There has been more press interest in the interview with John le Carré, notably an article in The Daily Telegraph, James Bond was a neo-fascist gangster, says John Le Carré. Well, le Carré didn't quite say that, in fact. In the interview with the BBC, he said:
'Take our friend Le Chiffre. It's simple enough to say he was an evil man, at least it's simple enough for me because he did evil things to me. If he was here now, I wouldn't hesitate to kill him, but out of personal revenge and not, I'm afraid, for some high moral reason or for the sake of my country.'Fleming's character is a patriot, but as can be seen here he is by no means an unblinking one. (And if he were, how would that square with le Carré's idea that he would defect to Moscow if he thought he could have a better time there?)
In this passage and others, Fleming was influenced by earlier British thriller-writers, notably Geoffrey Household. But he also knew and was a great admirer of Graham Greene, Eric Ambler and Somerset Maugham - the influence of the latter is very clear in his short story Quantum of Solace; one could not get further away from the idea of 'banishing perplexity with action' than that story (which I analyzed here). In short, James Bond is a secret agent, and stories about him do therefore belong in the category of espionage fiction. Ian Fleming's work has, in fact, shaped the genre to a significant degree - and is still doing so today.