My Photo
Location: United States

Friday, February 04, 2005

Art Scott; Tom Dickerson

Art Scott

(After you mentioned) Filmax I ran right out and bought a copy of it, not a mag I was familiar with. And not a hit with me, particularly at 10 bucks. Despite a wealth of pop cult nuggets of interest, the mag looks junky, cluttered and ugly. The McGinnis piece was a recycle of the one Jenkins did for Mystery Scene, and not attractive on the cheap paper. Editorial work not top drawer either. The article on Cleveland's "Ghoul", evidently a rerun from the files, talks about "Ernie Anderson . . . out on the west coast now making millions of bucks". Ernie Anderson died in 1997.

Ed here: I'll grant you that Filmfax will never win any design awards but over the years it's published dozens of fine articles about the popular culture of past decades. Sorry you were disappointed.

Tom Dickerson

I was interested in how the cozy vs. hardboiled argument pertained to your own career. For a long stretch there you were considered one of the darkest writers of your generation. I know that such books as Cage of Night and Blood Moon couldn't be pubished over here ithout being heavily edited. But for the past five years your dark work has been in your western noirs and your crime fiction has mostly been limited to the lighter Sam McCain series. They're kind of dark cozies. Was that a conscious decision?

Ed: I suppose most writers who've been at it twenty-plus years stop or at least pause and look at what they've written. My books got to the point where if they had even a moderately happy ending I'd hear from certain readers that I was cheating. I believed then as I believe now that dark endings can be no less cliche than happy endings. Depends on the book and the people in it.

The Drood Review did a piece on the McCains a while back that made the point that if you look at them carefully they're pretty dark. Insanity, racial violence, backseat abortions, patricide, the Cuban missile crises, drugs, and endless miserable romantic relationships fill the books. But because I 've laced them with humor and a certain amount of sentimentality some people see them as fluff. Not much I can do about it.

CD Publications is bringing out the full version of Cage of Night in hardcover sometime this fall followed closely by a massive collection of my short stories spanning twenty-five years The Long Silence After. You want dark--most of my darkest short work is there.

But again I emphasize that if I get what I believe is a workable idea I write it. I never think now I'll write a "dark" story. It is what it is. In the 80s when splatterpunk was big in horror you got these invitations that sounded like pro wrestling promos--"I want your darkest, goriest, grimmest nightmare story. I want to rip out the readers' eyeballs." I exaggerrate for effect but not by much. I wrote one story that way. A Random House editor called me up and said that he needed a "shocker" for this otherwise tame horror anthology he was wrapping up. Could I get him something in a week? "I did. It was a better story than you might think but still not in danger of actually being good.

I guess I just kinda write what seems interesting at the moment.


Post a Comment

<< Home