Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: Favorite Op caper

From: Scott Owen (
Date: 11 Oct 2002

>Could the high quality of Hammett's pulp stories have
>anything to do with his sparse production? Sparse relative
>to writing machines like Erle Stanley Gardner and Max
>Brand, that is.

I don't think Hammett had a 1.000 batting average. I remeber a friend of mine, a solid Hammett buff, who many years ago was so frustrated by Lillian Hellman's refusal to allow many of Hammetts shorts to be reprinted that he tracked down all the Spivak digests. "You know, " he told me, "Lillian was right." And after reading a few stories from NIGHTMARE TOWN, I have to agree.
>The real mystery is Fredric Brown, in whom quality was not
>impaired by quantity.

Brown had his share of turkeys, too. Every try reading the excreable (and inexplidcably oft-reprinted) ROGUE IN SPACE? Many of his later novels were comparatively dull, and the McMillan books are liberally stocked with thrid-rate journey men efforts, splapdash experiments that didn't work, and other sub-par stuff of interest only to the hardcore. But even his worst stories have traces of that unique Brown touch.


Some will say, "Who cares?" or "Why bother?" I pity such lifeless souls. In an absurd universe, enthusiasm for meaningless tasks keeps you young at heart.

--Ed McNamara

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