Have you run out to see the new Bourne flick yet? I like how, from the beginning, the franchise has played fast and loose with Robert Ludlum's source material - so far that they could ditch the series' chief antagonist completely (so long, Carlos the Jackal, we hardly knew ye) - yet clung to the books' titles so stubbornly - so stubbornly that even Eric Van Lustbader's post-Ludlum series (which, as far as I can tell, has no more to do with the new movie than the original) gets in on the titling action. That's right, kids, The Bourne Legacy ain't The Bourne Legacy... But that's okay because us like spies (and Spies Like Us, don't they?) and we'll take 'em brainy, brawny, sexy, bookish, corporate, international or however you care to pitch 'em.
Right this second, I'm waaaaay loving Matt Kindt's monthly comic Mind MGMT (if you don't get the monthlies, you'll have to wait a bit for the first paperback collection, but put it on your list, like now.) It's definitely a special level of mystery/espionage/sci-fi mash-up that rightly draws favorable comparisons to JJ Abrams land of the Lost (or even Alias), but Kindt's love for spies and espionage has long since been established. If you've seen his gorgeous Super Spy you'll know what I mean (if you have, then check out this beauty suplemental work - or this one.) Another spy comic series, and a slightly more earth-bound recommendation would be Greg Rucka's Queen and Country, which he's also written prose novels for (A Gentleman's Game being the first).
Speaking of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, I'm interested in Skyfall despite myself. Those James Bond flicks I tend to enjoy in the moment and wonder why later (but I'll sit down and watch 'em just about any time... any of them. Almost any of them). Y'know what movie I really adored tho? John Boorman's Tailor Of Panama with Geoffrey Rush and Pierce Brosnan (playing Bond's delightfully self-aware and sleazy alter-ego). I'm curious how much of that film's success (it succeeded for me, I understand that it wasn't too well-received elsewhere), is due to Brosnan's casting... Though John Le Carre's novel surely had something to do with it (am I the only one for whom The Tailor of Panama brought to mind Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana?) Not that he needs it, but Le Carre adaptations have been awful strong lately (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Constant Gardener), no?
Mulholland Books have a couple I'm interested in, this fall. The Right Hand by Derek Haas looks like it'll belong to that uber toppity-top dirty deeds done for the republic tradition. And I can diggit. While Shake Off by Mischa Hiller has me thinking it's gonna be a gut-level grabber, grounded in the real world, but exotic enough to getcher Lonely Planet rocks off. Locale, let's face it, is one of the chief attractions to the international variety of spy stories. This one looks likely to stick to old European cities and features a pursuit across the Scottish countryside (why am I thinking of passages from Kidnapped and 39 stepsThe 39 Steps?)
'Course government spooks are soooo 20th century. William Gibson's been doing the corporate espionage thing for thirty years, and, when you lookit the headlines, or read betwixt, it seems less and less speculative. Give his series that begins with Pattern Recognition a read. Another film that didn't work for many (most?), but that I enjoyed a bunch was Abel Ferrara's adaptation of a Gibson short story New Rose Hotel. Weird? Claustrophobia-teasing? Stream of consciousness nonsense? Maybe. But maybe brilliant. Maybe. Actually, not Gibson adaptations, but the closest thing I've seen to really satisfying Gibson movies are two from Olivier Assayas - Demonlover (2002) and Boarding Gate (2007 - starring Asia Argento who's also in New Rose Hotel... Coincidence?) I'll defend these two against all haters, and I've had plenty of opportunity to, as most folks I've encountered, who'd seen them, were not fans. Good, good stuff, though. No, really. Assayas is establishing himself as a top-notch director of ambitious crime films. Check out his mini-series Carlos - about the international terrorist known in pop-culture as The Jackal (as in The Day of the Jackal) and you'll see what I mean. For more good fiction featuring Carlos, read The Bourne Identity.
So, yeah, what I meant to say is, I want to see The Bourne Legacy.
How 'bout you? You likey the spy stories?
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