RARA-AVIS: The list, Simenon, Lafferty, etc.

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 17 Apr 2002

When I wrote for newspapers, short items were called blivets. No idea of the origin of the term but this posting consists of three blivets.

So every one of my 20 made the top 100. My initial reaction to that is mild disappointment. Maybe I did not give the list sufficient thought. On the other hand, it is probably just evidence that my daughters are right when they accuse me of priding myself on being eccentric and on this list I was so, well, typical.

As for Simenon, he is one of my favorites. I gobble up the Mairgrets but consider his non-series novels superior. One of the best is THE MAN WHO WATCHED THE TRAINS GO BY. As we have discussed Hemingway recently, I am reminded that EH used to take Simenon novels in the original French with him to Africa and ration their reading to extend the enjoyment.

Last month the fantasy and SF writer R.A. Lafferty died. I saw him at the 1971 Worldcon in Boston where he was nominated for a Hugo. The convention was a treat to myself for getting through Vietnam and I read every Hugo nominee. I didn't vote for Lafferty but I remember seeing him and thinking he was older than dirt. Calculating from the obit, I realize that back in 1971 he was exactly one year older than I am now. So why does this belong on the list? The obit opened with a Lafferty quote. I have no idea what story it comes from but it is wonderfully hard-boiled. It makes me want to sample this, er, eccentric writer again to see if I might find him more appealing than I did back in his heyday. Here is the quote:

"When you have shot and killed a man you have in some measure clarified your attitude toward him. You have given a definite answer to a definite problem.
 For better or worse you have acted decisively. In a way, the next move is up to him."

Richard Moore

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