Monday, March 16, 2015

Remembering the Novel: You Only Live Twice…..Day 75 of Bond 365

Welcome to Day 75 and today in Bond history, the UK version of You Only Live Twice was released in 1964 by publisher Jonathan Cape. Ian Fleming wrote the 170-page novel January and February 1963, which would have been after Dr. No was released on the big screen. There is speculation that Fleming’s book Bond took on filmic Bond qualities with this book. The story was serialized, adapted to a comic strip (check Titan’s James Bond omnibus series) and was the fifth film from Eon Productions starring Sean Connery.

Michael Gillette Cover
You Only Live Twice was the eleventh novel and was the last novel Fleming wrote that was published prior to his death. The novel was the concluding book of the Blofeld Trilogy and included Fleming’s trips to Japan. He visited Japan in 1959 as part of his “Thrilling Cities” trip and eventually novel by the same name. He returned to Japan in 1962. Journalist friends that accompanied him on his second trip became characters Dikko Henderson and Tiger Tanaka.

Richard Chopping cover, 1st edition
The cover of the book was drawn by Richard Chopping who had been the cover artist for The Spy Who Loved Me. Chopping has quite an interesting story regarding the toad on the cover. Fleming suggested Chopping purchase a toad (definitely not a frog), but Chopping was determined to find one from the wild. Eventually he did and he completed several drawings of the toad. Fleming wanted Japanese elements that included the flower, the dragonfly and a piece of pottery. The finished cover had bamboo rather than the pottery. I really like Chopping’s covers and think they are quite well done. However, I was unaware that the artist felt swindled on royalties and then later, not getting the originals. Read the full story from 2010 in the Daily Mail.

I haven’t read You Only Live Twice, mostly because I have not decided what book cover version I want to collect. My collection so far is a mixed bag of editions because I have picked up the most interesting covers that I have come across at my local bookstore. Since first editions are a bit dear, I know that I will select one of the more contemporary sets out there. I just haven’t done so yet. And, one cannot blame me for wanting my novels to match and look great on my bookshelf!

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