James Bond falls to the wokery as Ian Fleming’s books are edited for the 21st century | Books | Entertainment

It’s enough to leave James Bond traditionalists shaken and stirred. Writer Ian Fleming’s superspy novels are the latest to be edited for 21st-century sensibilities.

Racial references have been erased from the thrillers, ready to be reissued later this year to mark Bond’s 70th anniversary.

But while remarks on black people have been changed, other dubious references remain.

Passages like the “sweet tang of rape” and a description of homosexuality as a “stubborn disability” survive the blue pen.

A line about “blithering women” who can’t do “a man’s work” also stays.

Philip Dewhurst, the president of fan club 007GB, said that society would not learn from its mistakes if older works – dating back to the 1950s – were sanitised. He added that cutting racist elements but leaving homophobic and sexist remarks “makes even less sense”.

In Dr No, the race of a doctor, immigration officer and henchman shot by 007 are no longer given.

An entire extract from Live And Let Die, describing a couple’s accents as “straight Harlem-Deep South with a lot of New York thrown in”, has been deleted.

In another scene, descriptions of a strip club have been watered down. The original passage reads: “Bond could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands gripping the table cloth. His mouth was dry.”

The revised version simply says: “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.”

Some of the changes are less controversial with the N-word replaced by “black person” or “black man”.

Fleming himself gave his blessing for sex scenes in Live And Let Die to be made less racy for American readers.

Ian Fleming Publications said: “We decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead.

“We looked at the instances of several racial terms across the books and removed a number of individual words or swapped them for terms more accepted today.”

The changes follow a furore over Roald Dahl’s works being censored, with words such as fat, ugly and black erased in some imprints.

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