s face lit up in recognition. Yes, it was very near. That tall block of flats silhouetted against the dome of the Sultan Hassan Mosque. Bond pinpointed the building in his mind and looked ahead admiringly to the vast complex of mosques, palaces and fortifications built just below the crest of the Mokkatam Hills. This was the Citadel of Saladin, so the guidebooks told you, built over a period of seven hundred years and half a dozen conquests.

Bond paid off the driver at the outer wall and resolutely refused the blandishments of a crowd of beggars, trinket salesmen and potential guides. It was now half past five and, at a guess, it would take a ten-minute saunter
to reach the Semiramis Palace. Just time to take advantage of the panorama from the ramparts of the Citadel. Bond climbed three flights of steps and leaned against a warm, sandstone balustrade. Below him sprawled the largest city on the continent of Africa, an untidy jumble of buildings stretching away into the heat haze like second hand furniture at an auction, the sky line pricked by the towers of minarets and the domes of mosques.

The Citadel of Saladin (Qalaʿat Salāḥ ad-Dīn) was completed by Saladin in 1183 and served as the seat of the Egyptian government and residence of its ruler until Isma'il Pasha (grandson of the famous Muhammad Ali) moved into the modern Abdeen Palace in 1874. The Citadel has gone through two major reconstruction efforts, so relatively little of Saladin's original palace remains.


The sky was now tinged with red, which would quickly become purple, violet and then night. Bond watched the shadows creeping across the face of the Mohammed Ali mosque and filled his nostrils with the alien smells that wafted up to him. To Bond, who travelled widely, smells could pinpoint a place and a mood better than sights or sounds. What was in this bittersweet odour tonight? Spices, jasmine, detritus, corruption, history? Mostly tonight, thought Bond, it was danger - and
perhaps death. He felt the reassuring pressure of the Walther PPK beneath his left shoulder-blade and began to retrace his steps down to the wide, worn staircase.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 03:01 on May 20, 2020

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 7: The Sound of Music


The lift was like a beautiful bird-cage; an exquisite prison of thin horizontal bars interlaced with a petit point of ironmongery by a craftsman who was obviously a frustrated flower-arranger. It probably dated from the time of the French occupation.

The lift carried Bond graciously and smoothly past exotic cooking smells and the plaintive wails of small children. It stopped with a decorous lurch, like an old lady steadying herself before she crossed the road, on the fourth floor. Bond slid back the two sets of metal doors and stepped out of the lift. He listened for a moment and wondered if anyone else had been listening to the telltale noise of the lift coming up. There was no sound beyond that of a wireless in one of the apartments playing some monotonous Arab dirge.

Bond! Manners!


Bond moved swiftly down the stone corridor following a wavy line down the wall that looked as if it had been made by a child walking along with a pencil. He passed the door with fourteen on it and continued to the end of the corridor, where there was a door which looked as if it was not used very often. As he had surmised, this led out on to a fire-escape. Worth remembering in case there was any unpleasantness. He retraced his footsteps down the corridor and stopped outside the door with fourteen on it. No sound. He knocked and waited. There was a spyhole in the middle of the door and as the seconds ticked by he wondered whose eye would be glued to the other side. He was about to knock again when the door opened eight inches to release a whiff of unfamiliar scent.

‘Bond,’ he said. ‘James Bond. You don’t answer the door any faster than you do the telephone.’

The girl opened the door wide and looked past him down the corridor to right and left. At a guess she was Egyptian mixed with something else, French probably. She was beautiful but not in a way that had ever appealed to Bond. Everything about her was slightly too big. Her mouth, her breasts, her behind - even her eyes. She reminded Bond of an overripe tropical fruit. The eyes, admittedly a devastating feature, wore too much mascara, and the bruised plum lipstick overspilled its territory by a profligate couple of millimetres. Bond looked with disapproval at the too-large gypsy earrings and the rather ridiculous sheath dress, plucked in at the waist and spreading out with false lapels to accentuate the already overlarge breasts. She looked what she probably was - a high-class whore.

Horny Counter: 12

Felicca here was played by Olga Bisera, a Yugoslavian-born actress. After a brief stint in Hollywood, she moved to Italy and appeared in over a dozen movies (mostly cheap exploitation flicks) before retiring in 1982.

You may notice that there's a lot of actors here who primarily worked in Italian film at the time, like Barbara Bach, and Roger Moore made a one-time switch to Angelo Roma for his tailor. I don't know exactly how it all came to be, but it possibly has something to do with Moore having just filmed Street People in Italy (with at least one of his costumes being partially recycled for Bond) and the initial filming taking place in Sardinia.


‘I came alone,’ said Bond.

The girl withdrew and beckoned him into the flat. ‘One must be careful.’ She pressed the door shut behind him and tugged it to make sure that it was locked.

Bond looked round the fiat and decided immediately that it probably did not belong to the girl. It had an almost donnish feel with two walls covered in books and a graceful Egyptian statuette. Bond admired the tall slim naked
body, with the small, firm belly swelling upwards like a horseshoe round the umbilicus; the wide sweep of the eyebrows across the haughty brow, the cowl, like a judge’s wig, covering the shoulders and dropping to fall just short of the erect nipples jutting out from the arrogant little breasts. This, he decided, was much more his type of woman. ‘I expected to be dealing with a man,’ he said.

Horny Counter: 13


‘You will be.’ The girl turned away from the door and gestured towards another door which opened out on to a balcony. ‘Mr Fekkesh is detained at the moment. He asked me to look after you.'

‘Very kind of him,’ said Bond drily. He did not immediately move towards the balcony but picked up a framed photograph from one of the book shelves. It showed a swarthly middle- aged man with his arms round two
children who, from their appearance, must clearly be his. It was a doleful, academic face trying bravely to smile but looking overwhelmingly self-conscious. ‘Is this Mr Fekkesh?’ The girl nodded. ‘You have very attractive children.’

The girl turned her head away. ‘We are not married.' She felt it necessary to qualify the statement. ‘Those are not my children.*



Bond tried to appear embarrassed, and fumbled the photograph back on to the shelf. ‘I’m sorry - er, when are you expecting him back?’

‘Soon. I do not know exactly. He works at the Cairo Museum. He is often late. Can I offer you a drink?’

Bond knew that she was lying and followed her out on to the balcony. Night had dropped swiftly and imperceptibly but it was still warm. Bond breathed the spicy air into his lungs and stepped to the edge of the wrought-iron balustrade. Somewhere, someone was playing a piano. How incongruous it sounded in this Arab night. He looked down and saw light gleaming from a conservatory that jutted out from one of the ground-floor flats. There, unmistakably, was the silhouette of a grand piano. A figure swayed towards it.

‘Noilly Prat and tonic,’ he said, hoping that the French influence would prevail sufficiently to make this delicious long drink available. ‘With a squeeze of lime if you have it.’ The girl disappeared and he made up a story about her and Fekkesh. It was something on the lines of The Blue Angel and it explained why he had left his wife and two children to live with an overlush trollop. What it did not explain was how he could have anything to do with the mythical tracking system. Bond watched the million twinkling lights and the domes of the illuminated mosques and felt the acid juice of worry eating into his stomach. Out there in the big, dark, greedy city, things were happening. People were laughing, crying, making love, making deals. He, James Bond of the British Secret Service, was doing nothing. Standing on a balcony waiting to be brought a drink by someone who might have no more importance in the total scheme of things than one of those drat lights. Bond hated to feel powerless, and at the moment he was playing in a game he did not understand against people he could not see. The situation made him angry and he vowed that when the girl returned he would get some hard facts out of her. By force if necessary.

Horny Counter: 14 for the "overlush trollop" comment. You don't even know the poor woman and you've already decided she's Slutty McSlutslut because she dares to have visible boobs and makeup.


‘Your drink.’

Was it his imagination or did that scent hang a little heavier in the air? Was the décolleté a trifle more obvious?

‘Thank you.’

‘My name is Felicca.’ The voice was calmer now and Bond noticed that the glass in her hand was half empty. ‘I believe you said that yours was James?’

She's barely known this version of Bond for a few minutes and she's already chugging to deal with him.


‘I did. Twice. Once on the telephone and again at your front door.’ Bond’s voice had a hard, cutting edge to it. ‘Look, Felicca. I hope you won't think me rude but I’ve come a long way and I’d be very angry if I found I was on a wild-goose chase. What do you know about the tracking system?’

At the words ‘tracking system’, the girl reacted as if touched on a nerve. Her lips parted momentarily to show the white of her teeth. ‘I know nothing. You must talk to Aziz - to Fekkesh. Drink your drink, make yourself comfortable.’ The fear was back in her voice again. ‘I am expecting him to ring soon.’

‘From the Cairo Museum?’

The girl hesitated. ‘Maybe.’

‘There are too many maybes.’ There was a soft pressure on his arm. The girl was holding the sleeve of his jacket between finger and thumb. Her thigh moved forward purposefully and caressed the inside of his leg.

‘I was asked to entertain you and I would like to do it.’ Her lips brushed against his cheek. ‘I am very good.’

Horny Counter: 15


Yes, thought Bond. I bet you are. Good as gold. Enough gold to buy a tracking system capable of hunting down nuclear submarines. How much would that be worth? One million pounds? A hundred million?

A penumbra of light appeared around the balcony above and there was a sudden explosion of Arabic. Felicca took Bond by the hand and drew him after her through a curtain of hanging wooden beads. They were in a bedroom, although the low dais surmounted by a thin mattress and innumerable cushions owed little to Western conceptions of a bed. If the room was connected to the electric-light supply, the girl made no attempt to prove it. Her arms slid round Bond’s neck like serpents and her mouth trembled like that of a volcano about to erupt. If a kiss is pressure applied by one volatile surface upon another then Bond was kissed everywhere and with everything. The hot, soft lips circulated, the breasts rotated and the belly churned. Felicca was right - she was good at it.

