RARA-AVIS: F. Paul Wilson and Repairman Jack

From: Reed Andrus ( rsandrus@swbell.net)
Date: 12 Mar 2002

Stepping out of deep lurkdom to reply to Thomas's response to Joe Dante:

Guess I disagree with your strong support of Repairman Jack as a hardboiled character -- he's always getting himself in trouble trying to protect Gia, his SO, and her daughter. Some of that stuff gets seriously mushy. But it begs the question of whether or not libertarian philosophy qualifies as hardboiled. Jack (and Wilson) are serious libertarians -- his refusal to maintain a specific identity is just as much a component of his libertarian antipathy toward government control as it is of any good hardboiled bounty hunter.

IMHO, the best hardboiled book in the series was Legacies, in which the supernatural factor was eliminated for all practical purposes, letting Jack pursue a legitimate (i.e., non-crossover) hardboiled quest.

Don't misunderstand -- I'm a fan of the series. I just don't think that Wilson has allowed Jack much growth and originality since The Tomb. It appears to me that Wilson is trying to merge the themes of his Adversary series (The Keep, and five others) with those of the Repairman Jack series, somewhat similarly to what Stephen King has been doing all along (and succeeded brilliantly in Black House, his latest collaboration with Peter Straub). I don't think it's working very well. Good B-level crossover fiction, but not terribly hardboiled.

And by the way, I agree with your comment re Wilson's xenophobia -- it shows up big time in the latest novel, Hosts.

Best regards,

... Reed

> le 12/03/02 3:25, Joe Dante ࠼A HREF="mailto:joe_dante@flashmail.com?subject=Re:%20RARA-AVIS:%20F.%20Paul%20Wilson%20and%20Repairman%20Jack&replyto=3C8E2856.791AF41D@swbell.net">joe_dante@flashmail.com a 飲it :
> > Then there's F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack series ... not splatter, not
> > exactly horror, and not really SF ... but a most definite hard-boiled
> > contender. And if you want a real hard-boiled change of piece, you should
> > track down Wilson's short "Batman" story, DEFINITIVE THERAPY, certainly
> > unique.
> >
> Definitely ! I have the chance to translate this series in French, and I use
> as much of noir conventions that I can. I always loved this character ‹
> there's something ambiguous to him ‹ is he Ye Great American Hero or just a
> bigot ? ‹ that reminds me of Remo Williams "The destroyer"
> I always liked F. Paul Wilson's novels, though he has an ongoing problem :
> in his books, when a protagonist is a foreigner, you can be sure he is the
> Bad Guy in one way or another ! :)
> T.

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 Mar 2002 EST