Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Is this how 007 got his number?

Many sources are claiming to be the true source to where Ian Fleming got the, now world wide famous, number for his British spy with a license to kill.

One of the latest theories that surfaced during 2015 is that Fleming got the number from a bus travelling to his house in Kent.

But someone who should know what he talks about is Ian Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett who claims that Ian Fleming did not have to look far for the number he would give his agent. The number is said to be taken from the NID's  (Naval Intelligence Division) great triumph in the first world war. 0070 was the German diplomatic code used to send telegrams from Berlin to Washington. It was cracked by British cryptanalysts in Room 40 (Fleming spent the second world war in Room 39). This later led to the Americans entering the conflict of the first world war.

So sadly the Andrew Lycett theory is not more exiting then that. Have you heard other theories? Then please comment below.

You can read more about Ian Fleming in Andrews excellent biography that you can order on Amazon US here and Amazon UK here.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Steve Cole interview on release day of RED NEMESIS

Today is the release day of Steve Cole's forth and final Young Bond novel RED NEMESIS in the UK and to celebrate the occasion James Bond - The Secret Agent blog has been granted an interview with the writer himself.

Lets get right to it!

How does it feel to be releasing your forth and final Young Bond novel? Was it time for a break?
I signed up for four books right from the start, with a specific story arc in mind, so I’ve done what I set out to do!

Could you take the blog readers through the process of writing RED NEMESIS?
Blood, sweat, tears, more sweat, more blood… For my last one, I upped the stakes a little, made things very full on for both James and myself. I wrote more of this book in the dead of night than at any other time… no wonder it came out a little darker than some!

How much input do you get from Ian Fleming Publications and is Eon Productions in any way taking part in the process?
Eon Productions have nothing to do with it. Ian Fleming Publications are very much involved in approving content and green lighting characters, titles and plots, as well as hands-on editing.

Would you like to write a James Bond novel like the classic ones with a mission and so forth?
There are all sorts of stories I’d like to tell with Bond, at different times in his life. The character definitely gets under your skin!

How does it feel to write young adult books, that will be read by 007 fans of all ages? Do you take that in consideration?
Absolutely. I never write down to an audience, and aim to engage readers of all ages – particularly for 007 fans I slip in a few injokes and references so long as they’re not distracting. Anthony Horowitz was quick to pick me up on this the first time we met, he spotted them all I think!

What will you be writing next?
I look forward to finding out.

What is your favourite Bond novel and Young Bond novel? And why?
On Her Majesty's Secret Service and From Russia With Love are my favourites, the drive and pace of the stories is exceptional. Of my own Young Bonds, I’d say Red Nemesis is probably my favourite because I got to go a bit deeper into James’s past – and his head.

Fans are very much into the cover designs, From all the books do you have a favourite of your own?
I’ve been delighted with the covers. Heads You Die and Red Nemesis are my favourites.

What are your thoughts on Fleming’s writing?
A true one-off: the realism, the authenticity, the action, the level of detail… He balanced cold forensic eye and hot-blooded appetite like no other.

Being on tour in schools have your heard of any kids reading your books and then followed up with Fleming’s books?
Yes, and vice versa, which is nice. I was amused to find a school diary from when I was 9 years old the other day, listing that over Christmas I read two chapters of James Bond and Moonraker, the film novelisation (which I’d bought for my mum as a present!), making that the first Bond fiction I ever read.

I had the pleasure of seeing you in action with school kids. You were like the Duracell rabbit with tons of information and answers to their questions. It was a real treat to see. Why did you decide to write Children’s books instead of adults?
Kids are more fun! They can be a tough crowd to write for but a rewarding one. I enjoy the freedom and also the challenge of writing for young people, particularly as they get older. Having a character like Bond is a great way of giving a hook to kids who might not particularly want to read; they like the character and the action and they know they’ll get a take on that.

If you have not already purchased Red Nemesis that is released today you can do so on Amazon UK by following this link.

Steve Cole

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A very rare copy of Young Bond: Red Nemesis indeed

Received in the post today was two books from Penguin Random House and Ian Fleming Publications.

Tow days before the official release on Thursday (May 4, or may the force as millions of Star 
Wars fans wish to call it) I received Steve Cole's final outing as the writer of the Young Bond novels.

