James Bond falls into oblivion while Ian Fleming’s books are published
It’s enough to leave James Bond traditionalists shaken and agitated. Ian Fleming’s super-spy novels are the latest edited for 21st-century sensibilities.
Racial references have been erased from thrillers, set to be reissued later this year to mark Bond’s 70th anniversary.
But while the comments about blacks have been changed, other dubious references remain.
Passages like the “sweet smell of rape” and a description of homosexuality as a “stubborn handicap” survive the blue pen.
Also holding a line about “dumb women” who can’t do “a man’s job.”
Philip Dewhurst, president of the 007GB fan club, said society would not learn from its mistakes if older works, dating from the 1950s, were sanitized. He added that removing racist elements but leaving homophobic and sexist comments “makes even less sense.”
In Dr. No, the career of doctor, immigration officer and henchman shot by 007 is no longer given.
An entire excerpt from Live and Let Die has been removed, describing a couple’s accents as “straight Harlem-Deep South with a lot of New York.”
In another scene, descriptions of a strip club were watered down. The original passage reads: “Bond could hear the audience gasping and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands grab the tablecloth. He had a dry mouth.”
The revised version simply says: “Bond could feel the electrical tension in the room.”
Some of the changes are less controversial with the N word replaced with “black person” or “black man”.
Fleming himself gave his blessing that the sex scenes in Live and Let Die be made less racy for American readers.
Ian Fleming Publications said: “We decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead.
“We looked at instances of various racial terms in the books and either removed several individual words or changed them to more currently accepted terms.”
The changes follow a furor over the censorship of Roald Dahl’s works, with words like fat, ugly and black being erased from some prints.
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