From: Etienne Borgers ( wbac1203@wanadoo.be)
Date: 29 Nov 2003

HB/Noir SF

I was always interested by crossovers and mixing of genres with Noir/HB. SF is indeed showing some Noir glowing…

-HB per se is a little bit more difficult to find in SF, as this kind of approach could be compared to a part of the space-opera in SF, part which in its majority slipped early to "kill 'em all those dirty b…". Close to HB and procedural is "Make room! Make room!" by Harry Harrison, already cited; but the novel is not a great one (only average). On the contrary, the film Soylent Green, different by many aspects, is superior.

Poul Anderson and his Time Patrol series could qualify, as it's a procedural by some aspects.

Some novels by Isaac Asimov, like Caves of Steel are centred on an investigation. Also, in his Robots series.

There's a novel by Bradbury with a PI in the future (I forgot the title). Not on par with his very good older productions. This one lacks real interest and is overlong.

-Noir or mix Noir/HB is plenty in the modern SF domain. And a lot of them are really good novels. Harlan Ellison, a real, master, is often in the HB/Noir territory (Boy and his Dog, and many more). You will also find PI and/or police in some works by Phillip K. Dick, prominent SF author showing Noir settings in many of his best novels Donavan's Brain-1942- by CURT Siodmak, is a real thriller noir with some SF Robert Sheckley's novel "The 10th victim" is a thriller and mixes HB/Noir with SF. The novel is a novelisation of a film (a rather good film by Elio Petri-1965) based on… Sheckley's short story "The 7th victim" (1953).
"Simulacron 3" by Daniel F.Galouye, a very good novel wherein there is an investigation to discover what are the origins of our world and of the human race. The answer is amazing… but not really worse than all the others we were told… More atypical, but full of irony and noir by some of its aspects: The Space Merchants (and its sequel 'The Merchants War') short novels by Frederick Pohl and Cyril M.Kornbluth (1952, IIRC). Corporations rule the world and war rages between them. It rings a bell? Monkey Planet (Planet of the Apes) by Pierre Boulle; noir and ironical. A great book. Differs from the very good film (the first filmed version that is!). Another masterpiece : Ravage (1943) aka Ashes, ashes- by Ren頂arjavel. Bleek and noir. The post-catastrophe world and humans…
  And why not Sophocle's Oedipus: noir with SF aspects. A blind investigator looks (!) for his father's murderer, with a little help from his mother. Archetypical of noir and of the investigation as a quest. Breaks all SS Van Dine's taboos, which is a real good sign…

And I second recommendations for Theodore Sturgeon, Frederic Brown, Bradbury, Matheson… which were given in the thread. Do not forget Kurt Vonegut Jr, top writer of some top SF novels. There's more, but all this is already long.

Just one more: A Canticle for Leibowitz- brilliant novel by Walter M. Miller. Long before Ecco: something goes wrong in the monasteries. Not really a whodunit, but with an ending full of black humor. Atypical, but worth the read.

To remember: very good SF is also found in short stories, as a great part of American SF comes from the pulps and dedicated magazines. As for Matheson, there's for instance the brilliant "I, Monster", real noir short story.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6384

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