Horny Counter: 16 for the sheer audacity of going further with this.


Bond drank of the nectar and then dashed the vessel from his lips. With a quick jerk of his arms he broke her grip and threw her down on the cushions. Felicca stared up at him, her right hand slowly moving to her bruised left shoulder. Her eyes asked the question shortly before her mouth did. ‘Why?’

‘I didn’t come here to make love to you. Stop beating about the bush and tell me where Fekkesh is.’ Felicca’s skirt had risen to the level of her thighs and Bond could see why Fekkesh decided that life had more to offer than the four thousand years of history encompassed by the Cairo Museum. He yanked her roughly to her feet and shook her until her dress dropped off her shoulders. ‘Don’t think I wouldn’t hurt you, don’t - ! ’

Horny Counter: 17 for Bond's inability to stop staring at this girl's thighs while trying to intimidate her.


In retrospect it had seemed strange. Bond could remember looking at the gun for seconds. He had seen the slight movement of the wooden blocks as it was thrust between them. Heard the death rattle of their clicking. Established the make of the gun - a Japanese M14. Seen the finger tightening round the trigger and the whole hand contracting to ensure that the shot was not jerked away at the last instant.

The pistol is a Nambu Type 14. Wood likely selected it because it was listed in Dr. No as one of the potential guns for Boothroyd to test for replacing Bond's Beretta 418. It was rejected likely because it's a full-size pistol firing an underpowered 8x22mm round that's only available from Japan.

In the film, our surprise hitman is carrying a Beretta 951. This single-stack 9mm pistol was copied by Egypt as the Helwan Brigadier as their service pistol at the time, making it easily available for filming in Cairo.


In reality the whole image could only have been before his eyes for a fraction of a second. Then the girl was propelled into his arms as if by the point of a javelin. The hideous thump that ran through his own body as if his arms were shock-absorbers. Then the dead-weight collapse. The rattle at the back of the throat. The warm blood pumping through his fingers. Bond threw himself sideways, still using the girl as an unintended shield. Two more shots thudded into the wall beside his head and he rolled over twice and tore out the Walther. Thank God it was dark in the room. He fired blind on to the terrace and a string of beads whipped away like a serpent. Silence, save for the chinking of the wooden blocks. Was the gunman waiting for him on the terrace? Bond edged his way round the wall and waited with his back beside the opening. The light had gone out on the balcony above. He could imagine the neighbours wondering what had happened, debating whether to call the police. Deciding to do nothing. Far below there was still the tinkle of that drat piano. What tune was it playing? The notes rose up like soap-bubbles. ‘Moonlight Becomes You.’ Bond permitted himself a grim smile. No point in staying here. The gunman had probably escaped immediately after the shooting. Let himself out of the flat by the front door. Bond judged the distance and his line of departure and then threw himself through the bead curtain. Three strides and he was in the first room he had entered. Nobody. The outer door shut Was there any point in going down the fire-escape or should he go back to the girl? Better the girl. If she died and Fekkesh did not turn up then he was finished. And he did not want to get involved with the Egyptian police. There would be a lot of questions and he would be asking none of them.


It was then that he heard the sigh. At first he thought it was the girl, but unless she had crawled out on to the balcony it was too close. Bond switched off the light and moved along the wall to the balcony. Still in shadow, he peered out. At first there seemed to be nothing - and then, a hand. Knuckles straining white as they clung desperately to the bottom of one of the railings of the balustrade. Another bloodstained hand dragged itself like a half-crushed spider towards the M14, lying like a tempting prize beneath the guard rail. Bond’s blind shot must have wounded the man. He had tried to scramble back along the balconies to the corner of the building and slipped. Now, like a good professional, he was trying to save his life and take Bond’s. An elbow found a precarious perch on the parapet and the hand clawed forward towards the butt of the gun. Bond could see the clenched teeth, the intense ruckling of the brow. There was a smell of cordite and sweat in the air - the sweat that a man gives off when he is close to death. The man’s fingers brushed against the gun and then, in a desperate flurry of movement, sought to scratch it backwards to where it could be seized. As a background to the spectacle the distant pianist offered up a medley of Rodgers and Hart numbers.

Bond could not help feeling admiration for the single- minded purpose of the man who had been sent to kill. He was trying to do his job. Bond stepped out on the balcony as the man’s hand finally closed about the gun. Their eyes met for the fraction of a second that can be an infinity and Bond fired twice. The man disappeared as if tugged from below. There was a pause and then the sound of shattering glass and a reverberating thump extending into a long, jangling discord. Then a woman screaming. Bond went to the parapet and looked down. There was an untidy hole in the conservatory roof and the body of the assassin could be seen spread-eagled across the grand piano. The screams increased in intensity and lights began to go on. Inspired by the arrival of her unexpected accompanist the woman was having hysterics.

The hitman, Sandor, was played by Milton Reid. Reid was a British actor born in India to a Scottish customs and excise inspector and an Indian woman. He had a long career as a muscle-bound villain, including previously appearing as one of Dr. No's guards and a temple guard in the 1967 Casino Royale. He was a professional wrestler under the ring name The Mighty Chang; you may recall him from being mentioned in the previous thread as challenging Harold Sakata to a wrestling match for the role of Oddjob in Goldfinger. While his previous appearance in a Bond film worked against him, he would finally get a named character and a single line for this film. He's believed to have died of a heart attack in India in 1987, but he had effectively disappeared from the public radar at the time and there's little concrete information beyond a corpse.

Rather than a simple and quick exchange of gunfire, Bond and Sandor actually get into a proper fistfight in the film.


Bond ducked back into the bedroom and switched on the light. This time, the police would be called. He had to move fast. Felicca was lying with her face in a pillow and for a moment he thought that she was dead. Her face was grey and her whole body seemed to have shrunk. It was as if the bullet had punctured her spectacular buoyancy. Now she looked like another person. Vulnerable, defeated.

I'm debating whether "spectacular buoyancy" counts as horny here.


Maybe I was wrong about you, thought Bond. Maybe you do love Fekkesh. Maybe that is why you got involved, and found yourself getting out of your depth. One thing is for certain: the water is closing over your head.

Bond held the girl’s' shoulder and pressed his mouth to her ear. His voice was low and urgent. ‘Felicca. Where is Fekkesh?’ No answer, but the mouth trembled. ‘I may be able to help him to stay alive. That man won’t be alone. There’ll be others. They’re probably after him now.’

A tear formed in the girl’s eye and rolled slowly down her check. Who was she crying for? Herself? Fekkesh? The world of greed and hatred, and people like James Bond? Bond squeezed her shoulder and despised himself. The girl was dying, dammit! He should be ringing for a doctor, not prising her secrets out of her.

‘Tell me. I can save him.’

The girl’s mouth opened and closed like that of a dying fish. ‘He is meeting someone. At the pyramids. Son-et -'

Her head fell sideways and Bond felt the life rush from the body. He laid her back against the cushions and rose swiftly to wash the blood from his hands.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 02:13 on May 21, 2020

Proteus Jones
Feb 28, 2013

Hair Elf

chitoryu12 posted:

I'm debating whether "spectacular buoyancy" counts as horny here.

I say be generous and assume he's referring to her personality, as opposed to her... personality.

You don't want to overload the counter.

Apr 23, 2014

Watching the fight between Roger Moore and Milton Reid, it's really obvious that Reed is a pro wrestler.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

chitoryu12 posted:

Bond hated to feel powerless, and at the moment he was playing in a game he did not understand against people he could not see. The situation made him angry and he vowed that when the girl returned he would get some hard facts out of her. By force if necessary.

Another bit that's absolutely pure Roger Moore...


The girl disappeared and he made up a story about her and Fekkesh. It was something on the lines of The Blue Angel and it explained why he had left his wife and two children to live with an overlush trollop.

...but this is a very odd observation for any incarnation of Bond, and doubly so for one who is living before the home video era. The reference is to a German tragicomic film with Marlene Dietrich, in which a respectable schoolmaster falls in love with a cabaret woman and leaves his family and job for her (it doesn't end well). It was a contemporary hit on English-language release in 1931, but even the oldest presentation of Bond would have been a child at the time (and, by Pearson's telling, living in the Soviet Union), so to see it and remember it well enough to think of it in a moment like this, he probably would have had to go to a private screening of some sort.

In fact, can anyone remember Bond drawing a reference to a specific film before? I can't, off the top of my head.

Apr 23, 2014

Trin Tragula posted:

Another bit that's absolutely pure Roger Moore...

...but this is a very odd observation for any incarnation of Bond, and doubly so for one who is living before the home video era. The reference is to a German tragicomic film with Marlene Dietrich, in which a respectable schoolmaster falls in love with a cabaret woman and leaves his family and job for her (it doesn't end well). It was a contemporary hit on English-language release in 1931, but even the oldest presentation of Bond would have been a child at the time (and, by Pearson's telling, living in the Soviet Union), so to see it and remember it well enough to think of it in a moment like this, he probably would have had to go to a private screening of some sort.

In fact, can anyone remember Bond drawing a reference to a specific film before? I can't, off the top of my head.

Christopher Wood was also born after the film released, so presumably he found a way to watch it by 1976. I think Bond referenced films and actors but Fleming was much more interested in books than movies.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

Oh boy, there goes the horny meter again.

chitoryu12 posted:

It was rejected likely because it's a full-size pistol firing an underpowered 8x22mm round that's only available from Japan.

By the time Fleming was writing, even Japan didn't use 8mm Nambu any more.

Funnily enough, a nickel plated Type 14 appears in Never Say Never Again, where Bond takes it off a henchman and later drops it into an ice bucket.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 8: Death of a Salesman


‘You have come tonight to the most fabulous and celebrated place in the world ..

