I’ve been listening to the CrimeWav podcast for a while now, so when I was at Mysterious Galaxy (a store who’s very existence validates the desire for the mixing of genres I’m going to get around to mentioning in a second here) I picked up a signed copy of Seth Harwood’s Jack Wakes Up. That bookstore isn’t the first time I found myself surrounded by both speculative fiction and crime/mystery/noir. I’ve been running into these genres all swirled together in the same book:
- Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
– The tapestry on which the hard boiled action takes place is a far future space opera peppered with many of my favorite SFnal tropes, but the core mystery and the voice is pure noir. The other books in this series are less pure mystery, but the hard boiled voice remains.
- Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword by Tee Morris
– A dwarf plucked out of your traditional high fantasy realm into 1930’s Chicago becomes a Private Eye. Spectacular genre muddling here with a mystery that integrates tropes from high fantasy, noir and mobster lore. The sequel, Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant is on my to read list. Tee Morris also podcasts.
- The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
– I’ve not yet read this Hugo Winner, but I understand that it fits perfectly into this list, with the speculative fiction element deriving from an alternate history where the State of Israel was founded in Alaska.
- The Sword Edged Blond by Alex Bledsoe
– Looks like a hard boiled private eye in a sword and sorcery setting. Tobias Buckell mentioned this the yesterday, and that was probably the final impetus for writing this post.
- Finch by Jeff VanderMeer
– I’m far from clear on the details, but I’m pretty sure this will fit solidly on this list. I believe this takes place in the same setting as City of Saints and Madmen, but it’s possible I’m totally confused. An audio recording of the first chapter foreshadows a podcast.
- The City & The City by China Mieville
– My mom cut out a book review of this and sent it to me. She’s often prescient in her understanding of my tastes, as I’ve been eyeing both Mieville and this book in particular for a while. Google reveals that everyone is talking about this book, but as usual I was most excited to hear about the novel’s big idea in the author’s own words.
- Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
– CSI with Demons. What’s not to love.
I’d have to say that it looks like a great time to be a lover of these two broad genres. What are some of your favorite mixtures of noir and speculative fiction?
In ongoing new weird
coverage, Tim Pratt posted
about his first
and most recent
stories being available online at the moment. I read 53rd Annual Mantis Homecoming Dance
and I find no trouble classifying it New Weird.
and back to the list, updates as I encounter them follow: