RARA-AVIS: Re: Why are you here?

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 26 Jan 2000

>So, how about you? Ever given any thought to why you're on THIS list and
>not another?

Simple. I've been kicked off every other list.

No, not really. The truth is, this is simply one of the best lists I've come across. The free-form anarchy of the newsgroups is too frustratingly self-obsessed and at the same time unfocussed for my liking, and some of the larger, supposedly more general mystery lists are really just tightly-controlled hang-outs for like-thinking groupies and wannabes to stick their star-struck heads up each other's asses, and clamp down on any voices of dissent. Other lists are more interesting than that, but participation is sometimes so feeble that it's like tagging a subway car and hoping someone replies.

Here at the Rare Bird, though, ideas are discussed, challenged, encouraged, and books aren't judged according to whether the author is a friend of the list or not. Generally, we can even assume if someone offers an opinion of a book, they've actually read it, and a query almost always gets feedback, both pro and con. And Bill moderates the list just enough to keep us in line, but not to stifle us.

That's why this list.

As for why hard-boiled, well, that's another story. As someone else said, it has something to do with attitude, a way of looking at the world with your eyes wide open. Not just to the nastiness, because that just becomes an empty macho pissing contest, but to the possibilities, as well. Not to turn too Pollyanna here, or anything, but I've always found the best hard-boiled fiction always offers a slight glimmer of hope, even as the characters slide closer and closer towards doom, even if it's merely one doomed man or woman making an ultimately futile and useless, although possibly heroic, gesture, be it Cody yelling "Top of the world, Ma!" or Spade turning over Brigid.

In other words, life sucks, but you don't have to.

If you're pre-disposed to looking at things this way, what else are you going to read?

Chicken Soup Is Good for the Soul?

I dunno. It may be good for the soul, but it's hell for the damn chickens.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/ This month: There's still time to vote for the 1999 Thrillies, and check out some thrilling new fiction by Don McGregor and Mark Coggins!

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