The male voice was cold and almost condescending. With the assistance of fourteen loudspeakers it began to swell dramatically. ‘Here, on the plateau Gizeh, stands for ever the mightiest of human achievements. No traveller - emperor, merchant or poet - has trodden on these sands and not gasped in awe.’

Like a gas-jet being turned up, light slowly flooded the eastern face of the Pyramid of Cheops. There was an obedient and reverential murmur from the serried rows of tourists as their heads tilted back and their eyes rose four hundred and fifty-five feet into the night sky. All the tourists except one.

Pretty much nothing has changed about this show since 1976. It remains one of the most striking time capsules of this dive into James Bond, one of the few things that remains exactly as it was when first put to paper (and then to film).


Major Anya Amasova, sitting at the end of the fifth row with an empty seat beside her, took advantage of the sudden burst of light to check that the two men assigned to her by General Nikitin were in position. They were. Standing, it seemed to her, self-consciously, at either diagonal of the audience. They were both looking up at the enormous, overpowering structure, taking advantage of the unexpected history lesson. Instantly, they were snatched from view as the lighting changed, throwing the pyramid into silhouette.

‘The curtain of night is about to rise and disclose the stage on which the drama of a civilization took place ..'

Anya looked at her watch. Fekkesh was late.

To the left, the Sphinx slowly appeared as if illuminated by the first rays of dawn. There was an admiring gasp from the audience in which Anya found herself joining. It was impossible not to be moved in these surroundings. Disconcertingly so. She should not have agreed to this meeting place.

‘With each new dawn I see the Sun-god rise on the banks of the Nile. His first ray is for my face, which is turned towards him.'

Bond stood in the shadows, listening to the neutered voice of the Sphinx and wondering if the Pharaoh Chephren had really talked like that. Still, the sculptors and the metteurs en scéne of the son-et-lumiére must know best. There was certainly something sexually ambiguous about the Sphinx.

Horny Counter: 18

There's not even anything sexual! It's just a giant statue of a cat with a man face! Your gratuitous use of French for no reason doesn't disguise how weird you are!


When light permitted, Bond sorted through the rows of tourists looking for Fekkesh. Only the beautiful, erect girl in the fifth row did not seem to belong to a tour party. Poor devils, he thought, Cairo, Giza, Memphis, El Amarna, Abydos, Luxor, Kamak, Assuan. Five thousand years of history in three weeks, two donkey rides and a bout of gastro-enteritis.

Fortunately, no donkey rides are necessary to get to the light show if you book a $19.61 ticket! The seating is right on the edge of Cairo where the city ends, so you can take a vehicle or walk to it.


‘... and for five thousand years I have seen all the suns men can remember come up into the sky ..' The girl in the fifth row was worth concentrating on. It was impossible to see her clearly but there was a quality of luminosity about her that drew her forward from the lumpy women with clumsy cardigans draped round their sunburnt shoulders. But maybe this was not the best time to be a girl watcher. Similarly placed to himself were two men wearing lightweight suits that looked as if they had been made out of cardboard boxes. They appeared uncomfortably out of place - like Toby Mugs amongst Dresden Shepherdesses. They looked like the kind of failed Bulgarian weightlifters that Redland recruited to eliminate enemies of the State. Maybe they were friends of the man on the concert grand who would never find anyone to play a duet with him.

Bond and Anya both spot Fekkesh simultaneously, looking through the audience for the correct row. He makes it all the way to her, but suddenly grows pale and frightened as he looks into the distance. As the lights go out, he runs.


Bond cursed and started to run towards the back of the audience. In the darkness, his feet caught against a cable and he tripped and nearly fell. He cursed again and there was an impatient ‘Ssh!!’ from the hypnotized onlookers. Why the hell had Fekkesh taken off like that? Who had he seen? Could he have recognized Bond? Hardly likely. One of the heavies? Possibly. Bond abandoned speculation and concentrated on running as fast as he dared. A sudden blaze of an illumination on the pyramid of Mycerinus showed him a figure and its grotesquely larger shadow running down the north side of Cheops. By some strange, optical illusion, the shadow seemed to be moving out of time with its owner, almost as if giving chase to it. Bond pulled out his Walther and sprinted, the distorted voices from the amplifiers bombarding his ears as he ran past. Now it was dark again. God! This was like the night barrage before the battle of El Alamein. The blinding flashes of the twenty-five pounders throwing into relief the advancing infantry.

As if to demonstrate the image, the Sphinx was once more illuminated, and as Bond’s eyes were automatically drawn towards the source of light he saw a sight which brought him abruptly to a halt. Silhouetted against the distant Sphinx was a giant figure which at first glance seemed like some statue, unrecorded since the dawn of history. Its head was huge and ungainly and its arms stood away from the body in the pose of a wrestler flexing to take hold of an opponent. Viewed behind it, the Sphinx seemed an appropriate mount to bear this Colossus away across the desert. And then the giant moved. The head swivelled towards Bond, the eyes blazed and the light shone from its mouth as from a lighthouse.

And then everything was plunged into darkness.

In the previous thread, we talked about the late, great Richard Kiel. Jaws took some limited inspiration from Horror, the gangster with the steel-capped teeth in the original novel that Fleming hated but our readers loved. The famed gentle giant had rejected the role of Chewbacca in Star Wars to play Jaws, as it would be an easier role with higher pay.

Amazingly, this role was not completely original for him! In the 1976 film Silver Streak starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Kiel had played Reace, a hulking henchman with metal-capped teeth.


Fekkesh was desperate. Desperate as a man who has taken out a mortgage he cannot repay, or gambled in a game when the stakes are too high, or promised a woman he loves something he can never give her. But most of all he was desperate because he knew that his time was running out. That he was going to die. When he found the opening in the wall, he pressed into it like a bug into a crack. Anywhere to get away from the big man who killed for Stromberg. Why? Why had he listened to them? What had they been able to do to him to make him believe that he could ever turn against Stromberg and get away with it? Especially with this. It was too big. He had been insane. He should have stayed on the fringe. Taken the money, been grateful.

Something impeded the passage of air to his nostrils and Fekkesh froze. The man was standing in the opening. In the darkness, the sound of his heavy breathing sounded like the sawing of wood. At that moment, Fekkesh gave up the ghost. He hunched his shoulders and began to whimper. God, please make it quick, he prayed. Please spare me too much pain. He thought of his children and of Felicca, waiting at the flat, but most of all his mind was full of a blind inchoate terror that numbed him like an injection sinking deeper and deeper into his gums. He pressed his eyes tight shut and dug his nails into his palms. God, let it happen soon. He was tightening like a spring that had to break.

When the hand fell upon his knee it was almost a relief. He braced himself and opened his eyes. The outline of the face was visible against the stars. There seemed to be no malice in it. No hatred. No cruelty. If this was the face that animals wore before they ate each other then it was not too bad. And then the mouth opened and Fekkesh saw the two rows of jagged, stainless-steel teeth. And then he started screaming. And Jaws pulled him down like a rag doll upon the scaffold of his knee and bit through the back of his neck as easily as if it had been a stick of celery.

The light show at the pyramids is abbreviated here, but you can immediately see how unchanged it is.


To Bond, the noise that ended the screams was like that of a stick breaking. He raced towards it and arrived as the huge man materialized from between two blocks of stone like a spirit escaping from some rifled sarcophagus. For a second the two men faced each other and then Jaws showed his gleaming teeth in a contemptuous smile and turned on his heel to be swallowed up by the night. Bond hesitated, torn between the knowledge that he must find Fekkesh and an impulse to pursue this terrifying giant with the gleaming teeth. There was no choice. Fekkesh came first. Bond held his gun low and edged his shoulder round one of the thirty-ton blocks of stone that formed the base of the pyramid. His heart sank as he saw a foot protruding from the shadows. He knelt down swiftly and felt for the man’s heart. Something glistened in the darkness; a pool of blood spreading from the neck and shoulders. Someone, there were no prizes for guessing who must have chopped half through the man’s neck. Bond forgot about the heart and pushed back the man’s head. The face with the wide staring eyes was recognizable. Fekkesh..

Swiftly and skilfully Bond went through the pockets of Fekkesh’s shabby suit. The breast pocket yielded a small diary. Bond quickly felt inside his own jacket and produced a silver pencil with a number of modifications by Aspreys. Two presses of the clip turned it into a torch. Bond flicked through the diary with the aid of its thin beam. The address section was empty and there were no telephone numbers. The day-to-day entries seemed all connected with work. Bond’s sketchy Arabic unscrambled ‘Meeting of Khem-en-du Excavation Committee’ and a luncheon appointment with the directors of the Coptic Museum. There was even a note to remember Felicca’s birthday. Some tiny and nearly dried-up reservoir of sentiment in Bond was pleased to see that this date had passed. He hoped the lovers had enjoyed it.

One last twinge of the sentimental Bond of Ian Fleming.


There was an entry for the following Thursday: ‘Max Kalba, Mujaba Club. 7.30 pm.’ Neither the name nor the club meant anything to Bond but it was the only lead he had unless he searched Fekkesh’s flat and could get into his office at the Cairo Museum. That and find the big man. There could not be many countries in the world where he would find it easy to hide in a crowd. Bond shivered as he looked down at the broken body at his feet. How could the neck have been torn open like that? It was almost as if - no. He rejected the suggestion as being too horrible, too absurd. But, there again, he had once examined a rat after a terrier had killed it and - almost against his will, Bond’s gaze dropped once more to the bulging eyes, the thin sharp-nosed features, the blood beginning to coagulate around the jagged puncture marks. Fighting against nausea, he thrust the diary into his pocket and turned away from this place of terrible death.

