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[James Bond Novels]
section break "A man who can start a war anytime and anyplace - and profit from it - would be the most powerful man in the world. Elliot Carver knows this. And he has a plan to turn his media conglomerate into a true emire, exploiting global conflicts he creates with on-the-spot news covereage gauranteed to bring him the highest ratings in television history. It starts with a sudden mysterious skirmish that leaves two Chinese MiGs and a Royal Navy frigate at the bottom of the South China Sea. IT could end with an all-out world war on live TV. But there is one man who can stop it..."
-From the 1997 Berkley Publishing Group Paperback Edition

It is rare that a movie novelization matches the movie's quality. Action scenes don't usually translate well and obvious plot holes and inconsistencies become more apparent than ever. Raymond Benson's Tomorrow Never Dies adaption is an exception. Using the framework scripted by Bruce Feirstein, Benson pulls off an in-depth, intriguing, action-packed novel that actually surpasses the movie it is based on.

One of my main problems with the movie was the total lack of character development for the main characters. Stamper, Elliot Carver, Paris Carver, and Wai Lin all had little to no background which made them seem fake and uninteresting. With Benson's version, they all have detailed histories and are far more intriguing people to read about than they were to watch on the screen. Wai Lin, for instance, had an entire chapter devoted to her in the beginning. It detailed her involvement with the Chinese People's External Security Force, her training, her skills, and many other facets of her life that made her a real person. Her relationship with Bond is also much more realistic. From their first meeting at Carver's party, there is sexual tension between the two. Later in the novel, there is a mixture of mutual admiration and trust. Inevitably this leads to lust, but even that is done tastefully.

Benson also fleshed out one of the biggest questions left in my mind after seeing Tomorrow Never Dies: just who was General Chang and what was his purpose. In the movie he was seen for about five seconds and talked about briefly. In the novel we learn that he was a high ranking official who, before he defected, stole a large amount of stealth material. This is what Wai Lin was investigating when she went to Carver's party and met Bond. It was later revealed that he was working for Carver, not with. All these facts would have made the movie far more interesting.

Another issue I had was in regards to Stamper. He came across as an inhuman freak who enjoyed pain. With no more background this seemed ridiculous; however, the novel reveals that his pain and pleasure sensors were actually reversed. As a boy, he was hired to kill Carver's real father which he did with a sick pleasure. Ten years later he become Elliot's henchman and almost his child. Again, with more development, the character of Stamper works.

By using the screenplay merely as an outline, Benson is able to create a novelization that seems like it was never a movie. The plot is exactly the same as the movie, but much of the dialogue has been changed, as have the action scenes. The BMW car and motorcycle chases are still in there, but their content has been changed. Benson also took quite a few creative licenses and added fight sequences while cutting others; for example, Bond dukes it out with Stamper on top of the speeding Sea Dolphin II. Finally, the novel cuts out much of the in-poor-taste innuendoes that filled the movie. What results is a witty, well-paced novel with far sharper dialogue than its cinematic counterpart. Well done!

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Tomorrow Never Dies
December, 1997
Author: Raymond Benson

Villain: Elliott Carver
Organization: CMGN
Bond Girl: Paris Carver;
                 Wai Lin
Allies: Jack Wade




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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

Book Cover

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