Archive for September, 2008

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 22

September 15, 2008

Declan Burke is hosting the Carnival yet again at his blog, Crime Always Pays. This one is the Metaphysical Edition, and instead of a multitude of links, he’s focusing all of his carnivalistic skills on exploring one question: where is crime fiction going and what can blogs and websites do to help it get there?

With a few notable exceptions, crime / mystery writing tends to get short shrift in the mainstream press, and as often as not finds itself shoehorned into a review ghetto, wherein five or six titles will be briefly assessed in the same kind of space that would be given over to single, more ‘literary’ title. That very fact, of course, is one of the main reasons for the proliferation of crime / mystery fiction blogs and sites available on-line, and in a perverse way, it should be celebrated for inadvertently creating such a dynamic and vibrate on-line crime / mystery community. . . . [T]he critical work on crime fiction needs to develop of and through its own metier, that the Johnsons of the crime / mystery community require their Boswells, and that I believe heart and soul that crime / mystery fiction needs and deserves the kind of widespread, top-to-bottom critical work that would in turn inspire the writers to strive towards ever-higher standards of work.

And if you aren’t persuaded yet, he lays it out quite bluntly:

But here’s the thing – crime / mystery fiction is the most popular genre on the planet, it is inarguably the most relevant and important fiction out there, and that’s why I believe it deserves more.

He gives a post from Glenn Harper’s International Noir as Exhibit A. I would also submit into evidence a post that Declan has just posted at The Rap Sheet on the rise of Irish crime fiction since Veronica Guerin’s murder in 1996. Fascinating analysis there.

Given that this carnival was started to highlight the Best in Blogging, I’m delighted with the latest edition and the challenge it sets forth.

image courtesy of Wordle

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Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 21

September 1, 2008

Nobody can accuse Brian Lindenmuth of letting his cognitive surplus go to waste. He’s too busy finding and commenting on peculiar corners of the universe from his blogging balcony. He has rounded up a number of those unusual features of the world as we know it – and parts of it we never imagined – for the latest Carnival. And what a show it is! From interesting and bizarre images to celebrate the Carnival’s freakshow heritage, to real life stories that you wish you could make up, to stories you wish were fiction but aren’t, to art that imitates crime and watermelons that give nightmares. With a detour for a spot of techno-futures from Cory Doctorow and Clay Shirkey. (Who else but Brian in his balcony can seem at one and the same time to possess the glee of an eight-year-old boy and the intellectualism of a PhD in cultural criticism who’s had a drink or two?)

BUT WAIT . . .  THERE’S MORE!!!!

Write a piece of flash fiction starting with the inspiration of one of eight unusual images he has unearthed from the dark side. Brian will post them and a winner will be declared. He wants to ensure your cognitive surplus is fully employed. (I think Martin Cruz Smith may have already seen that floating woman – I swear she’s Arkady Renko’s mother.)

Be sure to visit his balcony for daily roundups of all that is odd and interesting (collected under clever referential titles worth the price of admission) interspersed with thougthful short essays that could launch the odd dissertaion or two.

Up Next: the Carnival will be returning to Ireland, where Declan Burke has found Crime Always Pays.

photos courtesy of Steve Rhodes and pink fish13