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Books and Series > Looking for gritty noir-ish science fiction

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message 1: by Christian (last edited Dec 18, 2012 07:13PM) (new)

Christian I love neo noir fiction and love science fiction
Some of my favorite novels are Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon and Warren Hammond's Kop.

So I'm looking for gritty grounded science fiction with a noir/hard boiled atmosphere. Violent, dark, bleak, with an anti-hero or criminal protagonist. Preferably set on Earth or some kind of lawless frontier-like colony

Any suggestions, either books or authors? I prefer more current work, at least from the last decade


message 2: by David (new)

David Manuel | 121 comments Philip K. Dick


message 3: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh (kurtreichenbaugh) | 102 comments There is a novel someone was telling me about a cop/detective working during the final days before the earth would get destroyed by a large meteor. Many people are committing suicide, but one suicide appears to have been a murder. The cop hurries to solve the murder as the meteor approaches. I'll get the name of it, or someone on the site here might recognize it. It sounds like a good one.


message 4: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 11 comments Check out Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief.


message 5: by Dominick (new)

Dominick (dominickgrace) | 44 comments William Gibson's an obvious choice here, especially the Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive). Brin's Kiln People is kinds of noirish but also somewhat tongue in cheek, IIRC. Terence M. Green's Blue Limob was noirish, IIRC, though the protagonist is a cop. One of Greg Egan's novels--Quarantine, I believe--was noirish as well. Robert J. Sawyer's forthcoming Red Planet Blues is, as the title suggests, SF noir.


message 6: by Jed (last edited Dec 19, 2012 01:19PM) (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 43 comments The Last Policeman by Ben Winters is what Kurt suggeted. Pretty good, but its a trilogy....

I really like the Retrieval Artist series by Krystyn Rusch. Set mostly on the moon about 700 years from now. There are about 8 books in the series starting with The Retrieval Artist and up to the recently released Blowback.



Kurt wrote: "There is a novel someone was telling me about a cop/detective working during the final days before the earth would get destroyed by a large meteor. Many people are committing suicide, but one suici..."


message 7: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh (kurtreichenbaugh) | 102 comments Jed wrote: "The Last Policeman by Ben Winters is what Kurt suggeted. Pretty good, but its a trilogy....

I really like the Retrieval Artist series by Krystyn Rusch. Set mostly on the moon about 700 years from ..."


Yes, That's it. I didn't know it was a trilogy. It sounded really good from the way it was described to me.


message 8: by Toby (new)

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments With the William Gibson recommendation I'd probably look more towards the Bridge trilogy than the sprawl trilogy but that may be a taste thing.

I've got Pashazade lined up as the first of the Arabesk trilogy. I'm not sure how much it will meet your requirements but if you're yet to discover The Windup Girl or some of the recent works of Ian McDonald they're worth a go. Plus maybe the Laundry Files series from Charles Stross that starts with The Atrocity Archives.


message 9: by Dominick (new)

Dominick (dominickgrace) | 44 comments The Bridge trilogy is certainly great stuff, too, but it seems less (or less conventionally) noirish to me than the Sprawl trilogy. Also probably less easily accessible. But for crime-inflected SF, almost any Gibson is worth reading, even his latest trilogy (which, if there's an overarching name for it yet, I don't know what it is; the Bigend trilogy perhaps?).


message 10: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 85 comments You might want to consider Neal Asher too.


message 11: by Mharper (new)

Mharper Harper (harp) Flashback by Dan Simmons is a great read. Written using both noir and S-F tropes: a washed up cop alienated in a mega city is hired by a Japanese businessman to solve the murder of his son. The crime took place years ago, and by using a drug called Flashback, the PI can relive memories of the investigation. Good stuff.


message 12: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 43 comments God's War - I can't say anything beyond - FANTASTIC!
Gideon's Fall: When You Don't Have a Prayer, Only a Miracle Will Do I'd take that Neal Asher suggestion also - his BEST book isThe Skinner but his most recent books are pretty lame.


message 13: by Thea (new)

Thea Gency (theagency) | 3 comments Doubling the PKD recommendation.


message 14: by James (new)

James Newman | 21 comments Jeff Somers - Avery Crates. Very Noir sci-fi.


message 15: by Darusha (new)

Darusha Wehm I'd recommend The Night Mayor by Kim Newman - this book is particularly enjoyable if you're familiar with classic noir films.

