Re: RARA-AVIS: Everything's Noir?

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 20 May 2007

At 10:03 PM 19/05/2007, Michael Robison wrote:

>As far as sci-fi noir literature, Dick's I Dream of
>Electric Sheep came across as less noir than the
>Bladerunner movie. I thought Gibson's Neuromancer
>pretty close to noir. And I wouldn't argue strongly
>against Chicago being noir.

Viewing noir as precluding transcendence I have to say I too thought Chicago was noir. More a struggle for survival there than transcendence, unless you consider hoofing before the footlights transcendent. And I know others disagree with me, but I still think Maltese Falcon noir, in that the rules Spade developed for himself, and was forced to accept and live with, definitely precluded the transcendence through love or justice, despite the fact that he solved his case.

Although the genre is definitely a response to 20th century conditions and philosophies it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that authors might now write something we could call historical noir set in periods that predate the genre's origins. Like many, however, I've become a bit skeptical of the use of the word "noir" to market fiction. I suspect that for the most part they rely on the use of dark and sinister atmospherics often associated with the genre while incorporating a transcendent morality. Sort of sheep in wolves' clothing.

Best, Kerry

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