Monday, January 28, 2008

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin quted on Galleycat today:

"Books are social vectors, but publishers have been slow to see it. They barely even noticed book clubs until Oprah goosed them. But then the stupidity of the contemporary, corporation-owned publishing company is fathomless: they think they can sell books as commodities."


August West over at Vintage Hardboiled Reads writes a fine review of of Death's Sweet Song, one of Clifton Adams' two Gold Medal crime novels. I sure agree with his admiration for Adams' crime books and, like August, wish he'd written more.

But many of you are saying Clifton who? Back in the days when western fiction was popular (and reasonably respectable to all but snobs) Adams wrote a novel called The Desperado, which Donald Westlake has spoken of admiringly (though not, understandably, of its poor sequel Return of The Desperado).

Adams was a jazz musician and a working writer. Never a star, he had to work all over the place and with varying degrees of creative success. He did a number of books that were competent but overly familiar but at least half of his considerable output was first-rate and two or three books were, in my estimation, were of the highest order.

Try A Partnership With Death and A Dangerous Profession. True hardboiled westerns.


Todd Mason said...

Though it seems that this has been a common stupidity of publishers for some time, albeit at least the old fools at least thought that you'd have to put out something the public would actually like to read or at least own, as opposed to...I'm not sure what...something that will get headlines? Something that will get initial orders and damn the heavy returns/remaindering/pulping? It certainly seems that the moguls who buy publishers not solely for vanity are doing so for "synergy"'s the book, buy the videogame, buy the movie, vote for me or my pawn. Hearst knew that game, too, though.

Anonymous said...

Clifton Adams won two Spur Awards from Western Writers of America. Tragg's Choice won in 1969, and The Last Days of Wolf Garnett won in 1970.

Richard Wheeler