Re: RARA-AVIS: fredric brown

From: Bob Toomey (
Date: 25 Jan 2000

"a.n.smith" wrote:
> I'd like to find more works like these, Brown, weird film noir, etc. , where
> the writers were just out of their gourds and would probably fit in more
> today than they did in their own times. Any suggestions?

Nobody wrote like Fredric Brown in THE SCREAMING MIMI. That easy conversational style, like a wicked stepfather whispering in your ear, is hard to come by. But I can suggest a few strange, weird, and twisted books you might try.

Jerome Charyn has been mentioned here. All of his stuff is funny and surreal. Two of the best are PARADISE MAN and THE EDUCATION OF PATRICK SILVER.

HOW LIKE AN ANGEL by Margaret Millar. She was the wife of Ross McDonald and, for my money, a better writer than her husband. Here she invents a nut cult in the middle of the desert and, instead of going the easy route of mocking it, she shows us its human face. An unusual novel with a surprisingly tough inner core.

THE JOHN FRANKLIN BARDIN OMNIBUS contains three novels, two of which are very strange indeed: THE DEADLY PERCHERON and DEVIL TAKE THE BLUE-TAIL FLY. The first is a mystery as wild as anything Fredric Brown ever wrote. The second is a tour de force about a woman descending into madness told strictly and with great conviction from her point of view.

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER by Marc Behm has recently been reissued in pb as a movie tie-in after being out of print approximately forever. Called the private eye novel to end all private eye novels, it comes pretty close to living up to the hype. A warped journey into the heart of the whole PI myth.

Along the same lines, only more so, or possibly less, depending on how you look at it, is Paul Auster's CITY OF GLASS. Also worth a look on the general weirdness front are THE SO BLUE MARBLE by Dorothy B. Hughes, A SCANNER DARKLY by Phillip K. Dick, and THE BOX by Peter Rabe.


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