Happy New Year!
As a New Year’s gift to all of our wonderful listeners here is Episode 7: “The Black Mask Boys”
We explore a collection of stories from the genre’s most influential magazine!
We also cover Blade Runner 2049, review a collection of crime fiction based on Johnny Cash songs, and discuss the short story as an art form.
Join us for Episode 7!
(Yes…as of right now episode 6 does not exist. It will soon. Sorry for the technical difficulties.)
“The Writer As Detective Hero” — Ross MacDonald
In an early collection of stories, Chandler wrote a dedication to the editor of Black Mask—Joseph Shaw—that said:
“For Joseph Thompson Shaw with affection and respect, and in memory of the time when we were trying to get murder away from the upper classes, the weekend house party and the vicar’s rose-garden, and back to the people who are really good at it.”
On Racism and The Black Mask Boys
On June 1, 1923, Mask produced its supreme achievement. The Ku Klux Klan number.
Disclaiming any “connection whatsoever” with the hooded ones, Mask immodestly opined that the issue might prove to be “the most interesting and sensational number of any American magazine this year.”
They were “ABSOLUTELY NEUTRAL” but thought “the attempt to revive the old… Klan with new ideas and purposes was the most picturesque element that has appeared in American life since the war.”
The staff even boasted of the cover by L.L. Balcom. Each story centered on the KKK. The Mask claimed, “SOME OF THESE FAVOR THE KLAN—OTHERS ARE STRONGLY AGAINST IT—WE REPEAT, WE ARE ABSOLUTELY NEUTRAL.” Reader letters (both pro and con) poured in, prompting the establishment of a KKK Forum (August 15 issue).
The Forum divided the letters into two parts: For and Against. No “libelous” or “malicious” letters would be printed.
Taking a close look at the effort and the uproar that followed, one gets the distinct impression that Mask supported and upheld the Klansmen and that it favored their racism and vigilantism. No other argument seems logical.
Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction
(Greenwood Press, 1991)
The Major Differences Between Writing a Short Story and Writing a Novel (Besides Length)
A short story has a tight plot that leads to only one climax the majority of the time.A novel is not simply a series of short stories strung together. It must have a cumulative effect to the reader and a series of climaxes that all point to the final climax in the book. Short stories only employ one setting, for the most part. The reason for this is because short stories cover a very brief period of time. A modern short story is usually no shorter than 1000 words but no longer than 20,000 words.
Can have plot twists or changes or shifts in direction that alter the expected outcomeHas several climaxesIs longer in lengthCan have side trips to intrigue the reader