James Bond, the Spy Who Loved Me is the novelisation of the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, written by Christopher Wood. It is notable for being one of two James Bond film novelisations that effectively shares its title with an Ian Fleming novel — in this case, The Spy Who Loved Me (the other novelisation with this distinction is James Bond and Moonraker, also by Wood).
The existence of the novelisation - the first Bond film to be so adapted - is due to the fact that Fleming allowed Eon Productions to use the title of his novel, but no other plot or character elements, rendering the film a wholly original story with no connection to the novel.
The world needs them both, and in the most dangerous and complex assignment of their careers, they form an unholy, all-action and sometimes all-embracing alliance in a race against global destruction.
Differences to the film
As is typical of film novelisations, James Bond, the Spy Who Loved Me contains some notable differences compared to the film on which it is based, despite both book and screenplay being penned by Christopher Wood. Generally speaking, Wood scales back much of the more over-the-top action and stunts seen in the Roger Moore film and instead writes a story more in line with the style and tone of the original works of Ian Fleming. The book is also considerably more violent than the movie, with frequent bloodshed throughout; in particular, the scene where Stromberg feeds his traitorous secretary to a shark is rather graphic.
Other notable differences include:
- The scene aboard HMS Ranger that opens the film does not appear in the novel. As a result, the submarine's disappearance is not revealed until Bond meets with M later in the story.
- The pre-titles skiing sequence takes place in France, near Chamonix, not Austria as in the film. It is also expanded to include Bond's journey to the mountain by helicopter. While en route, he reminisces on the events that led him there, including his meeting Martine Blanchaud in a casino in Chamonix and her subsequent suggestion that they spend the night together in a cabin on the mountain. He considers whether the romantic getaway may in fact be a trap, and rues leaving his PPK behind. After the helicopter drops Bond and Martine on the mountain, they ski to the cabin.
- In the film, Bond leaves Martine after a night of passion when he is recalled to London. In the book, he instead notices fresh ski tracks outside the window almost as soon as he enters the cabin, and realises his earlier fears that he was being set up were accurate. Before leaving, he discovers the body of a dead girl, presumably the cabin's real owner, hanging in a plastic laundry bag in one of the cupboards.
- The Russian agents in the novel, including Sergei Barsov and the other men sent after Bond in the Alps, are from SMERSH, the villainous Soviet counterintelligence agency featured in many of Fleming's early novels. SMERSH was last referenced in Thunderball, in which it was said to have been deactivated; it is assumed the organisation has been reactivated in the interim, although the novel does not explicitly make this clear.
- The character of General Gogol is not in the book; his role is filled by the head of SMERSH, Colonel-General Niktin, who previously appeared in Fleming's novel From Russia with Love. Whereas Gogol (in all of his film appearances) is typically shown to be rather amicable, Niktin is a lecherous villain who actively seeks revenge on Bond for his previous destruction of various Soviet schemes.
- Somewhat ironically given its prominence in the film, Anya's code name, Triple X, is never actually used in the novel (although it does appear in the summary on the back cover).
- Miss Moneypenny does not appear in the book; instead, M has an unidentified secretary whom Bond does not know. Q is likewise absent, although he is mentioned several times.
- M briefs Bond on the submarine tracking system in his office, not at a British naval base.
- Stromberg's first name is said to be Sigmund, and his appearance differs greatly from that of Curt Jurgens' character. In the novel, Stromberg is totally bald, lacking even eyebrows, and has a small, sphincter-like mouth. Only the pinkie and ring finger of his left hand are webbed, as opposed to all of his digits in the film. His character is also given a rather lengthy backstory, revealing how he made his fortune and got into the shipping industry.
- Instead of dropping her through a trapdoor in a booby-trapped lift, Stromberg sends his secretary to retrieve some files from "room 4C"; this room then floods when one wall rises to allow water — and the shark that kills her — into the chamber.
- Stromberg does not have Doctor Bechman and Professor Markowitz killed in the novel, and it assumed they live to enjoy their payment.
- Upon arriving at his hotel in Egypt, Bond assembles his PPK from parts concealed inside a travel typewriter. He does not meet with Sheikh Hosein, who is absent from the novel, and instead telephones Fekkesh directly to arrange a meeting, although he speaks only to his girlfriend Felicca.
- When Felicca is shot, Bond does not chase the assailant (unidentified in the book, but named Sandor in the film) to the roof, but instead finds him hanging from the balcony outside, having slipped while trying to escape. Bond simply shoots him, and he falls through a conservatory below and lands on a piano being played by a beautiful woman. Returning to Felicca, Bond finds her barely alive, and it is she who informs him that Fekkesh is at the pyramids before dying in his arms.
