ChiZine Publications co-editors Madeline Ashby and David Nickle have released the line-up of authors contributing to the press’s forthcoming James Bond anthology, License Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond, due in November.
Nineteen stories by writers such as Jacqueline Baker, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Corey Redekop, Robert J. Wiersema, and others will be featured, along with an introduction and an afterword by the editors.
Q&Q spoke with two of the contributors, both of whom are new to the world of ChiZine, about the project.
What are each of your stories about?
Jacqueline Baker, “One Is Sorrow”: There were so many stories I wanted to write, so many possibilities, that it was hard to settle on one. In the end I went with the one that seemed to drift around in my head the most during the times that I wasn’t working, and that was James Bond as an adolescent. There’s a reference in Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice about him being sent down from Eton for some difficulty with a maid. The implications there were obvious. But I began to wonder what really might have happened. Bond isn’t the only one guilty of self-mythologizing; we all do it to a degree, and that’s interesting. What would the maid’s story have been? So I tried to find ways to thread the adult Bond, the mythical Bond, through this picture of him as an adolescent. I must say, it was good fun. And of course the collection is about genre bending as well, which I’m a big proponent of.
Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, “The Man with the Beholden Gun: An E-pistol-ary Story by Some Other Ian Fleming”: I put a bunch of constraints on myself, because that’s sometimes helpful to facilitate making choices. I decided I wanted to look at Ian Fleming’s The Man with the Golden Gun, because it was written in 1965, the year of my birth. In my copy, page 117 is earmarked really distinctively. It’s actually the page on which the most lude event of the book transpires, so that became a piece of the project. Another constraint was that I had donated [the right to the protagonist’s] name, and the woman who won it is a professor at the University of Toronto named Smaro Kamboureli. Using all of these things, I ended up writing a short story in letters between Smaro Kamboureli and this sort of imagined Ian Fleming writer writing this book. The books themselves tend to be pretty misogynistic, so the thrust of my story (no pun intended) is around Ian Fleming’s inability to complete the sex act with the protagonist. It’s very silly, with a lot of jokes on their names and on his impotence, and also jokes around his sublimation into text, as he’s always trying to make a story out of everything. Meanwhile, she’s getting more and more sexually frustrated at his inability to satisfy her. I had a lot of fun with it for sure.
What drew you to the anthology?
J.B: I loved the idea and the prospect of writing a Bond story, so I agreed to take a shot at it. Not being an expert myself, I did a bit of research, talked to a few colleagues who are Fleming experts, then turned to his short stories. I’d read a few of his novels, probably in my early teens, not because I was drawn to them but because I read what was available, and that often included genre novels. I’d forgotten – or more likely hadn’t noticed at 13 – just how racist and sexist and, well, offensive his stories are. “Listen to this!” I’d bellow at anyone who happened to be in the room when I came across a particularly shocking passage. Of course, what better grease for the wheels. Also, when someone asks, “Do you want to write a Bond story,” does anyone say no?
K.K: I’d made contact with David Nickel about whether he would be interested in a story from me. I don’t really write genre at all; in fact, I don’t even really read genre. But when I was a kid, I loved James Bond films and my dad had this mock James Bond novel. I can’t remember exactly what it was called, but it was also full of all kinds of sexual innuendo. I mean, they really are full of sexual innuendo and sort of veiled sex acts. And the particular page that’s dogeared in my copy of this book is a bizarre scene of someone doing a strip tease and committing a sex act on a massive gloved hand in a cabaret show in Jamaica. It’s like the weirdest thing. I just did what I wanted with it and submitted it and ChiZine liked it.