RARA-AVIS: Fredric Brown & SF

From: chrisaschneider@earthlink.net
Date: 29 Dec 2003

-----Original Message----- From: Larry Newton < ldnewton2@comcast.net> Sent: Dec 28, 2003 7:49 PM To: rara-avis@icomm.ca Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Themes of the Months

did Fredric Brown ever write hardboiled SF?

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Well, I don't know about "hard-boiled," but he certainly wrote *good* SF.

I just finished his novel "What Mad Universe" (1949), which I primarily remembered for it's comedy. This time 'round, though, it seemed more than a bit reminiscent of noir movies of the period like "Crossfire" -- translated, of course, into SF terms.

Consider, f'rinstance, the central situation of this novel: Male protag finds himself in on-the-run in a strange big city where his sweetheart no longer recognizes him, where he must assume a new name, where disenfranchised vets are turning to crime, and where everyone is on the lookout for disguised subversives.

Of course, there's also a lot of deliberate comedy. Still, one recognizes the terriyory ...

Brown's mostly known, in SF circles, for his short stories, but there are also novels. Probably "Martians, Go Home" is the Offical Good One. Haven't read it yet. "Universe" is, though, highly recommendable.

[Aside #1: There's a movie version of "Martians, Go Home" which everyone seems to hate. Ignore it.

Aside #2: Don't worry if "What Mad Universe" seems a bit schlock-y at times. THERE'S A REASON FOR THAT. Wouldn't want to give it away, but ... the fact that my cheap-o Bantam paperback features a purple monster plus a cruel blonde looking vaguely like Peggy Castle on its cover is -- heh-heh! -- entirely understandable. ]


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