RARA-AVIS: Over My Dead Body/Breece D'J Pancake

From: Nigel Algar ( montana@dircon.co.uk)
Date: 24 Sep 2003

Michael Robison wrote:

> I've been picking up on a few of the Vin Packer Gold Medals and
> I got curious about the paperback revolution that started after WWII
> so I bought a used book called OVER MY DEAD BODY that's
> about paperbacks in the decade following the war. I just got it
> today. It's beautiful. Beautiful pictures of the covers. A lot of
> variety.
> miker

OVER MY DEAD BODY was written by Lee Server, whose ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF PULP FICTION WRITERS was mentioned a while back. This, and his Robert Mitchum bio BABY I DON'T CARE, are well worth reading - he's a good writer in total command of his material.

Mention of Breece D'J Pancake reminds me that Tom Waits, when asked the question of what he was currently reading/who was his favorite writer (I forget the exact query), answered 'Breece D'J Pancake'. The interviewer was nonplussed by the answer, suspecting a put-on, so rapidly moved to another topic.

Which brings me to the topic of recommendations by authors. I've found that Anthony Boucher and John D MacDonald were usually on the money with their quotes on books, but whom to trust nowadays? Elmore Leonard used to be reliable, but now seems to spray his quotes everywhere. Stephen King is also famously incontinent in his praise. Writers obviously form a loose community and friendships within it, and publishers have books to sell, but what authors do rara avians find useful and trustworthy when faced with an unknown author or book?


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