- In both film and book, Bond is confronted by two Russian agents accompanying Anya at the pyramids. However, whereas he easily fights them off in the movie, in the novel they capture him, leading to a graphic new scene where they torture him for information on the location of the tracking system by strapping a battery to his genitals. Bond is saved when Anya enters the room and demands they stop the barbaric interrogation, preferring instead to use drugs to extract the information they need. When the SMERSH men release Bond's restraints, he kills them and escapes.
- In the film, Bond and Anya both know each other from their respective intelligence files and make a point of proving this when they meet at the Mojaba Club. While this remains true regarding Anya's knowledge of Bond in the novel, Bond himself has no idea who the Russian agent is.
- Max Kalba is playing billiards in a private room when Bond and Anya meet with him.
- Jaws is identified as Zbigniew Krycsiwiki and like Stromberg is given an extensive backstory.
- After fleeing from their encounter with Jaws at the ruins in the desert, Anya knocks Bond out in the van with a poisoned ring. Thus the entire sequence where they hitch a ride on a local's boat is missing in the novel.
- Bond uses the Universal Exports cover in the book (although several times it is incorrectly identified as International Exports).
- The meeting with M in Egypt takes place beneath a carpet shop in Cairo rather than within some ancient Egyptian ruins. Q's role in the meeting is taken by an MI6 technician named Belling.
- The sequence where Bond and Anya travel to Sardinia by train and are attacked by Jaws is absent from the novel. As a result, Bond and Anya do not become intimate until much later in the book.
- Bond's Lotus Esprit is red rather than white. Instead of Q delivering it via ferry, the car appears when Bond arrives in it at the hotel where he and Anya are staying.
- The character of Naomi does not appear in the novel.
- Stromberg's henchmen wear blue uniforms, instead of the garish orange they wear in the film.
- Stromberg's Atlantis is not out in the open sea but rather located within a flooded volcano caldera on the Corsican coast, connected to the sea via a narrow inlet. It is described as appearing closer to a traditional oil rig, as opposed to its more futuristic design in the film.
- The Liparus is named the Lepadus in the book.
- The lengthy Esprit chase sequence contains several differences to the film — Jaws is not in the car that pursues Bond and Anya, and when Bond attempts destroy the vehicle with the Esprit's gadgets, he finds they do not work. Instead, Anya shoots at it with her pistol, causing it to career off a cliff and explode. Instead of riding in the car, Jaws is in the co-pilot's seat of the helicopter, controlling its cannon. After the Esprit goes into the sea, Bond does not destroy the helicopter, which departs after strafing the area where the car sank, Jaws having assumed its occupants have drowned.
- Bond identifies his Lotus as the QST/A117 Submersible, although mentions that it is unofficially referred to as "Wet Nellie" behind Q's back; Wet Nellie was the nickname given to the car featured in the film by the production crew, a reference to Little Nellie from the earlier movie You Only Live Twice. In the novel the submersible is additionally equipped with a periscope CCTV system, which Bond uses to find his way to Atlantis.
- Similarly to the lengthy land chase, the underwater action sequence involving the Lotus features several differences to the film — to begin with, the car is attacked with depth charges dropped from the base. While trying to escape Stromberg's divers, Bond discovers they have attempted to trap the submersible by stringing a steel net across the entrance to the caldera where Atlantis is located. However, Bond manages to blast a hole in the obstruction with the vehicle's underwater missiles and escape.
- While sharing a tender moment in their hotel following the Esprit chases, Anya tells Bond, "We have all the time in the world." The phrase takes him aback, being the same words spoken by his late wife Tracy.
- The information regarding the Lepadus' suspicious movements comes from the Soviets, not MI6 as in the film. Along with this intel, Anya receives a note from Niktin informing her of Bond's involvement in Sergei Barsov's death; in the film, Bond and Anya mutually realise he was responsible while discussing Bond's cigarette lighter. Due to this difference (and Anya's silence on the matter), Bond does not realise he killed her former lover and is left wondering why her attitude towards him has suddenly changed. She finally explains the situation aboard the USS Wayne, before the submarine is captured.
- In the film, Stromberg takes Anya to Atlantis because he himself is apparently attracted to her; in the book, he instead tells her that it is Jaws who has become infatuated with her, and he intends to give her to him as a reward for his loyal service.
- The detention cells aboard the Lepadus where the British and Russian crews are being held open into the main docking bay, and as a result the sailors are forced to enter the fight with Stromberg's men unarmed. Because of this, many are gunned down as soon as they emerge, although the survivors manage to overwhelm the nearest guards and take their guns. Only later do the escaped prisoners manage to raid an armoury and find more weapons.
