Hardboiled/Noir Speculative Fiction (Fantasy/SciFi/Weird/Horror)

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by Ruprecht, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Ruprecht

    Ruprecht Hands Of The Judges Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I posted this in the Fantasy/SciFi discussion thread, but it reached it's lock limit before anyone answered, so I thought I'd post it again.

    I've been going on a bit of a Hardboiled/Noir speculative fiction binge.
    Picked up K W Jeter's Noir, and Warren Hammond's KOP series.
    Trying to build a list and get reviews/recommendations.
    I mostly read Scifi (hence this list) but horror, fantasy, weird and other speculative genre's are ok as well.

    Already read (and for the most part enjoyed):

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (and the others) by P K Dick
    Halting State and Rule 34 by Charles Stross
    The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
    Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan (and his other books)
    The Great North Road and the Greg Mandel series by Peter F Hamilton
    The Alex Benedict series by Jack McDevitt
    Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem
    The Arabesk series by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
    The City and the City (and Bas Lag series) by China Mieville
    The Prefect (and the other Revelation Space novels) by Alastair Reynolds
    Finch by Jeff Vandermeer
    The Robot series by Isaac Asimov
    Metal Fatigue by Sean Williams
    Kiln People by David Brin

    What are some others?

    Edit: Just finished KOP and Ex-KOP by Warren Hammond.
    Enjoyable hard boiled fiction, but a little disappointing as Sci-Fi.
    The Sci-Fi is little more than a backdrop, it wouldn't take much tweaking at all to have the stories moved to a contemporary, 3rd world nation.
    I guess this way Hammond gets to make it all up, rather than research details.
    Aside from that, and perhaps a little bit too much slavish devotion to genre tropes, it's an entertaining series. The characterisation is good, and the third world setting (speculative or not) does a lot for the gritty hopelessness and desperation of hard boiled fiction.
    One more (KOP Killer) to go.

    Edit: Just finished KOP Killer by Warren Hammond.
    There was quite a gap between the writing of the first two novels and this one, but it's not evident in the novels themselves.
    Kop Killer seems a bit darker and more perverse than the first two (which weren't exactly a Care Bear Family Special), but that's largely due to the continuing downward spiral of the central character. I was actually expecting more overall plot development, as it is there's plenty of room for the series to continue.

    Edit: Reading Noir by K W Jeter at the moment.
    I rate it much higher than the KOP series.
    Compellingly atmospheric. Witty and biting social satire rather than puns and physical/situational comedy. Complex characterisation and the scifi aspects are integral and crucial rather than just a backdrop.
    Closer to a P K Dick novel as well, in that there's less action and more contemplation and altered perceptual states.
     
  2. Casrot

    Casrot Green Belt Platinum Member

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    The first thing that comes to mind is The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, although I haven't read it. It's the first book in a hardboiled urban fantasy series.

    Ian McDonald has a few novels that would probably fit in this vein, but I've only read River of Gods. I can't pinpoint exactly why I wasn't engaged by it, and I'm willing to accept that it's some fault on my part. I'd still like to give Brasyl a shot some time.

    Several of Haruki Murakami's novels might be of interest, especially Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Richard K. Morgan speaks very highly of him.

    Maybe Hal Duncan's Vellum and Ink would be considered noir, although once again, I haven't read either of them.

    Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth is something I've read, however, and it's quite good.

    Also, Charlie Huston's Already Dead has been on my reading list for a long time, but I haven't touched it yet. Incidentally, I highly recommend his Caught Stealing. Not speculative in nature, but it's one of the better hardboiled books I've read.
     
  3. Ruprecht

    Ruprecht Hands Of The Judges Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I've read River of Gods, Brasyl (preferred Brasyl, great read, although the historical flashback sections didn't grip me like the future stuff), Vellum and Ink. I wouldn't really put them in the Hardboiled/Noir category though.

    It's been a long time since I've read much fantasy, although I've got a vague memory of a Fantasy Noir/Hardboiled series I read (and enjoyed) at one stage, set in a city with werewolves, vampires, magic etc, with the main protagonists being a male and female partnership in the city guard. Can't remember the author or titles though. Might have a look at Aled Bedsoe when I'm in the mood again.

