RARA-AVIS: Bring Back My Brain!

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 20 Dec 2000

Thank you Bill Crider for reminding me of Dwight V. Swain. I believe it was at the Pasadena Bouchercon where he and Howard Browne delighted a small audience for their panel on the pulps. Early in the convention I spotted Swain across a crowded elevator and called out one of his old pulp titles
"Bring Back My Brain!" It set the old guy off laughing while, I'm sure, everyone else was thinking "yes please."

Alas, as the years roll by it seems increasingly realistic.

I completely agree with Mat's last post on Chandler. All that really matters is the quality of the writing and the ability of the writer to get the reader to accept his or her world. That world is often a mix of the real and the fanciful. In Chandler's case, his settings were acutely observed portraits of Los Angeles and his character was a hero more based in the classics than in any reality.

That Stephen Crane had never experienced combat at the time he wrote "Red Badge of Courage" does not subtract from his achievement.

Everytime I read a book where a character is making wisecracks while staring down the barrel of a gun pointed at him, I am reminded of the one time when I was in that position and the gun holder was close enough to allow for discussion. The dialog wasn't very witty. My contribution was two words repeated every time he paused: "Yes sir!"

Richard Moore

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