RARA-AVIS: RE: Northerns

From: Duane Spurlock ( duane@emazing.com)
Date: 21 Jun 2001

 Kevin Burton Smith < kvnsmith@colba.net> wrote:

<< But you claim the ones you read were accurate. Who were some of the writers who knew what they were writing about? ... I wouldn't mind reading a few more of these. As fantasy some of those stories are pretty good, even if, as historicals, they leave much to be desired.

James Oliver Curwood wrote some Northerns that in some cases featured Mounties. His books, like those of contemporary Zane Grey, are a bit romanticized, but are readable and enjoyable.

Ryerson Johnson was a pulp writer (he ghost-wrote some Doc Savage tales for his pal Lester Dent) who wrote some Mountie stories for NORTHERN STORIES, WEST, TOP-NOTCH and ACE HIGH, among others. They are straight adventure yarns. You'll find some of this work, along with a memoir of his writing days, in THE BEST WESTERN STORIES OF RYERSON JOHNSON edited by Bill Pronzini and the ubiquitous Martin H. Greenberg (1990, Ohio University Press, and a Large Print edition that's 1995, G.K. Hall & Co.).

There's another collection of Ryerson Johnson stories titled TORTURE TREK AND ELEVEN OTHER ACTION-PACKED STORIES OF THE WILD WEST, also edited by Pronzini and Greenberg (1995: Barricade Books). I have this on order, but I don't know how the contents compare to the previous book. I do know that
"Torture Trek" is one of the stories included in the BEST OF... book. I don't think they're the same book, because the BEST OF... doesn't mention a different title on its copyright page, but I may be wrong.

-- Duane

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