For example, in “Live and Let Die” (1954), Bond’s opinion of Africans in the gold and diamond trades as “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much” has been altered to “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.”
Another scene in the book, set during a strip tease at a Harlem nightclub, was originally “Bond could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands gripping the tablecloth. His mouth was dry.” This has been revised to “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.” A segment in the book describing accented dialogue as “straight Harlem-Deep South with a lot of New York thrown in,” has been removed.
For some additional context, both U.S. editions of Live and Let Die and Diamonds Are Forever were edited for sensitivity back in Fleming's day, so this isn't entirely new. But these edits appear to be going further than those and I'm sure this news is going to draw a lot of comment from Bond fans.
For me personally, I want the original unedited texts. Full stop. I was very happy when the U.S. editions were finally updated with the UK texts in 2002. Fleming's words and thoughts should remain unchanged, even if offensive. History and art should not be altered. But a disclaimer is certainly appropriate and I think a good idea.
But I also understand IFPs dilemma. They are marketing these editions to a mass audience and they have to deal with the times we are in. For those who want the unedited texts, you can certainly still find those. And maybe some day the texts will be returned to the original. I'm not sure if these changes will make these 70th Anniversary editions more collectible or less so, but they better have some pretty spectacular cover art to overcome the taint that I think these will forever have for Fleming purists.
Cover art above is from a 1970 Pan edition of The Man With The Golden Gun. UK cover art for the 70th Anniversary editions have not been revealed.
UPDATE: IFP have issued a statement HERE.