RARA-AVIS: On Literary Reps...

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 18 Feb 2010

  • Next message: James Michael Rogers: "Re: RARA-AVIS: On Literary Reps..."

    Jeff wrote:

    > There, I've qualified my statement to please all naysayers.

    Well, don't get churlish about it. I'm always suspicious of yaysayers myself, particularly those who make sweeping statements. Your qualification makes me respect your opinion more. It also shows you've actually read the books, always a plus when it comes to this list.

    Making bold statements about ALL a writer's work is always tricky, anyway.

    Especially about someone like Thompson, whose work was, even most fans agree, all over the place, and whose popularity barely existed before Black Lizard resurrected it in the eighties. Back then, before their reissues began to appear, he was considered one of the "most underrated of all crime writers" by Lawrence Block and others.

    That's hardly the case these days, although I suspect he'll always be more of a cult favourite than anything. I doubt he'll ever reach the more general level of respect and popularity of someone like Chandler or Hammett or Christie.

    Then again, look how Philip K. Dick's star has risen since BLADERUNNER. Literary popularity is a funny thing; so often based on things beyond the mere writing. Just labeling something "underrated" is enough to get a certain kind of cooler-than-thou personality to start overrating someone.

    Me? I'd still rather see BLADERUNNER again than have to re-read DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? What a snooze.

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