- As with the other major action sequences, the gun battle aboard the Lepadus contains numerous differences compared to the film — at the start of the battle, Bond is hit in the arm and the wound continues to plague him for the rest of the story. While the escaped sailors fight to take control of the docks, Bond himself pursues Stromberg and Anya, arriving on the upper deck just in time to see them lifting off in a helicopter. Bond takes aim but finds himself unable to fire knowing Anya is aboard, and curses himself for letting them escape. Before heading back below, he destroys a store of aircraft fuel as a distraction, starting a huge blaze; it is this fire that eventually spreads out of control and dooms the tanker. Upon returning to the docks, Bond takes out an emplaced gun that has the other sailors pinned down.
- Commander Talbot, the captain of the British submarine, survives the initial firefight in the book, and it is he who leads the futile attack on the secured control room; in the film, he is killed by a grenade prior to this, and it is one of his crew who takes charge of the assault. His death is also far more grisly than his replacement in the film — he is set ablaze by the flamethrower fired from the control room before falling on his own grenade and being blown apart.
- The bomb used to breach the control room is constructed from a torpedo, not a nuclear missile, and it is put together by some of the American sailors, not Bond.
- After setting the bomb outside the blast shutters, Bond is forced to leap into the water below to escape the explosion. As a result, he misses the final assault and arrives after the other sailors have already taken the control room.
- Before fleeing the Lepadus, Bond takes the time to send a message to his government warning them not to launch any retaliatory strikes in response to the nuclear explosions that have just destroyed the two rogue submarines.
- The Lepadus begins to flood and sink before the Wayne has escaped. Bond is among the last to board the submarine, dragging an unconscious sailor with him through the rising water.
- En route to Atlantis to destroy Stromberg's base, Bond learns of the devastating collateral damage caused by the nuclear blasts at sea — a tidal wave has struck the Irish coast, killing several people, while waves have also devastated the Caribbean.
- In the film, Bond reaches Atlantis by wetbike. However, in the novel he gets to Stromberg's base by swimming ashore from the Wayne in scuba gear, climbing over the volcano's rim and into the caldera, and then swimming out to Atlantis itself.
- Once aboard Atlantis, Bond finds himself in a room full of television screens showing news reports, and surmises that this is where Stromberg intended to observe the nuclear war he hoped to instigate. The monitors then change to show Stromberg, who welcomes Bond and tells him to find him in room 4C, hoping to feed his nemesis to the shark just like his secretary. However, Bond sees through the ruse and finds Stromberg in his suite. Unflustered, Stromberg informs Bond that he has put Atlantis into an unassailable dive that will send it below its crush depth, destroying itself and them along with it.
- Stromberg's demise is totally different to his death in the film — in the book, CMDR Carter begins firing on Atlantis before Bond has killed Stromberg, and the first round of violent explosions knocks both men off their feet. As a result, Stromberg manages to get a hold of Bond's gun, but before he can shoot, his desk slides across the room and crushes his head against the wall.
- Jaws is last seen with his teeth still stuck to the electromagnet Bond catches him with, being mauled by Stromberg's shark. Thus he is seemingly killed in the book, although he later returns in Woods' next novelisation, James Bond and Moonraker.
- Anya's final confrontation with Bond, in which she pulls her gun on him, takes place while they are still on Atlantis; in the film, it happens in the escape pod after they have evacuated. After they flee the sinking base, Bond passes out in the pod, overcome by his experiences.
- The film's final scene, where the Atlantis escape pod is recovered by a British naval vessel and Bond and Anya are caught in bed together by their respective bosses, is absent from the book. Instead, the novel cuts to Bond at his flat in London some time later, now largely recovered from his wounds. He is visited by Carter, who apologises for firing on Atlantis while Bond was still inside. Bond assures him he holds no ill will, and as Carter leaves he tells Bond there is a woman waiting outside. The woman enters and is revealed to be Anya, who has forgiven Bond and tells him she has come to look after him. The scene includes a brief appearance by Bond's literary housekeeper, May.
When Ian Fleming sold the film rights to the James Bond novels to Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, he only gave permission for the title of The Spy Who Loved Me to be used. As a result, the film by the same title had nothing to do with the plot of Fleming's original novel, instead featuring an original screenplay co-written by Richard Maibaum and Christopher Wood. Owing to the differences between the two stories, Eon Productions, for the first time, authorised a novelization to be written based upon the script. According to Ian Fleming's literary agent Peter Janson-Smith, "We had no hand in [the Christopher Wood novelizations] other than we told the film people that we were going to exert our legal right to handle the rights in the books. They chose Christopher Wood because he was one of the screenwriters at the time, and they decided what he would be paid. We got our instructions on that, but from then on, these books-of-the-films became like any other Bond novel—we controlled the publication rights."
The novelisation was the first regular Bond novel published since Colonel Sun nearly a decade earlier. Wood, himself a novelist, was commissioned to write the book, which was given the title James Bond, the Spy Who Loved Me to differentiate it from Fleming's novel. Wood would also novelise the screenplay for the next Bond film, Moonraker, in 1979.