Outside, it was dark and the only sound was the distant one of car doors slamming and tour operators calling the faithful to get into their Russian-built coaches. The son-et-lumiére must be over. Bond brushed the sand from his knees and began to walk round the great black bulk of Cheops to where the car headlights were sawing at the darkness. What had Napoleon calculated? That there was enough stone in the three pyramids of Gizeh to build a wall ten feet high around France - Bond preferred to deal in feet even when the calculations were being made by Napoleon.

1977 and still a good Brit.


Bond heard the soft footfall in the sand too late and turned the wrong way. A flash of lightning struck him behind the right ear and a deep pit opened up at his feet. He tumbled slowly into it and looking back as he rolled over and over could see that the triangular face of Cheops was rising not four hundred and fifty-five feet into the sky, but for ever until it blotted out the heavens like a great black cliff.

Apr 23, 2014

God, have I lost my touch so soon? I forgot Fekkesh!

Somehow I forgot this man even with his bright blue suit and bow tie. He's played by Nadim Sawalha, a Jordanian-born British actor who is the father of Julia Sawalha (who played Lydia in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice and Ginger, the lead female, in Chicken Run) and Nadia Sawalha (who played Annie Palmer on EastEnders and currently has the popular YouTube channel The Sawalha-Adderleys). Nadim was a member of a Bedouin family that settled in Madaba and slowly abandoned their nomadic lifestyle, giving young Nadim an opportunity to move to England when he was 21.

Nadim would later play a police chief in Tangier in The Living Daylights and is still alive at 84 years old, with his latest role being 2018's Tel Aviv on Fire where he played the protagonist's uncle, Bassem.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 9: Shock Tactics


Somebody was tapping on Bond’s head and asking to come in. The sound was a long way away and heard through many closed doors but it was distinctive and persistent. Bond waited, hoping that whoever it was would go away, but the sound continued, rhythmic and jarring. With each tap a tiny filament of pain ran through Bond’s brain. It was no good. He would have to see who was there. Grumbling to himself he began to force his eyes open. How difficult it was. He must have been deep in sleep. Curse them for disturbing him. Now, who was there in the thick swirling mist? Bond screwed up his eyes to concentrate. The face was like a hallowee’en mask, round and shiny with two deep-socketed eyes that seemed to be pouring out rivulets of tears. The tears fell like twin cascades to be sucked into the recessed corners of a broad, straight mouth thatched with a white moustache of horizontal hairs. Bond was puzzled. None of the features moved. And there was no nose. And the strange lustre of the perfect round face. It was shiny. Shiny as a button.

Slowly, Bond’s mind cleared and he realized what he was looking at. One of the buttons on the shirt of the man who was standing in front of him. . .

‘He is conscious.’ The voice was Russian.

You're probably quite confused if you've seen the movie! This scene does not exist in it and was added for the book, while some parts and characters that are in the movie have been removed.


A rough hand jerked Bond's head backwards and he looked into a square, clumsily-featured face that might have been whittled with a blunt penknife. So, the two men at the son-et- lumiére had been Russians. At least, this one was. Bond did not say anything but concentrated on clearing his head and testing the rope that secured his hands behind the back of a chair. It must have been tightened nearly to the bone. His ankles were also bound to the two front legs of the chair. This was ominous. The more so when one examined the apparatus that the second man was connecting to a heavy-duty battery. It was a small metal box with an on/off switch and a glass panel showing a red calibrated dial. There was also a lever, currently resting at the top of its vertical slot and, most sinister of all, two long thin wires leading away from the side of the box and ending in metal claws.

Bond forgot about the throbbing lump on the back of his head. He knew what the box was and he knew what they were going to do to him. The man who had been connecting the battery leads stood up and nodded to his companion. They were ready. There was no sign of the big man.

We're not even halfway through the book and Wood is already giving us the torture sequence!


Bond looked round the shabby, featureless room and tried to find items to concentrate on. If you were being tortured it helped to focus on something. Direct yourself away from the agony and the information you were supposed to be giving to some totally unrelated, meaningless object. Bond’s eyes glanced off the naked lightbulb and lit upon a calendar on the far wall. It showed the Egyptian version of a pin-up, a pretty black-haired girl showing her face but nothing else and extending a shy hand towards a motor scooter. She gazed at Bond as she must have gazed at the cameraman, not quite certain what either of them was doing. Yes, she would do. They would see this thing through together.

‘Mr Bond.’ It was a surprise to hear his own name, and spoken in good English with only the faintest trace of accent. ‘The answer to one simple question can save you excruciating pain and mutilation. Where is the blueprint of the tracking system?’ Despite his predicament, Bond felt like laughing out loud. ‘I don’t have the tracking system.’

The man holding the metal claws began to tap them together like castanets.

‘Then why did you kill Fekkesh?'

That throws Bond for a loop. Didn't the Russians kill Fekkesh? Rather than presenting this course of inquiry to see if it throws them off, Bond just says he didn't do it.


‘Sorry, chum. You’ve drawn the same answer. I didn’t kill him.' No flicker of emotion passed through the man’s face. He shrugged and then bent forward and started to unbuckle Bond’s belt. Bond’s stomach froze. If the beads of sweat that were pouring off him ran over it they would turn into icicles. He looked towards the man standing by the metal box and then turned away. The man’s eyes were glistening lasciviously. Pain was his mistress. The top of Bond’s trousers was unhooked and the buttons undone one by one. He was like a child being taken to the lavatory. Then the trousers and underpants were pulled down to his knees. Bond sought the surprised eyes of the girl in the calendar. It was strange but he felt embarrassed looking at her. She was like the girl at the dentist who hands you a glass of pink water that your numb mouth finds it difficult to spit into. Her disdaining smile apologizing for your clumsiness.

Horny Counter: 19

Wood's claims about molestation in school bring some bad things to mind here...


‘This is your final chance. Where is the microfilm?’

‘Go and — yourself! ! ’

The man did not reward Bond’s obscenity with a slap across the face. He was a professional and he could afford to conserve his energy. An electric current passed through the genitals was a million times more effective than beating a man’s face to a bloody pulp. He stood back and his accomplice hurried forward with the claws. There was about him an indecent, scuttling haste, like a crab closing with a cracked mollusc. His breath stank and Bond turned his head away from the noisome
odour. He glimpsed the claws sprung wide and then winced as the metal closed about his soft flesh. This pain was bad enough. How could he stand more?

That's some interesting, well-educated vocabulary to describe James Bond getting his balls electrocuted.


The operator bit his lip for an instant and then returned to the machine. He moved his hand to the on/off switch and then turned to Bond as if to photograph him in repose. Bond could feel him estimating how much give there was in the ropes. How far Bond’s tortured, screaming body would be able to leap into the air. Then, he pressed down the switch.

Immediately, Bond felt a nerve-jangling tremor fanning out from the most sensitive of his organs. It was not a pain but it set his teeth on edge. The machine had come to life and was saying that it was ready to inflict agony. Bond concentrated on the girl in the calendar and tried to bury himself deep in her soft, brown eyes.

Bond is utilizing the horny as a defense mechanism!


‘You are stupid, Mr Bond. Because, in the end, you are going to tell us everything we want to know.' Bond’s gaze did not deviate. ‘We will start slowly, just to give you a taste of what is to come.’

Keep looking into the kind brown eyes. The nice lady is trying to sell you a motorcycle. With a motorcycle you could drive away from this room and never come back. The scream left Bond's body as if it were taking most of his vital organs with it. He felt his body dismantling to make way for its passage through his throat, but his throat wasn’t big enough. The scream escaped through his brain, through his ears. Everywhere. He had been prepared for pain but this was too horrible. It was a physical invasion of his body. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced before. As if his whole nervous system had been turned over with a sharpened spade.

Le Chiffre really should have invested in car batteries. He'd have gotten a lot farther.


‘You see.’ The voice came through the mists of purple pain. ‘It is not pleasant, is it? And it can go on, and on, and on.' Bond’s body was awash with sweat. He could feel it dripping down on to his chest. There was a cruel throbbing from his wrists telling of the strain he must have put on his tightly tethered hands when the current threw him forward. ‘But do not despair. It is when you can no longer feel that you should become worried. For then you will no longer be a man.’ God save me, thought Bond. Is there any other force on Earth or in Heaven that can pluck me from this crucifying rack of pain? ‘Would you rather talk now, or later?’

Bond pulled his head up and once more focused on the calendar. Come on, Sweetheart. We can do better than this. I thought we had something beautiful going between us. I thought we were on the brink of something -


This time, Bond was prepared for the wave of pain. It swept in like a rising tide, probing familiar ground, infiltrating pre-explored crevasses. And then it edged forward, overlapping itself to invade new territory. Saturating unexplored sand, drawing forth new screams of seared, screeching agony. The hinges of Bond’s mouth snapped back and his throat divided into the columns of an organ as he hurled himself forward against the cruel ropes. The roman candle of pain between his legs was burning out his soul.


The waves fell back and the sea of suffering slowly withdrew. Bond, head on sweat-soaked chest, strained his throbbing cars for another sound of that female voice.

‘Fools! Imbeciles! Are you trying to kill him?’ She was speaking Russian but Bond could keep pace with her. His time for a diploma at the defector Vozdvishensky’s language symposium for employees of the ‘Ministry of Defence' had broken all records. ‘What information can he yield us dead?’ There was an immediate murmur of disgruntled disapproval. Bond opened one eye, straining to catch sight of this newcomer. He saw two slim trouser-legs. One petulant heel tapping against the floor. ‘Must I remind you again who is in control of this operation? Untie him and revive him. We have drugs that can do this work.' Not entirely an altruist, thought Bond.

Imagine if we had a Roger Moore film where Bond actually went through all of this.


‘But Major. With respect.’ The voice belonged to the senior torturer and had precious little respect in it. ‘We have experience of these methods. We have enjoyed much success with them. The man will not die until we want him to.'

