Paul Baack, extraordinary 007 fan, dies

Paul Baack (1957-2017 ) in 2013, wearing headphones to utilize his voice-activated software.

Paul Baack, co-founder of the James Bond fan site Her Majesty’s Secret Servant, died today at 60.

Paul and Tom Zielinski began the site, intended as a James Bond “e-magazine,” in 1997. HMSS, according to the founders, was the equivalent of a “toy train” for them.

It was more, of course.

From 1997 until 2011, HMSS presented magazine-length articles about James Bond and related topics. Contributors included Raymond Benson, the 007 continuation novel author from 1997 to 2002.

Benson named a character after Paul in his 1999 Bond novel High Time to Kill.

Normally an obituary refers to its subject by his or her last name. But the Spy Commander, for this obit, will refer to him by his first name.

Paul, from the beginning, designed the HMSS pages. His graphics enhanced the articles. He had a way of prodding the authors to make their contributions just a little bit better. Paul would make suggestions to improve the articles.

Those suggestions came in the form of a gentle nudge, not a dictate. HMSS, after all, was a hobby — the toy train analogy — not life or death. Nevertheless, Paul’s instincts were excellent. He was right far more than he was wrong.

Paul Baack-designed promo for the fall 2011 issue of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant, the e-magazine’s last issue.

Paul led a tough life. In 2003, he was paralyzed after being struck by a car. Despite that, he carried on. He utilized voice-activated software to do his HMSS work and follow his various other interests, which included doing artwork such as THIS and THIS and THIS.

This blog was, in fact, Paul’s idea. He wanted a way for HMSS to have a presence on the internet between “issues.” The Spy Commander was among the HMSS contributors.

Eventually, I took over the blog. But I was always aware he was reading. I was always glad to receive his feedback.

HMSS had a good run. It went offline in 2014.

“Bond and Holly” by Paul Baack

Paul was one of the most memorable people I ever met. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering he endured since 2003. But he endured it with warmth, and grace and humor.

James Bond fandom is richer for what Paul and Tom Zielinski started. This blog, obviously, would not exist without Paul’s encouragement.

After HMSS went offline, the blog published THIS POST about how it was now on its own. Paul posted this comment:

“‘Upward and onward’ indeed! Heartfelt thanks to you, Bill, for keeping the flame.”

Thanks to you Paul, for lighting the flame in the first place.

Limited hardback version of The Union Trilogy available


There’s a limited, hardback version of the James Bond omnibus The Union Trilogy available at the Barnes & Noble Web site.

It costs $8.98 and contains three Raymond Benson novels (High Time to Kill, Doubleshot and Never Dream of Dying) and the complete version of the Benson short story Blast From the Past. The latter originally appeared in Playboy magazine but was pared substantially.

For full details, or if you don’t need details and just want to buy it, JUST CLICK HERE.

Raymond Benson’s 007 “The Union Trilogy” is rereleased!

Here’s some excellent news: Bond author Raymond Benson’s “The Union Trilogy” collection of 007 novels has been rereleased in an omnibus edition. Comprised of the titles High Time to Kill, Doubleshot, and Never Dream of Dying, this series has Bond battling a SPECTRE-like cabal of bad guys headed up by the sinister le Gerant (“the manager”).

Traveling from Brussels to Nepal to Spain to France, engaged in everything from a deadly mountain-climbing expedition to the glamorous Cannes Film Festival, that English secret agent from England encounters some of the most lethal adversaries and luscious ladies of his storied career.

Generally considered to be the finest novels of his James Bond tenure (with HTTK especially being a fan favorite), Mr. Benson’s “The Union Trilogy” delivers the real goods: authentically Flemingesque James Bond adventures with all the glamour and violence, adventure and romance, far-flung travelogue, and high living on the edge of doom that typified the saga of this singular fictional hero. As an added bonus, Benson’s short story “Blast from the Past,” which marked his debut as the new 007 chronicler, is included in this volume. Severely edited for its inclusion in Playboy magazine eleven years ago, it now can finally be enjoyed in its full “director’s cut” full version.

Published by Pegasus, “The Union Trilogy” is available starting right about NOW. So… don’t just sit there reading about it on the internets, go get it!