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John D. MacDonald

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Evil Bastard (aka Chris_L), Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Today would have been writer John D. MacDonald's 95th birthday. He was the creator of the Travis McGee series of books and a favorite of many. His Empty Copper Sea and The Green Ripper were two of my favorites.

    The story of how he persevered and strove to become a writer is inspirational in itself.
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but did he have his picture on bubble-gum cards?
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    A few years ago, I subscribed to some service that sent me two a month for 10 bucks until I had the whole series. The Lonely Silver Rain was the last one, right?
  4. The Lonely Silver rain was the last.

    MacDonald was so fun to read that many overlooked how good a writer he was. I like how every so often other writers will have one of their characters reading a Travis McGee story as part of the narrative. Carl Hiaassen would do that pretty frequently.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I've never read a John D. MacDonald book. About the only things I know about him (and maybe know wrongly) is that he wrote pulp fiction and he wrote a ton of books. If I wanted to pick up something by him, where would you suggest I even start?
  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Ragu, start with the Travis McGee series. They all have colors in the titles, so they're not hard to identify. MacDonald's books are full of how-to tips on doing illegal and almost illegal stuff. He must've bought a beer for every shady looking guy he met in his long life. They're also pretty good descriptive social history of Florida and the other warm states in the 60s and 70s as they were in the process of becoming the Sun Belt instead of the South as it had been known.
    Driftwood and Neutral Corner like this.
  7. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    He was very mad at my favorite Ross MacDonald for his last book, The Blue Hammer. You know, the McGee/color-in-title thing. Strained a decent relationship. The first reference to the Blue Hammer surfaces very late and it's a stunning bit of prose.

    I'd say Archer has it all over McGee but that's just me (and a Canadian thing).

    YHS, etc
  8. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    The Archer books are excellent. And it should be pointed out that the Archer title "The Zebra-Striped Hearse," which is sort of a color title, predates the first Travis McGee novel by two years, 1962 to 1964. Maybe it was a dual homage.
  9. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Every novelist should include a scene in which a character is reading Kilgore Trout.
  10. Or perhaps a reference to wide open beaver?
  11. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Gee,

    Trust me. Ross wasn't paying homage to John with Blue Hammer. His own man. Wouldn't have occurred to him. Incredible writer.

    YHS, etc
  12. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Have read every single one of the Travis McGee novels but it's been a long time.

    Thanks to Chris am going to revisit them

    And I think John D and Ross are two different writers.
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