If Elric is a doomed agent of Chaos tearing down the world around him, then Lew Archer is an agent of the Truth burning down the illusions and fake props that society has erected. Lew Archer is a force of nature, an agent of Truth. Not so much law, as he tends to bend the law to his needs and ends in a relentless push to expose the pure, unadulterated Truth.
I just finished re-reading some Ross MacDonald novels. He wakes you up like a hard backhand to the face. Lew Archer lives in a world so bleak it make you long for the innocence of Mike Hammer.
Lew Archer lives in such a remorseless, hard world. Every investigation, he has it rough. Real rough. He gets the living hell kick out of himself over and over and simply gets back up. Pain can be ignored, cuts and holes stitched up, and bruises laughed at, as long as you keep moving forward, one step at a time. He fights hard–very hard–for every clue. He earns the answers he wrings out through plenty of his own blood, sweat, and tears. They are usually the worst secrets that he digs up, but he is relentless and keeps digging no matter how many easy “answers,” outs, or payoffs are provided, keeps digging no matter how many people beg him to stop, until every question is honestly and fully answered, even though no one wants to hear the terrible truth.
These mystery books, to me, are virtually unique is their harsh, damaging and psychologically scarring delivery. They are a damning indictment of humanity. There is no uplift and salvation in the end. There is only the unveiling–or better put, unearthing–of the truth, as if he were exhuming a corpse.
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All your armies Weapons and hatred All your schemes and conquests All your cities and decrees Every single dream of empire Is lost Empty as a helm amidst your ruins The broken pieces of which don’t quite add together
A catalogue of failure neatly stacked
In the storeroom of the museum Forgotten like your names and hopes Gathering dust like your ambition Lying still and cold on disinterested shelves While every night we shut down early Turn off the lights and whisper as we leave Was it worth it?
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Just received notice of acceptance into a new anthology. I wrote an essay on Speed Racer for a book, because the self-explanatory subtitle is “Memories of Japanese TV Shows From Today’s Grown-Up Kids.”
I loved Speed Racer when I was a kid. It was one of my favorite shows. Sadly, I haven’t watched it since then. So, in preparation to writing this essay (research you know), I had to re-watch all the episodes of the original Speed Racer.
What a nostalgic blast!
Enjoyed reconnecting with the Racer family, especially Racer X and even annoying Spritle and Chim Chim. Of course, one could argue that the main character of the show isn’t Speed, it is the Mach 5. But, we mustn’t say that. Then there are the nefarious villains, such as Captain Midnight and Snake Oiler of the Car Acrobatic Team! Skull Duggery! Professor Anarchy! Bent Cranium! Or The Mammoth Car!
Go, endless adventures, go!
I really did enjoy re-watching the show–not just as a nostalgic romp, but as an adult. There were so many little things I noticed now that I never realized as a child. I could write a book about it. But for the moment this essay will have to do.
Can’t wait for this book to come out. Wish I could reveal the cover, but it’s not supposed to be seen yet. Soon, hopefully!
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I often include humor in my writings. I can’t help it. Usually it is subtle, sometimes brazen. But I like to break tension and provide contrasts when in the midst of battle, or skulking in a darkened alley, or confronting some nameless horror. I think it does a body good.
There are numerous antecedents I could name, but one powerful influence was Lester Dent. He was, among other things, the author of the Doc Savage adventure series that ran through the 1930s-40s. He includes a lot of humor in his pulp tales, because they were written to entertain. Though sometimes it is raw, slapstick, vaudevillian humor featuring the antics of Doc’s aids, often it was very subtle. Dent played a lot of language games and would pun or allude, often in other languages, to further disguise the joke.
Sometimes it wasn’t a joke, but a wry smile or a knowing wink between author and reader. For instance, in the Doc Savage novel Meteor Menace, the tale begins in Chile (as the action picks up immediately from where the former tale The Man Who Shook the Earth was set, in Antofagasta, Chile) and then moves to Tibet for the main story. Thus the tale moves from the Land of Llamas to the Land of Lamas. I like that.
It is the little things that make me happy. Thus, I include a lot of asides/jokes/puns/allusions that may do nothing more than entertain myself, but they are there for everyone. Hopefully they make some people laugh or smile along the way.
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