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
". . . 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
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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