You also might like Finch by Jeff VanderMeer. It's more weird than SF, but very noir.

And a little BSP - my novels are SF noir, too. M. Darusha Wehm


message 16: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 11 comments Mharper wrote: "Flashback by Dan Simmons is a great read. Written using both noir and S-F tropes: a washed up cop alienated in a mega city is hired by a Japanese businessman to solve the murder of his son. The c..."

I'm a fan of Dan Simmons (The Terror might be my favorite, so far) but I've avoided Flashback. After reading a number of reviews and getting some feedback from friends (some of whom liked many of whom disliked the novel), I've formed this idea that with this novel, Dan Simmons has indulged his inner Glenn Beck and has created a world straight out of paranoid, right wing fantasies.

Normally, I wouldn't really spend much time worrying about this. A number of authors depict worlds or have characters who do/say things that I would never agree with. However, Mr. Simmons has made it clear in the past that he harbors no small amount of fear of Islam and Muslims so my concer is that the author is endorsing prejudice.

Any thoughts on the political aspects of the novel?


message 17: by Mathew (new)

Mathew Carruthers | 8 comments The Carlucci trilogy by Richard Paul Russo fits that gritty noir detective bill. Matt Ruff's Public Works trilogy is very good too - sort of comedic noirish cyberpunk. Or if prefer a fantasy twist, read the Garrett Files by Glen Cook.


message 18: by Ctgt (new)

Ctgt | 110 comments Leviathan Wakes might fit the bill. It has a detective plot line running throughout, not sure if you would consider it noir though. I really enjoyed the book.


message 19: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 43 comments If anything, it was more just a streak of anti-Obama rather than anti-Muslim. The book was so-so, nothing more. Certainly, his right-wing roots were very visible.

His Joe Kurtz novels are much more the Parker you know and love.

Dharmakirti wrote: "Mharper wrote: "Flashback by Dan Simmons is a great read. Written using both noir and S-F tropes: a washed up cop alienated in a mega city is hired by a Japanese businessman to solve the murder of..."


message 20: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 43 comments ...and the KOP series is definitely noir sci-fi crime.


message 21: by Jed (new)

Jed (specklebang) | 43 comments ...and of course Altered Carbon is the noirest of them all....


message 22: by Still (new)

Still (mantan) | 425 comments Anyone here ever read THE JEHOVAH CONTRACT by Victor Koman? It was published in the U.S. in 1987 by Franklin Watts.

Set in a futuristic (1999) bombed-out Los Angeles, a former professional assassin is drinking himself to death operating out of a sleazy little office when an eccentric millionaire evangelist comes calling with an offer of eternal life in exchange for assassinating "the Lord God Almighty".

The assassin takes the case -all expenses paid- and embarks on a cosmos jumping, time/mind-warping journey tracking down God for the Big Hit.

I enjoyed it a great deal at the time. It's time I re-read it.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 443 comments That sounds like fun, Mantan, especially with this recommendation:
"I wholeheartedly recommend this Mission Impossible/Phillip Marlowe/Mike Hammer/John Milton Faith Opera." -- Philip Jose Farmer


message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul | 6 comments How about Jack O'Connell's THE WORD MADE FLESH? It's been years since I read that one, but I remember loving it.


message 25: by Still (new)

Still (mantan) | 425 comments Paul wrote: "How about Jack O'Connell's THE WORD MADE FLESH? It's been years since I read that one, but I remember loving it."

