In the 1950s and 1960s, Ian Fleming, creator of the fictional secret agent, James Bond, wrote a number of short stories featuring his creation that appeared in the collections For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Since 1997, several more short stories featuring Bond or set within the official James Bond universe have been published by authors who continued chronicling the world of Fleming's creation. The majority of these stories have, as of 2008, never been collected in book form, unlike the Fleming works. There are five exceptions: "Blast from the Past", "Midsummer Night's Doom" & "Live at Five" by Raymond Benson, "Your Deal, Mr. Bond" by Phillip and Robert King, and "Bond Strikes Camp" by Cyril Connolly which are discussed below.
Raymond Benson short stories
In the late 1990s, Raymond Benson, who at the time was the official novelist of the James Bond literary franchise, became the first author since Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, to write officially sanctioned short stories featuring the superspy.
Just before his sudden departure from writing Bond novels at the start of 2003, Benson had indicated his intention to write more short pieces and publish a short story collection along the lines of Fleming's For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights. This, however, has yet to occur as of 2008.
To date these three stories remain the only pieces of James Bond literature that have never officially been published in Great Britain. Additionally, between 2001 and 2002, Benson wrote a fourth short story he planned to title "The Heart of Erzulie", however, it was never published.
"Blast from the Past"
The first Bond story published by Benson, "Blast from the Past" is a direct sequel to Fleming's You Only Live Twice and appears to exist outside the timeline of either Benson's or John Gardner's other Bond stories.
Bond receives a message, apparently from his son James Suzuki (Suzuki's mother is Kissy Suzuki from You Only Live Twice, now dead from ovarian cancer) asking him to come to New York City on an urgent matter. When Bond arrives, he finds his son murdered. With the aid of an SIS agent, he learns that James was killed in revenge by Irma Bunt for the murder of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and a woman whom Bond assumed had died alongside Blofeld (again in You Only Live Twice). James Suzuki's death was by way of being force fed fugu syrup, akin to a murder in You Only Live Twice. Bond's victory over Bunt is hollow, due to him having to come to grips with his absentee fathering and not spending time with his only remaining blood relative.
In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Blofeld started this chain of revenge by killing James Bond's wife, Tracy.
"Blast from the Past" is included in the 2008 omnibus release, The Union Trilogy, which includes three additional Benson Bond novels. This makes "Blast from the Past" the first non-Fleming short story to be published in book form.
"Midsummer Night's Doom"
"Midsummer Night's Doom" is a special story commissioned to help celebrate Playboy's 45th anniversary. By Benson's own admission, the short story is a joke piece.
In the story, Bond is assigned to attend a party at Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California where Ministry of Defence secrets are expected to be sold to a representative of the Russian Mafia.
While there, Bond meets Hefner, who is aware of his mission and who actually provides Bond with several gadgets a la Q. Bond also has time to enjoy a quick romance with real-life Playmate Lisa Dergan, flirt with other Playmates including Victoria Zdrok, and rub elbows with the likes of actor Robert Culp and singer Mel Tormé.
Dergan has the distinction of being the first real person ever to be awarded the status of Bond Girl. (Several other Playmates are referenced by name in this story, but Dergan is clearly Bond's girl of choice on this adventure.) However, Benson stated in a letter to Playboy that Zdrok was also a Bond Girl in the story.
Some sources give this story the erroneous title "A Midsummer Night's Doom", since the title is a play on William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. "Midsummer's Night's Doom" is included in the 2010 omnibus release, Choice of Weapons, which includes three additional Benson Bond novels.
"Live at Five"
Published the week The World Is Not Enough arrived in cinemas in America, "Live at Five" is the shortest of all James Bond stories, even shorter than Fleming's previous record-holder "007 in New York". Running only a couple of thousand words, if that, it is a brief episode that sees Bond, en route to a date with a female TV news reporter, recalling how he once helped a Russian figure skating champion defect in full view of TV cameras. The reporter, Janet Davies, becomes the second real person to be a Bond girl, seen daily on Chicago's local ABC station Channel 7 WLS.
"Live at Five" was finally reprinted in the 2010 omnibus release, Choice of Weapons, which includes three additional Benson Bond novels.
"The Heart of Erzulie" (unpublished)
A fourth short story, titled "The Heart of Erzulie", was written by Raymond Benson in-between Never Dream of Dying and The Man with the Red Tattoo, however, it was never published because Ian Fleming Publications felt it was "too much of a Fleming pastiche." Benson, himself, acknowledges that it was little more than a time-killer in the interim between the two book projects.
