Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: male PI sexuality

From: Maura McMillan (
Date: 24 Feb 2000

i will look into joe handsen's brandstetter, thank you.

At 09:55 AM 2/24/2000 -0400, you wrote:
>maura wrote:
>>here's something to discuss. i was just mulling over in my mind the general
>>and consistent failure, in my eyes, of female writers to produce female
>>protagonists with any sort of real visceral fortitude of the sort you see
>>in the archetypal male PI. i think this missing element is commonly
>>identified as testosterone. does anyone agree/disagree that a good PI has
>>to have a strong heterosexual orientation?
>Some thoughts:
>Well, as far as heterosexuality being a requirement for P.I.s go, Joe
>Hansen's Dave Brandstetter was certainly one of the more exceptional
>exceptions--as tough and tersely written as Hammett. And he
>definitely has a sex drive. And he was actually in a long-term
>relationship. Come to think of it, Hansen broke all kinds of "rules"
>besides the obvious one. It's a shame how under-rated this
>uncompromising series is. Last I heard, some of the books were being
>reprinted in the U.S. by Alyson, a small gay/lesbian press. Great
>news, as it goes, but it would be great to see them published by
>someone a bit more mainstream.
>As for female eyes with "visceral fortitude":
>Max Collins' Ms. Michael Tree, who has a pretty good sex drive, gave
>birth during a case, and there was even a breast-feeding scene, I
>think. Another male-written female eye, Reed Stephen's Ginny
>Fistoulari certainly qualifies, as well. You really have to hand it
>to her. And Greg Rucka's Bridgett Logan has plenty of guts, too. One
>of the reason's I think a lot of women found her unrealistic is that
>she just doesn't fit the stereotype. Of course, Max and Reed and Greg
>are all guys, so I guess they don't count.
>I haven't read it yet, but supposedly V.I. Warshawski's latest has
>her subjecting herself to some real crap to crack a case. And, if I
>remember correctly, Liza Cody's Anna Lee was a pretty tough little
>cookie, in a hard-bitten Brit sorta way, certainly not the soft,
>warm, gooey at the centre, friend to all living things creature too
>many female-written female eyes try to be. Jenny Siler's character in
>the recent EASY MONEY isn't a P.I., but she seems to show some real
>balls, as well. Perhaps Siler's will eventually cough up a
>suitably-tough female eye.
>Then again, if all women do is try to write like men, what's the
>point? Then it becomes a sort of gender-based minstrel show. I think
>there are all kinds of toughness, and the more different voices
>detailing them, the better. (As long, of course, as the voices don't
>get in the way of the story). Certainly, most female eyes will never
>be mistaken for stone-cold looney-toons like Race Williams, Mike
>Hammer or Burke, but a lot of them make up in resolve and commitment
>what they lack in stature and testicular development. It's always
>easy to snort like a bull and thump on your chest like King Kong and
>get all NFL when you're six-five, 250 pounds, armed up to the wazoo,
>and have a psycho sidekick watching your back. But it takes real
>courage to stand up when you're all alone, 5-4, 130 pounds and only
>armed with your instincts. That's real guts.

>Oh, and if anyone's had difficulties e-mailing me lately, keep
>trying. My ISP assures me they almost have it fixed. Yeah, right...
>And Dennis? Buy Maura some capital letters for her next birthday, okay?
>Kevin Burton Smith
>The Thrilling Detective Web Site
>Now: The last few days to vote for The Thrillies.
>Soon: The P.I. Poll on Short Fiction, plus new stuff of our own.
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