This week, author William Boyd makes his 007 debut when the James Bond novel Solo comes out in the U.K. The problem is Boyd isn’t necessarily the best salesman for his own product.
This week, a series of brief Boyd monologues were uploaded to YouTube. In THE FIRST VIDEO he acts as if he had unearthed a startling secret about the literary James Bond.
I suspect there are aspects of Bond people aren’t aware of. Of course the Bond aficionados, the Bond fans will know. The casual readers of Bond will not know some of the things I’ve put in the novel…For example, Bond’s Scottishness. Bond is not English — he’s half Scottish, half Swiss.
Of course, Solo is coming out less than a year after 2012’s Skyfall (worldwide ticket sales: $1.11 BILLION), which made a HUGE deal about exploring Bond’s roots, including the fact he was raised in Scotland, where the climatic sequence takes place. The movie was about as subtle about 007’s Scottish heritage as a heart attack.
Nor was Skyfall the first time. The 1965 television special The Incredible World of James Bond devoted a short segment to Bond’s origins in Scotland, based on the 1964 novel You Only Live Twice. While the bulk of the movies haven’t explored the topic, the fact that Bond has a Scottish heritage doesn’t represent the deepest research into the literary 007. Anybody who has read, say, The James Bond Bedside Companion by Raymond Benson is already up to speed on the topic.
Last spring, of course, Boyd boasted why Solo was such a good title for a Bond novel while seemingly unaware that Fleming had used Solo not once, but twice: as a character in Goldfinger and as the name for the lead character in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series.
It may yet turn out that Boyd’s 007 novel is a good addition to the literary canon. But Boyd doesn’t do himself any favors in promoting the new novel. Some of his major talking points don’t withstand the slightest examination.
OPEN CHANNEL D: WILLIAM BOYD’S FLEMING RESEARCH GAP
Filed under: James Bond Books, James Bond Films, The Other Spies Tagged: | Ian Fleming, James Bond Books, James Bond Films, Raymond Benson, Skyfall, The Incredible World of James Bond, The James Bond Bedside Companion, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Other Spies, William Boyd, William Boyd's 007 novel to be titled Solo