Thanks to the folks at Angry Robot, we have the cover reveal for Dan Moren’s galactic cold war novel The Bayern Agenda, designed by Amazing15! The spy-fi tale hits shelves in March next year, and here’s the plot synopsis…
Simon Kovalic, top intelligence operative for the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, is on the frontline of the burgeoning Cold War with the aggressive Illyrican Empire. He barely escapes his latest mission with a broken arm, and vital intel which points to the Empire cozying up to the Bayern Corporation: a planet-sized bank. There’s no time to waste, but with Kovalic out of action, his undercover team is handed over to his ex-wife, Lt Commander Natalie Taylor. When Kovalic’s boss is tipped off that the Imperium are ready and waiting, it’s up to the wounded spy to rescue his team and complete the mission before they’re all caught and executed.
He’s a terrible spy.
Yes, I said it. James Bond, the character synonymous with espionage, is bad at his job. Frankly, the fact that he’s managed to survive the last fifty-odd years can only be attributed to some sort of divine intervention.
I’ve been rewatching a few of the Bond films of late for a podcast series, and while there are parts that I expected not to age well (for example, the character’s blatant misogyny, which verges into sexual assault more than once), I didn’t expect the character’s ineptness to shine out quite so much. Here are just five reasons that James Bond ought to be dismissed or, much more likely, dead.
- Not thoroughly trained: Sure, Bond can shoot a Walther pretty well, and he does some fancy driving, but when it comes right down to it, he often seems underprepared for the situations he finds himself in. Witness the end of Goldfinger where Bond, trapped in Fort Knox with a dirty bomb, is unable to defuse the device and instead has to wait for help. More than anything, Bond seems to rely on luck, and while it’s having fortune on your side is always a plus, good training’s going to win out every single time.
- Frequently captured: Look, any job that’s as risky as a spy’s means that one can expect things won’t always go their way. But pretty much every single mission Bond goes on, he gets captured. Often more than once. By one estimate, Bond is captured or held at disadvantage in 26 out of 27 movies. You might be able to argue that it’s all a clever ruse on Bond’s part, encouraging a false sense of security so that the villain has time to monologue their evil plan in full, but that seems to fail almost as much as it works. More importantly, if you’re MI6, why would you ever given this man any sensitive information?
- Vast collateral damage: In GoldenEye, Bond drives a tank through St. Petersburg, destroying several buildings that are no doubt historical sites. And he looks downright gleeful while doing so. That’s not even the worst of it: in 2015, the Scotsman quoted an insurance report that, during Roger Moore’s tenure as the character, Bond caused £4.6 billion in damages, including destroying five space shuttles and a space station. If I may paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to destroy one space shuttle may be regarded as a misfortune; to destroy five looks like carelessness.
- Poor judge of character: Trust is in short supply in the espionage game, and a spy’s best asset is their gut. Setting aside the appropriateness of Bond’s frequent liaisons, the number of times that he ends up having relationships with women who either work for his adversary or subsequently try to kill him is…high. Frankly, his libido is more of liability, for both him and the women he sleeps with. There are praying mantises with less lethal relationships.
- Uses his real name all the time: All. The. Time. Skyfall conclusively indicates that James Bond is his real name and not an alias, but even if it were a fake, giving it out at the drop of a hat to everyone you meet is bad protocol and really ought to end more conversations quickly:
“Bond. James Bon—”
“Oh, yes the English spy! … Kill him.”
It’s pretty clear that Bond’s longevity can only be due to his charm, luck, and whatever dirt he’s accrued on his superiors over the last five decades, rather than any out-and-out skill.
But after more than fifty years of serving the British Government, perhaps it’s finally time to put the old boy out to pasture.
And if you’re looking for a replacement for your super-spy fix, might I suggest The Bayern Agenda’s Captain Simon Kovalic?”