MI6 looks back 30 years to when John Gardner was
first announced as the new James Bond continuation
007 Coming Back With 1980s Flavour
8th May 2011
James Bond fans were in for a surprise in October
1980, as their favourite literary hero - who had lay dormant
for more than 10 years - was about to burst from the pages once
again. British author John
Gardner was announced to the press
as the new continuation author six months ahead of his first
007 adventure hitting bookstores. As "Licence
Renewed" is celebrating
its 30th anniversary this month, MI6 looks back at how the Gardner
era of Bond books began...
Bond will return with flavor of the
'80s - Associated Press - October 16th, 1980
James Bond is coming back, still with
his 007 licence to kill but otherwise with a 1980s flavor. He
a little more respectful
to women, consume fewer vodka martinis and smoke low-tar cigarettes.
John Gardner, British writer of best-selling
mysteries, has been selected by the late Ian
bring Bond back to life in three books. "We are picking
up Bond form where we left him in the '60s and bringing him in
to the '80s," Gardner said in a telephone interview from
his retreat in Ireland's Wicklow Mountains.
When Fleming died in 1964, at 56, he was
correcting the proofs on his 14th Bond book, "The
Man With the Golden Gun," which was posthumously published.
Later two of his short stories were published under the
Gardner, 64, said the invitation to bring
Bond back "Is
a challenge, especially on the technical side. I will enjoy
it as a relaxation from my other work. I like to write
one serious book and one of mystery of spy fiction each
His first Bond book, provisionally titled "Meltdown," (note:
this later became "Licence Renewed") has
been written and publication is set for next April, the
time of year Fleming's books were always launched. Gardner
would not reveal the plot, saying he had been told to keep
it secret. But he did indicate it was the traditional fight
between good and evil, with Bond assigned to save the world.
Gardner said Bond will be pitted against an individual
with immense resources and a nasty streak whose malignant
activities have to be stopped. "We have kept to the
Bond formula. He loves his country and his service. Naturally
there was a clearout of the '00' service following the
defector scandals, but fortunately Bond came out clean," Gardner
Above: John Gardner was announced
as the new James Bond continuation author in October
The enigmatic spymaster "M" who
sends Bond on his missions will be back behind his desk. Miss
unmarried, will wait faithfully to back up Bond and mother him
when he returns, scarred but triumphant over the forces of evil.
"We won't age them, but we have to fit
them into the '80s. We hope readers will see him as the Bond
they remember," Gardner
said. "But times have changed. There won't be so many casual
girls - we've had the effect of women's lib meanwhile. Also Bond
won't drink so many vodka martinis. He's cut down smoking too.
He now favors low-tar cigarettes, but still has them specially
made for him."
The high technology Bond used, Gardner noted,
has in some cases become fact instead of fiction. The unique
submarine used by
Goldfinger (sic) in his bid to rule the world was later matched
in real life by Howard Hughes' Glomar Explorer, which was actually
employed in true Bond style in a bid to recover secret equipment
from a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine in the Pacific.
"So Bond's technology has been updated. Everything he uses
I have handled myself and it is available either on the open
or covert markets," Gardner said. Gardner knows his stuff
about weapons. He was an officer in the British Royal Marine
Commandos in World War II. Fleming was a commander in British
After the war, Gardner was graduated from Cambridge
University and emulated his father by becoming a priest of the
England. But he said that after about a year, "a little
voice inside my head said 'wrong'." After a long struggle
between conscience and belief he was allowed to relinquish the
Holy Orders. He then went in to journalism. Later he wrote the
first of his best-selling Boysie Oakes books, "The Liquidator," ironically
the first comedy spy spoof to the James Bond cult.