The Spy Who Loved Me Book Review

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Definitely the strangest entry in the 007 series. I’ve heard some fans defend this one and I was looking forward to something a bit different but what I got wasn’t anywhere close to what I was expecting…

James Bond Complex: https://anchor.fm/the-james-bond-complex/episodes/The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-By-Ian-Fleming-e274vr

Jack Lugo’s article: https://jackl0073.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/the-spy-who-loved-me-a-look-at-ian-flemings-discarded-bond-novel/

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Comments

kory stephens says:

And the close as it gets to any iteration of that story is the audiobook readings and this musical composition from the mid 60s: https://youtu.be/vH7rNaviL1k

Niels Christiansen says:

This novel is really a joker in the series. The producers actually Said That They thought about making a movie With Jinx as a main character after Die Another Day which Would have been very interesting. Putting a woman in the center of the story of a Bondmovie has got to be inspired by The Spy Who Loved Me.
The producers then decided to do casino royale instead in 2005 and fire Brosnan.

john angeloni says:

This novel really showcases how much Fleming was inspired by American hard-boiled detective fiction, such as Chandler’s, Philip Marlowe.

Calvin Bowes says:

I know this book is in public domain but i know bond is copywrited so my question is could someone legally make a film based on this book if the stranger at the end is never identified as james bond but left him nameless

Painter19 1969 says:

It's an original novel by Ian Fleming, let it go. It's was Fleming stretching out stylistically, wasn't well received so wasn't tried again. I like most of your reviews albeit they are placing modern opinion on books written in a different era. Sorry to be critical but when you've written your first best seller you'll be entitled to be a harsh critic on one of the all time great novelists.

Jarrah White says:

Every time I hear the name Vivienne the first thing that comes to mind is Vyvyan from The Young Ones.
"Vyvyan! Vyvyan! Vyvyan! Honestly, whenever anything explodes in this house it's always 'Blame Vyvyan!'"

Scott Linting says:

I agree with all your sentiments. The single sentence you mentioned stood out like a sore thumb. One of the odd things was Bond himself. Since we didn't get his internal dialog he came off more suave and charming with a calm, cool demeanor. It felt less like the previous Bonds and more like….well like Roger Moore's Bond, which I found so weird since Moore wasn't even a thought and the Movies were just getting started with Sean.

Rick H says:

Regarding “all women love semi-rape” it’s not the first time Fleming expresses views like this. In Casino Royale, Bond notes that because of Vesper’s inner privacy each time they had sex would have “the sweet tang of rape”

James Rawls says:

Someone may have mentioned this already but the motel fire may have been an inspiration for the burning hotel climax in Quantum of Solace.

wildsmiley says:

I don’t know what to think about Ian Fleming thinking all Americans sound like clichéd mobsters. Should I be flattered or insulted?

Allen Troupe says:

As you said, the strangest. & i understand why Fleming only sold the rights to use the title. While Moonraker was pretty far from the book, it updated part of the plot for the film, space shuttle v rocket. & the movie kept Drax.

Borella309 says:

Great work (again) Calvin! I actually didn't mind Vyvian's back story, but ultimately the whole thing is pretty poor. Fleming had turned out some really memorable names for his characters (Goldfinger, Tiffany Chase, Hugo Drax, Honeychile Ryder, Miss Moneypenny, Dr No, and of course Pussy Galore and so many more) but here we get Slugsy and Horror, this shot part 2 for me. And James Bond's involvement in this story is only brought about by a flat tyre. BUT – what a great title!

David Shillaker says:

I haven't read this one yet. No wonder it is called "The spy who loved me"

Frikinautas says:

Starts boring, gets interesting, explodes in a burst of wild action and ends, again, boring. A curious experiment.

walter937 says:

This was the first novel I read, quite a disappointment, although the third chapter was a delicious taste of what Fleming could write on other novels.

Arthur Danhiez says:

totally agree

John Kenneth Wiseman says:

RIP Roger Moore, Shane Rimmer and Bryan Marshall

Pootasaur says:

Are you remaking the movie version of it too…

Space Ace says:

I'm reading it right now, almost done with it and it definitely is not your traditional Bond adventure, in fact until Bond shows up it really feels like an erotic romance novel written for women. The second act almost feels like the first half of I Spit On Your Grave (men barge into where a woman is staying and sexually assault her). It's not a bad novel at all just you can't go into it expecting to be like all of the others, it isn't, in fact Bond is almost a supporting character, Vivienne Michel is the main character.

