Or, at least, continues to receive some of the attention he deserves courtesy of a new line of e-reprints. A new review went live the other day at The Post Modern Pulp Blog (maintained by the talented Jack Badelaire, who uses his film degree about as well as I use mine).
I’ve talked about Fargo several times on my own blog, probably most prominently in this post, if you want the lowdown on why I hold the character in such high regard. But if you don’t have time for a long essay or for link hopping, I’ll give you the summary. Ben Haas, writing as John Benteen, created a men’s adventure series in the ’70s about a globe-trotting mercenary, earning his trade in the days before the Great War. It’s high octane, lean and muscular, and packs more power than you’d think formula fiction ever capable of. And it IS formula, but as my friend Chris Hocking says re: Haas, there’s cheeseburgers, and then there’s cheeseburgers whipped up by a master chef.
Haas was a brilliant writer, and anyone who likes adventure stories needs to check him out and see how it’s done. The more you read of him, the more you’ll be astonished by how often he still manages to pull surprises, power, and even pathos out of very similar situations.
I’ll put it another way — until I got introduced to Haas, I never read a western in my life. I was strictly an (ancient) historical fiction guy, or a fantasy guy, or a science fiction guy. But Haas was so good it blew my notions of genre convention wide open. He’s now one of my very favorite writers, up there with Leigh Brackett, Harold Lamb, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and all the other suspects you’ve heard me gas on about.
Seriously, check him out. Here’s the Amazon page with a number of his (cheap!) books available on Kindle. You’ll note that some are Sundance titles, which are also excellent.