Kingsley Amis

d. Oct. 22, 1995

Kingsley Amis, prolific British novelist, poet and essayist, died Oct. 22 at a London hospital from complications following a fall. He was 73.

Amis achieved success with his first novel, Lucky Jim, published in 1954 and filmed in 1957. Though he went on to write some 20 novels, six volumes of verse, various scathing critical essays and a scandalous 1991 memoir, Amis is best known in FYEO’s purview for his James Bond connection.

The James Bond Dossier, published in 1965, was the first literate, critical examination of Ian Fleming’s novels and the then-exploding Bond phenomenon. Because of his affection for and familiarity with Fleming’s work, Amis was chosen to write the first novel attempting to continue Bond’s adventures after Fleming’s death. The result, Colonel Sun, published in 1968 under the house pseudonym Robert Markham but openly acknowledged as Amis’ work, was hailed as a more than worthy successor to Fleming’s Bond. However, no further Bond stories by Amis or anyone else were written until John Gardner revived the series in 1981.

Amis also wrote — posing as Secret Service Chief of Staff Bill Tanner — a more lighthearted look at Fleming’s oeuvre, The Book of Bond, or Every Man His Own 007, and penned some harsh reviews of Gardner’s first Bond novels.

Originally published in For Your Eyes Only #35.