RARA-AVIS: 1960s: No acid freakouts?

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 04 Feb 2003

I'm reading Richard Neely's THE PLASTIC NIGHTMARE (aka NIGHTMARE) (1969) right now. No spoilers, but if you like books where a guy wakes up with complete amnesia and doesn't know who he can trust, you won't want to miss it.

It was written in 1969 and set in San Francisco, but it's about well-off people in their late 30 or 40s, and so far I haven't seen any mention of anything hippyish. It got me thinking about how hardboiled and noir writing went through the sixties and into the seventies. Science fiction changed a lot in that time, but how did HB writers deal with it all? John D. MacDonald and Ross Macdonald discussed the new scene, but McGee and Archer weren't going to drop out and get with it. I haven't read Westlake's non-Parker books from that time, but as Richard Stark he wasn't having Parker protest anything or get mellow. James Crumley started writing then, didn't he? Did he come out of that generation, with some of those attitudes? Is there anyone else?

Hardboiled and noir writers had been writing about paranoia, corruption, fear, drugs, alcohol, violence, and sex for decades. Did they not need to open up or rebel against the establishment? Mysteries have certain rules that need to be followed (the criminal should be caught), which puts some restrictions on things, but the more general classification of crime novels doesn't require this. For all that other writing, and other genre fiction, was affected by the sixties, from what little I know about that time, I don't see many changes.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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