The last and final chapter of the Young Bond books is called Red Nemesis and is released as paperback from Red Fox and limited edition signed hardback from Doubleday.

So what is so rare about my copy you might ask?

Well I received a hardback first edition (001) of the book that on the dust jacket says that it is signed but it is actually not.
I guess ha handful of hardbacks, first editions,  that were used for promotion were never signed and therefore they must be considered as extra rare. Maybe not that special for the average James Bond fan but for us hardcore book fans, this is a small treat. 

Below is a short synopsis from the books dust jacket that differs from the one used on places like Amazon.

Teenager James Bond has left school for the summer when he receives a package from beyond the grave. The mysterious contents of his fathers backpack plunge James deep into the heart of an ongoing plot that, if allowed to run its course, will paint London's streets with blood. 

To finish the mission his father began, James must fly from London to Moscow, the nerve centre of Soviet Union. There he must pit his wits against a nemesis determined to destroy him - and the country he loves.
If you live in the UK you can still order the book and have it delivered in time for release. Click here to order the paperback for only £7.99 at Amazon UK or here to order the limited edition signed hardback version.

PS. Please come back on Thursday when we celebrate the release of the RED NEMESIS by doing an interview with Steve Cole, the Young Bond author himself.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Did you know this about the GoldeEye score

I sometimes take a detour from writing about the James Bond books and write about something else. Tonight is one of these nights and this blog post is dedicated to the song GoldenEye preformed by Tina Turner in the 1995 James Bond film with the same title.

After a six year absence James Bond would be back in 1995 with the first Bond film staring the new actor to portray James Bond. His name was Pierce Brosnan.

Most of us know the story about Brosnan being offered the role back in 1986. But due to a contract with Remington Steele could not accept the offer back then.

So when the film and its soundtrack was released I listened to it over and over again. At the same time I ran The Swedish James Bond Fan Club and read everything I could about Pierce Brosnan. And one night it suddenly appeared to me, something that I have never heard anywhere else.

When Bono and The Edge (of U2) wrote GoldenEye for Tina Turner to preform, they must have had Brosnan's life in reference.

Below is the lyrics in black and my comments in red.

See reflections on the water
More than darkness in the depths
See him surface in every shadow
On the wind I feel his breath

Goldeneye I found his weakness
Goldeneye he'll do what I please
Goldeneye no time for sweetness
But a bitter kiss will bring him to his knees

You'll never know how I watched you
From the shadows as a child
Brosnan says that the first film he ever saw at the cinema was Goldfinger back in 1964 when he moved to London.

You'll never know how it feels to be the one
Who's left behind
Brosnan was offered the part in 1986 but had to turn it down due to Remington Steele.

You'll never know the days, the nights,
The tears, the tears I've cried
Brosnan's wife, actress Casandra Harris who acted in For your Eyes Only died of Cancer. 
But now my time has come
Brosnan gets his second chance at Bond with GoldenEye. 
And time, time is not on your side

See him move through smoke and mirrors
Feel his presence in the crowd
Other girls they gather around him
If I had him I wouldn't let him out
Clearly about James Bond. 

Goldeneye not lace or leather
Golden chains take him to the spot
Goldeneye I'll show him forever
It'll take forever to see
What I've got

You'll never know how I watched you
From the shadows as a child
Brosnan says that the first film he ever saw at the cinema was Goldfinger back in 1964 when he moved to London.
You'll never know how it feels to get so close
And be denied
Brosnan was offered the part in 1986 but had to turn it down due to Remington Steele.
It's a gold and honey trap
I've got for you tonight
Revenge it's a kiss, this time I won't miss
Brosnan gets his second chance at Bond with GoldenEye.
Now I've got you in my sights
With a goldeneye, golden, goldeneye
With a goldeneye, goldeneye

Every time I listen to this song I get the feeling its all about Brosnan getting his second chance at playing Bond and this time he will make the role his!

Far fetched? I myself do not think so. How about you? Listen to the track below and hear the emphases and let me then know what you think in the comments below. If you do not think I am right please mention what you believe the lyrics are referring to.

The above drawing was made by artist Jeffrey Marshall

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

I took part in a Dan Schneider interview

Some time ago I was contacted by Dan Schneider. A journalist who has done YouTube interviews since the early days of internet.

