Folio Society James Bond Books

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Folio Society James Bond Books

Set 24, 2021, 2:12 pm

For those who have read the James Bond books, which ones are your favorites and why? I’m thinking about picking up a couple at some point because the illustrations are so fantastic. I realize many on here feel like the books are trash but for those that actually like the books, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Also, I’m sure many have read this already but I found an interesting interview from awhile back with Fay Dalton on the books that I thought that I’d post:

Set 24, 2021, 3:16 pm

My favorits is Moonraker in that it is an atypical Bond novel--the first 75 pages concerns a high-stakes card game and no one dies until the very end of the book (and offstage at that).

For a similar reason, Goldfinger--at least the first half--is also one of my favorites as it concerns another high-stakes card game and a round of golf. The second half, however, is just awful (imagine a low-budget super hero movie filled with cliched villains having the worst monikers imaginable).

Set 24, 2021, 4:06 pm

>2 podaniel:

I'll join you in endorsing Moonraker. I read them all in my teens (or all that had been published up til then) and Moonraker was my clear favourite.

Editado: Set 24, 2021, 4:57 pm

>3 folio_books: why was it your favorite? Thanks for the recommendations! I heard Moonraker was the best, if not top 2.

Set 25, 2021, 1:31 am

You need to start with Casino Royale. It is quick and gives the best introduction to the Bond of the novels.

I would recommend reading all the books in order. They are very quick and enjoyable.

But, if I had to pick my favourites:

From Russia, with Love
For Your Eyes Only (short stories)
Moonraker (a little pepper in the vodka!)


Set 25, 2021, 3:39 am

I’ve only read the one and it was Dr No which I found was pretty good. It may be I had very low expectations for the amount of derision they receive on these boards but the writing was a lot better than I feared. Bond was a lot less cheesy than I thought he would be and it was quite a serious tone and was surprised at the genuine remorse about murder wondering if it would haunt him.

Set 25, 2021, 7:34 am

>1 warehouseisbare: Live and Let Die, Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me and Goldfinger are all interesting because they confound the stereotypes with which this series of books is often labelled (and in different ways). I found Dr No and The Man with the Golden Gun the least satisfying - Dr No because I disliked the ending, and TMWTGG because the writing felt tired.

Set 25, 2021, 11:49 am

>4 warehouseisbare: why was it your favorite?

Given I read it around age 14 and have very little recollection of the plot I really couldn't say. But imo, at the time, I rated it the best of the Bonds, certainly in terms of excitement. And it wasn't too far-fetched.

Set 25, 2021, 2:28 pm

Thanks everyone...this is all very helpful!

Out 4, 2021, 8:19 am

I agree with >7 TheEconomist:, especially regarding The Spy Who Loved Me. Hated it when I was younger, but after coming back to these books it's become one of my favorites. It reads more like a Hitchcock thriller about a woman in danger, until Bond shows up 2/3 of the way through like St. George to save the day. The stakes are low- there are no megalomaniacs, just a couple goons- but more than any of the other books The Spy Who Loved Me succeeds in capturing the nasty underside of James Bond.

I wasn't wild about the SPECTRE arc in the books (Thunderball is on the lower end of my own list), but I like You Only Live Twice for the same expectation defying reasons. It's more a meditation on death by a broken Bond hellbent on revenge than a traditional action thriller, and I maintain that the awful movie that shares very little with the novel beyond title and Japanese setting would have been made slightly better by having Donald Pleasance stalking around a garden of poisonous plants in full samurai gear. Also a much more fitting end to the series than The Man with the Golden Gun.

Live and Let Die will always be my favorite- being from Florida I enjoyed Fleming's descriptions of the state back in the 50s, and the finale with Mr. Big's yacht is one of the most exciting in the series.

The Folio editions are great, and look really handsome on the shelf. I'm excited to see Fay Dalton's art across the various exotic locations in the stories in For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy & The Living Daylights, and I expect her art will be the saving grace of The Man with the Golden Gun.

