You might not be a reader of the spy genre but no doubt you have heard of Ian Fleming’s work. In 1953, the world was introduced to his creation of James Bond, the most popular fictional spy in history. With this British MI6 agent, Ian Fleming’s place in literary history was cemented. Upon Fleming’s death in 1964, he left behind a legacy of books and film that has captured the imagination of fans for decades.
It is hard to imagine that the legendary name of James Bond was inspired by the most trivial of things. The name of the famous spy was actually lifted from the author of a bird guide book. Fleming had wanted his hero’s name to be suitably dull and contrast it to the extraordinary events that would happen around him. And so the legend of James Bond was born, with the inspiration of a bird guide author.
Ian Fleming described his James Bond books as fairy tails for grown-ups. Perhaps that’s why he injected he embellished his own best qualities and breathed life into them in Bond. Both Fleming and Bond had a naval career background attaining the rank of Commander in the British navy. Both enjoyed the decadence of fine wines, champagnes, fast cars and cool spy gadgets. Bond was a character of elegant taste and in many ways, Bond was really a romanticized version of Fleming.
If Bond was an idealized projection of Fleming, then that would also explain his animal magnetism with the opposite sex. Fleming was known to be a womanizer and naturally, Bond took to his preferences of the perfect woman. With Bond’s Hollywood inspired good looks, he never had any trouble with the fairer sex.
Undoubtedly, James Bond’s exciting career, spy gadgets, elegant lifestyle, sexual exploits made him an engaging character to follow for men and women alike. It is therefore with some surprise that when Fleming first introduced him in the book Casino Royale, the legend did not take off. But as luck would have it, a certain American president name John F. Kennedy would appreciate Bond’s charisma and would name From Russia With Love as one of his favorite books. Perhaps he saw a kindred spirit? It was then that the Bond books would arise in popularity.
Today, the franchise of James Bond continues on in books and film even after the death of Fleming. New authors and actors continue the legacy and what better way to honor the author, than to let his alter ego James Bond live on forever?