Salman Rushdie says efforts to update Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels so as not to offend modern sensibilities are “almost comical”. In principle it’s hard to disagree with the great novelist’s contention that “books have to come to us from their time and be of their time, and if that’s difficult to take don’t read them”. In practice the main adjustments made to the Bond collection by sensitivity readers for a recent re-issue seem to be the removal of the n-word and of repeated gratuitous references to certain characters’ race and skin colour. If they want to go on getting royalties, Fleming’s heirs should be grateful.
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