Thursday, December 02, 2021

Robert Crane: Born of Battle

Robert Crane was really Con Sellers, a steady writer of low-grade paperbacks working through the sixties and seventies for the small publishers, and finally finding some mainstream success in the eighties and early nineties. It seems his breakthrough novel was the novelization of the Dallas TV series he did in 1980. He died in 1992. Here's a link to the Finnish translation of the Dallas book - it came out here in hardcover, with a very non-pulp cover! 

I read now one of Sellers's war paperbacks as by Robert Crane. Most of the Robert Crane books are about one Sgt. Ben Corbin fighting in Korea, but this one, called Born of Battle, tells about an Army old hand Ernie Kovacs and a war reporter called Saxon, who must be Sellers's self-portrait, since he started writing for the war papers (I don't know the actual term here) in Korea. The book came out in Finland under the title Sankarit ovat kuolleet ("The Heroes Are Dead"), which doesn't make any sense. The cover is also misleading.  

Born of Battle doesn't contain many action or battle scenes, it's more like a love novel, since Saxon's romance with a South Korean woman takes so much place in the narration, and the book is pretty episodic. But I didn't mind, since Crane/Sellers writes convincingly and effortlessly about his characters and their endeavors. The book came out from Pyramid in 1962, but there's not much pulpiness that was so prevalent in the books Pyramid usually published.