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Thunderball by Ian Fleming
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Thunderball (original 1961; edition 2002)

by Ian Fleming

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1,759274,006 (3.46)28
Member:iansales
Title:Thunderball
Authors:Ian Fleming
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (2002), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:**
Tags:novel, mainstream, reprint, paperback, given away harewood house

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Thunderball by Ian Fleming (1961)

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
With the usual machismo and misogyny that one can expect from a 007 novel, Thunderball is hardly the most entertaining of the series, despite setting a new direction and introducing some staple Bond elements. ( )
  Birdo82 | Jul 26, 2014 |
Rating: 4* of five

I am viewing the Bond films on Amazon Prime. 20 are available on Prime for free viewing until 1 Sept. This entry in the book series is a little odd, because the story and the book were the subjects of prolonged litigation among the writer of the story, the author of the book, and the producers of the film. As a result, this film was made again in 1983 by the title Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery's swansong as Bond.

That was a better film.

This one also has a crap theme song sung by Tom Jones. I remembered it not at all from the first time I saw the movie in a theater, probably 1966 or 1967. I was much more impressed then by the underwater fight sequences. Now they just make me claustrophobic.

So nuclear bombs stolen by Blofeld, pretty girl tries to kill Bond, Blofeld's second in command screws up and hires the only white men in the Bahamas as henchrats and all of them screw up. Bond repeals the laws of physics as he opens metal hatches underwater with trivial ease and slams through aboveground hatches without causing any sound. Bond uses someone who deserves to die as a human shield against a 9mm round, and the bullet stops inside them. Yakity blah blah, standard Bond stuff.

What elevates this silly romper-room antic mess into four-star territory is the sheer verve and the evident glee with which all involved go after the action. Connery's genuine terror of the sharks involved in the plot makes his performance sharp. Apparently his marriage was in trouble, so he went after the women with a starved hunger that's impossible to mistake. And the world's stupidest supervillains make some HILARIOUS mistakes...fixed water cannons that could easily be sidestepped? C'mon...but gosh was this fun.

Doesn't hurt one little bit that Connery wore racy bathing suits for quite a lot of the film. Yum.

So anyway, it's not the best Bond film and it's not the best film-film, but it has zest and zing and I'm glad I rewatched it here these *gasp* forty-five or more years later. That song...what a shame. A good tune would've put it over the edge into 5-star territory! ( )
1 vote richardderus | Dec 11, 2013 |
This was my first James Bond novel and while it was entertaining, it wasn't captivating - and the story just sort of ended. James, reflecting the time period in which this was written, is kind of obnoxious about women, and isn't nearly the debonair character that I have known in movies. Still, not a bad read. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Apr 18, 2013 |
James Bond, 007, spy in Her Majesty's Secret Service, is sent into the Bahamas to vet M.'s hunch that the island area is the site where a military aircraft and it's cargo of two nuclear missiles has disappeared to. Thunderball introduces listenership to S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), the successor organization to SMERSH in the Bond canon; to Blofeld, the mastermind behind the criminal organization and, to Bond Girl, Dominette "Domino" Vitali.

Ian Fleming wrote contemporary novels which reflected the values and fears of Post-War men and women. After two atomic weapons had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Atomic Age was ushered in with all it's possibilities and terrors. The promise of atomic energy was that it would be the driving force behind the manifest industrialism of the Western world; but security concerns and the threat of Communism were equally prevalent. While many view Bond's adventures as fantastic, Thunderball is less so in creating a scenario that even today is not impossible: a NATO plane is high jacked and a terrorist organization seeks to blackmail the Western world with the threat of detonating the bombs unless its demands are met.

Thunderball is the ninth title in the James Bond series and if you've read the preceding eight titles, there are certain things you may find familiar and welcome: the casino card games, the setting in the Caribbean Community, the underwater tableaux and, of course a Bond Girl. What's great about Bond novels though, is that despite these recognizable features, you still don't know what to expect! Instead of being formulaic in his plotting, Fleming uses the familiar as metaphorical touchstones in unfamiliar territory.

Inasmuch as Fleming write of his times, listeners may rise an eyebrow at certain expressions that have fallen out of favor or meant something completely different in 1961 than they do now. To wit, there are frequent references to "nigger heads" which is a term that was used to describe certain kinds of coral and; there is a chapter called "How to Eat a Woman" which is not the sexually explicit reference in the context provided!

Simon Vance is the British narrator for Thunderball and voices the multi-national raft of characters with astuteness, making discernment of the characters easy. If some accents are more challenging for Vance, such as American or the Island Patois, after eight Bond novels he has definitely settled into a comfort zone that accommodates and ameliorates those challenges. It's also worth noting that Fleming didn't throw a figurative curve ball in characters in Thunderball either: no white Anglo colonial daughter raised by a Jamaican nanny (cf. Doctor No)!

Redacted from the original blog review at dog eared copy, Thunderball; 04/19/2012 ( )
1 vote Tanya-dogearedcopy | Apr 4, 2013 |
my edition Pan X201, 1964
  Georges_T._Dodds | Mar 30, 2013 |
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To Ernest Cuneo - Muse
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It was one of those days when it seemed to James Bond that all life, as someone put it, was nothing but a heap of six to four against.
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"When a stranger arrives in the Bahamas, the locals barely turn their heads, seeing another ex-pat with money to burn at the casino tables. But James Bond has more than money on his mind; he's got less than a week to find two stolen atom bombs hidden among the coral reefs. While acting the playboy, Bond meets Domino, sultry plaything of secretive treasure hunter Emilio Largo. In getting close to this gorgeous Italian girl, Bond hopes to learn more about Largo's hidden operation."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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