Re: RARA-AVIS: soft boiled Sunday morning

From: Jeff Vorzimmer (
Date: 09 Oct 2005

I had a slightly different take on the piece. King emphasized that the language of pulp fiction was what attracted him and that the garish covers were part of the appeal. I didn't feel any condescension toward the genre by King or by CBS.

I'd be interested in Charles' take on it was.


> Stephen King's appearance on CBS's _Sunday Morning_ today featured some
> interesting statements about how he got interested in crime fiction. The
> mythical aspects of the plotting and the PI's defiant argot were two I
> remember. But the prevalent tone of the interview, studded by images of
> paperback covers (many from Hard Case Crime) indicated that the tough
> guy novels of the 50s and their illustrated covers were basically
> /amusing/. Maybe that, and the GG art on the covers, were reasons for
> their popularity. But those covers also show urban working- and
> under-class settings as well as clothing and body language typical of
> people of these backgrounds. Many of their readers identified more with
> the stories of Cain,. McCoy, Thompson, or Goodis rather than a
> high-brow, culturally sanctioned one. Police and racketeers were many
> readers' antagonists, as well as the writers'. What seems amusing or
> camp today was much more than amusing when the 1950s crime novels were
> being written and read. The _Sunday Morning_ focus on those sexy
> outrageous covers, while good for Hard Case Crime now that King is their
> latest author, trivialized the genre (as Hard Cases writers, both
> classic and contemporary, certainly do not).

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Oct 2005 EDT