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Dr. No by Ian Fleming

Dr. No (1958)

by Ian Fleming

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Series: James Bond (6)

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Doctor No, the sixth of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, served as the basis for the first film with Sean Connery. Fleming's writing is indicative of many adventure novels from the 1920s through 1950s, though this 1958 book features a rampantly imperialist perspective, with Bond, a British spy, viewing the locals of Jamaica, a current colony that would not gain independence for four more years, as little more than backward children. As though that were not bad enough, Fleming's portrayal of the Chinese betrays an antiquated Westerner's racial distrust of the "exotic" East. For a story about a spy, Bond spends surprisingly little time concerned about global politics and the ramifications of Doctor No's plans, with the story instead featuring a certain wistfulness for Britain's former supremacy in the days of a waning empire.
The 1962 film does a better job setting up Doctor No's motivations and establishing him as a threat, while Fleming only brings up No's ability to alter the course of missiles as a bit of throwaway dialogue toward the end. Similarly, while the Bond of the movies always appears in control of a situation, the one in this novel is a character to whom things happen, provoking a response, rather than one who drives the action. In this way, Fleming's writing resembles that of Edgar Rice Burroughs, who's John Carter was characterized in much the same manner.
Fleming's Doctor No certainly holds significance in the annals of popular culture and deserves a read from those interested in the history of pop culture or of Cold War-era fiction. With that in mind, the novel is very much a product of its time, reflecting all of the attitudes about race and gender that existed then. The story, though interesting, is quite dated and does not hold up to the passage of time in the same manner as the film, which has its own problems. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Aug 21, 2016 |
lol. I love M. He treats Bond like a petulant kindergartner (which he really is). Looks like James is off to another tropical "vacation" for his "health."

Wow...just wow. Worst evil villain plan ever. I mean, I get that money is money, but No is trying to protect a fortune built on bird-sh!t? Boring Bond girl, as well. Oh well. It's still good, stupid fun. ( )
  benuathanasia | Feb 18, 2016 |
Knew this would be really dated, in both behavior (drinking and smoking for every occasion) and attitudes, especially towards women, but wasn't expecting the blatant racism. Ended up barely skimming the last half of the book. ( )
  SF_fan_mae | Jan 15, 2016 |
The second of two Bond books I read on the beach in Cancun over the holidays this year. Sadism and over the top racism carry the day here. The dialogue seemed a bit better than usual in this one, however, and Honey Rider has to be at the top of any Bond girl list. I think it's important to remember that these books were written in the 1950s and they were pretty groundbreaking at the time, so comparing them to modern espionage fiction in likely unfair (though you can put early LeCarre up against anything today and it cuts them to shreds). Much fun as always! ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jan 3, 2016 |
This is yet another winner in the James Bond celebrity performances series of audiobooks which has the Ian Fleming originals read by different theatrical and screen actors.
Hugh Quarshie is the narrator for Dr. No which was the 6th in the original series but the first of the big screen film appearances. Quarshie is a UK-based stage and screen actor and is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He does an excellent job on all of the various accents and voices required here, particularly bringing Bond's allies Cayman Islander Quarrel and Jamaican Honeychile Rider to audio life. Of course he gets to be both James Bond as well as megalomaniacal foe Dr. No also.
Highly recommended if you want to revisit the original series, which is much more down-to-earth than the antics of the later films would suggest. ( )
  alanteder | Feb 5, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fleming, Ianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borelli, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtela, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Punctually at six o'clock the sun set with a last yellow flash behind the Blue Mountains, a wave of violet shadow poured down Richmond Road, and the crickets and tree frogs in the fine gardens began to zing and tinkle.
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Book description
Year - 1958
Tease - The diabolical Doctor No, "You have both put me to a great deal of trouble. Now I intend to put you to a great deal of pain." With a fiendish smile, Doctor No taunted his prize captives - the brilliant agent James Bond and the beautiful blonde Honeychile. The unlucky pair had discovered the closely guarded secret of Crab Key Island. Now they must suffer the penalty. Doctor No had planned his maze of tortures carefully. Each was a harrowing test of endurance, strength and courage. He'd waited a long time for the perfect victim. Now - he had two of them.

Villain - Doctor Julius No, is half Chinese and half German. He is six foot six inches tall. Bald with a skull like face, jet black eyes and no eyelashes. His heart is located on the right side of his chest. A cruel and authoritative mouth and receding chin. He also does not have hands, only pincers. When he walks, he gives the appearance of gliding.

Bond-Girl - Honeychile Rider, a blonde with deep blue eyes under lashes 'paled by the sun' Wide mouth and a jaw line that is 'determined'. A face that fends for herself but a very naive island girl. She has a broken nose which was caused by a former lover. Bond compares her to Botticelli's Venus. She never had formal schooling but has read the encyclopedia.

Minor Characters - Quarrel, M, Major Boothroyd, Playdell-Smith, The Three Blind Chigroes

Plot - Beaming radio waves to U.S. rockets to misguide them.

Highlights - Bond's night time ordeal with a deadly centipede, Crab Key, Dr. No's obstacle course and giant squid confrontation.

Opening Sentence - Punctually at six o'clock the sun set with a last yellow flash behind the Blue Mountains, a wave of violet shadow poured down Richmond Road, and the crickets and tree frogs in the fine gardens began to zing and tinkle.

Trivia - The plot of Doctor No was lifted from a failed TV project called "Commander Jamaica." It had a character named James Gunn who was investigating an island in the Caribbean, where criminals were deflecting the paths of rockets from Cape Canaveral.
Haiku summary
Double Oh Seven
fights second-rate Fu Manchu
because of some birds.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142002038, Paperback)

James Bond travels to the Caribbean to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a secret service team. As he uncovers the astonishing truth about strange energy waves that are interfering with U.S. missile launches, he must battle deadly assassins, sexy femmes fatales, and even a poisonous tarantula. The search takes him to an exotic tropical island, where he meets a beautiful nature girl and discovers the hideout of Doctor No, a six-foot-six madman with a mania for torture, a lust to kill, and a fantastic secret to hide.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:33 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

British secret agent James Bond investigates the mysterious disappearance of an MI6 station chief in Jamaica, with the evidence pointing to the reclusive Dr. Julius No. Discovering the alluring Honeychile Rider, Bond runs afoul of the doctor's "no trespassing" policy and must survive a sadistic obstacle course.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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