Samantha Weinberg/Kate Westbrook short stories
In 2006, two additional short stories were written and published by Samantha Weinberg under the pseudonym "Kate Westbrook". These stories are part of The Moneypenny Diaries series, an officially licensed spin-off from the Bond novels series focusing on the character of Miss Moneypenny. In September 2020, both stories were republished as a free ebook titled The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Chapters.
"For Your Eyes Only, James"
First publication: Tatler (November 2006).
"Moneypenny's First Date with Bond"
First publication: The Spectator, 11 November 2006.
Charlie Higson short story
"A Hard Man to Kill"
The original Young Bond short story "A Hard Man to Kill" written by Charlie Higson, is included in the companion book, Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier, which was released by Puffin Books on 29 October 2009. An extract from the story appears in the paperback edition of By Royal Command. It is the longest James Bond short story yet written.
Several stories published without sanction from Glidrose warrant mention.
"Some Are Born Great"
"Some Are Born Great" was first published in the 3 September 1959 issue of Nursery World, later reprinted in the spring 1960 issue of Jonathan Cape's in-house magazine Now & Then, and then reprinted again in 2012 by Cinema Retro's Movie Classics. The credited author—J.M. Harwood—is the screenwriter Johanna Harwood, who subsequently co-wrote the first two James Bond films. The story (which is less than a page in length) details an intense card game with Bond facing off against an unseen opponent, only to reveal in the end that it's a game of "Snap" and this is a prepubescent James Bond playing against a nanny.
"Bond Strikes Camp"
Cyril Connolly's short story "Bond Strikes Camp" first appeared in the April 1963 issue of The London Magazine. Although a parody, the story clearly mentions Bond by name and code number. An expensive, privately printed edition of only fifty copies was done for the Shenval Press in 1963. Soon after, the story appeared in Connolly's miscellany collection Previous Convictions. Author, critic and Bond author Kingsley Amis compared the story unfavourably to The Harvard Lampoon spoof Bond novel Alligator by claiming that "Parodies have their laughter-value, but the laughter is partly affectionate, and the successful parodist is moved partly by wanting to write like his original by wishing he'd thought of doing so first. Mr Cyril Connolly no doubt doesn't wish this in regard to Mr Fleming; his 'Bond Strikes Camp', in which M orders Bond to dress up as a woman, ostensibly for purposes of espionage, and then tries to get him into bed, is much too far from the original, never catches the note, gets elementary details wrong. E.g. M is made to call Bond 'Bond'. This happened last in 1954 (Live and Let Die, ch. 2). Every Fleming fan knows it's either 'James' or '007'."
"Holmes Meets 007"
Donald Stanley wrote this short story - under two-thousand words - first published in The San Francisco Examiner on 29 November 1964. The Beaune Press (San Francisco) subsequently published 247 copies of this seven page story in December 1967. There is no copy 222: this is instead numbered 221B. Copies 223 through to 247 are numbered I to XXV and were printed especially for the author's friends.
Dr. John Watson, Sherlock Holmes's amanuensis, narrates the story. M and Bond visit Holmes and Watson at Holmes's Baker Street address. Holmes's deductive abilities impress M who wishes Bond had the same ability. Bond questions if such intuitive talents could hold up against a Smersh assassin. Bond confronts Holmes about the latter's drug addiction and accuses Watson of being the source of Holmes's narcotics supplier. Once Holmes admits it, Bond aims his Walther PPF [sic] at Watson and announces that Watson is an imposter and none other than Bond's arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld - the man who killed Bond's bride. Holmes throughout the meeting has been fiddling his Stradivarius - much to everyone's annoyance - and brings it crashing down, knocking Bond's gun away. Holmes plunges a needle containing morphine into M's arm, quickly rendering him unconscious. Holmes reveals that M is none other than Professor Moriarty; Bond is nothing more than a "fairly ignorant tool" who had been unaware of his boss's treachery all this time.
"License to Hug"
Will Self's story License to Hug appeared in the November 1995 issue of Esquire. Bond goes to Holland to kill an IRA hitman involved in drug smuggling. This story, part thriller, part satire on modern life, also mentions Bond by name and code number. Sorrell Kerbel notes that "Self proves just as adept at skewering by mimicry the stiff upper lip style and macho substance of Ian Fleming's James Bond books as he is at pillorying the brave new world of political correctness (with its very own thought police) in which the 'Therapeutic Hug and Stroke' is the weapon of choice."
