The Double O Section is Five Years Old
This week marks the fifth anniversary of this blog. That seems like a very long time. It seems like I've been writing it forever, but it also seems impossible to imagine not writing it. It's been a huge part of my life for the last five years, and I expect it will be for a long time to come. I want to thank all my devoted readers for letting me share this part of my life with them as well. In my very first post back in 2006 (really a series of posts), I listed (00)seven figures foremost on my mind at the time in the world of fictional spies. Most of them were of some sort of timely relevance, but also just authors, actors and characters I was really into at the time. I'm still into all of them (regular readers can no doubt attest that my Elke Sommer obsession has not diminished), but who's at the forefront of my spy thoughts right now? At the moment I'm more into spy books than spy movies, and I'm more into the more serious side of the genre, favoring the world of Le Carré to that of Fleming. That pendulum will swing back at some point, of course (one of the truly great things about the spy genre is how wide it is, with so many completely different secret corners to explore), but right now I'm really enjoying the dark, double-cross-filled territory. That means revisiting a lot of classics, and in many cases becoming more familiar with them. I've been delving much deeper into Le Carré's back catalog in the past year, eagerly devouring books I never read during my first brush with his work, and revisiting favorites. (The imminent new movie version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy no doubt played a pivotal role in stoking those fires, but it's the books themselves that keep them burning.) I've also gone back to Len Deighton. I'd previously read books about his unnamed spy (known on the screen as Harry Palmer), but now I'm plunging into the incredibly rich world of Bernard Samson for the first time in print, and loving those books even more than Deighton's earlier stuff. I'm also discovering (largely thanks to the many other wonderful spy sites out there, links to which you can find on the right) new and old authors who toil in this dirty side of the genre for the first time, which is always exciting. (Existential Ennui's interview with Anthony Price, for example, opened my eyes to his works, which I've been enjoying, and Jon Stock made a good impression on me with his debut spy novel, Dead Spy Running—though that one leans a bit more Bond than the rest of these authors I'm discussing.) I'll be writing more about all of these authors in the coming months here on the Double O Section.
But just because I'm in a serious spy state of mind doesn't mean I don't have time for the more fantastic side of the genre—or even the sillier side. This fall we may not have the new Bond movie that we're all (I assume) clamoring for, but we have three perfect embodiments of three totally different corners of the spy genre. For serious skulduggery, we've got Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, for sheer silliness there's Johnny English Reborn. (I'll have a full review up later in the week, but suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I can't understand the curmudgeonly majority opinion of mainstream critics.) And somewhere else entirely, there's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol representing the 007 school of thrilling, over-the-top spy action. Mission: Impossible is a franchise that's never far from my mind, whatever corner of the spy genre I'm skulking in at the moment. I've never cared much about the movies (though I have my fingers crossed for this new one, in the talented hands of Incredibles director Brad Bird!), but I love that TV show with all of my heart. And while that love started with the show's weaker Eighties incarnation (which we're finally getting on DVD in a few weeks!), it was really cemented by watching the original series DVDs—all of which have come out in the five years I've been writing this blog. While I was obviously passionate about spies long before I started blogging, that passion has only increased during this past half-decade. Writing the blog helps me discover new things in a genre I love, and I enjoy sharing those things I discover just as much. I'll be doing a lot more of that in this coming week to further celebrate this milestone, and I'll also be waxing nostalgic a bit more and running a few contests with great spy prizes as a thank you to the readers who tune in regularly to read my musings. So be sure to check back. Thanks a lot!