Monday, March 04, 2019

Ian Fleming's Thunderball

In December I read an updated James Bond novel by Anthony Horowitz that I enjoyed. So I thought I'd read one of Ian Fleming's originals. More or less randomly (meaning what the library happened to have) I chose Thunderball, published in 1961. It hasn't aged well.

Before getting to the novel, as I pointed out on Twitter I did a double take about SPECTRE's choice of what currency to use with their extortion plans.

A long time ago for Venezuelan bolívars to be your currency of choice.

And speaking of long ago and not aging well, this is a truly sexist novel with plenty of casual racism sprinkled in (from the black population of the Bahamas, where the action takes place). If you want to know what it means to portray women literally as sex objects, this is the place to see it. The character Domino Petacchi is there almost solely for Bond's gratification. And he drinks. A lot. Not so many martinis actually, but a ton of whiskey, always a double. Along with a steady flow of cigarettes.

I actually found the plot to be plodding. It is not a particularly exciting book, which surprised me. Further, Bond figures everything out correctly the first time, which means there is almost no suspense.


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