Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Penguin sends JAMES BOND back in time

In 2002/2003 Penguin Books reprinted all the Ian Fleming James Bond books in the U.S. as trade paperbacks with terrific "retro" cover art by Richie Fahey. This was the first time in over 30 years that a single U.S. publisher had released all the Fleming books in a uniform set (Signet prevented this by holding onto their original publishing rights to these last two books). It was also the first time the UK texts were made available in the U.S., including the unedited Live And Let Die.

But most interestingly, this set from Penguin was the first to acknowledge on their covers that these original 007 stories are set in the 1950s and '60s. Until this set, publishers either updated Bond's look on their covers (Jove) or concealed the period setting behind iconic Bondian imagery (Berkley). Yes, this is your father's James Bond -- and there's nothing wrong with that!

These covers proved to be very popular and Penguin would release them in the UK as mass market paperbacks in 2006 with new introductions (which included Bond authors Charlie Higson and Jeffery Deaver). A new collection of short stories, Quantum of Solace, was released as a trade edition with a matching Fahey cover in the U.S. in 2008.


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12 comments:

  1. That's the set I have - a little racy (I felt a little weird bringing one or two of them to the workplace to loan to someone) but I like them overall. I wish the Gardner books were being done in a similar style (with 80's-esque artwork in a compatible layout), but I'm glad to have a complete and consistent run of the Fleming canon.

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  2. Fantastic covers - I bought the whole set (not including QOS) on a trip to the US in 2004 and they're still my favourite editions. I just wish they were available in hardback with this artwork as well.

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  3. Terrific; thanks for sharing them. Really does justice to the work between the covers.

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  4. I have this entire set as well. I picked them up gradually throughout 2010 until I had them all. Interestingly, mine also include a circle on the cover that says "Ian Fleming Centenary 1908-2008" that is present on all the covers except for "From Russia With Love" and "Goldfinger." Kind of bugs me that those ones are missing it, but oh well. It's great to finally have a complete set of Fleming Bond books.

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  5. I'll throw my voice into the chorus of support for these covers. I think they're really great--even if, to me, they recall 1930s pulp covers a little more than 1950s paperbacks. They look awesome and they seem appropriate to the material, so I won't quibble on that point. I bought these ones as they came out--all except for Thunderball. I wasn't quite fast enough getting that one, and suddenly all I could find were later printings. All the others I had Penguin 1sts. I never have found a Thunderball 1st printing. It's hard to find these editions listed that way online, because nobody who's not really anal about this stuff cares what printing a 2000s paperback is.

    I did get a Fahey mass market Thunderball in that great box set put out in the UK for the Centenary, though.

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  6. There was also a giveaway with the Times in 2008 that just reprinted Octopussy and 007 in New York using the Octopussy cover:

    https://secure.flickr.com/photos/gaz1961/4362076094/

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  7. These are probably my favourite covers and really happy when they released them in the UK.

    I've also got a mug with the CR cover design, which is really good too and I have the Octopussy/007 in New York freebie mentioned above.

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  8. I loved these covers when they cam out, and I got the box set of them for my recent re-read of the entire series. The original books are so much better than the films and when are they going to do a proper film of The Spy Who Loved Me?

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  9. when are they going to do a proper film of The Spy Who Loved Me?

    It's my favorite or second favorite Ian Fleming novel but I know I am in the minority. Still do you think TSWLM novel translates to the big screen? It's like AQOS. I loved that short story but there just isn't a movie there so they use the title and nothing else.

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  10. Actually, Fleming stipulated (or at least requested) that TSWLM never be filmed. Just the title could be used.

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  11. Never filmed, perhaps, but I'm sure he woildnt have minded a decent stage play. It is, for the most part, a four-hander drama in a motel, barring flashbacks. Could rule the West End with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in the leads. Maybe Steve Buscemi as Sol Horror...

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  12. Are these editions still available?

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