Oooohhhh it is 10:50 and I should really go to bed but I can type this up real quick because I don’t have a lot to say.
I picked up Moonraker almost a year ago because deep down, I still have a cockamamie plan to someday write a scholarly thesis about James Bond. But winter and (slight) depression set in back in January (when I finished reading this), and then my book blog backlog got stupid, and then earlier last week I went to pick up this book again so I could actually write the review and get moving on my backlog and I couldn’t find the book, and long story short, I found it, and now I realize I only have a couple of things to say about it.
Which is fine – sometimes I think I’m too damn long-winded on this thing.
This is the second time I’ve read this book, and the good news for you, Dear Reader, is that the first time I read it I actually did a sorta okay job reviewing it. No, really! I talked about Bond’s relationship with Gala Brand and how it wasn’t completely misogynist, and how Moonraker actually showed Bond’s personal life, and other things!
ALSO: that review mentioned a soon-to-be-happening tie-in to Movies Alaina’s Never Seen, because Alaina had Never Seen Moonraker, and guess what? It actually happened.
Behold, 2013: A Year Where Alaina Didn’t Completely Suck At Blogging.
Please, by all means, go read my “review”-slash-liveblog of Moonraker: The Movie. It is, to date, one of my most favorite things I’ve ever written. You’ll meet such characters as: the Illiterate Braless Pilot! The Venetian Ninja! The Braless Mute Orchid Whisperer! It’s great! Don’t forget your vodka.
So with all of that, there’s only one other thing I want to say about Moonraker, and it’s about the villain, Hugo Drax.
He’s a fucking Nazi.
I’m not making that up, and I’m not being hyperbolic. The book was first published in 1955. Ian Fleming was an operative that infiltrated Germany in hopes of gathering intelligence. James Bond and his exploits were modeled, in part, on some of Fleming’s missions. Nazis were fucking real, is what I’m saying.
I’m also saying Nazis are still fucking real and anyone daring to wear a swastika in public shouldn’t be surprised when they get punched in the face, but that’s another story for another blog post.
ANYWAY. Drax’s backstory in the book is that he was shelled and when he woke up in a hospital, he pretended to have amnesia. The British identified him as Hugo Drax, and he returned to England and made a whole lot of money and enjoyed great success in engineering, to the point where Drax was awarded the contract for the Moonraker missiles, designed to defend Britain from attack. Except Drax actually plotted Moonraker’s collision course for central London, and his plan would have worked if it wasn’t for those meddling spies, Bond and Gala Brand.
But, true to any type of villain, Drax enjoys monologuing to Bond, and explains that his whole plot boils down to mere revenge:
“[My plans] consisted quite simply of revenge on England for what she had done to me and to my country. It gradually became an obsession. I admit it. Every day during the year of the rape and destruction of my country, my hatred and scorn for the English grew more bitter.” The veins on Drax’s face started to swell and suddenly he pounded on the desk and shouted across at them, looking with bulging eyes from one to the other. “I loath and despise you all. You swine! Useless, idle, decadent fools, hiding behind your bloody white cliffs while other people fight your battles. Too weak to defend your colonies, toadying to America with your hats in your hands. Stinking snobs who’ll do anything for money. Hah!” [p. 208]
So, picture it: I started reading this in late November, early December. I finished reading it when I returned home from my Las Vegas trip. I finished reading it after the inauguration.
And at that time – after the inauguration -, I read Drax ask Bond:
“Well. Say something. Don’t sit there like a dummy. What do you think of my story? Don’t you think it’s extraordinary, remarkable? For one man to have done all that?” [p. 210-211]
And here, my friends, is Bond’s cool response:
“It’s a remarkable case-history. Galloping paranoia. Delusions of jealousy and persecution. Megalomaniac hatred and desire for revenge. Curiously enough,” he went on conversationally, “it may have something to do with your teeth. Diastema, they call it. Comes from sucking your thumb when you’re a child. Yes, I expect that’s what the psychologists will say when they get you into the lunatic asylum. “Ogre’s teeth.” Being bullied at school and so on. Extraordinary the effect it has on a child. Then Nazism helped to fan the flames and then came the crack on your ugly head. The crack you engineered yourself. I expect that settled it. From then on you were really mad. Same sort of thing as people who think they’re God. Extraordinary what tenacity they have. Absolute fanatics. You’re almost a genius. Lombroso would have been delighted with you. As it is you’re just a mad dog that’ll have to be shot. Or else you’ll commit suicide. Paranoiacs generally do. Too bad. Sad business.”
Bond paused and put all the scorn he could summon into his voice. “And now let’s get on with this farce, you great hairy-faced lunatic.” [p. 211]
Gee. Why does that sound familiar.
Change “teeth” to “extraordinarily tiny hands” and “bullied at school” to “Daddy didn’t love you” and doesn’t that sound like someone who thinks Nazis include some very fine people amongst their ranks?
And keep in mind:
- Moonraker was originally published in 1955;
- I finished reading Moonraker shortly after the inauguration.
I am not a witch. (They’re gonna need a shitload of ducks to prove that point when the Aunts come for me.)