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Bonding with gadgets
The Science of James Bond
Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg
Wiley; $14.95

Everyone knows which secret agent drives a car that turns into a boat at the flick of a switch, leaves fake fingerprints and, of course, drinks his martini shaken, not stirred: James Bond. Lois H. Gresh and Robert Weinberg, having surveyed the science of supervillains and superheroes, turn to all the wonderful toys conjured up for Bond, including the weapons created by his enemies. They explain how “dirty bombs” work while noting that Goldfinger’s plot to contaminate Fort Knox with one wouldn’t work, as the radiation would turn gold into liquid mercury. Biological agents were also used in one case. Fortunately, Hugo Drax’s Moonraker scheme to destroy humankind with a poison made from orchids was fairytale stuff.

The book goes up against last year’s Death Rays, Jet Packs, Stunts, & Supercars by Barry Parker, but the authors write better and their book is more accessible to Bond fans who’ve forgotten their high school science.

Some readers might be surprised at just how many of the fictional gadgets were based on, or evolved into, real pieces of hardware. The book is being published to coincide with the release of Casino Royale, so expect some demand.

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