British writer, journalist and naval intelligence officer
Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was a British writer, journalist and naval intelligence officer who is best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst, and, briefly, the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through several jobs before he started writing.
While working for Britain's Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.
Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952. It was a success, with three print runs being commissioned to cope with the demand. Eleven Bond novels and two collections of short stories followed between 1953 and 1966. The novels revolve around James Bond, an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond is also known by his code number, 007, and was a commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. The Bond stories rank among the best-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two works of non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked Fleming 14th on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
Fleming was married to Ann Charteris, who was divorced from the second Viscount Rothermere because of her affair with the author. Fleming and Charteris had a son, Caspar. Fleming was a heavy smoker and drinker for most of his life and succumbed to heart disease in 1964 at the age of 56. Two of his James Bond books were published posthumously; other writers have since produced Bond novels. Fleming's creation has appeared in film twenty-seven times, portrayed by seven actors.
SolitudeLoneliness becomes a lover, solitude a darling sin.
BooksI was just on the edge of getting married, and I was frenzied at the prospect of this great step in my life after having been a bachelor for so long. And I really wanted to take my mind off of the agony, and so I decided to sit down and write a book.
SuccessAbove all, he liked it that everything was one's own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared
SuccessLoveLuck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued. But he was honest enough to admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women. One day, and he accepted the fact he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck.
FearIt was the same with the whole Russian machine. Fear was the impulse. For them it was always safer to advance than retreat. Advance against the enemy and the bullet might miss you. Retreat, evade, betray and the bullet would never miss.
MarriageMost marriages don't add two people together. They subtract one from the other.
My mental hands were empty, and I felt I must do something as a counterirritant or antibody to my hysterical alarm at getting married at the age of 43.
Against the background of this luminous and sparkling stage Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark profession an affront to his fellow actors.
Diamonds are forever.
Bond always mistrusted short men. They grew up from childhood with an inferiority complex. All their lives they would strive to be big - bigger than the others who had teased them as a child. Napoleon had been short, and Hitler. It was the short men that caused all the trouble in the world.
These blithering women who thought they could do a man's work. Why the hell couldn't they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men's work to the men.
Just as, at least in one religion, accidia is the first of the cardinal sins, so bordom, and particularly the incredible circumstance of waking up bored, was the only vice Bond utterly condemned.
You can get far in North America with laconic grunts. "Huh," "hun," and "hi!" in their various modulations, together with "sure," "guess so," "that so?" and "nuts!" will meet almost any contingency.
She explained to me later that she must have been possessed by a subconscious desire to be raped. Well she found me in the mountains and she was raped - by me.
Writing about 2,000 words in three hours every morning, 'Casino Royale' dutifully produced itself. I wrote nothing and made no corrections until the book was finished. If I had looked back at what I had written the day before I might have despaired.
I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It's very persnickety and old-maidish really, but then when I'm working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.
One of the bibles of my youth was 'Birds of the West Indies,' by James Bond, a well-known ornithologist, and when I was casting about for a name for my protagonist I thought, 'My God, that's the dullest name I've ever heard,' so I appropriated it. Now the dullest name in the world has become an exciting one.
Englishmen are so odd. They are like a nest of Chinese boxes. It takes a very long time to get to the centre of them. When one gets there the result is unrewarding, but the process is instructive and entertaining.
And don't get hurt,' [Dexter] added. 'There's no one to help you up there. And don't go stirring up a lot of trouble for us. This case isn't ripe yet. Until it is, our policy with Mr Big is 'live and let live'.' Bond looked quizzically at Captain Dexter In my job,' he said, 'when I come up against a man like this one, I have another motto. It's 'live and let die'.
I would stay away from him and leave him to go his own road where there would be other women, countless other women, who would probably give him as much physical pleasure as he had had with me. I wouldn’t care, or at least I told myself that I wouldn’t care, because none of them would ever own him—own any larger piece of him than I now did.
Le Chiffre was serving a wonderful purpose, a really vital purpose, perhaps the best and highest purpose of all. By his evil existence, which foolishly I have helped to destroy, he was creating a norm of badness by which, and by which alone, an opposite norm of goodness could exist. We were privileged, in our short knowledge of him, to see and estimate his wickedness and we emerge from the acquaintanceship better and more virtuous men.
People do connect me with James Bond simply because I happen to like scrambled eggs and short-sleeved shirts and some of the things that James Bond does, but I certainly haven't got his guts nor his very lively appetites.
