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Welcome to book club! Get your drinks, snacks, and any notes you have, and gather around for the discussion on the first half of Goldfinger! (If you're here and you're not sure where to find the book, check the resources post in the sidebar on the right!)


Reminder that trigger/content warnings for this book, including the second half, are: racism, homophobia, sexism, slurs, violence, torture, drug use, and also discussion of rape/past incest. Please read and discuss what's safe for you. <3  


Book club is designed to be a place where you can go beyond the Bond movies and delve into another medium with our favorite secret agent. We have questions to help get things started, but there are no set discussions. If you have anything interesting that you want to discuss about your reading experience, comments on the text, or how reading the book might have changed your view on the characters in the movies, then do share!


Questions to get us started: feel free to answer any or all of these as you like, and to pose your own!


  1. What did you think of Bond's recollections while he's stuck in the airport in the first part of the book?



  1. Unlike Doctor No in the last book, Goldfinger makes an early entrance--what are your impressions of him as a Bond villain?



  1. Card games and golf, two of Fleming's (and Bond's) favorite hobbies, both show up in the first half of the book. Are you loving Fleming's detailed approach to showing us those things or aching to slash whole swathes of text out of the book?



  1. What are some moments from this half of the book that you found memorable?



  1. If you haven't finished the book yet, what do you think will happen in the second half?


Remember: this is a no-spoiler zone! Please only discuss chapters 1-11; we'll talk about the whole book at the next book club in two weeks.


Happy discussing!

timetospy

Date: 2016-03-14 01:32 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
1. What did you think of Bond’s recollections while he’s stuck in the airport in the first part of the book?

- This is the entire impetus behind Craig’s portrayal of Bond. This existential quandary about his life and choices. He can tell himself he has no regrets all he wants, and yet… I was actually kind of pleased to see this bit of rumination, and to see WHY Bond keeps himself busy (and why he drinks). When left at loose ends, he gets a bit angsty.
- God, this explains why he hates being cooped up in Medical SO MUCH.
- Is it the killing with his bare hands that does it? Has he killed anyone with a blow before? (and is that setting up for Oddjob? YES. Ok, carry on.) My guess is that he has only used objects to kill, even up close: knife, gun, giant pile of guano, etc. Is this true? *EYES GO WIDE* OH. Craig!Bond’s first kill is bare handed…. Well, there you are then.

2. Unlike Dr. No in the last book, Goldfinger makes an early entrance - what are your impressions of him as a Bond villain?

- OK, so I’ll lay it on the line for you: Goldfinger reminds me SO MUCH of the Big Bad from Granada Holmes’ Greek Interpreter, which you can find HERE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG7OwHr4JHU&list=PLB26B4DC9060391CE), that I kept forgetting Goldfinger was actually an ugly orange dude and instead pictured him as a short, thin blond with pince nez and a vaguely European lilt to his vowels. He’s wonderfully cunning, though, and it’s nice to see Bond having to out-think his opponent instead of just outlasting him.

3. Card games and golf, two of Fleming’s (and Bond’s) favorite hobbies, both show up in the first half of the book. Are you loving Fleming’s detailed approach to showing us these things or aching to slash whole swathes of text out of the book?

- I WANT TO CUT ¾ OF THAT GOLF GAME OUT OF THE BOOK. OMG. For whatever reason, the card game didn’t bother me so much? I don’t know why. But the GOLF OMG the GOLF. EVERY DAMN HOLE. IN DETAIL. WITH ANGLES AND LIES AND JESUS CHRIST WHERE WAS HIS EDITOR?!?! Like, you needed to enumerate five of those golf holes, Ian. The first two, to get a feel for how each of them plays, and then the ones on which Goldfinger OBVIOUSLY cheated, and then the last one, MAYBE two if you need more length. But to slog through all 18 holes of golf was absolute torture, enlightened only by the banter and camaraderie between Bond and his caddie. I fell asleep halfway through that chapter and was SO MAD when I realized how much I had left to read when I woke up.
- That said, the caddie putting the golf bag down on top of the lost golf ball was SO CUTE and James switching similar golf balls in the last hole was also clever. Not sure Goldfinger would have actually not noticed, tbh, he’s pretty sharp, but it worked.

Re: timetospy

Date: 2016-03-14 01:39 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
[AAARGH character limits....]
4. What are some moments from this half of the book that you found memorable?

