I doubt that the hard drinking helped many of Thomson's books, but I think the erratic quality stems primarily from the fact that he really had to churn the stuff out to make a living with the low advances of the paperback originals. In another genre, you could see the same inconsistency at play in the career of Philip K. Dick - brilliant novels right next to hasty hack work. Of course, that's true of all of the pulpsters as well. And even a top hand like F.Scott Fitzgerald complained that his commercial work for the slicks burned some of the talent that could otherwise have gone into producing better things.
That's part of the territory with this stuff, though. If you can look beyond the trashier work by Thompson eventually you get to a book like The Criminal, which is just a flat-out good novel and which doesn't really need any apologies.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 Nov 2009 EST