web237

  • Schrift vergrößern
  • Standard-Schriftgröße
  • Schriftgröße verkleinern
Start Benson, Raymond

Benson, Raymond (6.9. 1955 bis heute)

www.raymondbenson.com

Raymond Benson ist James Bond Fans sicherlich vor allem als einer jener Autoren bestens bekannt, der nach dem Tod von Ian Flemming, die Reihe an Bond-Bücher fortführte. Raymond Benson nur auf seine publicityträchtige Tätigkeit als Bond-Autor zu reduzieren täte dem vielseitigen Künstler aber Unrecht. Benson, der 1978 die University of Texas mit einem BFA in „Directing“ abschloss, engagierte er sich in den 1980er Jahren vor allem in der Theaterszene und inszenierte eine Reihe von off-off-Broadway Stücken, für die er teilweise auch gleich die Musik komponierte.
In jener Zeit lebte er auch erstmals seine Liebe zu James Bond voll aus, die bereits im Alter von 9 Jahren begonnen hatte, als er zum Ersten Mal „Goldfinger“ im Kino gesehen hatte. Raymond Benson schrieb eine Biographie von Ian Fleming und Analyse aller Bond-Bücher und –Filme, für die er tatächlich auch bereits auf Basis des Konzeptes einen Verleger fand und die 1984 unter dem Titel „The James Bond Bedside Companion“ erschien. Das Buch wurde immerhin im selben Jahr auch in der Kategorie „Best Biographical/Critical Work“ für einen Edgar Allan Poe Award nominiert. 1988 folgte eine adaptierte Auflage, des Buches.
Aktuell kann das Werk über die Homepage von Raymond Benson unter www.raymondbenson.com bezogen werden und ist für Bond-Fans und Bondabilien Sammler eigentlich ein Muss!
Raymond Bensons Konnex zu James Bond blieb immer ein enger. Er wurde Vice President des New Yorker James Bond Fan-Clubs (bis 1990), schrieb mehrere Artikel für Bond Fan-Magazine, interviewte 1989 für die „New York Daily News“ den damaligen Bond-Darsteller Timothy Dalton und ist heute noch immer Mitglied des Vorstandes der „Ian Fleming Foundation“, einer Non-Profit Organisation, die sich dem Erhalt von Fleming- und Bond-Memorabilia widmet. Über seine Vorliebe für James Bond tat sich Benson auch ein weiteres Betätigungsfeld auf. Er hatte sich schon früh für Rollenspiele interessiert und 1986 schrieb er für „The James Bond 007 Role-Playing Game“ eines der Text-Module für das Spiel „You only live twice II – Back of Beyond“. Später arbeitete er noch an den Spielen „A view to a kill“ und „Goldfinger“ mit (aber etwa auch an der Game-Umsetzung von Stephen Kings „The Mist/Der Nebel“). In den frühen 1990er Jahren widmete sich Benson dann vor allem der Entwicklung und Mitgestaltung von Computerspielen, bevor 1996 ihn der große Ruf ereilte. 1996 folgte er John Gardner als offizieller Bond-Autor nach.

Dieses Engagement hatte er sich durch seine anhaltend Kontakte zu „Ian Fleming Publications“ seit seinem „James Bond Bedside Companion“ sowie mehrere Jobs in deren Auftrag – wie beispielsweise die Skurilität eines Theaterstücks nach der Vorlage von „Casino Royale“, das dann nie produziert wurde – erarbeitet. 1996 entstand so sein erster Bond-Roman „Zero minus ten/Countdown“ und auch eine Bond-Kurzgeschichte mit dem Titel „Blast from the Past“, die im „Playboy“ erst veröffentlich wurde. Auch der erste Bond – Roman wurde in Fortsetzungen – zusätzlich zur Buchveröffentlichung – im Playboy abgedruckt.
Bond und Playboy blieben in der Zeit von Raymond Benson dicke Freunde und in seiner Kurzgeschichte „Midsummer Night´s Doom“, die in der 45-Jahre-Jubiläumsausgabe des Playboy (Jänner 1999) abgedruckt wurde, kam es dann endlich auch zu einem Zusammentreffen des bekanntesten Geheimagenten der Welt und des bekanntesten Playboys der Welt, nämlich „Playboy“ – Erfinder und Herausgeber Hugh Hefner. Die Playboy-Ausgabe, in der die Kurzgeschichte erschien ist heute natürlich ein beliebtes Sammlerstück unter Bond-Fans. Zwischen 1996 und 2002 war Raymond Benson somit ziemlich mit Originalromanen, Romanversionen der Bond-Filme und Bond-Kurzgeschichten eingedeckt (Die dritte und letzte Bond-Kurzgeschichte „Live at Five“ erschien 1999 im TV Guide magazine (13. November 1999). Heute natürlich ebenfalls eine Sammler-Rarität.

