Gun, With Occasional Music

Gun, With Occasional Music

eBook - 2003
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PRAISE FOR GUN, WITH OCCASIONAL MUSIC "Marries Chandler's style and Philip K. Dick's vision . . . An audaciously assured first novel."-Newsweek "Marvelous . . . Stylish, intelligent, darkly humorous and highly readable entertainment."-San Francisco Examiner PRAISE FOR MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN "The best novel of the year . . . Utterly original and deeply moving."-Esquire "Philip Marlowe would blush. And tip his fedora."-Newsweek
Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-there's a rabbit in his waiting room and a trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is a brave new world where evolved animals are members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. Metcalf has been shadowing Celeste, the wife of an affluent doctor. Perhaps he's falling a little in love with her at the same time. When the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in a crossfire between the boys from the Inquisitor's Office and gangsters who operate out of the back room of a bar called the Fickle Muse. Mixing elements of sci-fi, noir, and mystery, this clever first novel from the author of Motherless Brooklyn is a wry, funny, and satiric look at all that the future may hold.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003
ISBN: 9780547540146
0547540140
Characteristics: data file
1 online resource (288 pages)
Call Number: eBook

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i
Ichijo
Aug 16, 2017

Unless the comment/review on the back of a book is from an author I love I rarely pay attention to the reviews on the jacket, other than to laugh at them. "Marries Chandler's style with Phillip K. Dick"... orwellian, huxley... and other such garbage. Thankfully the book was actually good.

Yes it kinda has a sci-fi vibe, there are uplifted critters, there are custom drugs, we have the babies... oh god do we have the babies.

But at the heart and soul of this book, none of that matters. We have Chinatown. It doesn't matter how weird or twisted everything else is, it doesn't matter that we have the cutest talking kitten of all time or the douchiest kangaroo of all time - it's still Chinatown. It's still Jack Nicholson being told to forget it - it's just Chinatown.

If you must label it sci-fi - maybe if a brave new world, 1984, a handmaid's tale, Sundiver and fear and loathing in las vegas had a bizarre orgy and their offspring was a three headed sam spade (or just the normal Miller) it could kinda sorta be considered sci-fi.

v
v1h
Jul 12, 2017

Learned about this classic from a list of the 10 best Detective/Sci-Fi cross genre books.
Despite some slow parts and the amusing lack of certain technological devices we have now, and others that we don't (although the memory boxes made me think of our dependency on smart phones), this was a pretty entertaining read and did remind one of old days detective novels.

SFPL_danielay Mar 23, 2015

Evolved animals, babyheads and inquisitors that take karma points off people's cards for offenses - do you recognize Oakland in this SF/hard-boiled mystery mashup by Jonathan Lethem?

l
lukasevansherman
May 12, 2014

Before he was a much acclaimed (some might say too acclaimed) novelist, Jonathan Lethem made his debut with a curious hardboiled detective/sci-fi hybrid that was put out by genre publisher Tor, replete with a terrible cover designed to turn off "serious readers." Many reviewers called a mix between Raymond Chandler and P.K. Dick. Lethem was the editor on Library of America's hardcover reissue of some of Dick's best novels and this is both a homage to and parody of Dick, even down to the silly character names. As a huge Dick fan, I was looking forward to this, but found it dull, shallow and self-conscious. He may appreciate sci-fi, but he can't write it. Oh, there is a kangaroo.

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