Out 4, 2021, 9:12 am

>10 SolerSystem:

Is it certain that the short story collections will also be published by Folio Society? I really hope so, but I'm not sure if this has been confirmed.

Out 4, 2021, 9:48 am

>11 SF-72: 'We will publish all of the original Fleming Bond books, including the short stories' was their response on Facebook several months back when someone asked if they planned on doing any of the non-Fleming follow-ups.

Out 4, 2021, 11:03 am

>12 SolerSystem:

That's excellent news. Thank you.

Out 4, 2021, 8:02 pm

>10 SolerSystem: Wow! What a fantastic reply! Thank you so much. Unfortunately due to all of the responses, I am so torn. So many different viewpoints. I can see going in order but at the same time most of the books that are rated highest aren’t early in the order to my knowledge other than Casino Royale, I think. I just know that I want my first experience to be a good one. I really appreciate all of the replies!

Out 4, 2021, 8:23 pm

>14 warehouseisbare: "Unfortunately due to all of the responses, I am so torn. So many different viewpoints. "

Well... there is only one solution then - get all the books! :)

Out 5, 2021, 1:13 am

>14 warehouseisbare:
Have you read any of them before? If not, I'd suggest grabbing a couple of cheap second-hand paperbacks or, if you have a Kindle, one or two of the cheaper editions, and checking out whether you actually like them or not. Personally, I disliked them intensely, so have no desire to buy into this set, even though the art work looks excellent.

Out 5, 2021, 1:48 am

>14 warehouseisbare: I think >16 Willoyd: is good advice. I enjoy the films and picked up two of the books many years ago, but did not enjoy the writings, and wasn’t interested in reading any more of the series

Out 5, 2021, 8:00 am

I actually listened to the audio book of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" read by David Tennant because I really enjoy him as a narrator, though I wasn't interested in Bond as such. The book was much better than I'd expected after the films, very enjoyable, so I listened to a few more starting at the beginning and ended up buying the FS editions. So yes, just giving one novel a try is a good idea.

I'd actually recommend not starting with Casino Royale unless you find card games / gambling fascinating. That part really bored me, while other books were much more interesting from the start.

Out 5, 2021, 1:20 pm

I have read two so far: Casino Royale and Diamonds are Forever.

Casino Royale was a good, if not entirely serious, thriller with perhaps the best depiction of a card game I have ever read.

I thought Diamonds Are Forever was very weak. One doesn't expect Bond to be full of literary merit, but this book wasn't even that exciting a thriller.

That said, the books are very nice and I can't find enough good things to say about Fay Dalton's illustrations.

Out 5, 2021, 11:22 pm

>19 ubiquitousuk: Casino Royale was much better than expected and now I can follow the original movie farce.

Editado: Out 7, 2021, 2:41 pm

A bit off-topic, but I would be interested to know what people think of the movies? What are the best and worst and why? Has anyone seen the latest which just came out? Personally, I really appreciated Bond back in the "cold war" days, where I thought the character carried with him, for better and worse, Western zeitgeist.

Out 7, 2021, 3:25 pm

>21 astropi: Goldfinger, hands down. Followed by From Russia With Love, for all the reasons you say.

Out 7, 2021, 5:39 pm

Apple iTunes Movies has the whole set for around £60, a bit expensive, I am sure you can pick up the movies on bluray and dvd much cheaper on Amazon, but if your like me and want to keep your spaces clear, the less is more philosophy or for your books than it might be a good suggestion. I indeed was considering it as I've only watched a couple.

Out 9, 2021, 9:54 am

>21 astropi: For me, there is one movie that is heads and shoulders above the rest. I always used to think that I was the only person who rated this particular movie highly, but it seems that there has been a critical reappraisal recently, and this movie often tops "worst to best" lists these days. Take this list for example, published recently by Digital Spy:

(you need to page down to the bottom of the article to get the list).