- I loved the bit where Bond was researching for his book while on night duty.
Bond trying to not talk to the guy at the airport, and the guy not taking the hint (subtextual shade against Americans, Ian? Thought Bond liked Americans? Maybe he only likes specific Americans. *cough* Felix *cough*)
- I’ll be honest, half the time I forget that air conditioning was not a thing when these were written, and so the whole hotel room scene with Jill Masterton I was thinking JUST TURN ON THE AIR. Then you won’t have to sit around half-naked when you’re interrupted.
- THE CAT THE CAT THE CAT. “Do you like cats?” “Sufficiently” *heart eyes emoji, motherfucker*
- I feel really bad for Oddjob.
- SPEAKING OF ODDJOB - Ok, so this is really annoying. Oddjob is Korean, right, and Karate is a Japanese tradition, so Oddjob would actually be practicing Tae Kwan Do. And anybody who studies diligently beginning in childhood would have a black belt by 16 or 18, so there aren’t ‘only five people’ in the whole world who have one. There are degrees above black belt that are more exclusive, but… geez. This smacks of ‘good enough’ research, like the Giant Squid, who would have died had it been kept in such shallow water. That said, his hands have CALLOUSES not CORNS, and also, the demonstrations given by Oddjob, while impressive, aren’t all that difficult for someone who studies and trains as much as Oddjob is purported to do.
- Also, does anyone know for sure if there is an upper age limit for corrective surgery for a cleft palate? Is Goldfinger being an asshole by not correcting this, or did Oddjob enter his employ past the age of correction? (I honestly don’t know, and I know it was a much more risky surgery years and years ago as well, much like any surgery, but still…)

5. If you haven’t finished the book yet, what do you think will happen in the second half?

- Oddjob is probably going to die, much as I want to give him a redemption arc.
- Goldfinger is going to die.
- But those are givens, seeing as how they’re the villains.
- Jill Masterton is revealed to have been killed by/is being held captive by Goldfinger. Option one=personal vendetta against villain. Option two=RESCUE THE PRINCESS. Leaning toward option one, seeing as how they’ve already had something of a sex holiday on the train.
- Bond is going to have to outthink Goldfinger, which is fantastic. Bond is clever, and I think that gets overlooked sometimes. IF THIS DEVOLVES INTO A PHYSICAL BATTLE AGAINST SOMETHING/SOMEONE OTHER THAN ODDJOB I WILL REVOLT.

Re: timetospy (Castillon02)

Date: 2016-03-16 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
4) Re: Oddjob's cleft palate, I did some research, and it seems like adult surgery is possible? They were apparently even making advances in the cleft palate operating technique in the 1950s, though most of the operations were likely done on babies, which is the usual thing. However, many people have further operations as they grow into young adulthood and as adults, and I found one surgeon's website offering help to people from impoverished countries who may not have had available surgical care as children. Goldfinger might not be able to completely fix Oddjob's palate after so many years, but...plastic surgeons? speech pathologists? He could definitely throw his money around and find something to alleviate Oddjob's condition if he wanted to. But clearly he doesn't want to.

5) YES! So here for Bond having to out-think Goldfinger! Fingers crossed that Fleming does a good job on it.

Re: timetospy

Date: 2016-03-16 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isthisrubble.livejournal.com
4) *rolls eyes at Ian Fleming* *Hermione voice* what. an. idiot. I swear he pulls this shit all the time.
also I think Goldfinger must have liked being the only one Oddjob could communicate with, so he wouldn't have wanted to change that

Re: timetospy (Castillon02)

Date: 2016-03-16 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
1) "My guess is that he has only used objects to kill, even up close: knife, gun, giant pile of guano, etc. Is this true? *EYES GO WIDE* OH. Craig!Bond’s first kill is bare handed…. Well, there you are then." YES I LOVE ALL OF THIS.

also: "knife, gun, giant pile of guano"... :D:D:D perfect.

2) Yes, I'm thinking we might get a survival of the slyest with Bond's mind more than his bodily endurance helping to win the day in this one! Which is intriguing. Though there are strong elements of this in all the books, Doctor No, more than perhaps any other book so far, was pretty blatant about Bond's main strength basically being able to just physically outlast the villain and his schemes (in that case, a literal obstacle course). Will Fleming take a different tack in this one? Guess we'll see!

3) Still not over the cuteness of the caddie putting the bag down over the ball. CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE CUTE. Bond's interactions with the older golfing staff in general were also cute, and I liked the little window into young Bond that they gave us.

Question bc I know nothing about golf: ...Is there actually a physical difference in the golf balls? Are the different numbers, idk, different sizes or weights or have more little dimples or something?

