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Goldfinger: “Oddjob: the Pressure Room”

‘Are the James Bond novels any good?’ a friend asked me the other day.

‘They are anachronistic, homophobic and sexist,’ I replied.  ‘But James Bond himself is a splendid creation and some of the novels tell a terrific yarn.’

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Goldfinger” is almost parodic

Unfortunately, Goldfinger is my least favourite Bond book so far (I have read, this time round, Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds are Forever and From Russia with Love – reviews below).  The narrative is short on drive and tension and the plot makes no sense.  Why, for example, when (no spoilers here) Bond has driven villain Auric Goldfinger to a paroxysm of suspicion, (more…)

Marilyn Monroe and 5 ways to turn experience into fiction

I have finished reading from my book Seven Hotel Stories when a guy in the audience raises his hand.

‘How much of these stories is made up, and how much is real?’ he asks.  ‘And in general, how do you use your real life to create fiction?’

This struck me as a great question.  How much of fiction is the writer’s experience, and how much is made up?  Suppose you work as a lawyer, or in an insurance office, and are not an astronaut, a detective, or an assassin?  Can you still write about something thrilling?

Marilyn Monroe trained hard to become an actress

Here are five ways you can turn your experience into compelling fiction:

(i) anyone can write great stuff: don’t worry about who you are, or what you do.  All you need is a paper and a pen, or a screen and a keyboard.  The trick is to get started (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site);

(ii) do use what you know to help write your story: whatever you can do and however you live, you can draw on your life experience to create rich, multi-layered fiction.  John Grisham started out repairing roads, then became a lawyer – he used his legal knowledge to write The Firm.  Tom Clancy worked in insurance: his hero Jack Ryan is, like Clancy, of Irish Catholic stock; (more…)

Pictures from my reading in Innsbruck

What do you think a reading with Robert Pimm looks like?

I was delighted on 18 October to read from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit in Innsbruck.  

Some pictures:

The reading took place at the magnificent Stadtbibliotek

Q&A afterwards with Andrew Milne-Skinner

Questions were incisive and challenging

Afterwards I signed copies of “Blood Summit” and “Seven Hotel Stories”

As I mentioned in my curtain-raising post (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site), the reading was organised by the excellent English Reading Circle in Innsbruck.  I am particularly grateful to Maria Kandolf-Kühne, who brought the book to the Reading Circle and suggested I do a reading in Innsbruck; and to Andrew and Sandra Milne-Skinner, who were instrumental in setting things up.

If you want to know more about Blood Summit, see my blog Blood Summit: the US President in the killing chair.  It is available from English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna, or from Amazon.  If you have a book group, you may like to read my blog post Blood Summit: Reading Group Questions.

I also presented in Innsbruck my recently-published paperback of Seven Hotel Stories.  It seemed to go down well.

 

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please follow me on Facebook.  Or you can join my mailing list – I’ll be delighted to give you a free “Hotel Story” to say thanks.  Check out the range of writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.

 

Friday 18 October: come to my live reading in Innsbruck!

Hello to all you readers out there.

I shall be reading from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the Stadtbibliotek (city library) in Innsbruck at 1900 on 18 October.  Come along!

The reading has been organised by the English Reading Circle in Innsbruck at the magnificent Stadtbibliotek, whose rather good slogan is “Innsbruck’s biggest living room – a place for everyone”.  This seems a splendid description of a library.  You can read about the event at the site of the Stadtbibliotek.  I shall read from Blood Summit and will be happy to answer questions, as well as signing copies. (more…)

From Russia with Love: sexist, homophobic cold war time capsule

What if Ian Fleming wrote a James Bond novel in which the hero did not appear until halfway through?

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “From Russia with Love” is by Fay Dalton

Such a book exists.  It is the fifth novel in the series, From Russia with Love, which came out in 1957.  The first ten chapters of the book outline a dastardly Soviet plot to kill Bond.  They take place in Crimea and Moscow within the bureaucracy of SMERSH – an actual organisation created by Stalin in 1943 whose name is an acronym for “SMErt SHpionam” or “death to spies”.