I would have Diamonds are Forever higher up the list, and Live and Let Die lower, but otherwise I reckon this list has the order nailed down exactly as I would have it.

Out 10, 2021, 4:15 pm

Thanks for all of the replies guys. I did read Casino Royal and enjoyed it. I’m definitely picking up some books. Not sure which ones but I’m excited to see the art in hand.

Abr 1, 3:14 am

It seems that Fay Dalton, who illustrated the 007 books so nicely, has now been accused of plagiarism in work for the Magic the Gathering card game. The way these things usually work in academic plagiarism is that an eagle-eyed reader spots one instance of plagiarism and then people start looking at the author's entire body of work and quickly find many more examples. Already, there seem to be multiple examples of undisclosed copying within Dalton's MtG output.

This raises the immediate question about the work for Folio Society. I don't think there are any specific examples of tracing/cloning there yet, and I hope there won't be. But it also puts Folio Society in a potentially awkward position if it still intends to release one more 007 book and the series illustrator becomes known as a plagiarist.

Abr 1, 3:55 am

>26 ubiquitousuk: If Dalton has plagiarised and Folio need to complete the series without her the obvious solution is to commission whoever she's been plagiarising from :)

Abr 1, 4:47 am

>26 ubiquitousuk: I heard about this little scandal but hadn't connected it to her being a FS illustrator. From the reddit drama there's at least an additional lion picture that's traced. I don't think they're investigating her work outside MTG yet.

I've seen a lot of artists use the "cut and paste then trace over" method for creating quick and dirty mockups from various other pictures with the idea that it's "just reference" and they're reworking it later to their own style anyway. I'm sure it's easy to go from that to just starting to paint over material in a time crunch. That she's used other artwork to do this seems real sloppy though. It's not just bits and pieces in the most incriminating art theft, but an entire background and character just mirrored and lightly modified.

I really liked the pulpy Bond illustrations too. Hope they're not affected by this mess.

Abr 1, 5:27 am

Ouch. That's ugly, but I really hope it won't affect the final Bond(s) since her style really fits them perfectly. They'd already be published but for the unexplained delays.

Will they do the short story collections in one or two volumes, by the way?

Abr 1, 8:26 am

The artist for a series of books about a secret agent isn't all she seems? If true, that would be sad but ironic.

When was this discovered? Would it explain the delay of the final Bond book?

Abr 1, 9:45 am

Don’t automatically assume she is guilty. Charges of plagiarism are frequently made against authors (and perhaps artists), but are later dismissed.

Abr 1, 9:58 am

>31 jroger1:

The one picture I saw definitely seemed influenced by an older book cover by Donato Giancola. If she'd just changed the (very obvious) hair, the problem would have been solved, I think. But yes, once something like this starts, people will see plagiarism everywhere, whether that's accurate or not. It's a real shame - her work for Bond is really well done and certainly seems original. I wonder why she messed up like this for other work.

Abr 1, 12:48 pm

I have a funny feeling that this sort of thing is extremely common and is becoming more easily detectable due to A.I. image comparison and searching technology.

Also, let's assume that Fay did a trace-over, quick copy, and modification of Danoto's work. How do we know that the artwork in question isn't licensed in such a way that Fay was given access, permission, and perhaps even encouragement to reuse older material? In other words, whomever commissioned her for the Magic card artwork may have (or their parent company has) a database of artwork that's legally held and licensed for use in exactly this manner?

Abr 1, 1:07 pm

>33 treereader:
From what I saw upon researching this, Donato Giancola seems to have publicly called her out on using a book cover he did in the 90s. Magic the Gathering then dropped her like a hot potato after looking into this. It does look like a genuine case of plagiarism. If that should cost her her complete career is another question, but it does look like she made a serious mistake here.

Abr 1, 1:26 pm

It warms my heart so much that nerds are STILL playing MtG. Ah, my childhood.

