Re: RARA-AVIS: Early Westlake
Wed, 13 Jan 1999 14:12:48 -0500 Fred wrote:
<<What this indicates to me is that Hollywood has figured out a market for
HB/noir stories that the book business hasn't, and it isn't among what
you'd usually identify as "mystery readers.">>

Say what you will about movies like "Pulp Fiction" and "True Romance," we
have them to thank in part for the many crime-related movies now appearing
from Hollywood.

Hollywood is geared around visually told stories. Hardboiled crime tales
usually offer some sort of violence which can be interpreted for the screen
as some sort of spectacle. Cozy writers usually have the bad stuff
happening offstage -- sorry folks, not enough fireworks and Senssurround
thunder for the cineplex.

But the audience that pays to see these crime movies isn't necessarily a
reading audience. And you're right, Fred, the book business hasn't figured
out a way to bring about what I might call a renaissance of the Gold Medal
type of men's adventure or crime novel. While the right kind of stories are
the prime ingredient, the right kind of marketing is very important for
that breakthrough to the audience to occur. And while publishers seem very
good at marketing blockbusters (okay, "very good" can easily be argued),
they aren't very good -- or just don't try -- at reaching some audiences
outside the mainstream.

Or just in some cases. Science Fiction seems to have a large audience now,
and is considered a somewhat mainstream genre these days. But much of that
mainstreaming developed thanks to the popularity of Star Wars, then Star
Trek -- Hollywood productions upon which publishers piggybacked their
marketing and success in the genre. Nothing quite so similar has occurred
for crime movies and books -- for 3 main reasons:

1. Crime movies have adult audiences, with no real tie-in to young
audiences (like Star Wars).
2. Most crime movies are one-offs; that is, they have no series or spin-off
potential (like Star Wars and Star Trek).
3. Crime movies don't offer the same sort of fantastic (as in "can't take
place on some street at any time of the day anywhere on Earth ") elements
that SF movies can provide.

Okay, enough follow-up ranting for the moment. -- Duane

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