Here is the new audio edition of the classic 007 reference book from the 1980s, complete with a new Foreword by the author.
The James Bond Bedside Companion is an encyclopedic celebration of 007, who is still the world's most popular secret agent.
The only book to cover all aspects of the James Bond phenomenon in a single volume, it includes:
About the author: Raymond Benson is the highly acclaimed author of 25 books, six original James Bond 007 novels, three film novelizations, three short stories, and two anthologies on Bond. He is a sought-after lecturer on film genres and history. Writing as David Michaels, Benson is a New York Times best-selling author, an Edgar Alan Poe Award nominee, and a Readers' Choice Award winner.
©1984 Raymond Benson (P)2012 David Wilson
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
This book is a direct reprint - no updates - of a volume from 1988, at the time considered to be the "James Bond Bible." The author makes note of this up front and apologizes for any errors it may contain due to circumstances at the time, which he explains. He does not, however, feel it right to update the material to include modern works as he has since joined the circle of contributors to the 007 story. For Bond fans, this is an insightful look at Fleming, the novels, and the films, up to that time.
That said, the narrator kills it. Honestly, he'd be adequate, but he reads it in a monotone, and most annoyingly refers to the infamous code number as "oh-oh-seven." I have never in my life heard anyone in the know say anything other than "double-oh seven," and this little distraction eats away at me and makes me cringe every single time I hear it "mispronounced." Maybe that's just a personal thing. If you can get past it, it's still a worthy title for the 007 fan.
While the 1984 original (and updated 1988 edition) print edition is long out of print and highly sought after by fans, it's a very odd choice to release a newly-created digital print and an unabridged audiobook, presumably to celebrate Bond's 50th Anniversary in film, yet NOT update it whatsoever to include any of the novels or movies since 1988. I wasn't a big Bond fan back when this book was first available, so this audiobook contains almost no information on the 007 adventures I experienced "first-hand". While I don't consider that to be a deal-breaker, I certainly wouldn't have paid full price for it, and I'm glad I was able to use my monthly credit to buy it.
Dan Bernard is mostly competent as the narrator, but often pronounces names incorrectly (and sometimes alternately correctly.) Considering how fraught with typos the print edition was, I suppose mispronunciation shouldn't be that big of a surprise. He also has a slow-burning, and increasingly annoying habit of referring to Bond as "Oh-oh-seven" instead of "Double-oh seven'. It's a nitpick, yes, but the Double-0 prefix is just that, a Double-0.
Aside from that, there's a wealth of information here, and I would recommend it to any Bond fan at the $14.95 monthly credit price. One can only hope that someday a follow-up edition which covers the missing 24 years of stories will be written and recorded.
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