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[Raymond Benson's Blast From the Pas]
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With that letter, Raymond Benson's first Bond short story began. The plot is actually quite simple. James Bond had a son with Kissy Suzuki while he was recovering from a mental breakdown in Japan after the events of the You Only Live Twice novel. M had sent him to Japan in hopes that it would help Bond get out of the depression he suffered as a result of his wife, Tracy di Vicenzo, murder at the hands of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt. After he regained his memory and returned to the Secret Service, he supported his son, James Suzuki and his mother. The story begins as Bond receives the letter from his son. Kissy had died some years back as a result of cancer and James Jr. was working in a bank in Manhattan.

When Bond arrived in New York City he finds his son dead. He also finds a bomb waiting for him. After a pursuit he discovers his son's killer and takes revenge. The story itself is not all too complex or deep. But for a short story it is quite good. Most of it is action with a few moments for romance and reflection. It is interesting to read that almost 30 years after the murder of his wife, 007 still has nightmares about the incident. This helps to give Bond the human aura that has been missing in most of the movies.

The story also brings back many of the original elements that helped make the Bond franchise so successful: anger, action, romance, the Walther PPK, the CIA, death, revenge, car chases, gun fights, and best of all, Irma Bunt. It is Bunt that has killed Bond's son and summoned him to New York for revenge. It was a great idea to bring her back because not in the movies or books was there any finality on her life. She has been at large for 30 years. To bring her back now works well because she is, as the title says, a blast from the past.

The fact that Irma Bunt is the villain is probably what makes the story so good. To introduce a villain, develop the character, have introductory scenes between her and Bond and have Bond kill her would be too much for a short story. By using Bunt, a villain that all Bond fans can remember and despise, Benson inspired a sense of nostalgia and "go get her Bond" feeling in the reader. And for the reader who doesn't know Irma Bunt from Ernst Stavro Blofeld, there is, of course, a few refresher paragraphs telling who she is, what she did, and what has become of her.

While the story was a quite enjoyable piece of literature, I would have liked to see it more developed. Understandably it has been shortened and edited for the magazine, but most of the story was action and little character development. Actually, the story would make a good Bond movie. To sum it up, Blast From The Past was just that. A very good story that made me nostalgic for the old Fleming books.

Published in Playboy Magazine, January 1997, pp. 60-64, 160, 172-176.
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Blast From the Past
January, 1997
Author: Raymond Benson

Villain: Irma Bunt
Organization: Self-Employed
Bond Girl: Cheryl Haven
Allies: None


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 Blast From The Past
 Zero Minus Ten
 Tomorrow Never Dies
 The Facts of Death
 High Time To Kill
 The World Is Not Enough
 Never Dream of Dying
 The Man With The Red

 Die Another Day

 Raymond Benson Biography

Also in Universal Exports' Literature Section
Ian Fleming John Gardner Raymond Benson

Charlie Higson Samantha Weinberg
Other Literature

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