Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays, folks; John D.

Ed here: Here's a particularly good piece from the great John D MacDonald site
The Trap of Solid Gold.

For those who didn't discover the works of John D MacDonald until after his death in 1986, it may be difficult for you to understand how quickly the author's name and works disappeared from the public imagination after that sad event. When MacDonald left for that fateful trip to Milwaukee in September all but two of his novels, anthologies and works of non-fiction were still in print. Each new work he published was eagerly greeted by both fans and critics alike, and were reviewed in nearly every periodical in the country that published such columns. He was a respected literary figure who was occasionally touted as the best selling living American author.

How quickly that changed.

As new product stopped appearing, the non-McGee novels gradually went out of print (except for The Executioners, titled Cape Fear), articles about the author stopped being written, and except for the world of mystery fans, MacDonald was the author of those Travis MxGee books, and that was if you remembered who he was. McGee himself began to fall out of favor, even among JDM fans, as his "womanizing" (a spurious claim) began to be seen as everything from oh-so-politically incorrect to downright misogynistic.

One need look no further than the transcribed article below to understand just how carelessly his memory was treated, at least as far as the accuracy of the particulars of his life and writings are concerned. This profile appeared in the March 1989 issue of Gulfshore Life and was written by the late writer David T Warner, an associate of MacDonald's and a fellow Liar's Club member. Warner's heart was, as you will read, certainly in the right place here, but the number of inaccuracies he commits is nearly off the scale. Blame for this must lie at the doorstep of not only Warner but at that of his editor at Gulfshore Life, who probably only vaguely knew who John D MacDonald was. They didn't even spell his surname correctly!

I've taken the liberty of footnoting the most obvious errors and adding a few comments of my own.

For the rest go here:

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