...Okay, I googled it and the single-digit numbers are just for identification purposes, but if you see a three-digit number in the 300-400 range it is indeed probably a reference to the number of dimples. OMG, I WAS TOTALLY JUST TRYING TO BE FUNNY. I didn't think the dimples would actually get taken into account. (Golf!)

(Also, now I'm picturing Q making cheat golf equipment for some other agent on a mission and Bond being horrified. "SEND ME INSTEAD.")

RE: Re: timetospy (Castillon02) (timetospy)

Date: 2016-03-19 05:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
So... I'm going to be really honest. I hate golf. Reall really hate it.

However! I love the 'trick clubs via Q' thing and omg want to use it so bad......

Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-19 09:10 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Go for it! :D

RE: Re: timetospy (Castillon02) (timetospy)

Date: 2016-03-31 01:23 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
So... I'm going to be really honest. I hate golf. Reall really hate it.

However! I love the 'trick clubs via Q' thing and omg want to use it so bad......

Re: timetospy

Date: 2016-03-16 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isthisrubble.livejournal.com
1) YES TO ALL OF THIS *WEEPS*

Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-16 01:52 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
1) YES. Agreed with timetospy! So here for Bond being introspective about his occupation as a killer. Wikipedia tells me that a lot of critics praised this book as being one that really developed his characterization, and I honestly wonder how much of that praise is coming out of this first airport scene or if we'll see even more development in that area throughout the book.

Also: Bond being like 'oh good, a rich person's problem, that will be the perfect holiday' honestly made me want to see him as a private eye after he retires (or, idk, some other kind of freelance investigator--not sure that Britain has P.I. licensing). Casino owners, CEOs, etc. all feel reassured by his suits and his military background and his knowledge of caviar, and Bond gets to do some fun problem-solving with room and board on their dime. And if Bond happens to do some extracurricular investigating while he's being hired by all these very important companies, and if some of those useful results happen to make their way to Six...well, he's got to keep his hand in, right?

(That moment of disgust after stuffing himself with crab, though. It'd be hard for him to resign himself to working for the moneybags, even if I think he'd enjoy the work.)

2) Goldfinger is so petulant--the way he cheated at golf! omg! there are six-year-olds with more maturity than that. Tbh I think that is actually a VERY accurate depiction of what happens when a person is spoiled and used to getting their way all the time, as Goldfinger so clearly is. Also, Goldfinger's got a quiet menace that becomes steadily more apparent, first from his not-secretary's fear, and second from the whole cat thing and Oddjob demonstration. You really do get the sense that he's without compunction. I actually really like that this villain combines those immature characteristics with that amorality, showing that sometimes smart, wealthy villains aren't all suave or ~charismatically commanding~ or whatever. Ssometimes they're douchecanoes who wear ridiculous 'golf suits' and would rather cheat than lose. And the douchecanoe villains--probably all of us have known someone reminds us at least a little bit of Goldfinger--can still be scary too.

3) The card game was fine (although I was rolling my eyes at the contrived nakedness of Goldfinger's accomplice). The game itself didn't take too long, and also I'm pretty used to Fleming being such a card game nerd by now, haha. Plus I really like Bond as a character being in CARD GAME NERD mode, and talking about the different ways of cheating? IDK, Bond with his knowledgeable card game terminology is A+++ in my book. All he needs is a pair of glasses to complete the 'hot nerd' image. (Though for all I know Fleming gets half of it wrong, like he does with his karate ridiculousness.)

The golf game was loooong. Liked Bond's adorable interactions with his caddie, but did not feel the need to know every lay and lie in the game. It gave us probably a pretty accurate depiction of Bond's experience of the game, though--long, kind of agonizing, full of unexpected OMG YOU DID NOT JUST moments and tete-a-tete's with a ridiculous jerkass, and a big sigh of relief at the end. Every lie and lay WAS important to Bond, after all. And if the golf game is foreshadowing their future interactions, then Bond's in for a war of attrition that he'll have to win by being very clever and sneaky, rather than by being the one who can whack the ball farthest across the green.

Re: Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-16 06:54 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
4. Memorable moments:

-Bond being recognized at the golf place after like twenty years? And instantly having friends there? IDK I JUST LOVE HOW BOND MAKES FRIENDS EVERYWHERE HE GOES EVEN THOUGH HE'S A LITTLE SHIT. I mean, he broke their windows. But somehow Bond just 'clicks' with people. Glad he usually uses this superpower for good instead of evil.