Er verfasste insgesamt 9 Bond-Romane, davon waren 3 „Das Buch zum Film“: „Der Morgen stirbt nie“, „Die Welt ist nicht genug“ und „Stirb an einem anderen Tag“. Auf Deutsch erschienen neben den Romanfassungen der drei genannten Pierce Brosnan – Bonds, sonst nur „Zero Minus Ten/Countdown“, Bensons erster Bond-Roman aus dem Jahr 1997 sowie sein Zweiter aus 1998 „The Facts of Death/Tod auf Zypern“. Nach der intensiven Bond-Zeit erschien 2003 erstmals ein auf eigenen Charakteren basierender Roman von Benson unter dem Titel „Evil Hours“ und ein zweiter Roman „Face Blind“. Beide Romane zählen nicht zum Spionage-Genre. Diesem Gebiet wandte sich Benson dann wieder ab 2004 zu, als er begann für „Tom Clancy´s Splinter Cell“ – Reihe unter dem Namen David Michaels zu schreiben und den gleichnamigen Roman sowie dessen Nachfolger „Tom Clancy´s Splinter Cell – Operation Barracuda“ (2005) zu schreiben. Beide Romane schafften es in die Top Ten der New York Times Best-Seller Liste.

Danach und dazwischen gab es auch immer wieder „eigene“ Schöpfungen und Musikfan Raymond Benson lebte auch diese Leidenschaft mit „The Pocket Essential Guide to Jethro Tull“ und dem Rock´n´Roll Thriller „A hard day´s Death“ aus. Zuletzt erschien im Mai 1998 eine Romanversion des Computerspieles „Metal Gear Solid“. Ein interssantes und aufschlussreiches Interview zu Raymond Benson findet sich im Abschnitt zur Figur „James Bond“, in dem Raymond Benson Einblick in seine Bond-Zeit gibt. Cineasten seien auch noch Raymond Bensons Artikel in „Cinema Retro“ empfohlen, in denen er sich vor allem den besten Filme der Jahre 1968 bis 1971 widmet. Fazit: Wer James Bond verehrt, wird Raymond Benson schon mal automatisch sympathisch finden und muss ein paar der Raritäten, die er geschaffen hat, einfach in seiner Sammlung haben. Zuletzt erschien in Deutschland der Agenten-Action-Thriller "Hitman - Verdammnis" basierend auf dem gleichnamigen Game.




Interview mit Bond-Autor: Raymond Benson:

 

Q1: Raymond, you have been the offical Bond-Author for 5 years (1997-2002) and wrote some 6 Bond-novels, 3 novelizations of Bond movies into Bond-books and 3 short stories. You start your own "Bonditis" with a non-fiction book (The bedside companion of James Bond), which can still be bought via your homepage, so you can really be called a Bond-Expert. So asking the Expert: What is your personal opinion on new Bond Daniel Craig and on the selection of Sebastian Faulks to write a new Bond-Novel?

 

It's actually 7 years... I began in 1996 and was working during that year and the first short story, though dated January 1997, was on the newsstands in December 1996

I think Daniel Craig is great and he adds a new dimension to Bond that we haven't seen on the screen.  Every actor who has played Bond has brought something unique to the role.  As for Sebastian Faulks, at this time of writing I have never read his work so am unable to comment.  I wish him luck, though.

 

Q2: How come that you quitted as a Bond-author?

 

While I was writing the 6th novel, "The Man with the Red Tattoo," I was realizing how weary I was of Bond.  I also wanted to do some other things, work on my own novels, etc.  At the same time, the Board of Directors of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. changed hands and a new regime set out a new publishing strategy for Bond in the new millennium.  They wanted to launch the "Young Bond" series by Charlie Higson and re-issue all of the Ian Fleming originals.  So in a way, it was a mutual agreement.

