This goes against every rule of cover art I have (other than, I suppose, “attractive women are a plus”) but heaven help me if I don’t absolutely love this Croatian edition of Moonraker

The cover depicts Gala Brand (a character who never made it to the filmed version) inside Drax’s rocket shaft, staring up at the titular vessel of death. Made up and dressed in period wear to reflect the original publication time of the book, model Ana Kurobasa (first runner-up of the 2008 Croatian Miss Universe pageant) is every inch the 1950s British Special Branch agent of the novel, specifically the 38-26-38 inches Fleming specified.

Fun Fact: Gala Brand is the only significant Bond Girl Fleming wrote who never made it to the screen, and also the only one who resisted his advances. No word on if these two facts are connected.

Today’s top item in Book News: Ian Fleming’s racy love letters to his Australian inamorata Edith Morpurgo are being offered for sale by a rare book dealer in the U.K.  I was just hoping for some awkward canoodling with the sheets pulled all the way up — but according to bookseller Peter Harrington, one letter — originally written in German because OF COURSE — reads: “If I were to say ‘love’ you would only argue, and then I would have to whip you and you would cry and I don’t want that. I only want for you to be happy. But I would also like to hurt you because you have earned it and in order to tame you like a little wild animal. So be careful, you.” 

Oh, James!


Graham Moore:

"There are some mentions of Alan Turing in the letters of Ian Fleming," Moore said, referring to the famous James Bond author. "Because Fleming was working for MI6 at the time, during the war."

"Fleming has this amazing letter… he hated Alan Turing so much, in this letter, he’s just complaining about Turing for the whole thing. He compares him to an undertaker!" Moore laughed. "Fleming’s job was to come up with preposterous spy stories, that weren’t real, but would be believable to the Germans," he said, referring to the spycraft necessitated by Turing and team’s breaking of the German codes.

"Turing thought that Fleming’s plots were just ridiculous. Turing was just like…" he made exasperated gestures. "Fleming’s stories would be something like ‘There’s a Russian spy who is drunk at a whorehouse in Paris, and he leaves a piece of paper on a thing, and someone takes it,’ and Turing would come in and be like ‘What? No!’" Moore said. "He kept rejecting Fleming’s plans, and so Fleming got really irritated with him. You imagine, they were men of really different attitudes and personality types."

Letters like this were instrumental for Moore, since they helped him piece together what Turing’s ultra-classified work was like at Bletchley Park. “The goal, top to bottom, was, ‘can we open up Alan Turing’s mind to an audience?’ and we make an audience feel the war, and feel his life as he did,” said Moore. “So, we try to pitch the code-breaking process as a thriller, because, to Alan Turing, it was a thriller.”