WOW!
The Quinsigamond Series.
GREAT suggestion.
Has O'Connell written anything else since THE RESURRECTIONIST?
I had never read any of his books until I started out with THE BOX in February of 2012. I couldn't go through the other four entries fast enough.
A truly great and unique author, that Jack O'Connell.


message 26: by Toby (new)

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments My favourite thing about most of the suggestions in this list is that they haven't turned up via the GR recommendations engine for me at any time in the past 2 years despite my obvious interest in and reading around the genre.


message 27: by Dennis (new)

Dennis I really enjoyed reading "Gun with Occasional Music", by Jonathan Lethem


message 28: by Simon (last edited Apr 05, 2013 12:43AM) (new)

Simon (toastermantis) | 174 comments ''The Demolished Man'' and ''The Stars My Destination'', both by Alfred Bester, are exactly what you need. The former's a dystopian police procedural, and the first half of the latter basically plays like Donald Westlake's Parker let loose in a neo-Victorian space opera setting.

Alfred Bester's also Wm. Gibson's main influence from inside the science-fiction genre along with Samuel Delany. (whom I haven't read yet)


message 29: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Mattick (xopher_tm) | 1 comments Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat by Andrez Bergen.
Through a Scanner Darkly by PKDick.

First two that come to my mind.


message 30: by Simon (new)

Simon (toastermantis) | 174 comments It's just called "A Scanner Darkly". Be sure to pick up the same author's "Flow, My Tears, The Policeman Said" and "Ubik" as they're more typical of his style.


message 31: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 1 comments Fyi, if you've got a nook the nook shop app has maybe a half dozen of the more popular PK Dick novels for three bucks each. Not sure how long that'll last.


message 32: by Joe (new)

Joe  Noir (goodreadscomgoodreadscomjoe_noir) | 5 comments The Repossession Mambo (apa Repo Men) by Eric Garcia
Metrophage by Richard Kadrey
The Night Mayor by Kim Newman
Make Room! Make Room! By Harry Harrison
Outland movie novelization by Alan Dean Foster


message 33: by Dennis (new)

Dennis | 35 comments Try the Marid Audran trilogy starting with When Gravity Fails. It takes place in North Africa in the future as the world is crumbling . Very hardboiled.


message 34: by Thomas (last edited Jul 30, 2013 02:11PM) (new)

Thomas Reece | 3 comments If anyone can help me, I'd really appreciate it. In the 80's there was a hardboiled paperback I read about a detective(?) who was chasing a serial killer across the galaxy. The serial killer had an alien sidekick that looked like a praying mantis. I think the mantis would eat children...Gritty, noir-ish, full of sex and very violent. No ones been able to give me any good guesses on what it might be. Could have been from the early 70's to the mid 80's...and I thought it was from Tor or Ballantine. Also it was missing the cover, so that won't help. I would love to find this book and read it again!


message 35: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 555 comments Mod
I've read twice through the previous posts to see if anyone mentioned Isaac Asimov : The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun . Both are crime investigations led by a human and an android buddy team.


message 36: by Still (new)

Still (mantan) | 425 comments Joe wrote: "The Repossession Mambo (apa Repo Men) by Eric Garcia
Metrophage by Richard Kadrey
The Night Mayor by Kim Newman
Make Room! Make Room! By Harry Harrison
Outland movie novelization by Alan Dean Foster"


I wish everyone would read Metrophage by Richard Kadrey.
Don't even know if it remains in print but I still have my original paperback copy in very nice condition.
What I need to do is re-read it!


message 37: by Still (new)

Still (mantan) | 425 comments Algernon wrote: "I've read twice through the previous posts to see if anyone mentioned Isaac Asimov : The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun . Both are crime investigations led by a human and an android buddy team."

Great suggestions -however, I haven't read either since I was a teenager.
Yet another pair of novels overdue for a re-read.


message 38: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh (kurtreichenbaugh) | 102 comments Mantan wrote: "Joe wrote: "The Repossession Mambo (apa Repo Men) by Eric Garcia
Metrophage by Richard Kadrey
The Night Mayor by Kim Newman
Make Room! Make Room! By Harry Harrison
Outland movie novelization by Al..."


