Friday, September 10, 2004

Ed's Place

Ed's Place: "A good number of the over-fifty writers--my peer group--will tell you in whispers that they don't like much of today's crime fiction. Some of this is said jealously, of course, but most of it I think is simply the changing of generations. The things writers my age venerate are not to be found in the young writers of today. And why should they be? They think differently from us, write diferently, market differently and are more attractive to publishers and booksellers alike because they're going to be around a lot longer than we are--and are thus worth investing money and time in."

What Ed Gorman is saying here is that he (and I and guys like us) have become old farts. And I guess he's right. It's certainly true enough that I don't care for any of the contemporary music I hear these days, not even country music. When I listen to Internet radio or buy a CD, it's something from an era long past, something from a time when the contemporary singers weren't even born. Give me some George Jones tunes from the old days, like "She Thinks I Still Care" or "The Window Up Above." Give me Elvis singing "Mystery Train." Or the Clovers, the Drifters, the Cadillacs.

And when it comes to crime novels, give me Gold Medal. It's not that I don't like some of today's books. I read a good many of them, actually. But I don't admire them the way younger people do. I prefer the Good Old Stuff. Like the one I mentioned yesterday, River Girl. I think it's terrific, but the fact is that probably no editor today would buy it. It lacks the amped-up action, the "social siginificance," the outrageous premise that readers these days seem to crave. It's just good writing, smooth pacing, and masterful storytelling.

So you can grab the latest bestseller if you want to. Me, I'll put on a Slim Whitman CD and read another book by Charles Williams.


Aldo said...

Bill, Well said. I'm in the middle of this era. Being in my early 40's I love the old stuff and I like the new stuff, regardless if it is music or books. This is my life story, not a yupie or a hippy, just one of the guys stuck in the middle, no classification except 'end of baby boomer' era guy.

So, bring on music where singers sing and don't screem, Jones, Elvis, John Raitt, Joe Williams and bring back those solid pulp classics - Gold Medal suits me fine too.

I do like the new guys too - Kent Harrington, Scott Phillips, Al Guthrie, Mike Connelly, Rankin, etc. They are the voices of the next generation.

Bill said...

I like those guys, too, Aldo. It's the big fluffy bestselling crime fiction that I don't like very much. Come to think of it, I probably didn't like it very much 40 years ago, either.

Sarah said...

Thing is, the people Aldo brings up as "new generation" are, well, not so much for the likes of me. But since Ed brought it up and I've been mulling the subject for a while now, expect something essay-like from me soon.

Bill said...

I'll be looking forward to it, Sarah.

Aldo said...

You bring up a good point. I would agree with you that the generation below me would probably have a diffent list to add. Bottom line good writing is good writing and good music is good much no matter when it was produced.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

If you did find one of those rare coins you'd probably stick in in a Dr Pepper machine.