Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, March 11, 2005

Favorite Fictional Characters

Man, how juicy an opportunity is this? (UPDATE: Apparently, it's just juicy enough to let it fester on the "polish this up" pile for almost two weeks...)

Via Sheila O'Malley's Blog, I ran across a post asking about your favorite fictional characters. She found it here.

I tried really hard not to peek at Sheila's picks, or those on the news article until I made my list. That way, my true choices will come out, and you'll get to see a bit of my personality shine through, or else see how dreadfully nyekulturniy I really am, depending on your perspective!

There are problems in the tabulating, though... Right away I started filling up the list with characters from Shakespeare and R.A. Heinlein. That way lies boredom for the reader, and it fills up the list. So, no more than 3 characters from any one source! (Believe me, this hurts me a lot worse than it hurts you!)

Also, I'm not gonna go the full 100, 'cause I just dumped 100 Things About Me on your collective pointy little heads not too long ago. I'll go 50 or so, and add any others that pop into my head later.

By "Fictional", I'm choosing the meaning "From Fiction", meaning the printed page. This'll let me get in characters from plays, but we'll leave movie & comic book characters out of it, despite the existence of screenplays and graphic novels.

Here we go. This'll be in random order. (UPDATE: Jeebus! Do I read that much in the whodunit genre? Guess so!)

KEY: Character name, short description including author, and book/play title in parentheses
1) Travis McGee - John D. MacDonald's greatest creation. (The Deep Blue Goodbye, et al)

2) Marion 'Doc' Ford - R.W. White's able successor to Travis McGee's throne. (Sanibel Flats, et al)

3) Tatton Chantry - My favorite Louis L'Amour novel. Great character with a mysterious past (Fair Blows The Wind)

4) Richard Sharpe - Bernard Cornwell's scarred soldier. Can't get enough of these books! (Sharpe's Eagle, et al)

5) Romeo & Juliet - Couldn't split these two up... Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. (Romeo & Juliet)

6) Friday Baldwin - So strong. So fragile. So... fictional, darn the luck! Heinlein's 2nd best female character. (Friday)

7) Maureen Johnson Long - Heinlein's best heroine. (To Sail Beyond The Sunset)

8) Charles 'Kip' Russell - My favorite of Heinlein's juvenile heroes. (Have Spacesuit, Will Travel)

9) Dirk Pitt - Clive Cussler's indestructible & amphibious hero. (Vixen 03, et al)

10) Echo Sackett - L'Amour's Sackett boys were tough, but this Sackett girl will kick your ass! (Ride The River)

11) Milo Talon - Most Louis L'Amour fans would pick one of the Sacketts. I must take another road! (The Man From The Broken Hills)

12) Hamlet - Shakespeare proved that nothing goes better with Danish than blood & poison. (The Tragedy Of Hamlet)

13) Aunt Pearl Burras - "Ohhhh, Ripper's eaten the bitter pill!" By the time that line rolls around, you're already falling out of your chair & gasping for breath you're laughing so hard. For me, Aunt Pearl is the best of the dozens of characters created by Joe Sears and Jaston Williams for their wonderful trilogy of stageplays about the citizens of Tuna, Texas, where the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. (Greater Tuna)

14) Arly Hanks - The Ozark region's favorite (and only) female police chief, written by Joan Hess. (Madness in Maggody)

15) Steve Carella - One of Ed McBain's many detectives, Carella still stands out. (87th Precinct novels)

16) Dave Robicheaux - Flawed Cajun detective learns to live again. (Heaven's Prisoners, et al)

17) Andrew Gainer - Gerald Browne's novels are formulaic, but his characters are unforgettable. (19 Purchase Street)

18) Eliza - Heroine of Neal Stephenson's novels Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System Of The World. (The Baroque Cycle)

19) Harry Crewe/Harimad-Sol - Robin McKinley's heroine of Damar. (The Blue Sword)

20) Paul Atreides - What happens when you become a god? Frank Herbert's masterpiece. (Dune)

21) Baron Vladimir Harkonnen - On the top 5 Nasty Villains Of All Time list! (Dune)

22) Stuart Haydon - David Lindsay's Houston, TX detective. (Spiral, et al)

23) Shasta - From my favorite Narnia Chronicle by C.S. Lewis. (The Horse & His Boy)

24) Henry Reed - Keith Robertson's books are still fun to read as an adult. (Henry Reed, Inc., et al)

25) Tabitha Ruth "Turtle" Wexler - Most of my love of detective fiction stems from this phenomenal children's mystery book by Ellen Raskin. (The Westing Game)

26) PJ Cooper - From William Hogan's novel of being a teenager in the '60s. (The Quartzite Trip)

27) Molly - William Gibson's flawed razorgirl of the near future. (Neuromancer)

28) Nick & Nora Charles - Believe it or not, Dashiell Hammett's book came before the movie! Best detective couple ever! (The Thin Man)

29) John Dortmunder & Parker - Two great characters, and two sides of the criminal coin by the same author, Donald Westlake aka Richard Stark. (The Hot Rock, Payback, et al)

30) Pyanfar Chanur - CJ Cherryh's leonine heroine. (The Pride of Chanur, et al)

31) Randall Flagg - He's pleased to meet you! Hope you got his name! Steven King knocks this one out of the park. (The Stand)

32) Xavier Quinn - A.H.Z. Carr's Bahamian detective. (Finding Maubee)

33) Marcus Didius Falco - Even Ancient Rome had detectives! Lindsey Davis's books are a treat! (The Iron Hand Of Mars, et al)

34) Atticus Kodiak - The name's a stretch to swallow, but the books by Greg Rucka you swallow right up! (Finder, et al)

35) Alan Lewrie - Dewey Lambdin's ne'er do well naval officer is more fun than Hornblower, less pompous than Jack Aubrey. (The King's Coat, et al)

36) The Hardy Boys - I read dozens of these as a kid. (The Tower Treasure, et al)

37) Sherlock Holmes - The game is afoot! Arthur Conan Doyle's immortal detective. (The Speckled Band, et al)

38) Skink - What Carl Hiaasen novel would be complete without a half-naked roadkill-eating Republican ex-governor of Florida? (Double Whammy, et al)

39) Kinsey Millhone - Sue Grafton's harried heroine. (A Is For Alibi, et al)

40) Kinky Friedman - What's real and what's fiction is kind of up in the air in these novels by the Kinkster. (The Love Song Of J. Edgar Hoover, et al)

41) Rosencrantz & Guildenstern - Can't have one without the other! Hamlet's hapless courtiers move from Shakespeare's Globe to Tom Stoppard's Broadway. (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead)

42) Santiago - Hemingway's most memorable character. (The Old Man And The Sea)

43) Taita - Wilbur Smith's best character is an Egyptian slave! (River God)

44) Horatio Hornblower - C.S. Forester's intrepid sailor. (Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, et al)

45) Athos - Alexandre Dumas' character pretty much defines the "man with a tragic past" genre. (The Three Musketeers)

46) John Bannerman - Rule #1 of John Maxim's character Bannerman: Don't fuck with his town! (The Bannerman Solution, et al)

47) Alvin Fernald - More juvenile fun from author Clifford B. Hicks. I wore my copy out in 4th grade. (Alvin Fernald, Superweasel)

48) Sam Gribley - Jean George's young Thoreau-in-training. Wonderful novel! (My Side Of The Mountain)

49) Mrs. Whatsit - Along with Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, she was an indespensible part of Madeleine L'Engle's novel for children. (A Wrinkle In Time)

50) Pieter Coetzee - Daniel Carney's hard-bitten Boer mercenary comes to grips with the future of Africa. (The Wild Geese)