9. Quantum Of Solace
The Bond films draw on the source material in a way that is famously, shall we say, flexible. But literally the only two things that the 2008 sequel to Casino Royale shares with Ian Fleming’s uncharacteristically tender short story are the presence of James Bond and the title.
Quantum of Solace is a short story available in the collection For Your Eyes Only, and it covers only a few pages. Bond sits in his gentleman's club with a drink, listening to one of the other members tell him a sad, personal story of heartbreak and loss.
The quantum of solace in the story refers, simply, to the miniscule amount - the quantum - of reassurance and comfort - solace - that can be drawn from an affair that is otherwise totally, meaninglessly sad. Generally, Fleming is happy to maintain a bombastic, enjoyable, high-octane approach to fiction, in which Bond sneers his way around the world, drunk as a skunk, kissing girls, defeating rotters, and wrestling giant squid. But in the short span of Quantum of Solace, Fleming is surprisingly restrained and thoughtful, meditating powerfully on betrayal and grief.
All of which has absolutely nothing to do with the movie that takes the title, in which Bond fights eco-terrorists and blows up a glass hotel in the desert as a bloodthirsty, single-minded act of revenge for the death of Vesper Lynd.