Ian Fleming

British author (1908–1964)

Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was a British author and journalist who created the character of James Bond and chronicled his adventures in twelve novels and two short story collections. The children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two non-fiction books are among his other works. During the Second World War, Fleming served in the Naval Intelligence Division and, as part of his appointment, was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, rising to the rank of commander.

You only live twice:
Once when you are born
And once when you look death in the face.
See also:
James Bond (film series)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968 film)


Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
  • [In Goldfinger, Pussy Galore] only needed the right man to come along and perform the laying on of hands in order to cure her psycho-pathological malady.
    • Quoted in "Ian Fleming: Pussy Galore was a lesbian... and Bond cured her", The Guardian (4 November 2015)
    • In response to a (23 June 1959) letter from a Dr Gibson who had written in a previous letter: "although not a psycho-pathologist, I think it is slightly naughty of you to change a criminal Lesbian into a clinging honey-bun (to be bottled by Bond) in the last chapter." The letter is included in The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming's James Bond Letters (Bloomsbury, 2015)
  • The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul erosion produced by high gambling — a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension — becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.
    • Opening line, Ch. 1 : The Secret Agent
  • Against the background of this luminous and sparkling stage Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark profession an affront to his fellow actors.
    • Ch. 5 : The Girl From Headquarters
  • Bond insisted ordering Leiter's Haig-and-Haig "on the rocks" and then he looked carefully at the barman. "A Dry Martini", he said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet." "Oui, monsieur." "Just a moment. Three measures of Gordons, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?" "Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
    • Ch. 7 : Rouge et Noir
  • I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It come partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It's very pernickety and oldmaidish really, but then when I'm working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.
    • Ch. 8 : Pink Lights And Champagne
  • This country-right-or-wrong business is getting a little out-of-date. Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I’d been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.
    • Ch. 20 : The Nature Of Evil
  • 'I’m wondering whose side I ought to be on. I’m getting very sorry for the Devil and his disciples such as the good Le Chiffre. The Devil has a rotten time and I always like to be on the side of the underdog. We don’t give the poor chap a chance. There’s a Good Book about goodness and how to be good and so forth, but there’s no Evil Book about evil and how to be bad. The Devil has no prophets to write his Ten Commandments and no team of authors to write his biography. His case has gone completely by default. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about evil people, folk-lore about evil people. All we have is the living example of the people who are least good, or our own intuition.
    ‘So,’ continued Bond, warming to his argument, ‘Le Chiffre was serving a wonderful purpose, a really vital purpose, perhaps the best and highest purpose of all. By his evil existence, which foolishly I have helped to destroy, he was creating a norm of badness by which, and by which alone, an opposite norm of goodness could exist. We were privileged, in our short knowledge of him, to see and estimate his wickedness and we emerge from the acquaintanceship better and more virtuous men.'
    • Ch. 20 : The Nature Of Evil
  • "Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles."
    He laughed. "But don't let me down and become human yourself. We would lose a wonderful machine."
    • Ch. 20 : The Nature Of Evil
  • It was the same with the whole Russian machine. Fear was the impulse. For them it was always safer to advance than retreat. Advance against the enemy and the bullet might miss you. Retreat, evade, betray and the bullet would never miss.
    • Ch. 27 : The Bleeding Heart
  • The bitch is dead now.
    • Closing line, Ch. 27 : The Bleeding Heart
  • He sat down next door in the seat she had left and watched the grim suburbs of Philadelphia showing their sores, like beggars, to the rich train.
    • Ch. 10
  • He disagreed with something that ate him.
    • Ch. 14
  • It was a dark, clean-cut face, with a three-inch scar showing whitely down the sunburned skin of the right cheek. The eyes were wide and level under straight, rather long black brows. The hair was black, parted on the left, and carelessly brushed so that a thick black comma fell down over the right eyebrow. The longish straight nose ran down to a short upper lip below which was a wide and finely drawn but cruel mouth. The line of jaw was straight and firm. A section of dark suit, white shirt and black knitted tie completed the picture.
    • Ch. 6 : Death Warrant
  • Just as, in at least one religion, accidie is the first of the cardinal sins, so boredom, and particularly the incredible circumstance of waking up bored, was the only vice Bond utterly condemned.
    • Ch. 11 : The Soft Life
  • Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make bored.
    • Ch. 11 : The Soft Life
  • And I would like a medium Vodka dry Martini — with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken and not stirred, please. I would prefer Russian or Polish vodka.
    • James Bond, in Ch. 15 : Pandora’s Box
  • Doctor No said, in the same soft resonant voice, ‘You are right. Mister Bond. That is just what I am, a maniac. All the greatest men are maniacs. They are possessed by a mania which drives them forward towards their goal. The great scientists, the artists, the philosophers, the religious leaders – all maniacs. What else but a blind singleness of purpose could have given focus to their genius, would have kept them in the groove of their purpose? Mania, my dear Mister Bond, is as priceless as genius. Dissipation of energy, fragmentation of vision, loss of momentum, the lack of follow-through — these are the vices of the herd.’ Doctor No sat slightly back in his chair. ‘I do not possess these vices. I am, as you correctly say, a maniac – a maniac, Mister Bond, with a mania for power. That’ – the black holes glittered blankly at Bond through the contact lenses – ‘is the meaning of my life. That is why I am here. That is why you are here. That is why here exists.’
    • Dr. Julius No, in Ch. 15 : Pandora’s Box
  • The difference between a good golf shot and a bad one is the same difference between a beautiful and a plain woman — a matter of millimetres.
    • Ch. 8 : All To Play For
  • Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.
  • You only live twice:
    Once when you are born
    And once when you look death in the face.
    • Ch. 11 : Anatomy Class
  • I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
    • Ch. 21 : Obit
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car
Some motorcars …are different. If you get to like them and understand them … you MAY find, that they become almost like persons — MORE than just ordinary persons — MAGICAL PERSONS!!!
  • Most motor-cars are conglomerations (this is a long word for bundles) of steel and wire and rubber and plastic, and electricity and oil and petrol and water, and the toffee papers you pushed down the crack in the back seat last Sunday. Smoke comes out of the back of them and horn-squawks out of the front, and they have white lights like big eyes in front, and red lights behind. And that is about that — just motor-cars, tin boxes on wheels for running about in.
    But some motorcars — mine, for instance, and perhaps yours — are different. If you get to like them and understand them, if you are kind to them and don't scratch their paint and bang their doors, if you fill them up and pump them up when they need it, of you keep them clean and polish and out the rain and snow as much as possible, you will find, you MAY find, that they become almost like persons — MORE than just ordinary persons — MAGICAL PERSONS!!!
    • Ch. 1
  • Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes’, otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.
    • Ch. 2