Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V2 #1014

Bob Toomey (
Sun, 26 Dec 1999 04:17:26 +0000

"Paul J. Giguere" wrote:

>>BTW, The Phillip K. Dick novel that "Bladerunner" was based on is well
>>worth reading, and has one of the all time great titles: "Do Androids
>>Dream of Electric Sheep?"

>Phillip K. Dick was a great writer and DADoES was a truly great novel.

Well, Dick is probably my favorite writer, although he didn't do much that fits with this list. But briefly for those who are interested in one of America's great home grown surrealists, novels worth seeking out would include: The Man in the High Castle (a very mainstream take on an alternate USA where the Axis won WW II), Martian Time-Slip (probably his best book in spite of the ditzy title), The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (his most surreal and terrifying), A Scanner Darkly (the closest Dick got to writing an actual crime novel), and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (Woolrich on LSD). It's rarely mentioned but worth noting that Dick's stuff, for all of its wild inventiveness and metaphysical play, is also very funny.

> Another science fiction/detective novel set in the future was Alfred
> Bester's THE DEMOLISHED MAN. Definitely worth a read. I'm not as fond
> however of Isaac Asimov's two cross-genre novels CAVES OF STEEL and NAKED SUN.

THE DEMOLISHED MAN is more of a police procedural centering around an impossible crime: How do you commit a murder in a society where the cops can read minds? Likewise, THE CAVES OF STEEL is a locked room mystery, where the room is New York City. I have a higher opinion of it than you do.

Other SF/fantasy more in the hardboiled vein include: Glen Cook's series about a PI named Garrett in a world of magic, starting with SWEET SILVER BLUES; similar but better is Michael Reeves' DARKWORLD DETECTIVE; for a straight SF extrapolation of the mean streets gone meaner, the Carlucci novels by Richard Paul Russo, the first of which is DESTROYING ANGEL; and William Gibson's famous NEUROMANCER, the book that coined the term cyberspace, owes more than a passing nod to Chandler.


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