"Your Deal, Mr. Bond"
In 1997 Phillip and Robert King published a collection of bridge-related short stories entitled Your Deal, Mr. Bond was published by B. T. Batsford (ISBN 0-7134-8247-8). The title piece is a short story featuring James Bond, who is assigned by M to defeat a villain named Saladin who is threatening to explode nuclear bombs in several major cities. Bond impersonates real-life bridge expert Zia Mahmood in order to combat Saladin at the bridge table. The short story includes bridge game charts in a similar fashion to that used by Ian Fleming in Moonraker, in which Bond similarly plays a high-stakes game of bridge against that novel's villain. The book, despite being issued by a major publisher and containing undisguised references to the Bond characters, contains no reference to Ian Fleming Publications, suggesting the use of Bond, M and Miss Moneypenny is unofficial, and rendering this story likely apocryphal. Its placement in the Bond canon, therefore, is unknown. The story contains a cultural reference to Star Trek, however, which sets it outside of Fleming's timeline. It should not be confused with the 1987 John Gardner Bond novel, No Deals, Mr. Bond.
The authors also wrote the 1996 pastiche compilation Farewell, My Dummy, which featured bridge novellas, each one parodies a different author in turn: Jeffrey Archer, Jane Austen, Raymond Chandler, Arthur Conan Doyle and Victor Mollo.
On 1 January 2015, the original Ian Fleming novels and short stories entered the public domain in Canada and other countries in which the length of copyright remains at the Berne Convention minimum of the life of the author plus 50 years. As a result, it is now legal in those countries for the original writings of Ian Fleming to be republished, or adapted into other media, without permission of the Fleming estate or its agent, Ian Fleming Publications (formerly known as Gildrose Publications). It is also now legal in those countries for original material based on Bond and other characters and concepts introduced in Fleming's written works (though not those elements that are unique to Eon Production's Bond movies) to be published.
In late 2015, independent Canadian publishing house ChiZine Publications released Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond, an anthology of 19 Bond short stories written by various Canadian and non-Canadian authors including Jeffrey Ford, Charles Stross, A.M. Dellamonica, James Alan Gardner, Corey Redekop, Jacqueline Baker, Richard Lee Byers, Laird Barron, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Karl Schroeder, Claude Lalumiere, Robert Wiersema, and Ian Rogers. The stories examine different stages of the character's life from childhood to old age. The book's introduction states explicitly that due to copyright issues, it is not authorized for sale outside Canada.
- The Literary 007: Bonding in 2008 - Jan. 1, 2008, retrieved 6 January 2008.
- "The Raymond Benson CBn Interview". commanderbond.net. Archived from the original on 3 December 2005. Retrieved 30 March 2006.
- Benson, Raymond (October 2013). "Dear Playboy". Playboy. p. 15.
In the July/August Playmate News, you identify Miss July 1998 Lisa Dergan as the 'only nonfictional Bond Girl written into a James Bond story.' The story, which I wrote, is Midsummer Night's Doom (January 1999). However, Miss October 1994 Victoria Zdrok also appears, as the 'bad' Bond Girl.
- "Raymond Benson's Choice of Weapons cover art revealed ·". Commanderbond.net. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- "The Heart of Erzulie". commanderbond.net. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2006.
- Cox (25 September 2020). "Two Moneypenny short stories now FREE on Kindle". The Book Bond. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
- Tanner (6 November 2006). "New James Bond Short Story!". Doubleosection.blogspot.com. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- Tanner (11 November 2006). "Another New Bond/Moneypenny Short Story!". Doubleosection.blogspot.com. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- "New Young Bond short story preview in By Royal Command paperback". The Young Bond Dossier. Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- "New Young Bond story is not so short". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- Bond, The Book. "Lost James Bond short story uncovered". Retrieved 2020-02-15.
- Amis, Kingsley (1965). The James Bond Dossier. London: Jonathan Cape. p. 64.
- De Waal, Ronald Burt; Vanderburgh, George A. (1994). The Universal Sherlock Holmes. 4. p. 1360.
- Kerbel, Sorrel (2003). Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century. Taylor & Francis. p. 957. ISBN 9781579583132.
- "Copyright quirk leaves James Bond up for grabs in Canada". Globe and Mail. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond". ChiZine Publications. ChiZine Publications. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- Doctorow, Cory (20 January 2015). "License Expired: an unauthorized James Bond antholog". boingboing. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "Indie Toronto publisher printing unauthorized James Bond book". Inside Toronto. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- Matt Sherman, "Introduction", in Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond (Madeline Ashby, David Nickle, eds.), Toronto: ChiZine, 2015, ISBN 9781771483742