Dan does long in-depth interviews on different subjects and this time he wanted to discuss James Bond.

The three contributors to this interview was Jeremy Black who has written The Politics of James Bond, Skip Willman who has co written Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007 and myself, Stephan Bäckman, writer of this blog.

It was an interesting evening and I had to hang around in my sons bedroom with bad WI-FI connection to make sure they were not heard.

You can see the entire interview here! but please bare in mind that English is not my native tongue.

The Politics of James Bond can be ordered here

Ian Fleming & James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007 can be ordered here

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Your chance to ask Steve Cole anything you want!

With only a few days left to the release of RED NEMESIS, The final Young Bond novel by author Steve Cole the James Bond - The Secret Agent blog has been granted an interview with the author to be published the day before the book is released. And as always, I wish to turn to the readers for help.

What questions do you have for Steve Cole about the four Young Bond books he has written. This is our last and final chance to ask Steve how he landed the job and what the experiences have been during these three years. Or maybe you wish to know something particular from the books and why he choose that path.

Please comment below or on our Facebook page with your questions and I will be happy to pass them forward to Steve. I just cant wait for this interesting interview to take place.

fire away folk's!

If you haven't ordered the last and final Young Bond novel RED NEMESIS make sure to book the hard cover edition that will be signed by Steve. You can order it here on Amazon UK for only £13.48.

Hardback limited edition UK.

Paperback edition UK.

Monday, 17 April 2017

My entry for the FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE competition

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the release of the FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE novel (1957) Ian Fleming Publications has a contest that ends tonight at the end of the Easter holidays (2017-04-17).
The contest is open to everybody and the task is to conduct your very own cover design for the novel.

The first price winner will receive the limited Bentley edition of Casino Royale that cost £750 upon release (but was recently sold on Ebay for less then £200)

The second to forth runner up will receive the fantastic Folio Society From Russia with Love edition that has been signed by artist Fay Dalton.

And after that there will be ten raffle prices containing of a brand new copy of the From Russia with Love paperback. 

You can read all their rules here.

All entries will be judged on accuracy to the From Russia with Love novel and imagination and aesthetically pleasing design.

So I am not a graphics designer but I did feel I wanted to take part in this contest just for the fun of it. Below you can see my design and some comments on why I decided on this design.

My first plan was to take the Cape first edition cover and remake it in a photo instead of a drawing. But it was to troublesome to get hold of a revolver that looked like the one used on the first edition and time was short.

Secondly I felt that the most common used designs were those of the Orient Express, Istanbul and Tatiana Romanova. Therefore I did not want to use that and went for the below design instead.

1.  First of all I wanted to use the Ian Fleming Publications logo highly visible. I really like the logo and feel that it should have a proud place on the cover.

2. The font for the title is called Typewriter-Serial and gives the book a "classic" feel without using the word classic. The font is used almost across all text on the cover.

3. SMERSH stands for SMIERT SPIONAM which translates to "Death to spies" used on the paper in the typewriter. I wanted to use the translation to make the book more accessible to the common reader and not just us Bond fans who knows what Smiert Spionam is. I also wanted to use the "007" somewhere on the cover.

4. The picture of the typewriter is partly the order to kill Bond but also to represent the decoding machine that Smersh use to trick Bond in Istanbul.

5. On the left side is a quote from the book that is accessible to anybody who has seen a James Bond film which makes it highly recognisable to the common man. On the right side is an early picture of James Bond that Tatiana Romanova has fallen in love with in the novel. The photo is of Sean Connery that (I believe) was taken before Dr. No started filming in 1961 to promote Connery as Bond. It is also one of the few things that gives this cover design some colour.
I know Ian Fleming Publications does not use the face of James Bond on their covers and that Sean Connery would not approve of the use of his face (if not Eon still has all rights to this photo) but I see the picture as a time related piece just like the typewriter font.

5. At the bottom of the design it says "a James Bond novel" in the Calibri font. This is planned to be used on all the novels just like the top IFP logo. The font could then maybe be used on the spine to make all 14 books appear in sync.

So there you have it. Let me know in the comment section below what you think and maybe what you would have done different.

Best of luck to all entries!  

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