‘Nevertheless. Do as I say! ’

Bond gambled that all eyes would be upon the speaker, and turned his head slightly. Through half-closed eyes he could make out an erect female presence that was familiar. The girl he had seen at the son-et-lumiére. So, she was one of them. Not one of them but in control of them. He could understand the reaction of the others. Having to receive orders from a woman after years of torturing people their way. Why couldn't she find a job in a factory or on a collective farm? God knew, they needed all the help they could get.

They mercifully remove the clamps from Bond's junk and begin cutting his bindings with a knife. Little do they know, Bond is an expert in leaping up from torture sessions and beating up people!


Bond risked another glance. The operator of the machine was sulkily wrapping the connection wires round his fingers. Suddenly the mist of pain rose as it was penetrated by the bright sunlight of an idea. It might just work. Bond lolled forward and felt the knife sawing through the ropes at his tortured wrists. Half way through, three-quarters, seven-eighths. He braced himself and, as the rope parted, hurled himself towards the hideous instrument of torture that had set out to emasculate him. It was still humming and a red light glowed. Too late, the operator saw what was in his mind and desperately sought to free his fingers from the enveloping wire. Bond drove the lever down so that it buckled against the bottom of the slot. The needle on the gauge leapt forward and with a bright flash the man’s body jack-knifed in the air. There was a two-tier scream and a disgusting smell of burning, frizzled flesh. The man’s features flattened against the wall with a sickening, blood-smearing crunch but he was dead one-twentieth of a second before the impact.

Instinctively, Bond ducked to one side and the knife arm flashed past his throat. With automatic deference to the classic defence riposte, his right arm cut across and his body swivelled with it. The two forearms met halfway between the two bodies and the withdrawing knife arm was jarred to one side. Bond saw the opening and drove hard and upwards. His stiff, locked wrist travelled two feet and the heel of his left hand, with the fingers spread wide for extra rigidity, came up under the spokesman’s throat with terrifying force. He staggered back and in the same instant, Bond lashed out with the edge of his finger-locked hand turned into an axe-blade. The blow hacked into the Adam’s apple in the middle of the taut throat and the man fell like a tree.

If they made the movie a faithful adaptation of the book, it would have been the first X-rated Bond.


Bond looked down at the two untidy heaps of human being and wondered how long it would be before streams of homeless vermin started to leave their bodies. The girl was staring at him as if mesmerized by the events of the last few seconds. Bond fastened his trousers and looked at her just long enough to see that she was beautiful and not pointing a gun at him

The only important factors to him!


‘Thanks for saving my life.’ He smiled grimly, and added as an afterthought, ‘And possibly one or two other people’s.’

And then he was through the door and down the worn stairs, two at a time. Throwing his weight against a second door and feeling the blessed cool of the night air. He ran hard down an alley and then out into a street where people were walking and he could slow down and walk amongst them, listening to his pumping heart reassuring him that he was still alive.

Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952

chitoryu12 posted:

Chapter 7: The Sound of Music

Rather than a simple and quick exchange of gunfire, Bond and Sandor actually get into a proper fistfight in the film.

I have heard it said as a compliment that when so and so hits someone, they stay hit. Well, Sandor is someone who doesn't stay hit.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005

It's very interesting that Wood decides to bring in the pin-up girl to the previously all-male setting of torture sequences, and then chooses to have a woman come in and put a stop to it. This is the 1970s, sir. Respectable secret agents don't do homoeroticism any more.

Apr 23, 2014

Trin Tragula posted:

It's very interesting that Wood decides to bring in the pin-up girl to the previously all-male setting of torture sequences, and then chooses to have a woman come in and put a stop to it. This is the 1970s, sir. Respectable secret agents don't do homoeroticism any more.

The next chapter has Wood unironically claim Bond isn’t a masochist.

Apr 23, 2014

Let’s hope he did better research for the biography than the novel...

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 10: Adventures in Clubland


The Mujaba Club was an incongruous building to find in a bustling tourist metropolis on the eastern bank of the Nile three hundred and seventy-five miles south of Cairo - for that was where Bond eventually found it. On the outskirts of Luxor. It was surrounded by clumps of palm trees, to be sure, but that, apart from its awnings and shutters, was its only obvious concession to the mystic East. In all other respects it was redolent of the era when Britannia ruled the waves and most of the land that divided them. It looked like a cross between an open prison, a Methodist church hall, a youth hostel and the officers’ mess of an inferior county regiment, and, because it was none of these things, yet clearly built by English hands, it had to be a club.

It has been claimed by some blogs that the Mujaba Club was portrayed by the Mena House (now the Marriott Mena House) in Cairo, within walking distance of the Great Pyramid of Giza. However, the hotel owners claim no knowledge or records of filming occurring there and it's believed to have been a lookalike set.


Bond was feeling less depressed. He was not a masochist but the pain and relentless action of two nights before had left him with a keen edge of purpose. He had a lead, something to go on, something to get his teeth into. Most important of all, there was a tough, ruthless game being played for enormous stakes and he had been dealt in. No matter the insignificance of his cards. What was vital was that he should have the chance to play them.

I have no faith in any author who claims James Bond is not a masochist.


Outside the club was an impressive range of cars. Bond noted the larger Mercedes and the latest Cadillac which must have been flown over from the States almost before it was available to the American public. There was clearly a lot of money about. Most of it, from the look of the number plates, Arabic. Bond squared his shoulders beneath the sculptured lightness of his black barathea dinner jacket and met the eye of the garishly dressed doorman. The man wore a curved dagger in a scabbard of semi-precious stones tucked into the waistband of his embroidered burnous. He had a nose like a falcon and his sharp, dark eyes ran over Bond like the editor of Burke’s Peerage considering an applicant for a vacant baronetcy. Bond passed muster and returned the slight inclination of the head that passed him through to the interior of the club.

Bond finds the reception desk empty and a list of competitors in the upcoming bridge tournament, none of whom are Max Kalba. He decides to head to the bar and ask around.


The bar was another pleasant surprise. Spacious, comfortable and with the minimum concession to Arab kitsch. A long mirror-backed bar ran along one wall and there were groups of tables and low-backed armchairs and cushioned window-seats. Two fans in the ceiling turned slowly and silently. Through a door at the far end could be seen a candle-lit dining-room with waiters in short tunics and deep purple waistcoats. One or two couples were already studying menus. Bond settled himself at the bar and ordered a vodka martini. The dress of the people around him was interesting. Some of the men wore dinner- jackets; others affected traditional costume and their strong aquiline features could barely be seen emerging from their white robes and flowing head-dresses. For the most part, they sipped daintily from tiny cups of coffee and talked eloquently with their hands whilst their womenfolk sat silent and respectful, only their dark, almond eyes taking off to make whirlwind sorties round the room. They were beautiful, these women, thought Bond, perhaps more so than the Europeanized ones with pendant jewellery hanging from their foreheads. So much of their mystery was still hidden and only those darting eyes spoke of immortal longings awaiting satisfaction.

But, enough of speculation. There was work to be done. Bond finished his drink and raised a finger to catch the barman’s eye. And then he saw her. Reflected in the long mirror behind the bar. The girl at the son-et-lumière. The girl whose intervention two days before had saved his life. She was coming into the room like a clipper under full sail and she looked magnificent. Her dress was a long, black, wispy thing that trailed behind her and stopped just below the graceful line of her slim shoulders. Her fine breasts jutted out proudly. Her hair was jet black and lustrous and there was no touch of artifice about the way it hung casually to form a natural, jagged frame to her face. The face was beautiful and Bond looked at it properly for the first time. The eyes were a deep blue, almost violet, and contained beneath dark brows. The slender nose had a suspicion of a tilt and the mouth was both positive and sensual. In fact, the whole face had an air of determination and independence helped by the set of the high cheekbones and the fine line of the jaw. This sense of purpose was carried through to the way she moved. She held herself proudly yet unselfconsciously, and moved across the room as if it was a vassal state to be crossed on the way to defeat an enemy. She held her flat, black evening-bag like a weapon.

Who wants to go from gratuitous gore and graphic descriptions of boobs to cheesy poo poo?


With a pang of sadness, Bond realized that this girl reminded him of someone he had once loved and married. Tracy had been fair and this girl was dark but there was about their faces those same qualities of courage, spirit and resourcefulness that Bond prized above all others in a woman. But a voice of caution shouted in Bond's ear. Careful! This girl is a Russian. She is almost certainly a member of SMERSH and is therefore a deadly enemy. Her presence here is not programmed by Eros but whatever poor, demented god controls the movements of spies and double agents. Beware!

Ahh, there we go.


Taking the advice of his conscience, Bond dismissed the hovering barman and slid from his stool. Three steps and he was by the girl’s side.

‘Good evening. What an unexpected pleasure.’

‘Commander Bond.’ She had the grace to smile, and even if it was false the effect was still stunning.

‘You have the advantage of me once again. Please allow me to buy you a drink.’

Yeah, this dialogue feels very Moore.


Anya looked into the handsome, cruel face with a sense of déjà vu. Was it only in the last two days and in the file marked Angliski Spion at the Department of Military Records that she had seen this man before? As she allowed herself to be steered towards the bar she could understand why he was the most respected as well as feared of the British agents. His body seemed to flow rather than move in a series of programmed steps. He was like a panther or some other animal that lived by speed and stealth - and death.

‘I think our meeting deserves celebration, don’t you?’ Bond did not wait for a reply but ordered the best champagne. It came in the form of a bottle of Taittinger ’45. Anya felt his cold eyes appraising her body. ‘You look very beautiful,’ he said. ‘Perhaps electrifying would be a better word.’

This is the Taittinger vintage that Bond drinks with Vesper during their famous dinner in Casino Royale.


