Chandler Interviewed by Fleming

A rare treat for pulp-o-philes: an interview of Raymond Chandler by Ian Fleming on the topic of “English and American Thrillers.”

Fleming comes across unpretentious and thoughtful as he tells Chandler about how he dashes off a new Bond novel in two months every summer, and then admits that that doesn’t contribute to the quality of the work. He calls Chandler the superior author and when Chandler demurs, Fleming proves his point with a surprisingly insightful commentary about what makes his writing work as entertainment and what makes Chandler’s writing a deeper examination of character.

My favorite moment though has to be when Fleming claims that “James Bond I never intended to be a hero. I intended him to be a sort of blunt instrument wielded by a government department who would get into bizarre, fantastic situations and more or less shoot his way out of them.” Put like that, 007’s adventures sound like a cold-war commentary as much as the spy fantasies they more clearly are.


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