miércoles, 8 de marzo de 2023

Moonraker by Ian Fleming

(I know there could be some mistakes in this review. I’m trying to improve my English, thanks)

Having seen all the movies, this is my first James Bond novel and I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it was the reading. I started with Moonraker because it is the highest rated in the series. 

To begin I must say that the book is very different from the movie. In this regard, contrary to many opinions, I liked Roger Moore's film (it might have something to do with the fact that it was science fiction ;-).

First paperback edition UK (1961)
About the book, I check that Ian Fleming knew how to set a spy novel, or more specifically a spy fiction novel or “Spy-Fi”. For example, the technical descriptions are good, specifically in the case of the missile that gives its name to the novel (more similar to a World War II V2 than a current rocket); although today they are somewhat outdated, they complement the novel well and currently give it a touch "retro" which I find delightful.

On the other hand, I was very intrigued by the treatment of women in the 007 novels. Well, no surprise here, the man commands and disposes, in accordance with the prevailing ideas of the time (the novel was published in 1955). However, it should be noted that the heroine, Miss Gala Brand, actively participates in the plot and, by the way, she resists the charms of James Bond (but because she is engaged to another man). More peculiar is the author description -in the mouth of James Bond- of the women who work as MI5 secretaries, destined to be "spinsters", since a love relationship is incompatible with the necessary discretion in their work, which is not the case with the men.

No surprise either with 007's main adversary, Hugo Drax, as evil as you would expect.

On the recent controversy (see link below) that it is planned to correct the James Bond novels, particularly for some racist aspects, I prefer to read them as they were written, with their original doses of racism, colonialism and machismo. They were simply other times, in which there were acceptable things that now -fortunately- they are not. In other words, what was tolerated 70 years ago is not accepted today, and some that is currently being accepted in our time it will not be so in 70 years from now (if the planet holds out, of course). On the other hand, about the disclaimer by the editors: This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace, I find it correct and the explanation could even be expanded further highlighting these undesirable aspects of the novel, but I not agree with correcting the original work. After all, I think that it should be the reader himself (or herself) who should criticize and judge whether these aspects of the novel are appropriate or not.