I'm getting very sorry for the Devil and his disciples such as the good Le Chiffre. The devil has a rotten time and I always like to be on the side of the underdog. We don't give the poor chap a chance...the Devil had no prophets to write his Ten Commandments and no team of authors to write his biography.
Shaken and not stirred.
...Goldfinger could not have known that high tension was Bond's natural way of life and that pressure and danger relaxed him.
Before a man's forty, girls cost nothing. After that you have to pay money, or tell a story. Of the two, it's the story that hurts most. Anyway I'm not forty yet.
I'm looking for Commander James Bond, not an overgrown stunt man. [on meeting Sean Connery]
As for sex, well, I mean sex is a perfectly respectable subject as far as Shakespeare is concerned. I mean, all history is love and violence.
Luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued.
It reads better than it lives
The conventional parabola--sentiment, the touch of the hand, the kiss, the passionate kiss, the feel of the body, the climax in the bed, then more bed, then less bed, then the boredom, the tears and the final bitterness--was to him shameful and hypocritical.
The World Is Not Enough
A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.' ... Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?
A woman should be an illusion
And then one day when you're playing your little game you'll suddenly find yourself pinned down like a butterfly.
And people with obsessions, reflected Bond, were blind to danger.
I'm not in the Shakespeare stakes. I have no ambition.
At gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.
Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.
He could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex.
He provides a vision. He often reminds countries of their responsibilities in a way that makes it seem not only like a legal obligation but a moral responsibility.
Mine’s Bond – James Bond.
Our prisons are full of people who think they're Napoleon..or God.
It was the short men that caused all the trouble in the world.
A gentleman's choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit.
He shrugged his shoulders to shift the pain of failure---the pain that is so much greater than the pleasure of success.
Never job backwards. What might have been was a waste of time.
But I am greedy for life. I do too much of everything all the time. Suddenly one day my heart will fail. The Iron Crab will get me as it got my father. But I am not afraid of The Crab. At least I shall have died from an honourable disease. Perhaps they will put on my tombstone. 'This Man Died from Living Too Much'.
Like all harsh, cold men, he was easily tipped over into sentiment.
A medium Vodka dry Martini - with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken and not stirred.
I don't regard James Bond precisely as a hero, but at least he does get on and do his duty, in an extremely corny way.
Men want a woman whom they can turn on and off like a light switch.
The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.
Smoking I find the most ridiculous of all the varieties of human behavior and practically the only one that is entirely against nature. Can you imagine a cow or any animal taking a mouthful of smoldering straw then breathing in the smoke and blowing it out through its nostrils?
He was a secret agent, and still alive thanks to his exact attention to the detail of his profession.
All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken.It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that made his act of love so piercingly wonderful.
Bond didn't defend the practice. He simply maintained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.
I am a poet in deeds--not often in words.
It's no good protecting people or even looking after them past a certain point. One can't grasp more than a piece of anyone. Most of the rest can only be protected by themselves and the remainder by hired specialists and doctors and dentists and professional protectors.
Love of life is born of the awareness of death, of the dread of it.
As a result of 50 years of emancipation, feminine qualities were dying out or being transferred to the males. Pansies of both sexes were everywhere, not yet completely homosexual, but confused not knowing what they were. The result was a herd of unhappy sexual misfits... the women wanting to dominate and the men to be nannied.
People are islands,' she said. 'They don't really touch. However close they are, they're really quite separate. Even if they've been married for fifty years.
I have always smoked and drunk and loved too much. In fact I have lived not too long but too much. One day the Iron Crab will get me. Then I shall have died of living too much.
Unfortunately most ways of making big money take a long time. By the time one has made the money one is too old to enjoy it.
If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. By following my formula, you write 2,000 words a day and you aren’t disgusted with them until the book is finished, which will be in about six weeks.
If I wait for the genius to come, it just doesn't arrive.
Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I'd been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.
I think it's the same with all the relationships between a man and a woman. They can survive anything so long as some kind of basic humanity exists between the two people. When all kindness has gone, when one person obviously and sincerely doesn't care if the other is alive or dead, then it's just no good. -- from Quantum of Solace
Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.
They want us dead,' said Bond calmly. 'So we have to stay alive.
A woman can put up with almost anything; anything but indifference.
Everything I write has a precedent in truth.
Everyone has the revolver of resignation in his pocket.
The gain to the winner is always less than the loss to the loser.
When I wrote the first [Bond novel] in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened... when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, [James Bond] is the dullest name I ever heard.