RARA-AVIS: Re: Kantner's Ben Perkins

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 13 Jan 2003

Jim wrote:

>Reading either series in order is a good idea, but
>it's less crucial to the Kantner books (at least the
>ones I've read). Ben stay pretty much the same guy in
>the same situation except for some mostly off-stage

Actually, the off-stage relationships aren't always very far off-stage in Rob Kantner's books. And there is some growth and development as the series progresses, particularly in the later books and stories. If you care about his various relationships, it probably is best to read them in order, because by the end of the series, things have changed, in sometimes surprising and often subtle ways. However, each story and book is strong enough, I think, to also be read as a standalone.

But in fact, that's one of the things I did (and do) enjoy about the series -- the relationships between Ben and his large assortment of friends and family. Not since Jim Rockford has a P.I. been so much a part of his world. It's a welcome change from some of these so self-consciously lone wolf types hiding out in dingy apartments whose only reason for being alone seems to be that the last cookie cutter eye was a lone wolf living in a dingy apartment, or those running soap operas full of cardboard relationships dressed up in P.I. clothes but going nowhere. Somehow Kantner strikes a balance between the hero and his world that enriches both.


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