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Laurence Rickels’s SPECTRE

Terence Young, From Russia with Love, 1963, 35 mm, color, sound, 115 minutes. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Anthony Dawson).

I CONFESS THAT I have always found James Bond somewhat dull, but apparently that was the idea. Ian Fleming, author of the Bond novels, conceived his hero as a boring character, a cipher, around whom interesting things happened. Indeed, he lifted the moniker James Bond from an ornithologist of the time, for its exemplary blandness. Betraying his own preferences, theorist Laurence Rickels has titled his new study of Fleming’s spy novels SPECTRE, not after Bond or Fleming but in honor of the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion, Fleming’s fictional United Nations of villainy, which sought to rebalance the economic and political dynamic of the era via a strikingly contemporary business plan structured around cells of international operatives. SPECTRE is a “freelance third party operation” set up in the Cold War conflict between East and West

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