Q3: Was it difficult for you to write books with maybe the most-wellknown fictional character in the world? Especially that the Bond character of the Fleming books and the different Bond charakters in the movies vary a lot and everybody thinks he knows how Bond has to be?

I'd be crazy to say that it wasn't difficult... of course it was.  But the difficult part was coming up with good plots and villains, not in the presentation of the Bond character.  I was given the directive to try and keep Fleming's Bond but place him in a universe that was more like the films'.  The thing is, READERS interpret Bond the way THEY see him.  I heard from many readers who told me that they really could visualize Sean Connery in my books.  Other readers said they could really visualize Pierce Brosnan.  I'm sure it's how the movie-in-one's-mind is made.  I never tried to base my Bond on any of the actors.  He was always the guy that I envisioned when I first read the Fleming books and that wasn't Sean Connery, either.

Q4: What are the differences that you see in your work on Original Bond-Novels and your Novelizations of the Movies? Is it difficult for you to do a Novelization of a Movie?

The movie novelizations were done very quickly.  I usually had around six weeks to write a novelization.  The script was given to me (sometimes it wasn't finished yet the filming was still going on!) and I think in all three instances they were still filming when I had to turn in the book to the publishers so that it could come out at the same time as the film.  I was able to add a new scene here or there that wasn't in the original script, though, in order to "flesh out" the novelizations.  That way I felt I added my own two cents to some of the stories.  The original novels were much more difficult, much more intensive they took nearly a year to do from start to finish.

Q5: Have you also been involved in any way in the creation of the movies? Have there ever been attempts to make one of your original Bond-Novels into a movie?

 

No.  And no.

 

Q6: You once had a very Odd-Job, when beeing asked to write a theatrical-play based on Ian Flemings "Casino Royale". Can you tell about the background of the idea and how it should have worked?

 

It was late 1985 and "The James Bond Bedside Companion" had been out a year.  My background was in theatre and I spent several years in New York City doing the off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway scene.  One day I suggested to the Ian Fleming Publications people (at that time they were called Glidrose Publications) that I write a James Bond stage play.  Because of the legalities with EON Productions, no original stage play could be written, and no adaptations of any of the titles that EON owned could be written.  However, "Casino Royale" was the one title that Glidrose owned that could have a stage play adaptation.  And it was probably the only Fleming title that could possible be done as a play since most of the story takes place indoors.  So they commissioned me to write it... I was paid... and we held a staged reading of the play in New York in February 1986.  It went very well, but I think, in the end, Glidrose decided not to pursue the project any further.  They felt that Bond didn't belong on the stage.  And that was the end of it.

 

Q7: You seem to like to combine the different media. You have worked on designing computer-games and roleplay (including a Bond Roleplay), you have published a novelization of a computer game (Metal Gear Solid), which is quite uncommon, made movies into books, brought your love for rock&roll music into your books (A Hard days death) - just to name some...What is fascinating you in working with and combining of these different media?

 

I work with what I know and what I love.  Music is a big part of my life I'm a musician myself and I'm a rock 'n' roll historian in a way.  I'm also very much into film and work as a film historian and teacher.  My work in games came about in the eighties and early nineties, back when computer games were in their infancy.  I had always been an avid game player and so it was only natural that I got involved in the business.  (I left the computer game industry for good in 1997 when I became a full time novelist.)  I don't mind doing more writing related to videogames... such as "Metal Gear Solid" or the two "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell" novels I wrote under a pseudonym.  I'm happy doing any work that I enjoy.

 

Q8: You have also directed a lot of theatrical-plays. Do you see any similarities between writing and directing?

 

Absolutely.  I still draw on what I learned in college about stage directing and apply it indirectly to any other artistic endeavor I undertake.  It's all about telling stories and finding the best ways to tell them.  Any decisions I make regarding a novel I'm about to write whether it's third person or first person, where it begins, where it ends all draw on my instincts and experience working in the theatre.

 

Q9: You have also worked with Tom Clancy and wrote two bestselling Splinter-Cell Novels under the name of David Michaels. How did it come to that cooperation? Will there be any further Splinter-Cell Novels?

 

I wrote only the first two Splinter Cell books.  A different "David Michaels" has written the third and fourth.  The idea was that *whoever* wrote these books would use the pseudonym David Michaels.  I was originally approached by the publisher, because Tom Clancy uses the same publisher that did my James Bond novels.  My editor suggested me for the job.

