Thursday, September 29, 2011

007 refights the Battle of Waterloo; John Gardner's lost scene from ROLE OF HONOR

In a 1985 interview with Richard Schenkman published in BONDAGE magazine #14, John Gardner spoke at length about a key sequence he was forced to cut from his fourth James Bond novel, Role of Honor. Here is what Gardner had to say about the excised scene in full:

"One of the major pivot scenes in the book had been written. It's a very lengthy sequences in Bond and Holy played "The Battle of Waterloo", a very realistic computer program. One in one room, the other in the other room.
It was a strategic battle game, and it could be done; I checked it out with programmers. They had zoom-in capabilities, so they could see the troops on the ground, and I actually got Bond's mind onto the battlefield. They re-fought Waterloo.
I'd written this sequence first, to drop it into the book, and spent a lot of time on it. Suddenly, at the last minute, there was a message from the States saying, 'There is a computer game in Never Say Never Again. We can not use it. You can not use this idea.' Having lost that, I felt the the whole thing was weakened, and I had to put the Bunker Hill game in, which was played as a sort of role-playing game.
I thought I had gotten the modern equivalent of the famous golf game [from Goldfinger], or bridge game with Drax [from Moonraker]. I'd been looking to do that from the very beginning, when I started these books. And I knew I gotten it. I felt disgruntled and having to remove what I considered was a key sequence, and I think it weakened the book."

I've always found it odd why it would matter what was in Never Say Never Again, an unofficial James Bond film. But there was so much litigation surrounding that film, I guess everyone was being a little hyper-cautious. It's really a shame this scene has never seen the light of day. I love that Gardner says he "got Bond's mind onto the battlefield."

Back was I first lobbied for Gardner reprints on CBn, I suggested restoring this scene to Role of Honor if possible, or maybe just including it as an extra ala "007 in New York." Here's hoping this key scene still exists somewhere and one day we might all be able to read about "007 at Waterloo."

Visit our special Gardner Renewed page for information and links for all the current and upcoming John Gardner-James Bond reprints (including Role of Honor) in the UK and U.S.

5 comments:

  1. Excellent post! Thanks for digging up that interview. I agree; it would be amazing to see a restored version of the book. Gardner was certainly thinking in the right direction, and it's a pity that the publishers didn't realize that the world of computer games was growing at a fast enough rate to encompass two totally separate Bond scenes. Oh well.

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  2. What I never understood about this was the idea that they couldn't use the idea of a computer game because there was one (completely different) in Never Say Never Again and yet ... the terrorist training camp scenario in Role of Honour is eerily similar to the opening training sequence from Never Say Never Again. Presumably they didn't ask Gardner remove it.

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  3. It just really seems a waste. It would have been the highlight of Role of Honour - as it stands it's one of his poorest entries - it reads a bit like an unfinished Bond film screenplay. To be fair, I don't think Gardner was too well at the time in question.

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