In cooperation with the strikingly beautiful and talented people behind ChiZine publishing, I hereby present James Bond-age, a series of interviews with the many brilliant contributors who make up the newly-published Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond.
And yeah, I’m one of the contributors—my short fiction “Not an Honourable Disease” makes up the closing story—so you needn’t point out the conflict of interest here. I’m a writer/publicist, not a journalist. My blog, my rules.
Click here for information on how to purchase your very own, not-available-in-the-United-States copy of Licence Expired.
Today’s author: Special Agent 0019, Licence to Fictionalize
Yor Strulie—gadabout, misanthrope, and all-round Canadian icon—has thus far had a career that drives the envious to bouts of soul-crippling depression. His life story is so astonishing it would make James Bond himself take a step back and say, “That’s simply not realistic.”
Tell us about your story, “Not an Honourable Disease.”
I don’t want to give too much away here, but as James Bond stories go, I think this one is probably an outlier. Suffice to say, it concerns a night in the life of an attendant in the convalescence wing of a hospital. Sorry, fans, but there’s no espionage, femme fatales, or henchmen to be found here. There is a funny accent, though, if it’s any consolation.
How did the idea for your story come about?
My original idea was to write an absurd tale from the POV of a minor henchman, but it never panned out. I then started playing around with the idea that no rational person would ever believe any of Bond’s stories. I meant the story to be rather funny, but it became instead far more melancholy than I could have conceived.
“But I am greedy for life. I do too much of everything all the time. Suddenly one day my heart will fail…At least I shall have died from an honourable disease.”
Sadly, as is the case with most people who work with Bond, Kerim Bey is denied an ideal death. In the context of my story, the mere idea of there ever being “an honourable disease” made the phrase a natural title.
What was your first introduction to Bond?
As a person, Bond’s a bit of a chore. Kind of humourless, less charming than he likes to think. As a secret agent the man is pure awesome, because his presence increases the likelihood of ninja attack by 75%.I’m a child of the ‘70s and Star Wars, so Moonraker was my first, and I was bowled over with love for it. Lasers! Spaceships! Henchmen with tin-foiled teeth! Only when I matured did I watch the Connery Bonds and realized the overt campiness of Moore’s incarnation.
Where would you advise a Bond newbie to start?
Start with A View to a Kill, the movie that matched an elderly Roger Moore with a twenty-something Tanya Roberts (discarded subtitle: Grandpa Gets Lucky). After that, everything that follows will be a pleasant surprise.
If you were a secret agent, what would your ideal mission be? Your spy name?
Name: Jake Freeze (from the Mennonite Jakob Friesen). Mission: infiltrate the GOP and relieve their billionaire donors of their cash. Ah, to dream.
Realistically, if you worked for MI6, what would your position be?
Librarian and policy analyst. That way I don’t have to change my business cards.
What’s your opinion of James Bond as a person? As a secret agent?
As a person, Bond’s a bit of a chore. Kind of humourless, less charming than he likes to think, incapable of making small talk. As a secret agent the man is pure awesome, because his presence increases the likelihood of ninja attack by 75%.
Favourite movie Bond?
Everyone says Craig or Connery, for good reason, but since I always root for the underdog, I’ll give a nod to Timothy Dalton, forever getting a bad rap for daring to be a Connery Bond in a Moore world. Licence to Kill is the true underrated classic of the franchise (followed closely by Quantum of Solace).
Who should play James Bond after Daniel Craig?
Sheesh, remember the fuss when Craig was cast? I’m not dipping a toe into those waters, nuh-uh.
Favourite/least favourite Bond character who isn’t Bond?
My favourites are a blend of character and actor. Until the Brosnan-era movies introduced Dame Judi Dench’s game-changing portrayal of M, I don’t think any supporting player ever managed anything resembling character development.
For me, it’s a tie between Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter and Naomie Harris’ Eve Moneypenny. Wright gives Felix a gravitas and mystery that proved the man was indeed a spy, not a goofy sidekick for Bond to use and abuse whenever he’s in a jam. His presence was sorely missed in Skyfall, and presumably still missed in Spectre.
Harris’ Moneypenny? The best reboot of a Bond character since Craig took over. Long may Naomie Harris reign (and kick ass).
Least favourite? Could it be anyone else but Sheriff J.W. Pepper? For some reason known only to producers (their gourds very likely addled by Scarface-sized mountains of cocaine), a wacky redneck racist policeman who wandered in from a subpar Burt Reynolds/Dom DeLuise car comedy was allowed to desecrate two (TWO!) otherwise perfectly serviceable Moore-era films.
Pepper’s grating shtick is on par with introducing Adam Sandler’s Waterboy character into Batman, or forcing Superman to deal with a manic Richard Pryor. Wait, that one actually happened.
Will a villain ever learn to not give Bond a sporting chance at escape?
Where’s the fun in that? If you’re not going to appreciate the game, why are you playing?
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