Re: RARA-AVIS: Why are you here?

From: Timothy S. Oliver (
Date: 26 Jan 2000

Sharon wrote that she skips:

pages of car chases, fist and foot fights, descriptions
> of torture or the tortured, and laugh out loud when the hero survives a
> off a cliff in a car that bursts into flames, to bound back up the cliff
> a single leap, to jump on the car of the escaping thugs, where he clings
> the back bumper while rogue cops in the accomplice car shoot him several
> times. But he only lets go when they reach their destination where he
> off, breaking both legs but only one arm, and rolls faster than the speed
> light down a hill while pulling out his cell phone to call -- not the
> to tell them where he is -- but his girlfriend to save her before the cops
> torture her. And he lives to star in more storied after that. I skip those
> too.

I never read that one, but I'd like to.

I skip the parts where the hero tell all about his/her political agenda, the plight of the homeless, how her/his grandmother saved him/her from alcoholism, how his/her buddy married "the girl/guy," and all the parts about how he/she "feels." (Being PC can get tedious)

The reason I am here is because I found a place to learn about authors I never would have heard about elsewhere.

I sometimes tire of the focus on minutae. But I read every posting.

To me, HB is simply the most satisfying of all fiction. I like the action, I like the darkness and the grit. It's direct. The best HB writing is the sparest, like Richard Stark's. And that's the most economical writing I have found in any fiction. Ok, Hemingway was pretty spare and direct. But some consider him HB too.

The cliche about "ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances" describes what I like best in the plots. I am pretty tired of books about monster serial killers. Enough is enough. I prefer stories with a single, seemingly unremarkable little murder that leads to a bigger story. Or maybe a nice armed robbery gone sour. Missing person tales have lots of potential for interesting mischief too.

Finally, I am always impressed by the way some HB writers can create three-dimmensional characters largely through dialogue. McBain and Elmore Leonard are masters at this. I wish I could do it. Keep thinking that if I read enoght of this stuff, some will rub off on me and I'll be able to do it too. Talent by osmosis.

Tim Oliver

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