Monday, August 6, 2007

John Gardner dies at 80

OO7 Magazine Online reports that author John Gardner has died after collapsing in his home in England on August 3. The cause of death was a heart attack. He was 80.

John Gardner penned over 50 books during his prolific career, but Bond fans know him best as the man who brought the literary 007 back to life in the 1981 bestseller License Renewed. Gardner went on to pen 14 original James Bond novels and two novelizations between 1981 and 1996.

For me, John Gardner is just as responsible for my love of James Bond as Ian Fleming or Cubby Broccoli. License Renewed turned me onto the literary Bond during the same summer that Roger Moore returned in For Your Eyes Only. This double does of Bondamania ignited a passion for 007 that continues to this day. I looked forward to each new Gardner novel as much as I anticipated each new film. During the dreaded six year gap between Licence To Kill and GoldenEye, it was John Gardner who kept the Bond flame burning by continuing to turn out a new novel each and every year.

During his run, John Gardner produced many of my all-time favorite 007 books. Licence Renewed, For Special Services, Icebreaker, Nobody Lives Forever, Brokenclaw, (yes, I said Brokenclaw), and Never Send Flowers are novels I returned to again and again. Just the other day I was talking to a fellow Bond fan about how much we enjoyed the Gardner books. As I type this, a vintage bookstore advert for Licence Renewed and For Special Services hangs near my desk (“It’s a James Bond Explosion!”). Heck, I even bought a Saab Turbo in 1983 because that was the car of choice for John Gardner’s James Bond.

He will be missed.

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