So I'm wondering what your favorite fight scene is, and why. It can be from a novel, short story, novella, whatever, but something written, no TV shows or movies. Copy/Paste it or type it if you can, or link to it if it exists somewhere online. Failing that, just tell me about it, where it came from, and why you like it so much. What makes a good fight scene. Now, it can be a fight or just some other scene of violence, such as the torture scene in Casino Royale.

Mine is from William Faulkner's "Barn Burning". Here's the scene:

'His father turned, and he followed the stiff black coat, the wiry figure walking a little stiffly from where a Confederate provost's man's musket ball had taken him in the heel on a stolen horse thirty years ago, followed the two backs now, since his older brother had appeared from somewhere in the crowd, no taller than the father but thicker, chewing tobacco steadily, between the two lines of grim-faced men and out of the store and across the worn gallery and down the sagging steps and among the dogs and half-grown boys in the mild May dust, where as he passed a voice hissed:

"Barn burner!"

Again he could not see, whirling; there was a face in a red haze, moonlike, bigger than the full moon, the owner of it half again his size, he leaping in the red haze toward the face, feeling no blow, feeling no shock when his head struck the earth, scrabbling up and leaping again, feeling no blow this time either and tasting no blood, scrabbling up to see the other boy in full flight and himself already leaping into pursuit as his father's hand jerked him back, the harsh, cold voice speaking above him: "Go get in the wagon."'

I like this scene because as you're reading along, a fight takes place and it's done with before you even realize what happened. Faulkner's the best at sneaking in action on you without you expecting it or even realizing it, and the fight is over fast, which, at least in the context of this story, is realistic.

So what's the best fight scene ever?

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Yes. I liked that, too. My favorite fight scenes are probably by Bernard Cornwell in the Sharpe novels.
I just reread All Quiet on the Western Front. I can't quote a particular scene--the whole book is a fight scene--but it gives a picture of the WWI exhaustion of "fighting over 200 yards of ground--and a dead man for every yard." LAS
Elmore Leonard, The Hot Kid:

Carlos waited for the marshals to look at him before saying, "The cowboy starts to ride off and I call to him to wait a second. He reins and looks at me. I told him I'd quit chasing him if he brought my cows back. I said, "But you try to ride off with my stock I'll shoot you.'"

"You spoke to him like that?" the talker said. "How old are you?"

"Going on sixteen. The same age as my dad when he joined the U.S. Marines."

The quiet marshal spoke for the first time. He said, "So this Wally Tarwater rode off on you."

"Yes sir. Once I see he isn't gonna turn my cows, and he's approaching the stock trailer by now, I shot him." Carlos dropped his tone, saying, "I meant to wing him...

...The talkative marshal spoke up."You're doing all this shooting from what, two hundred yards." He glanced toward the Winchester leaning against a pecan tree. "No scope on your rifle?"

"Step out there a good piece and hold up a snake by it's tail, a live one," Virgil said. "My boy'll shoot its head off for you."

"I believe it," the quiet marshal said.

He brought a card from his vest pocket and handed it between the tips of his fingers to Virgil. He said, "Mr. Webser, I'd be interested to know what your boy sees himself doing in five or six years."
The only one that jumps out from my memory was in THE MEDITERRANEAN CAPER, an early (1973) Dirk Pitt book by Clive Cussler. Dirk and Al Giordano were fighting some huge dude and getting the crap kicked out of them When their opponent turns his back on Dirk, Dirk remembers an old adage: No matter how big the man, hit him hard in the balls, and he will go down.
Any fight scene from a Robert B. Parker Spenser novel. I love how a lot of times the action will run in a paragraph that may run for pages. Works for him, since in other parts of his books, dialogue is often short one-sentence graphs.


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