The Bloodiest, Most Stomach-Turning Book You’ve Ever Read

“All of European literature springs from a fight,” says a Classics professor in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. He’s talking about Homer’s The Iliad, and what a nasty little story it is. A few lines from Book 4, during the first major battle scene between the Trojans and the Achians, offers a sanguine taste: Then fate fell upon … Continue reading

The Talented Mr. Ripley – First Page

Tom glanced behind him and saw the man coming out of the Green Cage, heading his way. Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley‘s opening has shades of the first page of another book I’ve read for this blog, William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Both books open with a hard-boiled style, dark corners, shady bars, mysterious characters. (See Neuromancer’s … Continue reading

Final Thoughts on Neuromancer

The title had me worried. Neuromancer is, no question, a silly name for a book. It conjures (har har) images of terrible scifi/fantasy paperback cover art like this: Fortunately, this is a novel whose author took more cues from Raymond Chandler, William S. Burroughs, and Rene Descartes than from The Werwile of the Crystal Crypt. Though … Continue reading

How Cyberpunk cribs from Naked Lunch

Ten pages into William Gibson’s debut novel Neuromancer, the book that set fire to a whole genre of science fiction known as cyberpunk, it is clear that the noir detective mysteries of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett are not the frame Gibson is building on. To be sure The Big Sleep and Red Harvest are … Continue reading