Thursday, January 2, 2014

Audio Novel 6: The Scheherazade Sound of Dr. No

In his 1958 novel "Dr. No," the veteran gambler Ian Fleming finally tipped his hand.
Prior to this, his sixth James Bond thriller, Fleming had been pretending, perhaps even to himself, that his novels were about espionage, a field with which he'd become familiar as a naval intelligence officer during World War II. But Bond was made for sunnier wars than John Le Carre's "Cold" one, and Fleming revealed that when he sent escapist hero 007 to his own favorite destination for escape, Jamaica.
Here, the novel is dramatized as a BBC radio play, complete with John Barry music.
This is the novel in which Fleming finally makes it clear that Bond's adventures are mythic, iconic on a Joseph Campbell scale. Literally, Bond faces a Fu Manchu villain, a naked damsel in distress and a fire-breathing dragon. And the way Fleming effectively fogs over the obvious fairy tale with brand-name verisimilitude is part of what gives this story its persistent charm...

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