Friday, April 13, 2018

"None of This Plays Fair with the Reader"

Snippet from an interview with Ron Goulart (born 1933).
Amazing Stories, August 1980.
Interview with Darrell Schweitzer (born 1952) begins (HERE); relevant passage (HERE) reproduced below.

When two literary genres mix, the result can be a pleasant medley or a deplorable mess. As we've discovered since we started this weblog, science fiction and mystery are often joined (or, conversely, mashed together); in our postings, we usually leave it up to you to decide how successful such a "marriage" is. SFF pro Ron Goulart has been working both sides of that street and briefly comments on his experiences:

   Goulart: "I’m very fascinated with the mechanics of suspense and mystery, so I tend to mix them with science fiction, even though I’ve had editors annoyed with it. Asimov does that, and Fredric Brown did it in the past, producing science fiction detective stories, or mysteries with fantasy elements. Again, none of this plays fair with the reader, I guess, which
is why there is some annoyance from some circles."
   Schweitzer: "A mystery with fantasy elements should be fiendishly difficult to do, but a science fiction mystery shouldn’t be too hard, as I see it, as long as you state your premises ahead of time instead of suddenly coming into the locked room through the fourth dimension."
   Goulart: "I’ve never done anything like that. I've always followed the rules, but I get the feeling that sometimes there is a certain kind of reader who wants a mystery to be a mystery and a science fiction novel to be a science fiction novel and deliver certain ingredients."


Resources:
- There's a lot of information on the Interwobblie about Ron Goulart: Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE), the ISFDb (HERE), and the IMDb (HERE).
- A few years back Crippen & Landru (HERE and HERE) published Adam and Eve on a Raft (2001), a collection of Goulart's short mystery fiction.
- He's also written a detective fiction series starring Groucho Marx . . .
  1. Groucho Marx, Master Detective (1998)

  2. Groucho Marx, Private Eye (1999)
  3. Elementary, My Dear Groucho (1999)
  4. Groucho Marx and the Broadway Murders (2001)
  5. Groucho Marx, Secret Agent (2002)
  6. Groucho Marx, King of the Jungle (2005)

. . . as well as the John Easy California P.I. series, about which Kevin Burton Smith admits his surprise at "how convincingly he pulls off the Chandleresque tone and the Ross Macdonald sensibility" (HERE):
  1. If Dying Was All (1971)
  2. Too Sweet to Die (1972)
  3. The Same Lie Twice (1973)
  4. One Grave Too Many (1974).

Artwork by Robert Odegnál
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