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James is in poor shape it seems, 60 cigarettes a day think of that todaywhere d he even find a place to smoke that often do not keep the doctor away, oh and he drinks a lot to So M sends him away on a little vacation to recuperateagain And of course as seems to happen each time James goes away to rest, someone tries to kill him What a life huh I enjoyed these adrenaline soaked reads, they do after all have their charms This one is no less exciting, smothered in cold war paranoia we get stolen nukes here with the US and UK trying to get them away from SPECTRE and of course the evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld Felix Leiter is back with the CIA apparently in spite of his lost leg and arm from an earlier adventure and we get an under sea fight with some fighters choosing to fight naked so they can identify each other, never heard of colored scuba gear I suppose The end has a slight twist here, not so big for the books but it wouldn t happen like this in the move versions.Book 1 of the Blofeld trilogy. Revised review following re readThis is a silly plan This is the sort of melodramatic nonsense people write about in thrillers .and that criticism straight out of the mouth of the bond girl in this installment is probably one of my favourite lines in the series so far Whoever said they were all shallow In fact, Domino is another kick ass leading lady, who first stumps Bond with her driving skills yeah, between Domino, Ms Galore, and Tilly Masterton, Bond may have a thing for women drivers , calls him out on bullshit, engages with him on her own terms, and finally saves his hide.Of course, Bond is still Bond, and the sexist, chauvinist comments are there in abundance throughout the book, but one wouldn t set out to read a Bond novel without a bucket of salt at hand, and this one is nowhere near as horrible as other Bond novels However, the story is still a bit tepid bad guys steal nuclear war heads and threaten the world I m sure this was thrilling stuff in 1961 when the book was written, but it has worn off a bit since And if it weren t for the nerdy tid bits like M s opinions about processed food, the technical details about the Polaris missiles, and the descriptions in the book of everything that surrounds the plot i.e the development of characters, the depiction of fight scenes, the dialogues, the sea life are just great the book would be utterly forgettable.I mean, I must have watched Thunderball about a gazillion times since I was a kid and I still couldn t say what the film was about It took reading the book twice most recently as part of the Bond Buddy Read with Troy to take in that Fleming describes SPECTRE as a well functioning corporation, to recognise that he set up Blofeld as this puppeteer that pulls the strings behind the scenes rather than engaging with Bond one on one even tho this will come later in the series.What was interesting on this latest read was how ridiculous the whole premise of the threat of nuclear missiles being stolen is in the context of the ongoing Cold War at the time the book is set The unquestioned premise of Bond being on the side of right, stepping in to return the missiles to one of the sides rather than to allow a profit oriented organisation to hold the world at ransom, shows why Bond novels are first and foremost adventure stories Fleming does not question whether Bond s missions have a moral justification Or whether there are any doubts about the point of propagating that the nuclear arms race kept the world at peace.Unfortunately, we don t get to know in the Bond novels whether Fleming believed this We only get the boys own adventure story. The Girl Looked Him Up And Down He Had Dark, Rather Cruel Good Looks And Very Clear, Blue Grey Eyes He Was Wearing A Very Dark Blue Lightweight Single Breasted Suit Over A Cream Silk Shirt And A Black Knitted Silk Tie Despite The Heat, He Looked Cool And Clean And Who Might You Be She Asked Sharply My Name S Bond, James Bond When A Stranger Arrives In The Bahamas, The Locals Barely Turn Their Heads, Seeing Another Ex Pat With Money To Burn At The Casino Tables But James Bond Has Than Money On His Mind He S Got Less Than A Week To Find Two Stolen Atom Bombs Hidden Among The Coral Reefs While Acting The Playboy, Bond Meets Domino, Sultry Plaything Of Secretive Treasure Hunter Emilio Largo In Getting Close To This Gorgeous Italian Girl, Bond Hopes To Learn About Largo S Hidden Operation The best part about any of the original James Bond novels is the fact that there is no Q other than being mentioned peripherally, Q Branch and all that That s to say, the novels aren t as gimmicky as the films This is important, since it elevates the story above the zany pop culture status of the films There is at least some gravitas