Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Long and the Short of It

Every day, it seems, brings a handful of new crime-fiction-related blogs. Fortunately, although some of these are derivative or serve little more than the egotism of their authors, many are worth reading. Among the promising ones add Criminal Brief, just launched this week by seven writers and meant to champion the short-story form. As James Lincoln Warren, alias “The Scribbler,” remarked in his introduction:
All of us here are advocates of the short story, and we have gathered here to sing its praises. You might wonder why it is necessary for us to do so, if short fiction truly is the heart and soul of crime fiction.

This is because reading habits have changed. Back in the day, most of the popular fiction read by Americans was in magazines. You could get a pulp magazine for a nickel, but books were relatively expensive--even a paperback novel cost five times more than a pulp magazine. People read at bedtime before turning out the light, an activity for which the short story is eminently better suited than the novel, instead of tuning in to Leno or Letterman. Or they bought a magazine at the depot newsstand to punctuate their sightseeing on the train, rather than copping a book at the airport calculated to last the length of an upcoming flight. Those days are gone. The magazines are almost gone, too, but not quite. And there’s no gainsaying that these days, the novel rules supreme.

We have nothing against the novel. Some of us are novelists, too, and all of us read them and love them. But we have a special place in our hearts for short fiction. Just because you love one doesn’t mean you can’t love the other.
We’ve added a link to Criminal Brief in the right-hand column of The Rap Sheet, and will check back frequently to see how it progresses.

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