You know we love a bit of Bondage here at Last Movie Outpost. We covered all the original Fleming novels, plus quite a few of the continuation novels, on the last version of our website. We are currently working our way through the movies. Last time around we tackled On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. So it was with interest that we prepared to tackle a new James Bond novel.
The last three continuation novels were by Anthony Horowitz and they were truly excellent. Forever And A Day, Trigger Mortis, and With A Mind To Kill were taut thrillers with Fleming flourishes throughout. The author of the new novel is Charlie Higson. Higson wrote the Young Bond series which is universally lauded.
His first step into the world of adult Bond was anticipated. His new novel, named for the new Monarch in Great Britain, is On His Majesty’s Secret Service and… well… things haven’t gone quite according to plan.
Last week on the platform formerly known as Twitter, a British journalist called Ed West shared a few pages from the novel, completely devoid of comment or commentary. The response was fast, loud, and savage. The reason? Well, as Simon Evans put it for Spiked Online:
“This Bond is brooding, though not over murderous supervillains with tell-tale tics and facial deformities or shadowy Asiatic acronyms, but over the problematic Euroscepticism of the democratically elected Viktor Orbán, the alleged dog-whistle bigotry of imperial weights and measures, and a gathering of barely disguised pro-Brexit, ERG types whose leader had not thought to ensure an adequate diversity quotient. Every paragraph groans under the severed heads of the author’s hobby-horses.”
Higson, an actor and writer with a long history in brilliant sketch comedy such as The Fast Show, appears to have been unable to resist peppering the story with his own personal politics. Part of the issue seems to be just how clumsily these views are inserted:
As one commentator online said, it reads like a first draft crossed with a student union pamphlet. Evans continued in his article, saying this is:
“A Bond whose worldview seems more in line with someone whose formative years were spent in the BBC’s HR department rather than in MI6 HQ.”
Higson also cannot resist attacking several of his personal bete noir by placing them all into the embodiment of a single character as an ex-Conservative Member of the British Parliament.
This latest hilarity comes after content monitors took their blue pencils to Fleming’s original works to make them the dreaded “suitable for modern audiences” by removing anything in a historical context that might offend.
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