Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled SF

Etienne Borgers (
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 01:32:55 -0700 (PDT)

Jim, Films ARE a topic when they are related to HB/Noir.

I totally agree with you for your reference to BR as Noir, even if R Scott made something totally different from the novel.

But... here comes the difficult part.

- HB in SF novels can be rather easily found, as some SF was dedicated to action/adventure kind of stories, mixing also crimes etc, and a lot of writers were doing genre-crossing back in the 50's and 60's

- I personally pretend it's more difficult to designate Noir in SF *novels*, because speculative and pessimistic SF was often more "existentialist" than Noir only. (On the contrary of some SF films where references to film Noir are obvious)

However I consider Philip K Dick as the best Noir in SF, and his novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' is a real Noir masterpiece, far different from the film BR. And Dick's title is superb!

I share your opinion about Gibson's Neuromancer.

I also consider 'I am a Legend' by the great Matheson not only a masterpiece of American SF, but definitely a novel of Noir inspiration. But Matheson was crossing genres, as you know. The film based on it: Omega Man, is totally different, kept only some Noir traits. But still OK (but not great) ...if you ignore the novel.

Another example, but in reverse way, is the weak and poor novel by Harry Harrison: 'Make room' that became
'Soylent Green' on screen. It was transcended from a pedestrian work about a cop's investigation in the future, into a brilliant and poignant film by Richard Fleisher, with real Noir approach. Film is better than book, and film is Noir. Not the book. This way round is rare.

There are other examples of SF being "films Noir", but not that many, as SF lost his grip as a cinema genre at the end of the 70's and during the 80's, and Star War did only some good to a short revival of space opera kind of movies.

 The Terminator (part 1), Total Recall, Planet of the Apes (1st film only), Outland, and Silent Running could fit as Noir, under others.

On the literary side, I think it's rather limited, when compared to the number of SF novels that were produced.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries wrote:
> I know films are not a topic,but Bladerunner is
definitely a combo of sf and
> noir. If you've never seen it, it's worth a video
rental fee. Be sure to get
> the director's cut.
> Which leads me to the sf sub genre of cyber punk.
It seems to me that
> Gibson's
> Neuromancer has a strong noir element in it
> Jim

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