Saturday, October 3, 2015

The End of the Gentleman Spy Era? by Diane Bator

     A writer friend and I were discussing the spy genre the other day and came to one sad conclusion: 
it seems like modern technology has moved along to the point spies just need to log in to computers or satellites in order to spy on and catch the bad guys. Where's the fun in that?

Sir Ian Fleming's James Bond is the ultimate in spies. Courageous, smart, witty, romantic (even if he is a wee bit of a womanizer!) and he always gets his man - and woman - in the end. Yes, the movies started off more fun than the latest offerings, but between the Bond Girls and handsome parade of leading men portraying our hero, did anyone really mind? There has always been, and likely will always be, discussions and even arguments over who the "best" James Bond actor is. Some go for looks, some go for acting ability, some like Sean Connery's accent or Roger Moore's eyes... but all like the romance of the genre. The adventure. The thrill of the chase scenes. The exotic locations.

Will future spies - movie and the like - be online geeks sipping Big Gulps in their parents' basements while they hunt the Web for terrorists and thieves? Not only would that not play out well for books or movies, where's the romance? The adventure?

Therein lies the modern dilemma for the genre.

Truly, this is why I love being a writer. Literary characters don't just sit around at home and search the Internet. They interact, they travel, they get involved with scenarios the average person may never encounter in their own lives. Like James Bond, they can be outrageous and daring. All while the author sits at a keyboard sipping coffee and creating obstacle after obstacle while on the edge of his or her seat and hoping the reader will have the same reaction.

Even though technology advances at a dizzying rate, I'm glad to say the writer's imagination will always find a way to keep the gentleman spy alive and well! And in the hands of their readers. There will always be a knight in shining armor and a woman who not only stands at his side, but fights for justice along with him.

Hmm...kind of makes me want to branch out from mystery writing to try a whole new genre....


Did you know Sir Ian Fleming, a prolific writer who died at age 56,  also wrote the children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang?
1953 - Casino Royale
1954 - Live and Let Die
1955 - Moonraker
1956 - Diamonds Are Forever
1957 - From Russia, with Love
1957 - The Diamond Smugglers
1958 - Dr. No
1959 - Goldfinger
1960 - For Your Eyes Only
1961 - Thunderball
1962 - The Spy Who Loved Me
1963 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
1963 - Thrilling Cities
1964 - You Only Live Twice
1964 - Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang
1965 - The Man with the Golden Gun
1966 - Octopussy
1966 - The Living Daylights