The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming

” The Spy Who Loved Me ” is a spy thriller written by Ian Fleming and published in the early 1960’s .

Vivienne Michel accepts a job at ” The Dreamy Pines Motor Court” after several romances gone bad . When vacation season ends , Viv is put in charge of looking over the motel at night , so the owner can take inventory and close it up for the winter . Two mobsters , who work for the owner , arrive to burn down the place for insurance money . Before they do that however , they treat Viv very cruel , and attempt to rape her but they are interrupted by James Bond coming in to get a room . The rest of the novel follows Vivienne as she watches Bond take on the two gangsters in a battle of wits, violence , and the fallout that follows .

” The Spy Who Loved Me” is a unique James Bond novel for several reasons . The first reason is that the novel takes place completely from Vivienne’s point of view . Another reason is that the book largely takes place in one location . One more reason is that Bond himself doesn’t come until the last third of the novel . It’s relatively short compared to the other novels and it’s probably the most sexually explicit as well . I find it to be a fun experimental Bond novel and if you’re a fan of the character , read it .

Octopussy and The Living Daylights by Ian Fleming

” Octopussy and The Living Daylights ” is a short story collection written by Ian Fleming and starring James Bond , originally published in the 1960’s . Seeing as all of these stories are only a few pages long , I’m going to summarize them all in one or two sentences , to avoid spoiling them too much .

” Octopussy ” : A revenge story involving Nazi gold , ice climbing , and a hungry octopus .

” The Property of a Lady ” : Using a double agent to find another double agent at an art auction .

” The Living Daylights”: James Bond has to take out a Russian sniper while saving another agent.

“007 in New York” : Bond is sent to warn a former British agent that their boyfriend is with the KGB .

Ian Fleming is one hell of a thriller writer and it shows in all these stories . ” Octopussy” is my personal favorite of these tales even though it involves James Bond the least , it’s a suspenseful revenge story with a twist ending. ” The Property of a Lady ” is a more laid back James Bond story , it trades bullets for a competitive auction. It’s a nice change of pace but if you’re looking for violence … this is not the story for you . ” The Living Daylights ” is the most action packed of the four , an intense story that deals with the dirtier parts of the spy business. “007 in New York” is a sad story that deals with love and deception in New York , I’d like to see it expanded upon which is the mark of a good short story … it’s a shame Ian Fleming isn’t around to do it . Overall , if you’re a James Bond film , I’d recommend reading all of them . If you’re just a casual fan of thrillers in general , I’d say at least read ” Octopussy ” and  ” The Living Daylights ” stories .

Tulku : A Tale of Modern Ninja by Stephen K. Hayes

” Tulku ” is a ninja thriller written by Stephen K. Hayes , published in the 1980’s .

The Matsutani Shoji company is a business like other businesses with one exception , it is actually ran by an ancient Japanese ninja clan . They look to set up a safe energy plant in India but discover phosphane gas being transported to their facility . Sabotage ! But by whom ? The ninja are sent to investigate . Meanwhile , elsewhere in the world , a Tibetan monk lives out his final days being watched over at a medical facility . Spreading his message to whomever will listen : reporters , doctors , other patients , and other monks . These seemingly two unrelated stories collide in a race against time involving terrorists , ninjas ,torture , and … possible reincarnation ?

This is a 1980’s ninja story written by an actual ninjutsu expert . If that doesn’t intrigue you , I’m not sure what will . It’s a strong thriller with a spiritual journey added in . The characters are likeable , maybe not the most sophisticated character development , but not bad at all . Check it out folks !

Dr. Phibes by William Goldstein

” Dr. Phibes ” is a mystery/horror story written by William Goldstein , originally published in the 1970’s .

Dr. Phibes died in a car crash while speeding off to see his wife as she dies on the operating table … or did he ? Several doctors in London start dying in weird and horrible ways . The first gets killed by bees , the second was ripped apart by bats , the third involved a frog mask , and a fourth was drained of all his blood . The investigators believe these murders are based off the biblical plagues of Egypt but they don’t know why the doctors have been targeted . Will the investigators find the other targets before all ten plagues have been performed ? What involvement do they have with Dr. Phibes ? Is Dr. Phibes really as dead as people think ? Come find out in ” Dr. Phibes ” ?

I first heard about this book after watching the movie version of it that starred the legendary horror film actor Vincent Price ( which I also recommend )  . This is a fun , smooth , mad scientist story with plenty of twists and sympathetic characters . By the end of the story  , you’ll understand everything . Overall , I’d say check this one out if you’re into mysteries and old school mad scientist stories .