here, which is as it should be in a spy thriller.And yet, the novels are every bit as entertaining as the films Thunderball was recommended to me by my wife In fact, it was part of our annual must read agreement I believe it is her favourite, just edging out Live and Let Die, which I also read on her recommendation previously Thunderball does contain all the ingredients we have come to expect exotic location check, undersea adventuring check, beautiful Italian girl with catchy name check, memorable bad guy check, atomic bombs check I could go on, but I think you get the idea This novel also has the distinction of being the one to introduce Blofeld and Spectre, so its importance in the Bond canon is cemented.If you re a Bond fan, you certainly have read this by now If not for shame Thunderball is the ninth book in Ian Fleming s James Bond series, and the eight novel, after a seriously good collection of short stories This book now bears the authorship of Fleming on most editions, but it was really the collaboration of several people, and a legal agreement at one time insisted that Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham be given co author status It is really the novelization of an unfilmed screenplay which over borrows scenes from and ideas from previous novels.So we have reason to be suspicious this will stink, but I found it pretty readable, with a familiar cartoonish pulpy plot Ernst Blofeld, leader of the terrorist organization SPECTRE Dr Evil in Austin Powers , has hijacked an American plane loaded with atomic weapons Unless his demands are met, he will destroy one of the world s major cities Given only one week to locate the missing bombs, Bond goes to the Bahamas, encounters Blofeld s right hand man, Emilio Largo who, in typical Fleming fashion, has pectoral muscles the size of dinner plates and his mistress and as you know, soon to become Bond s mistress Domino Things of interest Domino saves Bond, which is unusual The book in 1961 opens with Bond forced because of his drinking roughly a half of a fifth a day and smoking roughly 60 cigarettes a day forced to go to a health spa, all of which is eventually abandoned We have to believe that Bond can do all this indefinitely, always look like a Greek god, and get the girl It s just that I d rather die of drink than of thirst We learn, in the spa, that the body remembers pleasure but it does not remember pain There were two film adaptations featuring Sean Connery, Thunderball 1965 and Never Say Never 1983 , produced by original screenplay co author Kevin McClory.Even as a kind of pastiche of former Bond plots and characters, it is pretty well written, focused mostly on action, without the occasional existentialist Bond reflection that makes its way into the earlier books I listened to the audiobook while I worked out to develop pectoral muscles the size of dinner plates. Rating 4 of fiveI am viewing the Bond films on Prime 20 are available on Prime for free viewing until 1 Sept This entry in the book series is a little odd, because the story and the book were the subjects of prolonged litigation among the writer of the story, the author of the book, and the producers of the film As a result, this film was made again in 1983 by the title Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery s swansong as Bond That was a better film.This one also has a crap theme song sung by Tom Jones I remembered it not at all from the first time I saw the movie in a theater, probably 1966 or 1967 I was much impressed then by the underwater fight sequences Now they just make me claustrophobic.So nuclear bombs stolen by Blofeld, pretty girl tries to kill Bond, Blofeld s second in command screws up and hires the only white men in the Bahamas as henchrats and all of them screw up Bond repeals the laws of physics as he opens metal hatches underwater with trivial ease and slams through aboveground hatches without causing any sound Bond uses someone who deserves to die as a human shield against a 9mm round, and the bullet stops inside them Yakity blah blah, standard Bond stuff.What elevates this silly romper room antic mess into four star territory is the sheer verve and the evident glee with which all involved go after the action Connery s genuine terror of the sharks involved in the plot makes his performance sharp Apparently his marriage was in trouble, so he went after the women with a starved hunger that s impossible to mistake And the world s stupidest supervillains make some HILARIOUS mistakesfixed water cannons that could easily be sidestepped C monbut gosh was this fun.Doesn t hurt one little bit that Connery wore racy bathing suits for quite a lot of the film Yum.So anyway, it s not the best Bond film and it s not the best film film, but it has zest and zing and I m glad I rewatched it here these gasp forty