Anya stretched out her hand for her glass. ‘I am sorry. That is not the way I would have handled it.’

Bond permitted himself a dry smile and raised his glass. ‘Za vashe zdarovie.' Behind the badinage his mind was racing. What was the girl doing here? Had he been followed? If they had still wanted him, why hadn't they picked him up in Cairo? It would have been easier. Perhaps there was some strange grain of comfort in her presence. Fekkesh’s diary had been taken from his pocket at the Cheops Pyramid. If the girl was following up the Kalba lead it could mean that there was something in it. It could also mean that Kalba’s life-expectancy was only slightly longer than that of Fekkesh. He had better find the man quickly. And was the girl alone?

Bond lowered his glass and looked into the dangerously deep blue eyes. ‘You must be lonely without your boyfriends.’

‘They are easily replaced.’

Bond tried again. ‘What a coincidence that we should both decide to visit the Mujaba Club tonight.’

‘Life is full of coincidences, Commander Bond.'

Bond shouldered the angels aside. ‘Who are you? How do you know about me?’

The girl threw back her head and again Bond was captivated, almost against his will, by the fine determined line of her jaw. ‘My name is Major Anya Amasova and I am employed by the Defence Department of the Peoples’ Republic. We have lists of murderers in many countries.’

‘Most of them working for you, I would imagine,’ said Bond. ‘Please, let’s spare ourselves any more of that kind of facile recrimination. I imagine we’re both in the same line of business and it could become very tedious.’

Anya’s lips set in a tight line that almost robbed them of their sensual bulge. Her eyes blazed. ‘You will not talk to me like that!’

Lesson one: do not assume that James Bond will talk to you in any way except as himself.


Bond glanced quickly at his watch. It was ten past seven. ‘Not this evening, I won’t.’ He stood up and slid some money across the bar. ‘You must excuse me, I have work to do. It made a delightful change to meet you informally.’

‘The pleasure was entirely yours.’ Anya did not return the curt nod but expelled the pent-up breath of anger as Bond moved away from her. What a brute of a man. Overweaning, sardonic, facetious. And yet... ? She asked herself if she was not perhaps over-reacting. Was there not some small, despised part of her that found him attractive for all that? Was there not about him that same, unfathomed, dangerous quality that had so immediately drawn her to Sergei? She blushed at her perfidy to state and lover. She must pull herself together. The mission had so far been considerably less than a success and if the Praesidium knew of the full extent of her incompetence they would not hesitate to deal with her severely. The killing of Boris and Ivanov was going to be difficult enough to explain without her failure to close negotiations for the microfilm. Tonight might be her last chance.

Bond entered the dining-room trying to clear his mind and think coolly and logically. drat the woman! Why did she have to be so consummately beautiful? Where did the Russians find such creatures? Did they have some secret factory in the Urals where they manufactured them? And her English was so good. Hardly a trace of accent. And that dress. That didn’t come from one of the ‘closed shops’ specially reserved for key state personnel.


‘Yes, sir?’ The maître d’hôtel was standing at his side.

‘I don’t want a table. I'm trying to find one of your members. A Mr Max Kalba.’

The man’s eyebrows lifted. ‘Mr Kalba is the owner of the Mujaba Club, sir. I think you’ll find him in the private gaming room.’

Bond heads down the corridor into a room where Mr. Kalba is lining up a billiards shot with the requisite 3 beautiful Egyptian girls surrounding him, looking very bored.


‘Mr Kalba?’

The man did not look directly at Bond but walked round the table and took the chalk from one of the girls. He was wearing an over-padded dinner-jacket that looked like armour- plating and his short, fat fingers glittered with diamonds. They were not, thought Bond, hands that deserved any ornament, let alone anything so vulgarly meretricious. The face with its narrow, wary eyes and Mr Punch nose was cruel and swarthy and the flesh scuffed and pock-marked like the outside of a much-played golf ball. Despite its limitation as a work of art the face commanded respect. It was arrogant, perhaps too arrogant for its own good, and ruthless in a way that msuggested it had found being ruthless pays.

‘Who wants him?’

Max Kalba was played by Vernon Dobtcheff, a French-born British actor with a ridiculous 364 film and TV credits dating back to 1962. He's spent much of his time in lesser known productions or minor roles in larger ones, including the German butler who gets punched out in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the very first character to say "Time Lords" on Doctor Who. While not exactly a B-list celebrity, he's well regarded in the British and French acting community.


The man did not wait for an answer to his question but handed back the chalk and leaned over the table. The cue came back swiftly and decisively and then shot forward. It was a difficult shot. The cue ball played flat and hard without spin to kiss the red and then come back with sufficient momentum off the end cushion to touch the side of the table and then drift back endlessly towards the lonely white ball six inches from the near cushion. Kalba took his eye off the cue ball when it was half way down the table on its return journey and reached for his cigar. He did not need to look. He knew the ball was going to find its target.

‘My name is Bond. James Bond.’

‘What of it?’ The reply was contemptuous and Kalba prepared to play another shot. The expression on the girls’ faces was now one of disapproval.

‘You had an appointment with Mr Fekkesh.’

The silence in the room had the sharp edge of tension. Kalba stopped in his preparation and straightened up. He faced Bond and for the first time looked directly into his eyes. Bond felt as if the man was prising away flesh and bone to get inside his brain. ‘Well?’ The word was a pistol shot.

‘You won't be seeing him for some time.'

‘What do you mean?' Kalba’s hand tightened round the cue.

‘He’s dead.'

A good way to open a conversation if you want someone to start shooting at you.


Kalba turned to the girls and jerked his head towards the door. Without demur they started to file out, leaving behind the chalk and the cigar. ‘Why do you bring me this news?’

‘Because I believe you have something to sell, and I’m interested in buying.’

‘And so am I.’

Bond spun round to find Anya standing behind him. His heart sank. Blast the woman! He didn’t seem to be able to make a move without her dogging his footsteps. Was she alone or were there two more goons waiting outside the door?

Kalba looked from one face to the other. ‘Well, well. How interesting. It is obvious that you two are not colleagues. I suppose some kind of auction would be the most sensible way in which to proceed.’ The old arrogance had returned. In another moment he would start playing billiards again. ‘I wonder if you will be able to match this lady’s figure, Mr Bond.’

As Kalba giggles to himself, one of the club servants comes in to inform him that he has a phone call. As the call is coming from outside the club and ringing in the phone room, he can't have it transferred and will need to come to the phone personally.


Kalba sucked in his breath and turned to Bond and Anya. ‘Perhaps a welcome respite. It will give you time to discuss your opening bids.’

Kalba smiled. ‘Oh yes. There’s something to bid for all right.' His mole hand burrowed into an inside pocket and emerged with a small metal canister. ‘I keep it here. Close to my heart.’ Kalba opened his jacket to reveal the Browning strapped beneath his left armpit. He showed his teeth once more and dropped the canister back into his pocket. Bond debated whether to make a lightning attack and decided against it. With Kalba by himself he would have stood a chance but the henchman was watching him like a hawk and had a menacing bulge beneath his armpit which was probably not caused by weight-training. He stood to one side deferentially and Kalba left the room. The door closed. Bond turned and looked purposefully into Anya’s challenging blue eyes. ‘Now tell me. Just what is happening?’

What's happening is you two getting played like saps.


Max Kalba did not rub his hands together as he walked briskly towards the telephone-room but anyone watching his progress would have been able to tell that he was pleased. And why not? Two rich customers had arrived in person to do business and their rivalry could only force up the price of the merchandise. Whichever of them had put paid to Fekkesh had only saved him the trouble of performing an act which would have to have been done sooner or later. It was not just a question of the money. There was going to be more than enough even for him. It was making sure that Stromberg never caught up with him. When he changed his face and went to live in South America he did not want to leave anyone who would be in a position to betray him. Even the source of all the wealth to come, Stromberg’s beautiful but treacherous assistant, was going to get a nasty surprise when the time came for her suddenly to leave her employer and fly to join him. Kalba smiled grimly and pushed open the door of the telephone-room.

A repairman in a khaki overall was squatting with his back to the door; Kalba glimpsed an open tin box containing tools. He moved towards the booth in which the receiver was dangling. It was only as he was passing the man that he suddenly felt the room growing cold. It was as if he had stepped into a refrigerator. But the cold was not in the air. It was in his instinctive presentiment of danger. He started to turn but his hand never got further than the inside of the jacket. Huge fingers closed about the base of his neck and propelled him forward into the box until his face slammed with sickening force against the far wall. He felt his nose break with the impact and his mouth filled with blood. Still the hand did not release its grip but turned his head with a wrench that nearly tore it from its socket. The enormous lumpish face was an inch away. Greaseballs of sweat glistened from the honeycomb of open pores. The tiny pig eyes glinted evilly. Kalba tried to scream but no sound came.

Jaws thrust him back into the corner and bared his teeth.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

chitoryu12 posted:

Let’s hope he did better research for the biography than the novel...

I'm bracing for disappointment.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

Ian Fleming would be 112 today.

Apr 23, 2014

Somebody Awful posted:

Ian Fleming would be 112 today.

And I have turned 28 today! I share a birthday with both Fleming and Blofeld!

Dec 24, 2007

Biscuit Hider

chitoryu12 posted:

And I have turned 28 today! I share a birthday with both Fleming and Blofeld!

Happy birthday!

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 11: A Clash of Personalities


Bond looked down into the beautiful blue eyes staring up at him brazenly. Could she be telling the truth? The Russians did not own the tracking system. They had responded to the same invitation to do business as the British. That would explain why they had thought he killed Fekkesh. And if the defector was not Russian he must have been working for someone else. Someone else who had developed the tracking system. Someone else who
was now working with ruthless determination to recover his property. And the big animal with the teeth. He must be working for them. He had eliminated Fekkesh, and now who was next in line? Bond immediately felt uneasy. Kalba’s telephone call was taking a long time. He nodded to Anya. ‘You will have to excuse me for a few moments. Don’t start negotiations without me.’

