I was glad to see that two of Patti Abbott's Forgotten Books today were John D. MacDonalds. Bill Cameron reviewed The Last One Left while Randy Johnson discussed Wine of The Dreamers.
We've been talking about how quickly writers fade after their deaths. I still can't believe how John D. went from best seller and exemplar of the commercial American story to near obscurity (not to mention ignominy) in just a few years. As Bill Crider noted yesterday the same thing seems to be happening to Evan Hunter/Ed McBain. I suppose writers my age have an ego stake in these two men particularly. Not only did we enjoy them, they taught us so much. Everybody from Tony Hillerman to Charles Willeford acknowledged their debt to John D. And you had to stand in line to praise Evan Hunter. When I read writers my age I can spot his influence all over the place. So their fading is sad for us both as readers and acolytes.
Of course the generation coming to prominence will face the same thing in twenty years or so. Literature of every kind is a continuum. The sweet Harlequin of yesterday has passed through many stages and can be found today in paranormal romance with frank sex and a fair amount of violence. The western has all but disappeared. And thoughtful political novels such as Fail-Safe have given way to screeds from both the left and right.
As I've said before, that's why I appreciate the democratic nature of the internet. John D. will never be truly forgotten nor will Evan Hunter.