Thursday, June 9, 2011
EDGE: THE PRISONERS
For those of you who may not be familiar with this series, the Edge books were – as the cover indicates – “The Most Violent Westerns in Print”. Some of them even came with a “Warning – This story is not for the faint of heart” disclaimer on the first printed page of the book. For good reason, too.
George G. Gilman (actually Britain’s very own Terry Harknett) created Edge as just the opposite of “warm and fuzzy” and succeeded on every possible level. The anti-hero character, first created in the Eastwood “Man With No Name” Western movies, is a good way to describe Edge as well. In fact, the comparisons to Spaghetti Westerns came fast and furious during Terry’s heyday of writing these books and probably long afterwards too as people discovered these stories in subsequent years.
When I once asked George/Terry about his use of so-called “dark humor” and his use of puns as chapter closers, he told me that he wanted to be sure that the reader was in on the joke and that this was all written in fun. None of it should be taken seriously as it is just entertainment and nothing more. Makes sense to me.
This particular story pits Edge against Indian Outlaw Joe Straw to see which one of them is least loveable. I have to give the edge to Edge (so to speak) here because he lasted through 10 more Pinnacle Books (although the series ran much longer in England) while Joe, not surprisingly, meets an ironic end at the closing of THE PRISONERS.