    I've read a few Supernatural Spy agency novels which verge on the same genre mash up.
    From Erick Von Lustbader's mystical martial arts stuff, through to more "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" comedy/horror like Charles' Stross Laundry Files series or Daniel O'Malley's The Rook (both of which I enjoyed a lot).

    I'll be sure to put Haruki Murakami on my reading list and check out Charlie Huston.
     
  4. Hunter Simpson

    Hunter Simpson 2GM/c^2 belt Platinum Member

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    I don't have time now to go into detail but Harlan Ellison is worth your time for sure. Good luck.
     
  5. Organic Damage

    Organic Damage Dancing on the ashes of the World

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    Somehow I've managed to go through almost all of Murakami's novels without happening to read that one. Good looking out.

    Anyone read Gun Machine by Warren Ellis? Not as speculative as some of the stuff on this list (and in comparison to his usual stuff) but it might be worth a look.
     
  6. CubicleGangster

    CubicleGangster Extendos Belt Platinum Member

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    Only thing I've read on that list is Do Android Dream....
    Great book, is that the only PKD book you have read?

    Also check out Harlan Ellison. Grab "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream". He writes short stories, but they are great.
     
  7. thebluerider

    thebluerider caelgender ftw

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    dammit Ruprecht, why did you split the threads?
     
  8. Ruprecht

    Ruprecht Hands Of The Judges Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    No, I've read most of PKD's books, but that's the one that fits the noir/hardboiled theme the most. A Scanner Darkly would be his next closest I guess.
    I'll grab I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream because it's short and a classic, is it really in line with the theme though?.
     
  9. CubicleGangster

    CubicleGangster Extendos Belt Platinum Member

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    The actually main story in that book, no. But their is about 10/11 short stories in that book alone. I'd have to double check which ones, but I know he has plenty that fit that theme.
     
  10. Rykusx

    Rykusx Green Belt

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    +1 for Harlan Ellison.

    Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin & Stieg Larsson for some traditional hardboiled dark detective stories.

    The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher are quite good - modern day detective who happens to be a wizard and deals with the occult (sort of in the same vein as Constantine).

    Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey and Repairman Jack series by Paul Wilson are good as well, although I haven't read the entire series.

    I just started on Brasyl myself from someone's recommendation at the end of the SciFi books thread. Only a few dozen pages in but digging it so far.
     
  11. SammyPops

    SammyPops Gold Belt

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    Good thread. Noir/scifi is one of my favs!!!!

    I'm just finishing the 1st Ex-hero book but will come back to this thread after.

    I will add:

    altered carbon is the GOAT of this type of book
    Great North Road was like 'chick p0rn/erotic'. Too long and utterly disappointing at the end
    Guns with Occasional Music was a lot of fun
    Enjoyed Rule 34 more than Halting State.
     
  12. Zer

    Zer Gold Belt

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    Altered Carbon was like the best shit I've ever read, so will check out some other recommendations ITT
     
  13. thebluerider

    thebluerider caelgender ftw

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    I almost hated The Prefect.
     
  14. Organic Damage

    Organic Damage Dancing on the ashes of the World

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    One might say Altered Carbon was too good. Even the sequels couldn't hold up to it.

    Anyone read Shovel Ready?
     
  15. CC's left foot

    CC's left foot Silver Belt

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    Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi was pretty good iirc.
     
  16. SammyPops

    SammyPops Gold Belt

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    I really liked this book.
     
  17. CC's left foot

    CC's left foot Silver Belt

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    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (and sequel) might fit into this genre. Really good novel, it's like a cross between Crichton and Sci-fi noir.
     
  18. seatea

    seatea Black belt in Shotacon karate.

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    Yep, it's decent enough. Doubt I'll bother with the follow-up books however.
     
  19. Ruprecht

    Ruprecht Hands Of The Judges Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Forgot to include that one. Definitely Hardboiled/Scifi and top notch.
    Pity he's taken a fancy to writing young adult stuff.
     
  20. Organic Damage

    Organic Damage Dancing on the ashes of the World

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    My feelings as well.

    I just finished going through Raymond Chandler's and Dashiell Hammett's novels... they still hold up.
     

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