On James Bond

Chinks in the Armor

James Bond's Critical Mistakes

By Lawrence Watt-Evans

Oh, those famous words, that classic introduction: “The name is Bond–James Bond.” We’ve heard that so often, and isn’t it just brilliant? Thank you, 007; you’ve just saved the bad guys a lot of investigative work. Have you forgotten you’re supposed to be a secret agent? Really, would it be so very difficult to say, “My name’s Fred Jackson,” and smile charmingly?

“We” represent a confidential board of review composed of retired operatives and experts in various fields, appointed by Parliament in hopes of improving the Government’s performance in certain areas, including clandestine operations. We have been charged with going over the history of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, determining what has worked well in the past and what has not, and offering suggestions for improvement.

M has asked us to review your case files, 007, and point out some of your critical mistakes–oh, not the simple, one-time mistakes, the errors in judgment, the instances where you trusted the wrong woman or shot the wrong man, but the recurring themes, the problems that crop up again and again throughout your career. The theory is that making you aware of your flaws will help you lessen them, thereby improving your chances of survival on future missions.

Given that you’ve already survived this long, and that thanks to you we haven’t all fallen victim to some madman’s scheme for nuclear blackmail or world domination, one could argue that you haven’t made any critical mistakes, and there’s a great deal to be said for that position, but  …

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