([identity profile] wrote in [community profile] mi6_cafe2016-04-18 05:20 am

Book Club - For Your Eyes Only

mi6cafebookclubfinal (1).png
Welcome to book club! Get your drinks, snacks, and any notes you have, and gather around for the first discussion on For Your Eyes Only! (If you're here and you're not sure where to find the book, check the resources post in the sidebar on the right!) For Your Eyes Only is a short story collection, and for this post we're discussing From A View to Kill, For Your Eyes Only, and Quantum of Solace.

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 thoughts about how reading the book might have changed your view on the characters in the movies, then do share!

Questions to get us started:
1) What was most memorable about From a View to Kill for you?
2) In For Your Eyes Only, what did you think of Bond's interactions with M and Judy?
3) Quantum of Solace isn't really a typical Bond adventure--did you enjoy the chance of pace?  
4) For those who have seen the film Quantum of Solace, how do you think the short story relates to it, if at all?

This is a spoiler-friendly zone, but only for the FIRST THREE STORIES in the collection. If you've read ahead, please hold your discussion of the last two stories for the second book club post at the end of the month.

Happy discussing!


(Anonymous) 2016-04-18 07:58 pm (UTC)(link)
1. Can I just squee about James in fatigues? ‘Cause that was totally the most memorable, him all decked out in camo with the makeup and everything to blend in when he did recon on that clearing. Also, the whole motorcycle hidden in the woods thing made me think of the Sherlock Holmes story The Solitary Cyclist - only Bond-ified and a bit too complicated by half. But quite clever.

2. OK, so my first question is: is this mission even official? ‘Cause it sort of looks like it is, but also the round-about way James has to get to the site and how the Canadian officials are like, ‘we don’t wanna touch this with a ten-foot pole, but here’s some stuff,’ and even James’ own doubts about the assassination.
I feel like I’m missing something by not being well-versed in the political climate of the Cuban revolution, which saddens me and I should probably go do some research so I can better understand the implications of what Fleming is doing with Batista and Castro here.
I would have liked M’s existential crisis to be from a less concrete place. Perhaps there was nothing connecting this Hammerstein to the actual crime, but M just ‘had a hunch’ and a few circumstantial clues that he was involved. That makes the mission much more ambiguous, which I would have liked to dive into via Bond’s good-vs-evil worldview.
Also, does every villain really honestly have to be ugly? It’s beginning to become uncomfortable. Disney did away with Ugly Villains in 1937, I’m pretty sure it’s not actually progressive to have a villain that isn’t just plain ugly. (And am I referencing Disney because there was a Bambi reference in this story? Hmmmm…)
Ah, Judy, I love you. Taking things into her own hands, doing her own brand of investigation, finding out as much as M and all his official channels. She’s tough and resourceful, and not creepily naive. And while it makes me sigh to no end that she ends up going back with James in the end, because really, what was she expecting when she shot Hammerstein, it’s not quite as repellent as some other recent trysts James has had. So… there’s that? Woulda been nice if she’d said ‘fuck you buddy’ and walked to Bennington, though.

3. I spent the entire story trying to figure out what was going on in that house that would make Rhoda want to flee so badly. I mean, honestly. Mere boredom doesn’t cause someone to go out and humiliate their spouse. What the hell did Philip do? (I’m not making light of the drudgery and exasperating nature of being a housewife. Dear lord it might drive me around the bloody bend to have to stay home all day and do nothing but clean and cook and sew. Maybe if I could also garden, but I don’t think Rhoda was going to go in for that. Also, she was used to having a bit more freedom, I think, being her own woman with a career. She probably felt trapped. But I also think Philip must have said or done something himself to set her off. Perhaps she’d asked if she could have a small job in town, just for some pocket money, and he said ‘no.’ This would have enhanced that feeling of being trapped, and what harm could it have done for her to be a shop girl three days a week (or whatever, something suitably proper, of course) and have a bit of her freedom back?) And then the golf. Good heavens, it’s like Fleming had never seen a woman on a golf course before, and was convinced they only went to meet young men to have affairs with. *eyeroll*
As a story, as with all of Fleming’s works, there are issues. But it was when Philip returned from America that it really hit home, which actually falls into the next question.

Re: timetospy

(Anonymous) 2016-04-18 07:59 pm (UTC)(link)
The entire film revolves around this theory of the Governor’s: the theory of “Quantum of Solace.” And in the entire film, James’ QoS stands at zero. Everyone he meets, everyone he interacts with is trying to destroy him. Even M, in the end, for a few minutes anyway. Mathis, perhaps unintentionally, did by insisting that James forgive Vesper. And James is trying desperately to raise his QoS. He tries meaningless sex with Fields, he tries rescuing Camille, he tries to bring Mathis on one last adventure, and at every turn he is thwarted from raising his QoS. Is it any wonder, then, that he’s SO VERY PRICKLY throughout the entire film? He’s not just still reeling from Vesper’s death, because this is literally like two hours after she dies, I think, but that when he tries to find something to soothe the ache, it too is ruined, and his QoS still stands at zero. You can only survive without comfort for so long before it begins to eat away at you, the constant criticism and pain grows heavy on your soul and perhaps creates a monster where there was once a man. Or cuts the heart out of a man who was too willing to love in a world that couldn’t allow him to. (Ok, I’m crying now, goddammit, who gave that asshole the right? *grumbles*)
Also, I think in a way, it shows that both Vesper and James are in some respects to blame for the way things turned out. Neither Rhoda nor Philip were blameless in the dissolution of that marriage, although it is painted that only Rhoda did terrible things. But I think Philip must have been insufferable in some way to cause her to act out like she did. So here we are, looking at James as the hero of Casino, but if we go back and study his actions, in light of knowing Vesper’s dilemma, did he contribute to her downfall? Likely, yes. (I’d have to go back and watch Casino again, probably more than once, to really get at the meat of this.)
Anyway, that’s my two cents on how the story fits into the film. I’m sure there are parallels with Greene and Camille and the General, too. But I’d have to go rewatch the film again (oh the horror) and I haven’t found time. I may come back with notes on that when I get a chance.

[identity profile] 2016-04-19 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
1)What was most memorable about From a View to Kill for you?
honestly it has to be Bond thinking about Paris - complaining about his drink, the city's lack of heart, thinking about his routine, remembering how he lost his virginity... but of course, Mary Ann's heroic moment is pretty damn good, too

2)In For Your Eyes Only, what did you think of Bond's interactions with M and Judy?
poor M, god. he can't call on anyone else to make the decision, but he knows his judgement is compromised :( I really do like the dynamic between Bond and M in the books, it's one of my favourite things about them.
Honestly I really wanted to shake Bond for the way he treated Judy, although at least he let her take the actual kill shot. The fact that she's so young made the whole "I'm going to kiss her without checking if she's interested first" thing even more annoying.

3) Quantum of Solace isn't really a typical Bond adventure--did you enjoy the chance of pace?
I feel like Fleming was trying to make a point with this story, but I'm not sure what it was, and I'm not sure if it was supposed to be about Bond or just society in general. I think it's an interesting story, though

4) For those who have seen the film Quantum of Solace, how do you think the short story relates to it, if at all?
hm. hard to say. it might be a case of Bond starting the movie feeling like Vesper had given him no quantum of solace, but in the end realising that she had? honestly I'm not sure.