Thursday, March 2, 2023

JOHN CORK on the 70th Anniversary edit controversy

When it comes to James Bond, there's no one whose opinion I respect more than John Cork. John has weighed in on the controversy over edits made to the upcoming 70th Anniversary Ian Fleming James Bond novels. This is well worth your time. Click the image below to read at 007 Magazine.


  1. I also have immense respect for John Cork, and this article doesn't show him at his best. He doesn't take into account that Fleming didn't intend for the American version of LALD to supersede all others, which is what IFP plans.

    Cork makes much of Fleming's work being edited for magazine republication, but surely everyone understands that magazine versions didn't and couldn't include every word from the novel.

    Cork praises IFP for taking "a more difficult path" by censoring the books, lest they be cancelled by a "Twitter Social Justice Warrior" (not there was any indication of this happening). But the truly more difficult path would have been to let the books remain as they have been and not bow to pressure to sanitize them. And the most enlightened path would have been to provide contextual material, and even annotations, to make readers understand some of the more anachronistic or offensive passages--that's what Cork himself does in the article! Instead IFP has taken the safest path--trying to sweep embarrassing material under the rug.

  2. Thank you for sharing this helpful article. I grew up reading the Fleming books. I have read and listened to the all many times.
    I have been surprised and disappointed with entitled, white, male Bond fans who don't want people messing with their stuff. I think the reaction, from the community, to the edits has not been great. Bottom line IFP has the rights back to publish the books and wants to really promote them. We know that there is a lot problematic stuff in these books. We can talk through a lot of it. But taking out the really gross, anti-black racist stuff is a no brainer. They are not going to want to defend that stuff and I, frankly, don't want my hero, thinking or saying it. There are thousands of copies of these books out there if you do. I am embarrassed that our community is acting with so little sensitivity.

  3. Asking that a book be published as the author intended it isn't a sign of being white or entitled. If so, that would be an insult to all the editors and academics who take pains in publishing editions that reflect the author's text, not that of later interlopers. I don't want Bond saying racist things either, but the facts are that he did, and pretending otherwise is ridiculous. Who are these censored editions going to fool? And isn't assuming that modern readers can't deal with antiquated racial attitudes in old books patronizing and insensitive in itself? Do you advocate taking out all the offensively sexist and Imperialist material in the books too? Or do we accept them as they are, in the same way that we accept other classics that reflect outmoded attitudes?

  4. The respect I had for John Cork has, effectively immediately, ended up right now. It's clear that he will defend anything IFP does now and no doubt he defends how EON insulted the character in NTTD, so I wouldn't be surprised if I see some sort of documentary or book in a future praising any cheap and "inclusive" reboot they propose for the character in a decade or so.

    For some, James Bond is a job and a niche to make good money. And to do that, you have to be in good terms with the companies owning the rights. Just leave your love for the character aside, smile and get paid. Just like another 9 to 5 job.