Thouge sometimes we live to regret it.
scoundrels, con men and scalawags . ne’er do wells thieves cheats and rascals . bad boys and girls. Swindlers, seducers deceivers flimflam men , imposters , frauds fakes liars cads tricksters.. They go by many names , and they turn in stories of all sorts, in every genre under the sun , in myth and legend . They are the children of oki , the brothers of coyote . sometimes they are heroes . sometimes they are villains more often they are something in between grey characters and greyhas long been my favorite color . Its is so more interesting than black or white .
Iguess I have always been partial to rogues . when I was a boy in the fifties it sometimes seemed that half of prime time televising was sitcomsand the other half was westerns . My father loves westerns so growing up , I saw them all an unending parade of storng jawed sheriffs and frontier marshals each more heroic than the last. Marshal dillon was a rock, wyatt erap was brave , courageous and bold it said so right in The Thems songs and the lone ranger hopalong cassidy gene autry and roy rogers were heroic noble upstanding the most perfact role models any lad could want but none of them ever seemed quite real to me san francisco kept company with a different pertty woman every week , and hired out his services for money “”” heroes did not care about money “”” and the maverick brothers charming scoundrels who preferred the gamblers attire of black suit, string tie and fancy waistcoat to the traditional marshals grab of vest and badge and white hat , and were more likely to be found at a poker table than in a gunfight.
And you know when viewed today mauerick and have gun will travel hold up much berrer than the more traditional westerns of thire time . you do argue that they had better writing , better acting , and better directors than most of the various horse operas in the stable and you would not be wrong but I think the rogue factor has something to do with it as well
But it’s not just fans of old televition Westerns who appreciate a good rongue. Truth is, this is a character archetype that cuts across aii mediums and genres.
Clint eastwood become a star by playing characters like Rowdy Yates, Dirty Harry, and the man With No Name, rongues all. If instead he had been cast as goody Yates, By-the book Billy and Man with Two Froms of Identification, no one would ever have heard of him. now it is true when I was in college I knew a girl who preferred Ashley Wilkes, so nobel and self-sacrficiing, to that cad Rhett Butler, gambler blockade-runner but I think she is the only one. Every other woman I have ever met wood take rhett over Ashley in a hot minute and lets not ever talk about Frank kennedy and charles wilkes. Harrison ford comes across rather roguishly in every part he plays but of course with certain han is mere in the money, he makes that plain right from the start which makes it all the more then thrilling when she returns at the end of Star Wars to put that rocket up Darth Vader is butt. ( oh and he does shoot first in the cantina scene, no matter how George Lucas retcons that first movie) and indy indy is the very definition of rogue. Pulling out his gun to shoot that swordsman was not fair at all but my did not we love him for it?
But its not just television and film where rogues rule . look at the books.
Consider epic fantasy ….
Now fantasy often gets characterized as a genre in which absolute good batters absolute cvil and cretainly that arot of tthing is plentiful especially in the hands of the legions of tolkien imitators eith their endless dark lorfs evil minions, and square jawed heroes . but there is an older subgenre of fantasy that absolutely teems with rouge called awors and sorcery . mercenary and ultimately a usurper who instslled himself on stolen throne , and slept with every attractive woman he met along the why . Fafhrd and the gray mouser are even more roguish albeit somewhat less successful . It is unlikely either one will end up a king . amd then we have jack vances thoroughly amoral ( and thoroughly delightful) cugel the caever whose scheming never quite seems to produce the desires results but still.
Historical fiction has its share of dashing , devious untrustworthy scalawags as will . the three musketeers certainly had their roguish qualities ( you cannot really buckle a swash without some.) Rhett butler was as big a rogue into the movie . Michael chabon gave us two shlendid new rogues in amram and zelikman the stars of her historical novel gentlemen of the roads . and I for one hope we see a lot more of that pair . and of course there is george macdonald frasers immortal harry flashman a character kindasorta borrowed from tom broun schooldays thomas hughes classic british boarding school novel (sort of like harry potter without quidditch magic or girls).If you havent read macdonalds flashman books you have yet to meet one oof literatures great rogues . I envy you the experience.
