Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V2 #324

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Even Vacch's Burke, no matter how many times he protests-too-much what a
loner he is, how he has and needs no one, has a large extended

And as far as evolution of a genre goes I couldn't agree more. In
"Annie Hall," Woody Allen tells Diane Keaton: "If a shark doesn't keep
moving forward, it dies. What we have is a dead shark." Do we really
want a dead shark?


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Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 01:06:00 -0500
From: Kevin Smith <>
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V2 #324
Precedence: bulk

>Most of the female PIs do have extended families around them. Support
>groups, if you like. Are they more mentally well? And what losses does
>their efforts inflict upon the PI mythos? What is gained?

Hmmm...more than a few P.I.s these days have some family, and not just the
female eyes. Rob Kantner's Ben Perkins probably has more friends and family
flowing through his series than any three or four female eyes. Joe Gores'
DKA series features an artificial extended family (the agency). Spenser,
Dan Fortune, Pronzini's eye (who shall remain Nameless), Elvis Cole, Easy
Rawlins, and a whole bunch of others all have girlfriend/wives and/or
children. Yes, most of the original private eyes worked more or less alone,
and those stories are great, but that was a long time ago. I don't think
having a family or friends or a significant other weakens the myth. Handled
well, it actually expands the possibilities, and also raises the stakes for
the characters. Certainly, some pretty good authors have tried it. Marlowe
and Archer may have been loners, but they were also lonely, painfully so,
and both series ended with the possibility of a romance, or at least a
reprieve from loneliness. If the genre doesn't continue to grow and evolve,
it dies, and becomes just a stagnant museum piece. Far better that it
evolves, and remains living, IMHO.

Of course, there will always be those literary luddites who refuse to
accept any change, and will end up reading the same handful of books over
and over, and there's those who would play with any genre, pulling it here,
poking it there, stretching it until it snaps, like Silly Putty, and nobody
remembers what it was like originally. But somewhere in there is a
middleground, I hope.

By the way, since I think this whole hardboiled/politically
correct/egg-cooking tips/thought police/dickless dicks debate actually
started with a mention of Sue Grafton, maybe it's sort of appropriate that
one of the recurring themes in the series lately deals with her character
rebelling against family ties being imposed on her, which she sees as a
threat to her basic independance.

Kevin Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site

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