Playing Red Indians

James Bond, who miraculously survives death while undergoing extreme torture in Casino Royale, is resigning his position in the British spy business. Having recently earned his Double-0 status by killing in cold blood when on the job, Bond sees that it isn’t really easy to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys anymore. As Bond was being tortured, the bad guy Le Chiffre spoke of “playing Red Indians.” Although not politically correct for today, back then half my life was dedicated to running around the neighborhood playing Cowboys and Indians. You too? Remember that one day you were a good cowboy and the next day you were a savage Indian? But every day it was still you … were you personally a good guy or a bad guy?

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Stardust … Shaken, Not Stirred

It has taken me over sixty years but I finally read my first Ian Fleming treatment of that well-known fictional character, James Bond. Although I have seen most if not all of the movies on television, I stopped going to the movie theater to see the latest James Bond back when Sean Connery was still the dashing hero (even if he wore a rug). For the record, I suspect Roger Moore was the greatest influence on my never going to another James Bond movie ever again.

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The Spy Who Came In From the Cold

fishThose in the business—the literature business—often get excited over a complex and challenging narrative structure which manipulates voice and character and time in often confusing ways. There are excellent examples from Joyce to Nabokov to Faulkner, so many that there was a bit of a backlash against the overly manipulated novel and various forms of minimalism have become popular (have you read Peter Markus: Good, BrotherThe Singing Fish; Bob, or Man on Boat?).

But there are categories of fiction that rely on complexity, details, and very twisty plot structures; yet, those in the realm of literature often miss out on these novels because the stories are less concerned with understanding man’s place in the world than with telling a good and possibly exciting story that will leave the reader gasping for more. Most novels in this category tend to be filed under Genre Fiction in the bookstore: some of it is pretty bad, but a great deal of it is fascinating reading.

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