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

” The Godfather ” by Mario Puzo is a crime epic novel originally published in the late 1960’s .

The novel opens up with a false trial dealing with sexual assault . The father of the girl who was assaulted promises to go to the local crime Don , Vito Corleone , to get justice . A washed up singer loses control of his marriage and decides he needs the advice of his godfather to get his life back together . These two men and more decide to go to the wedding of Don Corleone’s daughter to ask their favors because apparently a Sicillian cannot say no on their daughter’s wedding day . Favor after favor is granted by the wise Don and everything seems to go fine up until The Don takes his eldest son ( Sonny ) with him to a meeting with a representative of another crime family in New York . The rival family wants to work out a deal involving political protection for their drug deals , Vito turns the deal down but Sonny shows some opposition to his fathers position . Sonny’s outburst leads to Vito and the middle brother (Freddie ) being shot . Vito survives but is unable to continue as the Don , so Sonny takes over and convinces the youngest brother ( Michael ) to join him . Michael eventually assassinated the man whom ordered the hit on his father and this sets off a war between all five of the main mafia families in New York . Believe it or not , this is still pretty much the beginning of the novel .

Just a fair warning , this novel is indeed very graphic and violent . That probably goes without saying for a crime novel but felt it should be said anyways . Let me say that this is a true epic tragedy with a 50’s and 60’s mafia backdrop . It is like a more modern Shakespeare play . Mario Puzo is truly a great character writer , we feel intimate with every important ( and some of the minor ) characters in this story . He takes some breaks from the main story to tell other short stories about each characters past and it helps make this a deeper story than your typical mafia exploitation type novel . Overall , I’d highly recommend it to any crime novel enthusiast as well as tragedy/drama fans . Hell , I’d even pay full price and I don’t pay full price for anything .

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

” Metro 2033 ” is a post-apoclyptic horror novel written by Dmitry Glukhovsky , published in the 2000’s .

The year is 2033 , the setting is a Russian metro stations , the surface world is unlivable to normal human kind and has been over run by mutants . The story revolves around a young man named Artyom and is told mostly from his point of view . Artyom’s metro station is under constant attack from telepathic mutants known as ” the dark ones ” . One day a man called Hunter visits Artyom’s station and says something along the line of ” I’ve got a mission , if I’m not back tomorrow that means I failed and you got to finish it . ” Guess what happens ? Hunter fails so Artyom goes on an epic journey throughout the metro . A journey that has him dealing with fascist , communist , the dark ones , mutant dogs , philosophers , psychics , librarians , and more !

This is a fun but dark book , juggling different political and philosophical beliefs . Artyom knows little of how the world was before it was destroyed , so it’s his first time really dealing with all these beliefs and you feel his confusion . There is a debate throughout the story dealing with the concept of fate and if it exists or not which is interesting . The best parts of this book ( in my mind anyways) are Artyom’s nightmare sequences which are written supremely well .

Favorite quote : ” Could it be that the determination , rage , and desperation that drove him to take every next step created , in some unknown way , a reality that wove a set of chaotic events and someone’s thoughts and actions into an ordered system , thereby turning an ordinary life into a plot , as Sergei Andreyevich had said ? “

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress By Robert A. Heinlein

” The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress ” is a science fiction novel originally published in the 1960’s , written by the legendary author Robert A. Heinlein .

In the future , the Luna is a penal colony built underneath the moon , being ran by the united government of Earth . The story is told from the point of view of a computer technician called Mannie . A small group of the colonist join together to start a rebellion against the Warden after one of their meetings get violently interrupted by the prison guards . With help from a self aware computer named HOLMES IV , the small group grows and plans the overthrow of the penal government but certain events force them to act before their ideal time . They have success but now have to deal establishing a stable government on the moon while having to prepare for potential war with Earth . Will this new society survive or will they fall underneath the pressure from the Earth’s power ?

First off , this novel is great old school science fiction . It keeps a good pace throughout once you get used to the style of speech . This novel is heavily political and normally I’d say that takes points off but this novel does it in a smart way . By telling the story from the point of a view from a character that doesn’t care much about politics and having a clear focus on his friendship with the computer ( whom treats the situation like a game ) , it keeps the story from becoming a political essay .

Favorite quote : ” Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve . Nor is this a source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory . “