Robert Beveridge's Reviews > The Sun Never Rises in the Big City

The Sun Never Rises in the Big City by Jeremy C. Shipp
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Dec 28, 2011

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Jeremy C. Shipp, The Sun Never Rises in the Big City (Jeremy Shipp, 2011)

If I really got going on this, I would end up writing a review longer than the offering itself, so I'll try to keep this as short as I can while touching on all the proper points. Hardboiled crime fiction is a pretty easy target for parodying (or melding into another genre, take your pick); it's been around for dog's years, it's got a strong and well-known set of conventions to be had in the writing, and it's still popular. Which means it makes sense that so many bizarro authors over the beginning years of the movement have folded in a bit of noir here and there. Recently, though, there seems to have been a groundswell. Kevin Shamel's very good Rotten Little Animals, Forrest Armstrong's even better The Deadheart Shelters, Garrett Cook's Jimmy Plush: Teddy Bear Detective, and even, if you turn your head and squint right, Andersen Prunty's The Sex Beast of Scurvy Island and Steve Lowe's Wolves Dressed As Men, have adapted, albeit twistily, the noir conventions to bizarro. But I don't think I've ever seen a bizarro story that starts off cleaving so well to the convention, and then departing from it so thoroughly, as The Sun Never Rises in the Big City. I mean, look at that title, and admit it, you're expecting an Alex Proyas rip-off, right? No such luck, pal. You might catch an odor of Bladerunner in the initial scenes, but filtered heavily through Spade (post Archer's untimely demise). Until, that is, the first big twist, which doesn't let me tell you much about the story, since it comes a couple of pages in and everything else hangs on it, but our wannabe gumshoe gets himself involved in a variety of interesting and dangerous situations, etc. Exactly what you'd expect, but in an entirely different venue (I think I can tell you without spoiling anything that the story pretty quickly becomes a fractured sci-fi tale). I wish it had been longer; there are a number of really interesting places this story could have gone, and I'm hoping it will eventually get fleshed out into a novel. But what's here is well worth reading. ***

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