“Casino Royale”

Casino Royale was published in 1963. It is the 1st Bond novel and introduces James Bond (007) a British agent newly promoted to the 00 rankings ( a requirement of which was that he had killed 2 people as part of his duties as an agent). Set during the 1950’s in the environment of the cold war it involves M sending Bond to France to bankrupt the over extended paymaster (Le Chiffre ) of a communist backed french Union while gambling at the Casino Royale. Assisting Bond are another British agent Vesper Lynd and a french agent Rene Mathis. Bond initially loses but is funded by the CIA in the form of Felix Leiter (who also appears in other bond Novels). Bond eventually beats Le Chiffre in Baccarat.

Vesper is kidnapped , Bond capture and the tortured by Le Chiffre and Le Chiffre is executed by an agent of SMERSH (a soviet agency) for his financial risks.

Vesper and Bond are rescued By Rene and then go to a quiet hotel for convalescence. Bond Falls in love with Vesper who subsequently commits suicide after admitting in a letter that she has been working as an unwilling double agent for the Russians. Bond reports everything back to London with the words “The bitch is dead”.

This Novel was a big success and sold out 3 printings.

Now for the Movie.

There have been 3 screen adaptations of Casino Royale. One was as an episode in an American series called Climax! , the next was a comedy produced in 1967 with David Niven playing Sir James Bond. The final one was the 2006 film staring Daniel Craig and this is the one I’ll talk about.

This movie is a reasonably accurate translation of the book which is more than can be said for some of the other movies. Of course the political scene has changed since the 1950’s so instead of being the banker for the Communists Le Chiffre is a banker for Terrorist organizations. In the book Le Chiffre loses money by investing in Brothels in France just prior to the french government cracking down on prostitution but in the Movie he invests in the stock market while knowing about a terrorist attack which is subsequently foiled by Bond. This of course sets the scene for the gambling at the Casino. The only major differences here are that they play high stakes poker instead of Baccarat and Rene is identified as one of the villains in the end. the rest is pretty much the same although vesper kills herself by drowning rather than pills. Bond still uses the line “the bitch is dead” at the end when reporting to M.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casino_Royale_(novel)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casino_Royale_(2006_film)

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“The Number of the Beast”

Published by Heinlein in 1980 . The book is written as a series of Diary entries by the 4 main characters. The main characters are traveling ( perhaps fleeing is a better term) between universes after multiple  murder attempts on them fail in the  1st few chapters. They observe differences between the universes , some minor just as one when the letter J does not exist and others more  extreme ( i.e. the British empire and the Russian empire battling it out on Mars in steam powered ornithopters ). The eventually find a connection between novels and universes and end up in the land of oz and e.e.doc smiths lensmen universe. They eventually meet up with Lazarus Long ( yep he shows up again) and then subsequently nearly every character ever introduced in Heinlein’s novels ( at least it seems so).

The number of the beast ( 666 from the bible) is reinterpreted as 6 to the power of 6 to the power of 6. a really huge number that equates to the number of possible universes on any given axis of the multidimensional geometry that was thought up for this story).

Personally although I enjoyed the book i felt that it lost focus towards the end ( after they had joined up with Lazarus) and just dissolves into a conference of speculative fiction authors at the end.

 

 

 

“The Moon Is A Hard Mistress”

A science fiction novel published in 1966.

The story is set in the year 2075 when the moon is colonized by about 3 Million people. The moon was colonized as a penal colony and most of the residents are criminals, political dissidents or their descendants.  The story is narrated by Manny (a computer technician ) who is called in to determine why the central computer issues a massive cheque to an employee. The computer which Manny has named Mike has developed self awareness and a sense of humor ( hence the cheque). Manny goes to a meeting as a favour to Mike as all the phones there have been turned off and he can’t listen in. They subsequently get involved in a rebellion.

One of the additional characters introduced part way through the book is Hazel Mead (who later becomes Hazel Stone  see “The Rolling Stones” who also makes another appearance in a later novel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress

“Have Spacesuit Will Travel”

A Junior science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein published in 1958.

Clifford “Kip” Russell tells his father that he wants to go to the moon, His ecentric father accepts this and suports Kip’s desire (but also doesn’t help) Kip enters a contest to win a fully paid trip to the moon but ends up with a consolation prize of a used spacesuit which he then restores. Kip decides to sell the spacesuit to pay for his 1st year of college and goes for a final walk in it but is captured by aliens who have designs on earth.

an interesting story with some of Heinlein’s own insites into prersure suits  from his experiences during WW II,

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_Space_Suit%E2%80%94Will_Travel

“Star Beast”

A Novel published in 1954. John Thomas Stuart XI has an alien pet which was brought back on a voyage of discovery by his great grandfather. The pet (Lummox) has grown from the size of a collie to a creature large enough to ride. He escapes from his pen and causes extensive damage around the town resulting in calls for his destruction.

At the same time a new alien race called the Hroshii appear and demand the return of their lost child.

This novel has as one of its main  protagonists a non white government offical. This was unusual as the novel was written during the period of racial segregation in america well before the advent of the US civil rights movement .

New Kobo

Did I mention that i got a new Kobo Aura fro my birthday. My Kobo Glo was having some issues so the girls got me the Aura. I reset the Glo to factory settings and then gave that to the girls to use. They aren’t having any issues so I guess the reset fixed the problems.

Dune still :)

Just finished the 2nd in the series. The Machine Crusade. continues the story of the previous book but about 2 decades further on. long and involved ( but i like complex story lines – give me a good space opera any day) . It took me a few weeks to finally finish it. I’ll take a break for a week or so and read something different before I proceed to the 3rd book.

once I’ve finished it I think I’ll revisit Heinlein and work through his novels in publishing order.

Dune

I read the Dune series years ago and decided recently to read the other books that have been written in the Universe than Frank Herbert created. just completed The Butlerian Jihad and working on the next in the series.