five or years later That songwhat a shame A good tune would ve put it over the edge into 5 star territory Thundball the Bond book so good it was made into two movies, both of which starred Sean Connery Obviously the 1965 film of the same title and 1983 s Never Say Never Again How that happened is a fascinating story involving copyright Standard disclaimer this book contains sexism, racism, colonialism and adult language Onto the story Bond has been Bonding it up so M decides to send him to a health farm called Scrublands whilst there he encounters a strange man named Count Lippi who is a tong member This seemingly useless knowledge nearly gets Bond killed When he returns to London and improved health he is called into the office only to learn that a sinister organization has stolen two 2 atomic bombs and are demanding a ransom After another failed attempt upon his life Bond is off to the Bahamas to search for the bombs He is joined in this task by American CIA agent Felix Leiter This book has convincing action, fascinating diving sequences so much better than golf , a damsel in distress and a nuclear submarine What it doesn t have is Bond s magic pocket sized rebreather thanks Hollywood or the horrific eye transplant so that s all good too This Bond is human and less superhero. Thunderball trailer.Book 9, movie 4, we re moving right along High hopes for this one because, according to my sources, the movie was the most successful of the Bond franchise at that point People aren t stupid, right O.mi.garsh It was really boring, guys Really boring The preview shows all the exciting parts from the movie, including my favorite in which Bond smacks someone with a phone and then wraps it around his neck Yeah, you tell im, Bond Kick his ass Um.The book is surprisingly just as boring If I m going to read a Bond book, I expect Bond to be in it, but there s this whole sequence that doesn t involve him and it s technical not in a good way and quite the snooze fest.But then this leads me to question myself Why do I care if Bond is in a sequence or not He s a dick I ve learned from this book that women are horrible drivers It s not just a fleeting comment there s an entire paragraph no, two paragraphs about the horrible driving of women Women are often meticulous and safe drivers, but they are very seldom first class In general Bond regarded them as a mild hazard and he always gave them plenty of road and was ready for the unpredictable Four women in a car he regarded as the highest danger potential, and two women as nearly as lethal Women together cannot keep silent in a car, and when women talk they have to look into each other s faces An exchange of words is not enough They have to see the other person s expression, perhaps in order to read behind the other s words or to analyze the reaction to their own So two women in the front seat of a car constantly distract each other s attention from the road ahead and four women are than doubly dangerous, for the driver has to hear, and see, not only what her companion is saying but also, for women are like that, what the two behind are talking about.But this girl drove like a man She was entirely focused on the road ahead and on what was going on in her driving mirror, an accessory rarely used by women except for making up their faces And, equally rare in a woman, she took a man s pleasure in the feel of her machine, in the timing of her gear changes, and the use of her brakes.Seriously I couldn t make that up if I tried And then In the next paragraph, sigh She had a gay, to hell with you face that, Bond thought, would become animal in passion In bed she would fight and bite and then suddenly melt into hot surrender He could almost see the proud, sensual mouth bare away from the even white teeth in a snarl of desire and then, afterward, soften into a half pout of loving slavery.Some actual stuff happens in this book, but who can even tell after shit like that Domino is probably an interesting Bond girl otherwise, but Fleming has such disdain for all his women characters that it s hard to enjoy any of the time she has on the page or on the screen Bond is the sort of character who will toss a woman into bed first and then tell the woman bad news afterwards view spoiler like the fact that her brother is dead hide spoiler Now this is a great Bond story First published in 1961, this was the 9th Bond novel for Ian Fleming and is a rip roaring good time for fans.This has it all Criminal villain mastermind While Fleming has come up with several great villains before, we are finally introduced to THE criminal, Blofeld, the Number 1 of SPECTRE and who was without a doubt the template for Austin Powers parody Dr Evil especially Donald Pleasance s portrayal of him in You Only Live Twice We actually get a villain double billing as SPECTRE agent