Hell the whole wild west teemed with rogues .The outlaw hero is just as common as outlaw villain if not more so. Billy the kid ? Jesse james and his gang ; doc holloday rogue dentist extraordinaire and if we may glaance back at television once again pay cable though we also have hbo fabulous and much lamented and mucj lamented deadwood and the dastard at the center of it all . Al swearengen. As played by lan mcshance swearengen completely stole that show from its putative hero , the sheriff. But then roogues are good at stealing. Its one of the things that they do best.
What about the romance genre ? hoo the rouge almost always gets the girl in a romance . These days the rogue is the girl oft as not whice can be even cooler. It is always nice to see conventions standing on their heads.
Mystery fiction has entire ssubgenres about rogues. Private eyes have always had that aspect to them: if they were straight up by the book just the facts ma’am sort of guys they would be cops they’re not.
literary fiction gothics paranormal romance cock lit horror cyber ‘punk steampunk urban fantasy nurse novel tragedy’ comedy erotica, eotica, thrillers space opera knight opera sports stories military fiction ranch romances.
Every genre and subgenre has its rogues :as often as not theyre the characters most cherished and best rememberd.
All those are not represented in this anthology alas ,,, but there is part of me that wishes that they were. perhaps its the rogue into me the part of me that loves to color outside the streak but truth is I don’t much respect for genre barriers. These days I am best known as a fantasy is not meant to be a fantasy anthology.
Though it does have whatever good fantasy in it. My co editorgardenr dozois edited a science fiction magazine for a couple of decades but rogues is not a science anthology either though it does feature some sf stories as good as anything youll find in the monthly magazines.
Like warriors and dangerous wom_an our previous cross genre anthologies rogues is meant to cut across all lines. Our themes is universal and gardener and I both love good stories of all sorts, no matter what time place or genre they are set in so we went out and invited here well known authors from the worlds of mystery epic fantasy sword and sorcery city fantasy science fiction romance mainstream mystery( cozy or hard boiled) thriller historical romance western noir horror you name it not all of them accepted but many did and the resukts are on the pages that follow ours contri’butors make up an all star lineup of award winning and bestselling writers representing a dozen different publisher and as many genres. We asked each of them for the same thing a story about a rogue full of deft twsts cunning plans and reversals. Some chose to write in the genre they best known for .
Between my introduction to warriors the first of our crossgenre anthologies I talked about growing above in bayonne new jersey in the 1950s a city without a single bookstore . I bought every my reading material at newaatands and the corner candy shops from wire spinner racks . the paperbacks on those spinner shelf were not segregated with genre . All was jammed in together a copying of this two copies of that . you might find the horizons brothers karamazoou sandwiched in a nurse novel and the latest mike harmmer yarn from mickey spillanc. Dorothy parker and dorothy sayers shelf space with ralph ellison and j.d salinger. in with f, scott fitzgerald mysteeries,westrns gothics ghost stories classics of english literature the latest contemporary literary novels and of course , SF and fantasy and horror you could fing it all on thhat spinner rack and ten thousand like it..
I still do but in the decades since (too many decades I fear) publishing has chhanged chain bookstores have multiplied the genre barriers have hardened.I thinkk that’s a pity. Books shouls broaden us, take us to places we have never been and show us things weve never seen expand our horizons and our way of looking at the world.limitng your reading to a sigle genre defeats that. It limits us makes us smaller. It seemed to me then as now that there were will stories and bad stories,and that was the only distinction that truly mattered.
We thinks we have some good ones here. You will find rogues of every size shape and color in these pages with a broad variety of settings , representhing a healty max of different genres and subgeners. But you wont know which genres and subgenres until you”ve read them for gardner and I in the tradition of that old wire spinner rack, have mixed them all up. Some the tales herein were written by your favorite writers we expect oyhers are by writers you may never have heard of yet. Its our hope that by the time ypu finish rogues a few of the tter may have become the former.
Enjoy the read be careful of the gentlemen and lovely ladies in these pages are not entirely to be trusted.