UPDATED AND CORRECTED: 007 book cover archive


Faux "Signet" paperback cover designed by Paul Baack

From the “Things We Found While Looking for Something Else” Files…

While looking for a good-sized picture of a particular James Bond novel (Benson’s Zero Minus Ten), Google pointed us to graphic created by our own Paul Baack. Running back through the link, we discovered a 1,594-pictures gallery of James Bond book covers on Flickr!

Compiled by Londoner Gary Cook, this visual feast for literary Bond fans can be found at Gaz1961’s photostream, under the name James Bond Archive: Book Covers. This is a pretty damn terrific treat, so take a moment to let Mr. Cook know your appreciation.


Design by Gary Cook

We discovered after the fact that we have screwed up the link to Mr. Cook’s Photostream; it’s hereby corrected. While doublechecking our links, we also discovered — to our delighted astonishment — that Mr. Cook has a separate archive (hundreds of pictures!) of James Bond book covers he personally designed! Many are done in the style, and appropriating the artwork, of the great paperback cover illustration from the 1950s and 60s, making lists a singularly beautiful experiment in “what if.” Check out James Bond Book Cover Designs for a fantastic trip down alternative-memory lane.

Tell 'em HMSS sent ya!

Raymond Benson’s “James Bond: Choice of Weapons”

Cool title for this collection of three of Raymond Benson’s best James Bond novels. Available in August.

James Bond: Choice of Weapons

2002: Turning point for the film and literary 007

Sometimes, you’re not really aware you’ve hit a turning point until well after the fact. For the world of James Bond — in both his cinema and literary incarnations — one such turning point was 2002.

At the time, the year seemed to be normal for 007. The 40th anniversary of the film series hit and included Die Another Day, the 20th film in the series produced by Eon Productions. Box office receipts certainly seemed good (the film had two straight weeks as No. 1). Meanwhile, another continuation novel, The Man With the Red Tatoo was published. It seemed liked everything would continue.

However, the seeds for change were already being sown. Despite Pierce Brosnan saying publicly he had been asked back by Eon, the film makers were again talking about how exhausting the Bond series was and not being sure where the Bond films would go next. Within 18 months, Brosnan was out as 007 and Eon began a search that would end with the casting of Daniel Craig.

On the literary side, a new regime had taken over at the former Glidrose, now calling itself Ian Fleming Publications. Raymond Benson’s run as author of 007 continuation novels was over after six novels. In an interview on the Commander Bond site, Benson said the change was by mutual agreement.

Bond fans are still feeling those chanes today. There hasn’t been a “regular” Bond movie since Die Another Day. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace essentially were a two-part “Bond Begins” reboot.

Despite the recent announcement about a Bond 23 screenwriting team, there hasn’t been a firm release date disclosed. 2011 would seem to be the earliest date possible. Over on the literary side, there has only been one adult Bond novel since 2002: Devil May Care, published last year — and published as a one-shot, with author Sebastian Faulks saying he won’t do a second. What’s more, Devil May Care reflected one major change of course, having the story be a period piece instead of a timeshifted tale, a la the continuation novels of John Gardner and Raymond Benson.

Where all this is leading remains to be seen. But what is clear is that 2002 was the last year of business as ususal for 007, something that wasn’t readily apparent at the time.

Second Raymond Benson anthology in the works

Over at CommanderBond.net,, the Web site is reporting that a second Raymond Benson anthology has been announced.

The tentative title, according to the site, is Choice of Weapons. Included: the novels Zero Minus Ten, The Facts of Death and The Man With the Red Tattoo plus the short stories Midsummer Night’s Doom and Live at Five.

Of the short stories, Midsummers Night Doom first appeared in Playboy and features Bond at the Playboy Mansion and we learn that Hugh Hefner, well…read it for yourself. Live at Five first ran in TV Guide.

The first Benson anthlogy, The Union Trilogy consisted of three novels utilizing a villainous group called the Union plus an unabridged version of the short story Blast From the Past (about a third longer than the version that ran in Playboy).

CommanderBond.net says there’s no firm publishing date for Choice of Weapons but it may come out in 2010.

Benson’s 007 continuation novels, movie novelizations and short stories were published from 1997 through 2002. His final year at the helm for Ian Fleming Publications included Red Tattoo and the novelization of Die Another Day.