RARA-AVIS: Would You Like An Intro With That, Sir?

From: David L. Wilson ( dwilson@sccn.net)
Date: 25 Sep 2006

I hope this isn't as self-serving as it may seem, but I really have a question that fits this topic. ... Does the reader like his (or her) fiction with a frame or straight up? There's been a lot of times that I'll go ahead and read a biographical or critical introduction to a reprinted novel before I begin to read. By doing so I may lessen the excitement and the shock of the author's prose, but I also enjoy the sense of context, the image of the writer at his (or her) typewriter and I like to know the circumstances under which the work was created. I've participated in the reprint of two Harry Whittington novels with Stark House, and I've offered an introduction which places the work in context. That doesn't necessarily mean that I think the stories NEED that introduction, however, and many times, I suggest that someone check out the introduction AFTER reading the novels, if they are so inclined. I certainly enjoy the Hard Case books, and usually I'm able to find additional info on the authors if I feel the need.

So what should it be, a frame, an "explanation", perhaps, for the stories, or is it better to just pick them up cold, and plunge into whatever world the author has prepared for us. Maybe we should read the stuff twice.

David L. Wilson Downieville, CA

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