Ian Fleming was born on this date in 1908. Many dismiss Fleming as a mere pulp writer, but I disagree with this assessment. He was a master stylist and a damn fine thriller writer. His opening to Casino Royale is a personal favorite:
The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high-gambling – a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension – becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it. James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired. He always knew when his body or his mind had had enough and he always acted on the knowledge. This helped him to avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes.
In honor of Fleming’s birthday, I thought I’d share the above video. It’s from an interview he gave at his Jamaican hideaway, Goldeneye, where he wrote all the Bond novels. It’s a wonderful little snippet in which he explains how he named his iconic character.
Fleming died in 1964, a victim of his fun–but excessive–lifestyle.
And in other Bond news, click here for details on the new 007 novel coming out this September. Set in 1957, two weeks after the events detailed in Goldfinger, it will actually feature original, never-before-published content by Fleming. Can’t wait!