He left the room under her scornful gaze and strode towards the telephone with a sense of impending disaster. Dark almond eyes in the bar darted towards him longingly but he was unaware of their attention. He crossed the entrance-hall and threw open the door of the telephone-room. A window was open and a curtain stirring in the breeze. One booth was open and empty. One shut with an ‘Out of order’ notice on it. With a terrible foreboding, Bond opened the door and a bloodstained heap of still-warm flesh crumpled at his feet. He looked down at the gaping neck and again fought a desire to be sick. He was no stranger to death, but this was an obscenity. Conquering his loathing he dropped to his knees and turned the body over. A quick search revealed that the microfilm and the Browning had gone.

Bond leaps out the window and quickly spots Jaws getting into a small truck. As the villain struggles to turn over the engine, Bond quickly opens the rear doors and climbs in among the electrical equipment.


Then the back door opened.

Bond’s heart jumped to his mouth before he recognized Anya scrambling in beside him. In her hand was a Beretta .25 levelled at a point equidistant between his eyes. A Beretta .25. His old gun. The gun he had carried for fifteen years until it failed him once and was sentenced to death by a Court of Inquiry and the evidence of Major Boothroyd, Armourer to International Export and the world’s greatest small-arms expert.

Bond looked from the weapon to Anya with cold, ironic eyes. ‘If we go on meeting like this, people will start to talk.’

Anya moved the gun close to Bond’s heart and spoke in a low whisper.

‘What happened to Kalba?’

‘He’s dead.’

‘And the microfilm?'

Bond jerked his head towards the cab. Anya followed his glance warily and then slid a slim hand inside his jacket. Bond smiled cynically. ‘And I thought Russian women were incapable of feeling.'

Extremely Moore.


Undeterred, Anya continued to frisk him. ‘Make no mistake, Commander. I intend to recover that microfilm.'

‘Exactly my own sentiment. That’s why I’m sitting in this rather uncomfortable truck.’ Bond nodded towards the Beretta. ‘Do put that thing away. You’re not going to fire it and let our friend know we’re here.’

In the cabin, Jaws listened to Bond’s words floating up from the small speaker set into the dashboard and furled his lips back in a metallic smile. Stromberg would be pleased with him. As instructed he had eliminated the two traitors and now, as a bonus he was going to remove two other sources of potential nuisance to the organization. Jaws spread his elbows and draped himself over the wheel in preparation for a long drive.

Oh my God they're both the worst secret agent.


Jaws’ real name was Zbigniew Krycsiwiki. He was born in Poland, the product of a union between the strong man of a travelling circus and the Chief Wardress at the Women’s Prison at Kracow. The relationship and subsequent marriage had been a stormy one and, when it broke up, the young Zbigniew stayed with his mother and attended school and subsequently university at Kracow. He grew to a prodigious height but in temperament he followed his father and was surly and uncooperative, given to sudden outbreaks of violent temper. Because of his size he commanded a place in the university basketball team, but he was sluggish of reaction and his lack of speed was constantly exposed by more skilful but less physically endowed players. This lack of ability to compete despite his natural advantages played upon his mind and he became, more and more, a dirty player singled out by the crowd for jeers and abuse. A series of incidents culminated in his being ordered from the court during a key match against Poznan and reaching up to tear down the net and assault the referee. A merciless flaying with the loop of metal meant that the official had his scalp lifted from his head before Zbigniew was eventually pacified.

In true Fleming form, the bad guy has a detailed backstory that inevitably includes a bunch of lovely things in Eastern Europe.


That was the end of his career as a basketball player and university student. He worked for a while for a butcher and then in a slaughterhouse before being arrested by the secret police in the 1972 bread riots. His appearance on the streets hurling paving stones owed nothing to political conviction but was a direct result of his natural appetite for violence. This appetite was temporarily sated when the police manacled his hands behind his back in a punishment cell and beat him with hollow steel clubs encased in thick leather until his jaw was turned into bonemeal. They left him, thinking they had killed him, but they reckoned without the tenacious hold on life exerted by Zbigniew Krycsiwiki. He prised the cuff of? one of the manacles apart on a wall hook, strangled a warder and drove through the prison gates - and three guards who got in his way - in a stolen three-ton truck. He exchanged this for a private car and drove to Gdansk where he succeeded in stowing away on one of Stromberg's vessels that happened to be taking on timber in the port.

It's up to you if you want to take any of this as canon. None of this backstory exists outside this book.


He was eventually discovered near to death as the vessel neared Malmo. Reports of his grotesque size and appearance attracted the interest of Stromberg, who flew down from Stockholm to view the strange stowaway. To Stromberg, ugliness could be more affecting than beauty and in Zbigniew’s swollen, brutish face and huge ungainly body he saw a creature that might have come from the Stygian, unexplored depths of the ocean. He determined to recast him in the mould of his imagination and when told by local medical opinion that the jaw could never be rebuilt he cast further afield.

Doctor Ludwig Schwenk had been responsible for many of the more notorious experiments on human guinea-pigs, in Buchenwald. He had grafted an alsatian’s head to a man’s body and kept the resulting mutation alive for three weeks. He had experimented with genital transplants, some of them involving men and animals. With the collapse of Nazi Germany he had fled to Sweden, changed his name and set up practice as a country GP in a village near Halmstad. Part of the Stromberg's income accrued from blackmailing Nazi war-criminals with the threat of revealing their whereabouts to agents of the Israeli Mossad. It was a simple matter to persuade Schwenk to take an interest in Zbigniew’s case. After fourteen operations involving the grafting of tissue and the insertion of platinized steel components, the artificial jaw was operational. Only one sacrifice was necessary. In order to work the jaw, Zbigniew’s vocal cords had to be severed and reharnessed to the electric impulse conductor that opened and shut the two rows of terrifying, razor-sharp teeth. Zbigniew Krycsiwiki was now mute. Like a fish.

This muteness is implied in the film, but Moonraker would remove it to give Richard Kiel a single line at the end of the film. The novelization of Moonraker would instead maintain continuity with this book.


It was six o’clock when the jolt of the vehicle coming to a halt made Bond open his eyes. He was cold and stiff and Anya was leaning against his chest, asleep. Her shoulders were slightly hunched as if she sought to nuzzle closer to whatever warmth his body might provide. Bond shook her gently awake and saw her eyes suddenly open wide like those of a startled animal. She turned her head and, seeing what she had been using as a pillow, drew quickly away.

The cab door slammed and Bond tensed, ready to spring if the back of the van opened. Beside him, Anya retrieved the Beretta from a side pocket of her evening bag and trained it on the doors. Seconds passed. Bond edged forward and slowly pushed one of the doors until there was a quarter-inch gap. Sand and a sandstone wall about three feet away. He pushed the door wider and waited. Nothing happened. The wall rose to about twenty feet and was surmounted by a carved lion, its features worn away by millennia of desert sand storms. Bond swung his stiff legs over the back of the van and dropped noiselessly to the sand. He squatted down and peered under the wheels. There was no sign of anyone. Only a huge jumble of masonry giving the impression of a box of children’s building bricks scattered across the sand. Giant columns, ornamental facades, avenues, esplanades, doorways, triumphal arches, rows of sphinxes and huge statues with their faces eaten away by time and the elements.

Almost like a perfectly pre-built Egyptian set!


‘Where are we?' Anya was at his side.

'I don’t know. Some kind of ancient city.’ Bond gazed around. The sand stretched away on all sides. ‘Wait here.’ Her eyes blazed, but she stayed where she was while he edged forward and peered into the driver’s cab through the open window. It was empty. He returned to her side. ‘Right. We’ve got to find him.' He glanced at the Beretta. ‘Do you know how to use that thing?’

She looked at him with proud contempt. ‘You will see.’ drat you, thought Bond. How many women do I know who could look so overwhelmingly beautiful after being cooped up in the back of a van for the night? I don’t want to compete with you, I want to make love to you. ‘Don’t forget,’ he said gruffly, trying to get a grip on his feelings. ‘When we catch up with our friend, it’s every man for himself.’

‘And every woman.’ Anya threw back her head defiantly. ‘Do you want me to lead?’

Bond allowed the slim line of her body to pass ahead and resisted the temptation to kick her in the middle of her beautifully shaped behind.

I was so close to increasing the Horny Counter. I only didn't because this is child's play for Wood.


The first rays of the rising sun shone directly in their faces as they skirted the avenue of sphinxes and moved warily through an opening in a high wall and into an inner courtyard containing two rows of stone columns rising to a height of sixty feet. Bond looked about him and felt uneasy. Anybody lying in wait for them would have an overwhelming advantage. Why had the executioner come here? Was he looking for something? Was he meeting someone?

Anya moved gracefully from pillar to pillar. Bond slapped viciously at the first fly of the day and sent his eyes scaling the jagged mountains of stone. This part must have been some kind of temple. And now they were approaching a second courtyard where restoration work was in hand. An untidy framework of scaffolding lay against a great stone facade carved into the relief of a pharaoh. There was a pulley for raising stones and every floor of the scaffolding was littered with pieces of masonry. There was no sign of workmen. One arm of the pharaoh was lifted dramatically and between his spread legs was the entrance to a tunnel. Anya looked towards the tunnel and nodded. Bond threw a finger forward in a gesture of acquiescence and then took her by the arm and led her round the perimeter of the courtyard. There was something about this place that gave him the heebie-jeebies. It was like the props room of a folded theatrical company. No sun peered into the courtyard and the gloomy pharaoh seemed to be raising his fist against the high walls that pressed in on him, as if daring them to come any closer. Bond looked at the giant stone fist silhouetted against the blue sky and marvelled that the heat haze could start so early. The stone actually seemed to be trembling.

