I write this with a heavy heart as I realize that one of my writing heroes, Hunter S. Thompson, is dead. In a way, I'm not surprised that it involved guns, but I guess that (and I'm ripping off a friend of a friend's quote) I expected it to involve other people. Not him alone.
I can't write his style. I'll admit that right now. But I've got bits of it my writing. Hunter was one of the writers that spurned me into writing and made me continue. Admittedly, it was the romance of the idea -- careening through life like a rollercoaster off its tracks, bouncing from one idea to the next -- and his style that got me hooked. He's got a wonderfully vivid and blunt style that I wish I could do all the time. But there's only one Hunter.
Amusingly enough, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- his most famous book -- isn't my favorite book of his. I tend to enjoy his news articles and essays a bit more. But Hell's Angels is awesome in its description of that insane biker gang. I'll admit, I modeled a Shadowrun character after those bikers -- lusty, mean, homicidal and dangerous as hell. He made everything mundane seem more twisted and dark, which probably explains some of my worldview now. I don't see anything in happy fuzzy colors. At times, life looks like a Ralph Steadman painting thanks to him. Hell, the story about Hunter and Steadman at the Kentucky Derby is a depraved and deranged gem of a story for me that I always giggle hysterically at.
It's not surprising though. It seems like genius loves the whackos and the ones that teeter on the edge of oblivion. Sadly though, Hunter jumped over the edge. Godspeed ya bastard.