The opening of a new James Bond movie always stirs up a tsunami of Hollywood marketing hype. Leading up to last month's premier of the newest blockbuster 007 adventure, "Quantum of Solace," one TV movie channel rebroadcast its Bond movie marathon as liquor advertisers cashed in on the fictional spy's jet-set, cocktail lifestyle.
This year, 2008, marks the centenary of the birth of author Ian Fleming. And the current installment of his classic British spy with the 007 numbered license to kill - who first appeared in a series of novels and short stories - borrows its odd title, "Quantum of Solace," from a J.B. short story of the same title. A quantum of solace, one of the characters says in the 1959 tale, is that measure of peace a couple finds in a loving relationship.
Like most James Bond motion pictures, the current release bears no resemblance to the story that inspired it. And that's too bad for most fans of J.B. in print - of which there are millions around the world.
President John Kennedy was an avid James Bond fan.
The Camelot president had met Ian Fleming at a 1961 Washington, D.C. party and as soon as he publically discussed their meeting in Life magazine - with Fleming's humorous suggestion about deposing Cuba's Castro by forcing him to shave-off his iconic beard - the meeting created a run on James Bond novels across the U.S.
Fleming, at the height of his literary powers, died in August 1964 nearly a year after JFK was assassinated.
The published 007 stories, unlike many of the later celluloid versions, were jaunty spy tales set in exotic locales with verisimilitude. In several 007 capers, the reader can actually nail down the story to within a month or two of a particular year set in the 1950s or early 1960s. Bond's creator insisted on believability; after all, he had been a top British spymaster. Fleming served as assistant director of Naval Intelligence in the U.K. during World War II.