And then he realized that it was trembling.

Bond barely flings himself and Anya out of the way as a two-tone block of granite slams onto the ground where they were standing. Jaws leaps onto a pulley from the scaffolding like a pirate and descends to the ground in a manner way cooler than any Bond villain before him.


Bond prepared to defend himself but his heart quailed. Even without the terrifying teeth the man was awesome. Bond was over six foot tall but he would have to grow another fourteen inches to match this giant. His arms were like weightlifters' legs and his extended fingers could have touched three sides of a chess board. As Bond took up his fighting crouch the man’s head tilted back and his lips parted slowly. The unveiling of the hideous, jagged teeth was calculated to strike fear, like the raising of the dorsal spines of a fighting fish.

Bond circled warily. What was Anya doing with her gun? Was she going to wait for him to be killed? Jaws’ arm rose slowly like the arm of a crane and a great hand closed about the heavy metal hook of the block and tackle. Bond saw the glint in the eye and felt like a coconut in a coconut-shy. ‘Yuh!’ The huge arm flexed and enough metal to forge an anvil screamed towards Bond. He hurled himself to one side and the rope stung him like a whiplash as it whistled past. Behind him there was a sound like the aftermath of a demolition gang swinging an iron ball at a building. Jaws smiled and lumbered forward. Bond ducked inside the groping arms and aimed a right cross at the heavy jaw. It was a perfect punch. He knew it the moment his arm swung away from his body. And then the impact. Flesh and bone against solid metal. It was like punching the side of a tank. For a moment he thought he had shattered his knuckle. A flame of pain ran up his arm to the socket. Jaws’ hands fell on his shoulders like metal sacks and hurled him back into the scaffolding. The back of his head struck a metal upright and his spine felt as if it had been driven against his rib cage. He was on fire with pain, the wind driven from his body. Desperately trying to raise his arms he felt himself sliding towards the ground. Jaws moved forward for the coup de grâce, his steel teeth parting like the expectant maw of a guillotine.

‘Stay where you are!'

Bond turned his dazed head to see Anya, her gun trained unflinchingly on Jaws. Jaws peered down on it as if it was same malevolent insect.

Anya's pistol in the film is a Beretta 950 Jetfire with nickel plating and pearl grips, a successor of sorts to the 418 that Bond previously carried. Its most unique feature is that the barrel can be tipped up, allowing for the chamber to be loaded or unloaded without needing to manipulate the slide (which makes it usable by people with very weak grip strength, like the elderly or disabled).


‘The microfilm. Throw it at my feet!'

Jaws hesitated and then slowly introduced a hand into one of his pockets. Bond fought to clear his head and get the breath circulating through his aching body. He could feel the flies crawling over his bleeding knuckle. Jaws withdrew his hand and lobbed the small canister at Anya’s feet. Anya bent down and at that instant Jaws lashed out with his foot, kicking sand into her face. She fired blind and missed. Jaws kicked again and the gun sailed into the scaffolding. Bond dived for it and again was seized by Jaws who threw him like a bundle of laundry into the thicket of metal. He dragged himself to his knees and saw Jaws coming for him with a short length of scaffolding that he was wielding like a baseball bat. ‘Yuh!’ The shoulders came back and the biceps locked. There was a hiss of air and Bond ducked as the steel club whistled towards his head.

With a hideous, teeth-grating screech it exploded against an upright and knocked it two feet out of true. A cloud of dust and stones poured down and the scaffolding squeaked and trembled. Bond sprawled on his back and turned on his side in a desperate attempt to rise. His spine throbbed and every movement sent sharp daggers of pain stabbing through his body. Jaws had raised the piece of piping above his head and was stepping forward. Bond scrambled back on his elbows and felt the wall block his retreat. There was no escape. Bond could feel the fear rushing through him like a spring tide. He looked about him, hoping to light on some weapon. There was nothing. Jaws’s eyes were now tiny laser beams of concentration. He was bent on extermination, not amusement. Bond saw the crooked upright and knew it was his only chance. Summoning up all his strength he drew back both feet and lashed out. Thee soles and heels of his shoes landed solidly and together and the upright was knocked sideways.

And this is why you just shoot.


There was a crack like a stick snapping and Bond rolled sideways waiting for the impact of the blow that was going to shatter his head like a pineapple. It did not come. Instead, there was a mounting rumble, building into a roar. The whole structure around him began to crumble and a block of stone crashed down inches from his fingers. The scaffolding was breaking up like a dynamited log-jam. Dust and rubble poured down and a falling plank brushed his shoulder. Bond rolled again and then half scrambled, half ran, expecting at any second to be crushed to death as he fled into the courtyard. He ran until the roar no longer seemed to pursue him and then collapsed on his knees. Behind him the last plank tipped, teetered and fell and the dust began to settle.

Three quarters of the scaffolding had collapsed and there was now an untidy heap of stones and baulks of timber rising to the pharaoh’s knees. Of Anya and the man with the metal mouth, there was no sign. Bond rubbed some of the dust from his face and fought away the flies. But Anya? Bond moved forward and surveyed the sand around the scaffolding. There was no sign of the metal canister. He turned and drove his weary limbs towards the van. If she had the microfilm that was where she would head.

Unlike the fight with Sandor, this is a very faithful adaptation of what's on film.


He ran through the columns, screwing up his eyes against the pain. His back felt as if it was broken. The sun dazzled him. Through the hole in the wall and along the avenue of Sphinxes. Bond came up behind the passenger side of the van because there was less chance of being seen in a rear-view mirror and raised his hand to grip the door handle. A pause and he hauled it open. Anya was bent over the controls, fiddling with a couple of wires under the dashboard. The canister and the Beretta lay on the seat beside her. Bond lunged for them gratefully and slipped them in his pocket. ‘I didn’t know you were mechanically minded.' He held out the ignition key. ‘Why don’t you try this? You’ll find it easier.’

With a noise like a bomb dropping, Jaws landed on the bonnet in front of them. He had jumped twelve feet from the wall. The bonnet buckled and Jaw’s head butted the windscreen sending out a radiating spider’s web of cracks. His face was bleeding through the dust and his eyes were mad.

Bond's uncharacteristically deadpan delivery and sarcastic jibes at Anya were reportedly ad libs by Roger Moore in response to Barbara Bach's inability to drive stick.


‘Step on it!’ Bond relinquished the key and reached for the Beretta. As the engine leapt into life, Jaws rolled from the bonnet and snatched at the handle of Bond’s door. Bond locked it half a second before the fist formed round the metal and the handle was torn off. Anya fought the wheel round and the van leapt forward. Like a wounded buffalo, Jaws charged the vehicle and butted and kicked it. There was no easy escape route from the ruin. Anya had to reverse. She clawed at the wheel and accelerated backwards. Jaws threw his bulk to one side and the van crashed against the wall. He hurled himself forward and, tearing off a bumper, used it as a flail to belabour the box on wheels that was enraging him. It was how he had attacked the referee at the basketball match. Anya swung the van round but the lock was not tight enough. A block of stone barred their escape. Again she reversed and Bond momentarily lost sight of the mad giant.

When he turned his head it was to see the great open mouth clamped around the moulded metal that divided the windscreen from Anya’s door frame. He was trying to bite his way into the truck! Bond felt his foot pressing down against the floor as he urged the vehicle forward. He heard the wheels spinning in the deep sand and fresh terror surged through him. Anya was biting her lips as she tried to concentrate on the engine revs. The metal of the frame was starting to buckle ... Bond reached across Anya and fired at point-blank range. There was a crash, a spark and a wild, humming whine. The bullet had ricocheted off the steel teeth. The huge head jerked back like a buffer and the wheels at last gripped the sand. The van lurched out of the trough it had dug for itself and began to gather speed. The coachwork groaned, creaked and rasped but there were no longer any sounds of attack. Bond expelled a deep sigh of relief and looked in the wing-mirror. The man was standing, immobile and still threatening, looking after them. Seen against the background of the ruin he seemed to belong to it, like Frankenstein’s mother to some turreted, vampire-haunted castle.

Bond returned the Beretta to his pocket nearest the window and wondered what words were appropriate at such moments of deliverance. Anya had stopped biting her lips but there was still the same expression of grim determination. ‘Thanks for leaving me alone with Prince Charming,’ he said.

Anya shrugged. ‘Every man and woman for himself. Remember?’

‘Still, I suppose you did intervene at a propitious moment earlier on.'

Anya wrinkled her delicious nose. 'We all make mistakes.’

Bond begins making mental arrangements for finding a new place to say and hand over the microfilm. He pulls out the microfilm and studies it, and suddenly notices that Anya has no reaction at all. And her hand is on his thigh.


Bond’s hand dived towards his thigh, but it was too late. A wasp had stung him. He could feel his neck stiffening, his fingers locking. The film dropped to the floor. Against his leg, the needle still glinted evilly from the centre of the ring. How stupid of him. How typical of SMERSH. Have you so short a memory, James Bond? Do you not remember Rosa Klebb? Now he could feel nothing and the puppet strings that pulled his mind were being snipped one by one. There was only the soft female voice whispering to him like a chiding lover,

‘Remember, dear James Bond. Every woman for herself.'

Apr 23, 2014

According to this article on the long and complicated process of writing the film, the scene of Bond getting his junk hooked up to a car battery was actually in the original draft by Wood. The book appears to be keeping stuff that he liked from the old drafts.


Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

Don't let Lowtax go down with the ship. Do your part for these dead gay forums.

chitoryu12 posted:

Unlike the fight with Sandor, this is a very faithful adaptation of what's on film.

I found it more effective in print, personally.

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