These chapters introduce two of Fleming’s most memorable villains: (more…)

Diamonds are Forever: civil servants and “shills”

A new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, lurches over the horizon.  Will it be any good?

Almost certainly not (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

Will it contain bizarre and dated attitudes to women, clothed in feeble nods to political correctness?  Almost certainly.

But I will keep hoping.

Despite the ghastliness of most recent Bond outings, I remain a fan of the original Ian Fleming novels.  I am the proud owner of a growing set of Folio Society editions, and recently read Diamonds are Forever, whose illustrations by Fay Dalton evoke the mood of the book:

The story moves at a leisurely pace.  Bond does not take the menace of US gangsters seriously, and attempts a relationship with the magnificent but damaged Tiffany Case before a satisfying resolution on board a transatlantic liner.  Like many in the series, it contains a good deal of language which by today’s standards is racist, homophobic and misogynistic.  I tend to feel that such texts should not put a book out of bounds for today’s audiences, even if they make a modern reader cringe: they are a reminder of how far we have come.  But many readers may feel differently.

Diamonds are Forever also contains some splendid set-piece descriptions, for example of the “Acme Mud and Sulphur Baths” or of US horse-racing at Saratoga, which are reminiscent of the descriptions of fox-hunting and cross-country horse racing which appear regularly in Trollope. (more…)

Was wäre wenn? Mein Berlin-Thriller “Blood Summit” auf Deutsch

Vor kurzem war ich zu Besuch in Berlin.  Ich habe den Reichstag besichtigt: die Kulisse für meinen Berlin-Roman Blood Summit.

Blood Summit gibt es noch nicht auf Deutsch – ich suche einen Verlag.  Aber wenn Sie gern wissen würden, worum es geht, schauen Sie bitte dieses Video an.  Und wenn Sie noch mehr Infos möchten, schreiben Sie mir!  Oben rechts, “Contact me”.  Das geht ganz einfach.

Blood Summit ist ein echter Thriller: viel Blut, viel Action, unterhaltsam und schnell zu lesen.  Die perfekte Lektüre, wenn Sie English einigermaßen beherrschen, und auch für Buch- und Lesegruppen gut geeignet.

Wenn Sie die ersten paar Kapitel ausprobieren möchten, schauen Sie sich das an.  Einen Artikel zum Video und zu meinem Besuch in Berlin, finden Sie hier.

Happy reading!  Viel Vergnügen beim Lesen!

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see blue “click here” button).  Or you can join my mailing list – I’ll be delighted to give you a free “Hotel Story” to say thanks.  My 5 pleasure paths provide a site-map and guide to the more than 300 posts on robertpimm.com.

P.P.S. Thanks to the lovely Sibylle Trost for the video and the lovely Andrea Linecker for teaching me German.  Excellent professionals.

P.P.P.S You can get hold of a copy of Blood Summit thus:

(i) go to Amazon.de (or your local Amazon if you live somewhere else).  You can order a paperback or download a copy for your Kindle or e-book;

(ii) if you live in Vienna, stroll along to Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2.   It’s a terrific bookshop and stocks many other books in addition to Blood Summit;

(iii) come to one of my readings.

A recent reading at Cafe Korb in Vienna

I usually have books at my readings (see piano in the picture above) which I will be delighted to sign for you.  At the readings, I usually read a couple of chapters and then answer questions; up to now, people have seemed to enjoy them.  If you buy a paperback elsewhere and bring it along, I’ll be happy to sign it, too.

(iv) if you want to read the book for free you can take a 30-day trial membership of “Kindle Unlimited” which permits you to read books on Kindle, including Blood Summit, for free.  Or you may already be a member of Kindle Unlimited.  I’ve been surprised how many readers access the book this way.

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