Editado: Abr 1, 3:37 pm

Abr 1, 3:45 pm

>36 astropi: To paraphrase the old Reeses Cups commercial, "You got your H. R. Van Dongen in my Boris Vallejo!"

So not just pinching art, but mixing styles. Are we sure the artist isn't a AI?

Abr 1, 4:19 pm

>37 Shadekeep: You could probably use AI or some sort of program to analyze the rather apparent plagiarism! I'm guessing at this point, people will start to analyze every single piece of art she has produced -- and frankly, can't blame anyone.

Abr 1, 4:22 pm

>38 astropi: Yah, given how decent image search algorithms have been for a while, doing subsection comparisons is probably easy now too. A shame she went this route, especially if some of her art is genuinely original.

Abr 1, 4:47 pm

>39 Shadekeep: I think the work she did for the 007 books is fabulous --

Of course once someone plagiarizes like this, it's hard to trust in their originality and honesty.

Abr 1, 5:44 pm

>36 astropi: I remember our group would play it outside every lunch all throughout elementary school. How many cards have I dog-eared and scratched up on the cement and how many booster packs did I open that otherwise could now pay off my mortgage?

Abr 1, 5:50 pm

>41 PartTimeBookAddict: I know... below are "average" prices for a Black Lotus -- see how even circa 2004 it was around 1k?

Today --

Abr 1, 6:00 pm

>42 astropi: Just... why?

I guess it's time to dig around in storage and see if I still have any of them.

Abr 1, 6:37 pm

>42 astropi:
Too complicated for me. Pong and Pac-Man were my speed, and that was as an adult!

Abr 1, 7:24 pm

>40 astropi: That is nice stuff, I'm a fan of good pulp style art. I guess the problem now is, knowing she did this, are her other works pulp homages, or actual rip-offs?

Abr 2, 11:56 am

>34 SF-72:

Wow. Yeah, if MtG already dropped her, that's a good indication that she wasn't authorized or encouraged to pull ideas from a corporate cache.

>37 Shadekeep:

Interesting, because the degree of variation she appears to be applying is pretty much the same level of variation I see when asking DALL-E to make something and tweak it.

Abr 2, 1:43 pm

>46 treereader: Yeah, wow. It may very well be that she used some AI to tweak artwork. I just don't understand how people think they can get away with this, especially for something that has millions of active participants such as Magic the Gathering...

Editado: Abr 3, 12:27 pm

>36 astropi: With many different copypaste jobs in the one image it really seems it's part of her workflow. MTG is high profile work so it's not like this was an off day or a side project where it could be a rush job to a lower standard. Unfortunately it puts the rest of her work including the FS job in question. That she's stolen from a pulp magazine artist really rings the alarm bells given the style.
I'm not sure what happens practically if plagiarism is uncovered. If there's a revenue split to be expected, if production has to be halted, or if it just makes the artist persona non grata for future work.
Edit: Looks like someone ID'd the hand holding the axe as a ripoff as well, leaving virtually nothing in the image as original work. It's just a collage, painted over.

Abr 3, 1:17 pm

I frankly don't get how anyone can be that stupid, especially in this day and age when it's so easy to find something like this out.

Editado: Abr 3, 1:29 pm

>49 SF-72: This is one of the things that makes me wonder if her whole career as an artist has been fraudulent. Often when you discover a case of blatant plagiarism, it turns out to have come at the end of a long history of the same, and the person has gotten away with it for so long that they've become sloppy about it.

If this really was a one-off case, I'd love to know why the heck she did it.

Abr 3, 1:59 pm

>50 Shadekeep: Over on reddit, they've found at least two other cases.

Abr 3, 6:59 pm

So did Folio already know? Is that why we still haven't seen Octopussy and the Living Daylights?

Abr 8, 6:56 pm

What a shame for Folio, to have invested so much in her work for a series like this and still have books to follow on.