Laughing, Literally

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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