James Ernest, game designer extraordinaire, has precisely fingered a problem in so many otherwise fine action/adventure stories. It's the "Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond" syndrome, wherein a villain —or sometimes a Good Guy — can't bear to simply take action and do away with the person s/he has captured. Instead, s/he's gotta gloat, taunt, tease, or otherwise give the victim a chance to escape, if not turn the tables entirely. This kind of silliness in a book breaks the mood and makes an alert reader start to disbelieve other plot elements. Eventually the author's house of cards collapses.

But the concept of "Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond" does remind me of a delightful throwaway line in William Burkett's classic (1964) sf novel Sleeping Planet. An alien invader is mentioned as being a member of "... the elite Corps of Mockers." Hey, I wanna to join that outfit!

(alas, recent intellectual-property-rights threats have forced Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond to be reissued as James Ernest's Totally Renamed Spy Game; cf. FallingPrey (16 Aug 1999), TheDefenders (27 May 2002), WonderLand (4 Jan 2003), ...)

TopicEntertainment - TopicHumor - TopicLiterature - 2005-09-28

(correlates: GiveMeTheBrain, TheDefenders, HalfRememberedWorlds, ...)