Our trip through Space: 1999 history continues…
This new take on the concept would feature the inhabitants of a moon base being hurtled out into space after a cataclysmic accident on Earth blows the moon out of orbit. Unfortunately, Anderson’s sleight of hand with his idea for UFO 2 didn’t fool ITC president Lew Grade, who remained unconvinced after the mediocre performance of UFO that a new Anderson science fiction series would be any more successful.
One of the other things I love about revisiting the show is seeing so many faces that are now familiar but were, in 1979 or 1980 or so, unknown to me. Space: 1999 benefitted it seemed from the collapse of the British film industry in the 1970s. This collapse left a lot of A-list actors scrambling for work, and that means that a show like Space: 1999 was suddenly able to afford to hire some of the most recognizable faces in British cinema.
And some Swedish Ninjas…
In fact, it was his first ninja movie, Misja ninja or Ninja Mission, that gave the previously obscure and largely unknown director of “Swedish westerns” his boost into the sort of high profile superstardom that caused him to be showered with such accolades as “an embarrassment to Sweden,” “Sweden’s Roger Corman,” and “fucking Mats Helge.”
And the first of John Gardner’s James Bond novels
That said, overall the book is as about as good as Casino Royale and about as flawed, though in different ways. For the most part though, I enjoyed it just enough not to mind the flaws — as was the case with Casino Royale. License Renewed is not the sort of book I would go to war for — if you were bored by it or actively hated it, I would understand — but I thought it was perfectly acceptable. If you, like me, were interested to see where Bond would go after Fleming (and Amis) and now that it was the 1980s, then License Renewed isn’t going to let you down, but it’s not really going to excite you either.
Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.