RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled?

From: Bill Crider ( abc@wt.net)
Date: 09 Jul 2000

John Wooley edited the selection of Robert Leslie Bellem's stories that I mentioned here a while back. Here's Wooley's take on the term "hard-boiled."

Bill Crider

        "Dan Turner's tales are shining examples of the kind of fiction called
'hard-boiled.' The term has been bandied about a lot in recent years, but basically it refers to that style nurtured by Captain Joseph T. Shaw in his Black Mask detective pulp, popularized by such fine detective writers as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and continues to the present day in the works of scribes like Mickey Spillane, Ross Macdonald and Joe Gores. Hard-boiled heroes talk tough. They crack wise. They shoot, and are shot at; beat, and are beaten. They are frequently ladies' men, and are almost always borderline alcoholics. Most of the time, they wage one-man campaigns-quests, really-for justice and righteousness and fair play, the way they see it, although they are not above bending the law to suit their own purposes. They have been called existential, these men who, immersed to the neck in a callous, superficial world without rules, make their own and stick to them. Imagine Bogart in The Big Sleep or To Have and Have Not, and you'll have a pretty good idea of the mythos at work here."

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