-Bond writing his own textbook omg <3333

-the cat! poor wee scapegoat!

-M's WTF face before Bond tells him how he knows Goldfinger

-Goldfinger introduced like "He was wearing nothing but a yellow satin bikini slip, dark glasses and a pair of wide tin wings under his chin." "HELLO, MY GENITALS ARE CLOTHED IN GOLD, JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN'T NOTICE I LIKE GOLD."

-all the neat MI6 stuff: the Identicast, Bond's shift working, etc

-Bond's thoughts about "the easy life," which of course war a bit with his blatant hedonism
(also: Bond needing to feel like he's really earned things. hnnnnngggg sub!Bond feels)

5. Predictions:

-Bond will get a partner at some point: Felix? A Bond girl?

-Jill will be revealed to be dead so as to highlight Goldfinger's evilness and give Bond angst

-Bond will go undercover as a criminal working for Goldfinger

-Bond will be discovered and captured and torture will ensue (as usual)

-it would be nice if a Bond girl would be the one hauling Bond's ass out of danger again, but Fleming seems to have an every-other-book policy on that, so: Bond will get tortured and haul his own ass to safety afterward

-there'll be some kind of epic fight with Oddjob, which Bond will win due to something not hand-to-hand-combat related

-an empty room will at some point sneer or smirk or whatever at Bond

-if they go to America, Bond will complain about the food and be surprised at the occasional bout of American competence

Re: Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-16 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isthisrubble.livejournal.com
1) that's my #1 headcanon for retired!bond. he and felix could open their own detective agency...

Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-17 04:44 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
OMG. Bond and Felix with their own retired!spook detective agency! I LOVE IT. *starry eyes*

RE: Castillon02 (timetospy)

Date: 2016-03-19 05:53 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
OMG yes please.
Just... All the things about this make me so happy.

Date: 2016-03-22 08:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isthisrubble.livejournal.com
I need to stop reading the entire book in one sitting, it makes this so hard bc I can't remember what happens when...

Also I was getting a lot of Casino Royale and Moonraker vibes from this book. idk if it was because Goldfinger seems to be a mixture of Drax and Le Chiffre, or if it's thematically, or what, but I just... was. Anyone else get that?

1) What did you think of Bond's recollections while he's stuck in the airport in the first part of the book?
I YELLED A LOT. INTERNALLY. I love this scene so much. the way he thinks about death, god fuck. also, I feel like someone on the spectre writing team must have been reading this chapter when they were working on the script, I mean, the thing with the life leaving the body??? oh my god. also also the way he decided to get really really drunk omg

2) Unlike Doctor No in the last book, Goldfinger makes an early entrance--what are your impressions of him as a Bond villain?
I think Goldfinger is really interesting, a bit of an enigma at this point in the story. I do think he's nuts for keeping Bond around, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (he gets more menacing etc later in the book)

3) Card games and golf, two of Fleming's (and Bond's) favourite hobbies, both show up in the first half of the book. Are you loving Fleming's detailed approach to showing us those things or aching to slash whole swathes of text out of the book?
I love that he works out a way to make Bond more and more like him all the time, omg. I like those scenes even though I don't understand most of what's going on, because it shows how good fleming is at creating tension and getting certain things across even when people don't understand what is physically happening

4) What are some moments from this half of the book that you found memorable?
- Bond's mental advice to the diver about quitting diving and becoming a movie star
- Bond's tea and coffee lecture going "viral" at MI6
- the fact that somehow everyone at the golf course remembers Bond even though he would have been a teenager last time they saw him
- "THAT’S INTERESTING. I ONLY KNOW FIVE WAYS OF KILLING ODDJOB WITH ONE BLOW."

5) If you haven't finished the book yet, what do you think will happen in the second half?
... I think I'll skip this one

Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-28 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

3) Yes, that's true! Fleming does well at building up tension during these scenes, definitely.

4) ALL OF THESE MOMENTS WERE SO GOOD. Thank you for reminding me about them because omg when I read them I was just like :D about them. Bond like "get to Hollywood while you can, buddy" and insulting the national drink, hahahaha. And the old golf people were super cute. (And of course his SASS and Goldfinger's selective deafness were incredible...)

Also: hmm, yeah, I can see why you'd get that vibe. The two Bond books you mentioned plus this one all start with a game of cards and involve foiling a high-ranking SMERSCH operative? And Moonraker was also set on British soil to start with. Hmm.

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