Largo is the central antagonist and we meet Blofeld as the arch enemy behind the scenes.Plot to destroy the world Not just a spy v spy, SPECTRE is rolling the dice on a big and dastardly plan and its up to our hero to save the day.Action Lots Some of the earlier Bond novels were oddly cerebral and even romantic, Thunderball is all about the fight scenes and there are many good ones.The Bond Girl Broccoli s casting in the films always entertains but they got the idea from Fleming and his creation of Domino is inspired.Gambling Almost a token scene, but would it be Bond without ultra cool at the card table Bond with a health problem Bond is a THREE pack a day smoker and a heavy drinker and M is worried about his ace This begins with some attention to Bond as a physical operative.All this and SHARKS Good fun I re watched the 1965 Terence Young film starring Sean Connery as Bond and was again reminded how much I liked this one The underwater scenes are cool and the villains were superbly cast and performed In one of the scenes when Connery is swimming with the sharks, one of the animals got past the plexiglass border and according to the film s stunt coordinator, the actor only just got out of the water. A voice said quietly, close up against his ear, You will not meddle again, my friend Then there was nothing but the great whine and groan of the machine and the bite of the straps that were tearing his body in half Bond began to scream, weakly, while the sweat poured from him and dripped off the leather cushions to the floor.Then suddenly there was blackness.This is a bit different from the previous 8 Bond novels A bit serious SPECTRE gets hold of an atomic bomb and threatens to detonate it in a major city if he doesn t receive 100,000,000.WHAT I DIDN T LIKE 1 Bond calling women bitch all the time It doesn t matter whether he likes them or not He just refers to women as bitches quite frequently It s disturbing, and I can t really see any rhyme or reason behind it Term of endearment Verbal tic I wish he d stop doing it, it takes away a lot of my enjoyment of these novels.2 Misogyny Women are horrible drivers Women are like horses that need to be tamed and broken in order to be riddenShe was a willful, high tempered, sensual girl a beautiful Arab mare who would only allow herself to be ridden by a horseman with steel thighs and velvet hands, and then only with curb and sawbit and then only when he had broken her to bridle and saddle.Leiter s offhand comments about authentic blondes ugh.WHAT WAS AMAZING 1 Ian Fleming s writing especially about the sea Fleming must have loved the ocean and it s definitely where Bond feels the most comfortable and at home as well Fleming writes beautiful, breathtaking, gorgeous descriptions of swimming and underwater life His love and knowledge of underwater animals shines through this entire book and it s delightful It is just as well that the body retains no memory of pain Yes, it hurt, that abscess, that broken bone, but just how it hurt, and how much, is soon forgotten by the brain and the nerves It is not so with pleasant sensations, a scent, a taste, the particular texture of a kiss These things can be almost totally recalled.2 This book is funny There is a whole subplot where Bond gets called onto the carpet by M for smoking 60 cigarettes a day down from 70 a day in Casino Royale , drinking tons of alcohol, and not eating anything remotely healthy M sentences Bond to 10 days at a health resort lots of health treatments and dieting It is hilarious Usually Bond books aren t big on the humor, but I was laughing so hard at Bond s adjustments at being told he needs to get in better shape, meeting all the health nuts at the clinic and even temporarily becoming a health nut himself So funny and refreshingNow don t you start on me, Penny Bond walked angrily towards the door He turned round Any ticking off from you and when I get out of this place I ll give you such a spanking you ll have to do your typing off a block of Dunlopillo Miss Moneypenny smiled sweetly at him I don t think you ll be able to do much spanking after living on nuts and lemon juice for two weeks, James Bond made a noise between a grunt and a snarl and stormed out of the room.3 We get to see Bond interacting with some favorite characters M, of course, like he does in every novel Moneypenny, who has been conspicuously absent from the last two novels Bond s elderly Scottish housekeeper, May, who is a sweetheart and also funny she gives Bond a stern talking to here and of course, Bond s old friend, Felix Leiter of course now with a hook for a hand after he lost his hand in the shark attack in Live and Let Die , who shows up to needle Bond about America vs Britain and help him out with this international crisis view spoiler Bond saves Leiter s life in this novel hide spoiler