A View to a Kell: James Bond-age with Kelly Robson

Licence Expired: The Unau­tho­rized James Bond (ChiZine 2015)

In coop­er­a­tion with the unsur­pass­ably dynam­ic peo­ple behind ChiZine pub­lish­ing, I here­by present anoth­er 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 since some of you can­not seem to get by the “appear­ance” of con­flict of interest—my short fic­tion “Not an Hon­ourable Dis­ease” makes up the clos­ing story—all I can say is, this is the Inter­net, not All the President’s Men. Go find a jour­nal­ist if you want to com­plain.

Click here for infor­ma­tion on how to pur­chase your very own, not-avail­able-in-the-Unit­ed-States copy of Licence Expired.

I’ll be post­ing inter­views in order of the Table of Con­tents. Today’s author?

Spe­cial Agent 004, Licence to Jot

Kelly Robson

Kel­ly Rob­son

Kel­ly Rob­son is a grad­u­ate of the Taos Tool­box writ­ing work­shop. Her fic­tions appear in Tor.com, Clarkesworld, and Asimov’s, and in the antholo­gies New Cana­di­an Noir and In the Shad­ow of the Tow­ers.


Tell us about your sto­ry, “The Glad­i­a­tor Lie.”

It’s an alter­nate end­ing to From Rus­sia with Love. Gor­geous hon­ey­pot Tatiana Romano­va has cap­tured Bond and hand­ed him over to Rosa Klebb. Like every good Ian Flem­ing vil­lain, Rosa puts Bond in a death trap and is look­ing for­ward to gloat­ing over his corpse, but Tatiana decides she quite likes hav­ing Bond around. Her chal­lenge is to keep Bond alive while avoid­ing spend­ing the entire win­ter in Siberia.

How did the idea come about?

The Ian Flem­ing books are right­ly accused of many –isms: racism, sex­ism, and so on, but I find their masochism most sur­pris­ing. Bond spends a lot of time bad­ly injured, cap­tured, and defeat­ed. In fact, From Rus­sia ends with Rosa Klebb fatal­ly poi­son­ing Bond. It’s his Reichen­bach Falls.

I’d like to see a female Bond—charming, sex­u­al­ly aggres­sive, and dead­ly, an idea a lot of peo­ple find threat­en­ing. Dis­ney made a show called Spe­cial Agent Oso, which is a ted­dy bear Bond aimed at pre-school­ers. A female Bond would not be the end of the world.
This empha­sis on masochism gave me my bolt-from-the-blue sto­ry idea. The first thing I thought of when I got the invi­ta­tion was the ancient Roman stat­ue The Dying Gaul—a life-size sculp­ture of a naked glad­i­a­tor half-col­lapsed and dying from a fatal wound. Lord Byron devot­ed a stan­za to it in Childe Harold’s Pil­grim­age. The stat­ue gave me my theme and sit­u­a­tion, and Byron gave me my title. And since I’d been research­ing the Sovi­et Union, From Rus­sia with Love was the an obvi­ous launch pad.

Also, I sim­ply adore the honeypot/secret agent set­up, and the way the pow­er dynam­ics switch and flip.

What was your first intro­duc­tion to James Bond?

Grow­ing up in the 1970s, I was con­stant­ly run­ning across Bond para­pher­na­lia in the rec rooms of fam­i­ly and friends—soundtrack albums, old paper­backs, comics, movie posters. I don’t remem­ber a time I was unaware of Bond.

Why do you think Bond has such last­ing appeal?

Bond isn’t a char­ac­ter, he’s an arche­type. Ian Flem­ing reached into the soul of the mid-20th cen­tu­ry and pulled out its beat­ing heart. Like Sher­lock Holmes, Bond will con­tin­ue to be mined, adapt­ed, and re-envi­sioned for gen­er­a­tions to come. Bond’s appeal won’t die until the 20th cen­tu­ry becomes remote and alien.

In the world of Bond, what would you like to see hap­pen?

The next James Bond? Accord­ing to Kel­ly Rob­son, yes.

I’d like to see a female Bond—charming, sex­u­al­ly aggres­sive, and dead­ly. This is an idea a lot of peo­ple (not just men) find threat­en­ing. But why? The Bond arche­type wasn’t ruined by Austin Pow­ers or any of the oth­er mul­ti­tudi­nous ways the arche­type has been high­jacked. A few years ago, Dis­ney made a show called Spe­cial Agent Oso, which is a ted­dy bear Bond aimed at pre-school­ers, for god’s sake. A female Bond would not be the end of the world.

If you worked for MI6 (or CSIS, CIA, etc), what would your posi­tion?

I’d be writ­ing press releas­es for MI6 pub­lic rela­tions.

Who should play Bond after Daniel Craig?

Char­l­ize Theron. And I’d write her absolute­ly gor­geous press releas­es.


Licence Expired: The Unau­tho­rized James Bond (ChiZine 2015)

Pur­chase your own copy of Licence Expired (you know you want one) at: