Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me and the Crooked Game
of Post-World War II America
Though presenting itself as pulpy example of hardboiled American fiction, Jim
Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me opens up in important and
unexpected ways when read as a subversive Gothic novel. Such a reading sheds
light on a range of marginalized characters (especially women and rural peoples)
who often remain shadowed by more conventional readings. Reading the novel as
Gothic also highlights thematic concerns which counter the halcyon image of
post-World War II America as a golden age and reveal instead a contemporary
landscape fraught with violence, alienation, and mental instability.
This article provides a reading of gender politics in cyberpunk, drawing upon the Gothic, the cyborg and the (post)feminist subject. This reading is effected through an account of the ass-kicking techno-babe, a crucial component of the masculine strand of cyberpunk which valorises a masculinity and technology dialectic and draws upon film noir, with its hardboiled detectives and monstrous femmes fatales. From Molly Million‘s in Neuromancer to Y.T. in Neal Stephenson‘s Snow Crash (1992) and Trinity in Andy and Larry Wachowski‘s Matrix trilogy (1999–2003), this figure of the femme fatale demonstrates that the (post)feminist project of the ass-kicking techno-babe has found a home in the Gothic aesthetics of the noir-inf(l)ected genre of cyberpunk. The account of how hyper-sexualised cyborgic female bodies are positioned in contrast with the repressed bodies of male hackers reveals the destabilising conundrum of supposed agency contained by the determinacy of the (post)feminist body.
This is the first book-length study of one of the most significant of all British television writers, Jimmy McGovern. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all his work for television including early writing on Brookside, major documentary dramas such as Hillsborough and Sunday and more recent series such as The Street and Accused. Whilst the book is firmly focused on McGovern’s own work, the range of his output over the period in which he has been working also provides something of an overview of the radical changes in television drama commissioning that have taken place during this time. Without compromising his deeply-held convictions McGovern has managed to adapt to an ever changing environment, often using his position as a sought-after writer to defy industry trends. The book also challenges the notion of McGovern as an uncomplicated social realist in stylistic terms. Looking particularly at his later work, a case is made for McGovern employing a greater range of narrative approaches, albeit subtly and within boundaries that allow him to continue to write for large popular audiences. Finally it is worth pointing to the book’s examination of McGovern’s role in recent years as a mentor to new voices, frequently acting as a creative producer on series that he part-writes and part brings through different less-experienced names.
Printing Terror places horror comics of the mid-twentieth century in dialogue with the anxieties of their age. It rejects the narrative of horror comics as inherently and necessarily subversive and explores, instead, the ways in which these texts manifest white male fears over America’s changing sociological landscape. It examines two eras: the pre-CCA period of the 1940s and 1950s, and the post-CCA era to 1975. The authors examine each of these periods through the lenses of war, gender, and race, demonstrating that horror comics are centred upon white male victimhood and the monstrosity of the gendered and/or racialised other. It is of interest to scholars of horror, comics studies, and American history. It is suitably accessible to be used in undergraduate classes.
Callan (ITV, 1967–72) as an existential thriller for television
, whose series
of spy novels beginning with The Ipcress File (1962) were told in
the first person by an unnamed agent from a northern workingclass background. Whilst Ian Fleming’s Bond novels had mixed the
British spy novel tradition and the American hardboiled tradition
of Mickey Spillane in his transgressive, uninhibited treatment of sex
and violence, Deighton’s drew upon more sophisticated hardboiled
writers such as Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett who had
used the genre to explore character psychology and social problems.
The object of Deighton’s critique
Science fiction meets detection in Gun, With Occasional Music
The paratextual features of
Lethem’s debut novel, Gun, With Occasional Music (1994)
enact their own ambiguous evolutions, and this chapter begins by
unpacking sets of significances from these features that will then be
applied to the novel as a whole. Patterned with cross-hairs, the cover
of the most recent Faber edition unashamedly declares the hard-boiled,
Phillips, ‘to portray Marlowe in the
novel not just as a hard-boiled private eye, but as a knightly hero …
Marlowe views a case as a crusade, whereby he aims to protect the
innocent and helpless, and not merely solve a mystery.’ 19 Phillips is
building here on Chandler’s own comments, as well as such critics as
David Geherin , who compares Marlowe to a ‘knight in shining
armor’ battling ‘dragons’, and
, grisly iterations of this generic hybrid.
The reader is encouraged to turn to Scaggs’ and James’s works
for compendious accounts of crime genre’s many historical manifestations; for our purposes, it is enough to note several of the
most common sub-genres, and their rendering in Swedish form.
Golden Age detectives and hard-boiled PIs
Most helpfully, James provides a concise description of both types
of protagonist in a comparative summary:
Swedish crime fiction
The differences between the hard-boiled school and such
Golden Age writers as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L
Challenging the epic in French crime fiction of the 1940s and 1950s
, resistance heroism is debunked as shallow self-interest or
pathological otherness, with resistance merely one option amongst others when faced with the compromises and choices of life under German
and Vichy rule. Such morally ambivalent depictions of the occupation
and resistance can be traced in French crime fiction of this period, particularly in the form of the roman noir.
Noir visions of war
The convergence of the French roman noir and les années noires is one
grounded in the ethics and poetics of hard-boiled crime fiction.19 Pioneered by American and British
a new direction for the crime
film. Film noir was used through its analogy with Gallimard’s
Série Noire , the label given to French translations of American
‘hard-boiled’ crime fiction from which several of those films
had been adapted. As Charles O’Brien notes, these critics were simply
extending a pre-war tradition in which the term was used to describe sombre,
bleak French films that have been retrospectively