Ask Not About Politics

November 13th, 2012 by Max Allan Collins

ASK NOT has been completed and delivered. Last week, between finishing the book with a day out of working for the Obama campaign, Barb and I are pretty well wrung out. That’s my excuse for the brevity of this update.

I do apologize for getting into politics here. I obviously seriously alienated at least one reader. My politics, intellectually, are one thing, and my politics emotionally are another, which is why you can’t necessarily sense anything about those politics in the writing of my novels. Also, since I frequently write first-person, I am immersed in the point of view of the character at hand. I doubt either Quarry or Mike Hammer vote at all. Heller is an FDR Democrat, albeit an extremely cynical one. Wyatt Earp is a Republican, and so is Eliot Ness. When you order a meal at a good restaurant, what’s the difference what the politics of the chef are?

The first of several indulgences for Barb and me following the conclusion of ASK NOT was seeing SKYFALL at an IMAX. It’s a fine Bond film, one of the few that rival the real Bond films (definition of a “real Bond film”: it has Sean Connery in it…and I included NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN). Barb and I are going through the Bond 50th anniversary Blu-Ray set – we just finished VIEW TO A KILL – and I may report on the experience on the other side. So far the big surprise is how straight Moore plays it most of the time – the silliness of some of those movies (particularly MOONRAKER and OCTOPUSSY, two horrid entries) appears the fault of the producers majorly and the screenwriters minorly. By the way, if you liked SKYFALL, you’re welcome – I “introduced” Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig by writing ROAD TO PERDITION, you know.

Be sure to check out this fantastic Bookgasm review of TARGET LANCER.


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6 Responses to “Ask Not About Politics”

  1. Gerard Saylor says:

    To take this farther, Why wouldn’t Hammer vote? To me Hammer seems always dedicated to law and order – even though it is his version of law those two ideals. He distrusts politicians and bigwigs but I can easily imagine him voting due to his sense of duty.

    MOONRAKER was a big deal for me when it came out. The producers must have been aiming low because I was eight years old. My elementary school’s fun fair had MOONRAKER trading cards as a prize option for a few games. I collected as many cards as I could, remember showing them off that night, and studied them when at home.

  2. Mike Hammer is a pox on both your houses kind of guy, though he obviously leans very right. He says several times in the books (see when he meets the politician early on in KISS HER GOODBYE — a scene largely written by Mickey) that he hasn’t voted in years. Mickey did not vote because he was a Jehovah’s Witness, and that’s a factor.

    I think MOONRAKER would have worked very well on me as an eight year-old, and I don’t remember hating it in when I saw it in the theater. But it’s horrid — at least the last forty-five minutes with the outer space stuff and turning Jaws into a good guy lover boy cartoon.

  3. Brian_Drake says:

    Don’t worry, Max, I forgive you for voting for that other guy. And who wasn’t an FDR man back in the day? He won four terms, for heaven’s sake.

    Some authors do weave politics into their work, some better than others, but nobody did it better than Leslie Charteris in The Saint stories. He did it so well you can’t tell which side he’s on, though I think his English point of view contributed to that. But his rant against the Nazis in “The Saint in New York” should be framed in every author’s office. It is not only laugh-out-loud funny, but also got the point across in very few words.

    As for Bond…I don’t know if I like the seriousness of the Craig efforts so far, and I hear Skyfall has more humor in it, and it will be a welcome return. I didn’t mind the Tarzan yell in Octopussy or many of the jokes in the Moore movies, such as the Beach Boys (sorta) showing up in A View to a Kill. About the only one I can’t stand is the “delicatessen in stainless steel” bit from For Your Eyes Only. The older I get, the more I like Roger Moore’s interpretation, even though I am a Connery guy too. I still wish he had stuck around for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It would have been the perfect Bond movie.

  4. Boy, I despise the dumb gags like the Tarzan yell and the Beach Boys song playing over a ski chase — in both cases, those are solid action scenes, over the top in the Bond fashion but not inherently jokey. That’s the producers screwing around, probably in post. Moore isn’t bad, but he seldom seems like he’s truly in any danger, which is something Connery easily conveys. I am also a big Dalton fan, and THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is just light years beyond all but a couple of the Moore entries. I have never understood the hate dumped on Dalton, who I wish had made half a dozen Bonds. I don’t dislike Brosnan, and get that he was a sort of halfway point between Connery and Moore who could please both camps.

  5. Brian_Drake says:

    I’ll give a little bit on the Tarzan yell especially because there was two other jokes in that scene, too, where Moore tells that tiger, “Sit!” and where he makes those spooky noises when escaping from that sack he hid in. Then we had that great line at the very end, “No, I’m on the economy tour,” which should have been the *only* joke in the sequence.

    Dalton was indeed solid. I don’t get the hate, either. He’s a terrific actor who wasn’t given the shot he deserved and the delay in films after License to Kill probably did more to hurt his chances than anything.

    Brosnan, though…I’m on the fence with him. Goldeneye was solid and Tomorrow Never Dies had great parts in it (Paris Carver, for one) but ran out of gas in the climax. Brosnan made Bond look like he had some real history behind him for those first two films, which was nice, but the other two films, especially Die Another Day, weren’t up to par (that’s about as kind as I’ve ever been to those two movies!). Brosnan is another good actor who didn’t get a real opportunity to show his stuff, which is also disappointing because I hate to see good actors wasted (having been an actor myself, I was on the receiving end of that many times).

    James Bond movies are like sports, you know. There’s always something for the fans to talk about!

  6. Gerard Saylor says:

    I like how Brosnan played Bond as a cold-blooded killer. He was more emotionally subdued than Dalton. Too bad the Brosnan flicks started veering into the nonsense of MOONRAKER.

    Bond’s cold-bloodedness was shown off in QUANTUM OF SOLACE when Craig-Bond kill the guy on the hotel balcony in Haiti. No music and quick no-nonsense cuts compressing the timeline. Bond kills him and keeps going. I think the current Bond is more realistic in behavior and emotion (excluding the latest one which I have not yet seen).

    I could blather on and compare Bond to Quarry, but I’ll stop.