17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
D. E. Erbas White
- Published on Amazon.com
I just finished reading this book, and while it has its amusing and informative bits, it is apparent that the publisher and/or editor did not bother to read the book before making the covers shots, and even the subtitle. This books is titled, "The Science of James Bond", with the subtitle of "From Bullets to Bowler Hats to Boat Jumps, the Real Technology Behind 007's Fabulous Films". The cover shot on the book shows a wristwatch, a bowler hat, and a boat jump scene from "Live and Let Die". The wristwatch appears to be too cheap to be a 'genuine Bond' item, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Despite the blurb and the photo, there is absolutely no mention of the bowler hat in the book, and only two (throwaway - no pun intended) mentions of Oddjob in the book. I was expecting a discussion of the derby, such as what could it have been made of, how heavy would it have to be, and even (as the Booklist review seems to indicate, showing that the writer ALSO didn't read the book) if it could decapitate a man.
Moving on to the subject of boat jumps, let me describe, in sum total, how much the authors have to say about them (and let me be the first to admit that the "Live and Let Die" boat chase scenes were among my favorites): Nothing.
That's right, not a single word, phrase, or discussion about any of this -- not the technology needed to film them, the stunt men, nothing.
There's quite a bit more wrong with the book, even if taken as 'tongue in cheek', because it's obvious that the authors (who claim to be science-aware) don't understand even basic facts. For example, they go on and on (over several pages) about how Blofeld's spaceship in "You Only Live Twice" is unrealistic because, after all, it wouldn't be able to 'stop' in space, as it needs to go 17,000 MPH to be in orbit, etc. They completely ignore relative speeds -- the Blofeld spaceship only needs to go slightly faster/slower than the target ship, not thousands of miles per hour different. I won't go into the whole 'orbital mechanics' that happen with rendezvous in space (most of which are counter-intuitive), because the authors don't touch on it at all. The authors go on and on about how they can't understand how (at the time the movie was released, in the sixties) NASA wouldn't have 'seen' the spaceship on radar, without understanding how much work had gone into being able to track vehicles that we KNEW about (let alone unknown ones). And there is only a passing reference, several chapters later, about the most 'incredible' aspect of this spaceship -- that it's able to land vertically, under power, on land.
The blurb on the back cover of the book even talks about the "ever-popular rocket-firing cigarette." Of course, if you're anticipating reading anything about that in the book, rest assured -- you won't. It isn't there. And while they spend pages and pages explaining bullet calibers, and why Bond has a Walther PPK, there is nary a mention of one of the most fascinating 'gadget guns' in any of the movies, the 'golden gun' used by Scaramanga in "The Man with the Golden Gun".
In short, this seems to be a somewhat rambling discourse on logical flaws in the Bond movies, with a bit of 'science' thrown in, but it doesn't hold together well, and I can't help but feel cheated by the comparison of the book cover blurbs and the actual content. It doesn't make me feel good to realize that I spent more time reading this book than the publisher did...