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)

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