Re: RARA-AVIS: Voting Procedures

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 26 Mar 2002

In advocating we each expend 10 of our 20 votes on important characters, not necessarily favorites, Jim wrote:

"By "important" I mean a character's who's been a trend-setter, who has been persistently popular over a long period of time, who is generally critically acclaimed, or some combination. We can recognize a character who fits tthese parameters without actually liking that character (i.e. many people despise Mike Hammer, but it would be fatuous to deny his importance to the genre), but a fair vote would recognize that character's importance even if the character wasn't universally liked."

Yes, Mike Hammer is very important historically, but I ain't voting for him.

Are we really shooting for a fair vote? And why should we consider critical acclaim? Let the critics make their own list.

". . . the final list will be less a roster of the most important characters than it is the most popular. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not what we started out to do."

Are we trying to come up with a list of the most "important characters"? I thought we were making a list of the "best characters." Sure, Marlowe, Spade and the Op are going to be on my list, but not because of their historical importance. Derek Raymond's unnamed detective (Colin, you're not the only one), Jack Carter, Parker, Earl Drake, Wu & Durant, Hap & Leonard and maybe Lew Griffin are going to be there, too. Some of these are of historical importance, too, but I'll be voting for them simply because they are great characters, period. I don't much care about there place anywhere but within the books they live.

I'm kinda looking forward to an idiosyncratic list.


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