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Film Studies 101
Feature
James Bond's Literary Afterlife
Bond after Fleming, From Amis to Deaver

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James Bond's Literary Afterlife   | Charlie Higson
Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson – he of The Fast Show – had written a handful of blackly comic and extremely violent novels during the 90s: King of the Ants was even made into a film that almost nobody saw. Eyebrows were raised then, when Higson was revealed to have been commissioned for five children’s adventures for the Young Bond,* but they were lowered again following massive sales and critical acclaim.

Fleming never gave Bond an official birth-date, so Higson settled on 1920, and the books take place during the 1930s, when Bond is a schoolboy at Eton. The Fleming-phile Higson filled the books with in-jokes and references to the official canon: first novel Silverfin (2005) begins with a pastiche of Casino Royale’s opening salvo, and final instalment By Royal Command (2008) deals with the business, mentioned by Fleming in You Only Live Twice, that got Bond shunted from Eton to Austria. We take our leave of Higson’s Bond when he’s 14 though, so we don’t get to see him lose his virginity to a Parisian prostitute in 1936.

*The idea had actually been tried once before, in 1967, with a stand-alone adventure for Bond’s “nephew” 003-and-a-half. The author of that opus (it’s credited to “R. D. Mascott”) remains unknown, although some have suggested it was a pseudonymous Roald Dahl, who wrote the You Only Live Twice screenplay the same year.

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