Alan Finlay says:

i agree with you , the next time i read this book i'll start when Bond enters the story , this really should have been a short story

EVIL UBUNTU says:

Knowing that the story was written by a 60 year old alcoholic sadomasochist makes the sex stuff even creepier. But I always liked the last chapter ("The Writing on My Heart") for some reason or another, thanks for reviewing Fleming novel.

PurushaDesa says:

Ian Fleming confronts feminism – UH OH.

David James says:

It's been announced that Christopher Nolan's next film, due out in July 2020, called Tenet, is an international spy thriller action epic (that comes from IMDb). If Nolan's doing a spy film, maybe with franchise potential, does this mean he won't want to do Bond 26 now? He's been reportedly approached by Eon a number of times over the years , and has always said he'd only do it if it's a reboot, so he can start from scratch. As Bond 25 appears to be Craig's last, Bond 26 would be the next available window for a reboot. If Nolan doesn't do it, it could be 10-15 years before the opportunity arises again.
Nolan is a self-confessed Bond aficionado, and the Bond films have leaked into a lot of his films (which he admits to). As such, it seems strange that he'd now do a spy thriller. Whether he does Bond after this, some of his Bond ideas must come up in Tenet. So, odd he'd do this so close to his next film possible film being Bond 26. I know a lot of people predicted Bond 26 as coming out in 2022, to celebrate the Bond film's 60th anniversary, but I don't see them meeting that now. That aside, if Nolan does Bond 26, it has to be his next film.
The only other thing I can think is Tenet will turn out to be not as clear cut as a spy thriller. Inception was also talked about in this way, until it turned out to be a sci-fi thriller, based around dream scenarios. It just happened to ref Bond, and Tom Hardy felt like a Bond, and Marion Cotillard a Bond femme fatale.

Like Bond 25, Tenet will be shot on IMAX film and 70mm. I'll def be watching it, hopefully in an IMAX cinema screening it on film (as I did for Dunkirk), and it'll be interesting to see what Nolan does.

tg72201 says:

"All women love semi-rape" What the fuck, Fleming?

spyboy1964 says:

Your idea that Fleming should have had the section with bond published as a short story as opposed to writing this novel is a great point. That story would have been much better served if it had been featured in a collection of short stories or published in maybe say, playboy magazine.

Donald Wolpert says:

Calvin, good for you for "muscling" your way through that book!  I read it forty years ago and I haven't picked it up since.  I also  read Christopher Wood's novelization of the movie with the same title. It was more entertaining, and found it a shade more dark than the film.  And, there were scenes in the book, not in the movie, which explained some of the awkward dialog between Bond and Anya Amasova, and a background story for Jaws!  I really enjoyed your video, Calvin!

Joe B says:

Calvin, love your videos man! Just subscribed! Been a fan for about a year 1/2 now. I made a lego 007 video I think you'll enjoy, heres the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24-EhHVqYYo

Jeff Melchior says:

I’ve read every Fleming Bond at least twice except for this one. Struggled with it the first time and just couldn’t get through it the second. The only thing I like about the book is that Bond is presented as not much better than the villains aside from his smoother demeanour. Otherwise, for all of his “loving” he’s outta there as soon as he gets a good shag and a scrambled egg breakfast. I realize that that’s Bond, but I try not to think about all the women (and possibly illegitimate children) he leaves behind; if I did, I’d never be able to root for the guy. But this book pushes the very heart and soul and naïveté of these women right in your face. Maybe that’s a good thing, but it definitely hampers the escapism.

David James says:

MORE delays on Bond 25: an explosion effect has damaged part of The 007 Stage and closed it down until it can be looked at by a government health and safety inspector. AND, due to Craig's ankle injury pushing back production, Rami Malek isn't available. As such they're going to try and film him and Craig's scenes in Nov, when the film was supposed to wrap in Sept. Does this mean Malek isn't in the film much? Or can they just knock off his scenes across Nov (poss with not much travel involved)? I sure as hell hope this doesn't mean they try and cover his scenes with body doubles, inc for fight scenes. And only drop him in for close ups.
That Apr release date could well be put back AGAIN. This is getting worrying. All we can hope is they're taking the extra time to ensure everything's good, but it just seems to be one thing after another, and that press conference didn't inspire confidence.

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