 

Q10: What are the things that are inspiring you to write a new book? Is there a difference in your kind of working on a project if it is something featuring your own charakters or charakters created by somebody else like Ian Fleming or Tom Clancy?

 

I know it's more difficult to do an original novel!  I'm fortunate that I do have a foothold in the "tie-in market" because that's where many writers can make some bread-and-butter money.  I'm a founding member of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (www.iamtw.org) and we specialize in novelizations and the like.  Original novels are also much more difficult to sell these days.  The publishing industry is having extremely hard times.

 

Q11: What has always been fascinanting you in the Bond - Character? Did you prefer the movie-bond or Ian Flemings charakter?

 

I've always been more of a Fleming fan... although I first discovered Bond through the early films.

 

Q12: With so many different projects that you usually work on (own novels, novelizations, music, directing, games...) how do you decide on which project to work next?

 

Sometimes it's a commissioned job... in which case I'm being paid to do the work.  If not, then it's something I have to be passionate about.  If I'm going to spend the next several months working on something with no guarantee that I'll make any money from it, then I have to be passionate about it.  And if I'm not very passionate about it, then I usually don't do it!

 

Q13: What will be your next novel project? Can you already tell your readers about it?

 

I have two original novels "in the can" that my manager is attempting to sell.  I'll most likely be working on METAL GEAR SOLID 2 very soon.  I have some other irons in the fire, including some possible motion picture projects.  We shall see.

 

Q14: Do you think of writing a spy-novel with a charakter created on your own, in the future?

 

Not really.  I'm not interested in writing my own spy novels.  After you've done Bond, there really isn't anything else, is there?  People would just say, "Oh, he's trying to write a Bond novel that doesn't have Bond in it."  I'm much more interested in other types of thrillers, the kind I've been writing on my own, about real people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

 

Q15: What does Raymond Benson read himself? Do you have any favourites? Do you read spy-novels? What 3 spy-novels would you recommend to your readers?

 

I read thrillers, mostly, but I do pick up the occasional "literary" novel or even science fiction.  My favorite living writer is Ruth Rendell (who also writes as Barbara Vine).  She is absolutely brilliant.  I don't read spy novels per se, at least not anymore I kind of became burned out on spy novels!  But there are many writers I like and will read anything they do.

 

Q16: What´s your favourite book of your own and why?

 

That's like choosing between children.  I don't have a favorite.  I love them all.

 

Q17: You are somebody who loves music (you compose yourself) and and movies? What does Raymond Benson hear and watch?

 

Since I grew up in the sixties and seventies, you'll find that most of my favorite music and movies comes from those decades.  I'm into "progressive rock" which has luckily seen a comeback in the past fifteen years.  Everyone who knows me knows that my favorite film director is Stanley Kubrick and my favorite film of all time is "2001:  A Space Odyssey."

 

Q18: Any other projects up?

 

I write for a specialty film magazine entitled "Cinema Retro" (www.cinemaretro.com), so anyone interested in vintage films (especially from the 60s and 70s) should look into it.  My website (www.raymondbenson.com) and MySpace (www.myspace.com/raymondbenson) always have up-to-date information about what I'm doing, as well as photos, book trailers, and other cool stuff.  I hope readers will look them up and stay tuned.

 

 

Bibliographie:

 

 

Die Bond-Bücher:

 

1996: Zero Minus Ten (Countdown)

1997: Tomorrow never dies (Der Morgen stirbt nie)

1998: The Facts of Death

1999: High Time to Kill

1999: The World is not enough (Die Welt ist nicht genug)

2000: Doubleshot

2001: Never Dream of Dying

2002: The Man with the Red Tattoo

2002: Die another day (Stirb an einem anderen Tag)

 

Tom Clancy – Label:

 

2004: Tom Clancy´s Splinter Cell

2005: Tom Clancy´s Splinter Cell – Operation Barracuda

 

Sonstige:

 

2002: The Pocket Essential Guide to Jethor Tull (ein Tip für alle „Jethro Tull“ – Fans)

2003: Face Blind

2004: Evil Hours (2001 bereits online veröffentlicht)

2006: Sweeties Diamonds

2008: A Hard Day´s Death

2008: Metal Gear Solid

 <-->