RARA-AVIS: Destroyer (and a little Vachss)

From: George Upper ( gcupper3@yahoo.com)
Date: 18 Feb 2002

--- Ray Skirsky < rskirsky@qualcomm.com> wrote:
> While I agree with your high estimate of the
> Destroyer, up until Sapir
> dies, anyway, I think the best-written and
> best-conceived of all the series
> was Alan Caillou's "Private Army of Colonel Tobin."

Murphy has been talked about before on this list, of course--in part by me. While it's certainly not worth arguing over, I remember actually seeking out the Destroyers, in my youth, that featured Murphy's name but NOT Sapir's on the cover, because one of the early numbers was written only by Sapir and I didn't care for it at all. I therefore assumed that Murphy must have written all the parts of the series that I liked.
 I recognize the flaw in that logic, but I was, like I say, young.

I've begun re-collecting the Destroyers after finding several in a box in my garage. I got rid of many of the series around the time I turned 20, thinking for some reason that I had outgrown them. But I still enjoyed the Digger and Trace novels (and still do). I only have a dozen or so now, but next time I'm in Fayetteville, I'll check out the used book store--they always had a goodly supply when I was stationed at Fort Bragg, and I'll bet that hasn't changed much. I am about to start Destroyer #1, because...

I just finished my first Vachss (and Vachss's first Vachss too, I think), FLOOD. This isn't as stilted a transition as it may seem, because much of FLOOD read to me like a man's action novel (or whatever you want to call these things): he had all kinds of cool gadgets, an ensemble cast of weirdos each with his or her own special skill, a complete loner for a protagonist, and a deadly but beautiful romantic interest (I used to call such characters
"wonder-babes" before I became a politically correct academic).

I enjoyed FLOOD, but at the same level at which I plan to enjoy the Destroyer novels again--entertainment only, and entertainment I'm sort of embarrassed about.
 It's not quite as bad as having PENTHOUSE delivered to my house (I don't really, it's just an example, I swear) but worse than owning all the Star Trek movies on VHS (guilty, I'm afraid). I'm sure I'll read more Vachss, but if they continue to be as long and drawn out as FLOOD, I'm going to wish he'd let me edit them.


===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal http://www.lightningbell.org/

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