Looks good, I'll put it on my list of books to find.


message 39: by David (new)

David Greene (dov999) | 4 comments China Mieville - hard boiled SF and literary. This author is not to be missed. Perdito Street Station and The City and the City are pretty spectacular mindblowers.


message 40: by Paul (new)

Paul (paullev) | 10 comments Mantan wrote: "Anyone here ever read THE JEHOVAH CONTRACT by Victor Koman? It was published in the U.S. in 1987 by Franklin Watts."

Highly recommended!


message 41: by Paul (last edited Oct 18, 2013 11:20PM) (new)

Paul (paullev) | 10 comments Algernon wrote: "I've read twice through the previous posts to see if anyone mentioned Isaac Asimov : The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun . Both are crime investigations led by a human and an android buddy team."

Excellent choices. And the third novel in this series - The Robots of Dawn - is also good.


message 42: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 443 comments Paul wrote: "Mantan wrote: "Anyone here ever read THE JEHOVAH CONTRACT by Victor Koman? It was published in the U.S. in 1987 by Franklin Watts."

Highly recommended!"


I only gave it 2 stars. It didn't live up to itself, IMO. My review is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 43: by Mr (new)

Mr | 1 comments I second Neal Asher, The Skinner / Spatterjay and Agent Cormac Series especially. Peter Hamiltons Greg Mandell series is (politically dubious, along with Asher) darkish, violent pulp / detective fun.
I've always lumped Richard K. Morgans Takeshi Kovaks novels along with Asher and Hamilton in my mind.

More recently I'd add the Expanse trilogy by James S. A. Corey. More Opera than Noir I guess but still has it's elements.

Can never have enough hardboiled noirish sci-fi.


message 44: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Deming To The Stars by L Ron Hubbard on in Audiobook definitely is gritty and harsh and good drama.

I had a guest who worked on a Russian fishing boat in Dutch Harbor who listened to the first few chapters with me (real life) and he was handed a knife as his first duty on that ship and told to kill all the rats he found with it as his first duty. He was 18. Another crew member on that ship was on Meth and hefting very large of fish like a machine until keeled over and died from a heart attack. Pretty Grim.

His comment on the To The Stars audiobook was that the writer sure knew ships. (Even if the ship knowledge was transferred to a spaceship in this fiction story).

There is definitely some Sci Fi Noir here that you may enjoy in To The Stars.


Matthew Reads Junk (matthewreadsjunk) | 5 comments Nearly anything Philip K Dick for sure. Several of the Neal Asher books work as well, as most things by William K Morgan , or William Gibson.

Some of the Robot novels by Asimov are crime/detective novels but they're definately not noir. There's a subtle difference.


message 46: by Toby (new)

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments It's not hardboiled or anything but I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed the near future time travel crime novel Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait


message 47: by Still (new)

Still (mantan) | 425 comments Aaron wrote: "Also filed under "not blatant self-promotion" :) My Prohibition era noir urban fantasy, Gods of Chicago, released today. Check out the first two episodes in a six-episode serial novel, to be collec..."

I'm intrigued.
I'd love to gain access to the 1st two episodes via epub.

How man make fire?


message 48: by Still (new)

Still (mantan) | 425 comments Aaron I'm just getting started on Gods Of Chicago & I'm having a terrific time.
My problem is with GoodReads: tried to enter this into my "Currently Reading" shelf but so far no success.

Great read at any rate.
Congratulations on an outstanding job!


message 49: by Bennie (new)

Bennie (yzf5) | 8 comments Sleepless by Charlie Huston was surprising Noir fiction. Give it a try.


message 50: by Toby (new)

Toby (tfitoby) | 510 comments Bennie wrote: "Sleepless by Charlie Huston was surprising Noir fiction. Give it a try."

I bought that, it sounds interesting, although only got so-so reviews.


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