Moonraker (novel)

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The third James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, released in 1955.

The novel involves a revenge seeking invidual named Hugo Drax developing a ballistic missile for the British Government, with the intention of nuking London with Soviet help. Try not to think about that too much and note the brilliant New Era Speech instead.

The eleventh Bond film has very little to do with the book, only sharing its title and the Big Bad's name.

Tropes used in Moonraker (novel) include:
  • Ate His Gun: Egon Bartsch, the technician who killed the original chief of security of Drax's base.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Bond fakes one up to cover the fact that he and Gala are still in the base.
  • Bottle Episode: This is the only novel to be set entirely inside the United Kingdom; in fact the action never leaves London and Kent.
  • Commie Nazis: Drax turns out to be in league with the Soviets, more out of convenience than ideology however.
  • Cool Car: Drax drives a Mercedes 300 S, which Bond describes as "ruthless and majestic". 007 himself owns a 1930 Bentley Coupé, in which he chases Drax towards the end of the book.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Drax chooses to dispose of Bond and Gala Brand by leaving them to be incinerated by the Moonraker's exhaust on lift-off. Incidentally, this is one of the few bits that made it into the 1979 film.
  • Damsel in Distress: Gala Brand is a notable aversion; she proves to be as important to foiling Drax's plot as Bond (it's actually her that discovers that the rocket is to be fired at London) and while she does get captured, Bond also does shortly afterwards.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Because as it turns out, she's engaged to another man. This results in a Bittersweet Ending.
  • The Dragon: Willy Krebs.
  • Gratuitous German: A lot of dubious German is (naturally) used, as ex-Nazi villains play a prominent part. Most memorably, Krebs and Drax's other henchmen will frequently address their boss as "Herr Kapitän," or "Captain." The problem is that Drax was a captain in the SS in his glory days, while Kapitän specifically denotes a naval captain in German. Better researched Nazis would have addressed Drax as Hauptsturmführer.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Averted. While Bond is certainly willing to perform one, by deliberately igniting the Moonraker's fuel supply while still in its silo to prevent the launch[1], its Gala Brand who points out that since they have access to the rocket they can sabotage its guidance mechanisms instead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Drax is killed when the Russian submarine he and his cohorts are escaping in is blown out of the water by the Moonraker, which Bond and Gala have redirected back onto its original North Sea target.
  • Idiot Ball: Egon Bartsch, the triggerman who killed Major Tallon, entirely flubs his lines for no good reason whatsoever when carrying out his mission. Instead of saying 'I loved Gala Brand, you will not have her' when he shoots Tallon, as he was supposed to, he instead throws the Nazi salute and says "Heil Hitler!". In front of an entire room full of witnesses. Sure, most of the customers in the tavern are his fellow undercover Nazis and will give the 'official' version of what happened to the police... but did he just completely forget about the bartender and waitstaff? The instant any investigator goes to the trivial effort to journey back to the crime scene and ask the bartender for a recap, not only does the entire cover story around Tallon's death collapse but a big glaring neon sign is hoisted saying "AT LEAST SOME OF THE GERMAN ROCKET TECHNICIANS ARE FUGITIVE NAZIS".
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: When Bond finds Krebs rummaging through his stuff, he gives a swift kick to the arse.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Walter.
  • Motive Rant: Drax gives Bond an epic one when he has him tied up and defenceless. Bond responds by taunting Drax into a Villainous Breakdown, which gives him the opportunity he needs to free himself and Gala.
  • New Era Speech
  • Revealing Coverup: The violent death of Major Tallon, the original security chief, ultimately served only to bring the far more talented James Bond onto the scene just in time to find and reveal the entire plot. While Tallon had stumbled across a clue to what was going on and had started his own investigation, and thus needed to be dealt with in some way, Drax would have been better served to either make the effort to stage a less suspicious death or else leave Tallon alive and keep diverting him down false trails long enough to run out the clock.
    • In fairness, his plan to make it look like a love triangle romantic obsession gone wrong probably would have fooled the police for at least one week (which was all the time he needed) -- had he not unknowingly picked an undercover policewoman, who was already engaged to a senior police inspector, as the alleged catalyst of the affair. Investigators might have filed Gala Brand's denials of anything going on under 'she's probably lying, keep looking into it' had she just been a random civilian, but they were understandably much more willing to take one of their own detectives' word for it.
    • It also would have helped had his triggerman been able to follow simple directions. See Idiot Ball above.
  • Those Wacky Nazis
  • Torture Technician: Krebs and possibly Dr. Walter, as described by Drax. Fortunately, we never get to see them exercising their talents.
  • Ultimate Defence of the Realm
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Drax is revered by the British public as a great patriot, who is using his enormous wealth to gift Britain her own nuclear defence system. In fact, he is a Nazi in the guise of a British citizen who plans to use the missile to destroy London.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Blades sequence has no impact on the main rocket missile plot, although it does serve as an extended intro for Sir Hugo Drax, as well as giving M some much-needed characterisation.
    • The Blades sequence actually does effect the main plot by providing Bond with several of the clues that later on will help him deduce the plot; first, that Drax is not entirely mentally stable, second, that despite his favorable public image he is actually a liar and a cheat, and finally, that Drax is anticipating some major event in the near future that will render all of his losses to date irrelevant.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: One of the few scenes from the novel to make it into the movie.
  • World War II: The background for many of the novel's events.
  1. Which, since they had no available materials to even improvise a timing device or a remote detonator, would require him to set off the explosion by hand while standing directly under the rocket.