The folks at My Bookish Ways just posted a new interview with Ian Tregillis, author of the awesome The Milkweed Triptych (Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War, and Necessary Evil), as part of their Best Books of 2013 coverage.
It focuses on Something More Than Night (Canada, USA, Europe), which is described as "a brain-bending combo of angelic cosmogony, high-level physics and meta-noir" and which I'll review shortly. Here's a teaser:
What kind of research did you do for Something More Than Night?
Once I decided that parts of the dialogue should embrace noir tropes, I knew I had to devote time to reading the classic noir authors: Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, etc. I tried to read their work on several levels. First and foremost, I tried to extract as much of that delicious noir vocabulary and terminology that I could. I ended up assembling a slang glossary for myself that ran to about 80 pages. I also tried to get a sense of the tropes of the genre: how are these stories structured, what is the role of the protagonist, what kinds of environments do they navigate, how do they relate to their surroundings, etc. It started out purely as an assignment for myself. But I quickly discovered that I genuinely enjoy the Marlowe novels (for all their faults in places, I think Chandler was one of the great American writers), and Hammett’s _The Thin Man_ is one of my favorite books. It’s laugh-aloud funny in many places; a really witty book. One unexpected benefit of this reading was the discovery that it’s fairly straightforward to plot out a noir pastiche. There are certain things that happen frequently enough in these novels so as to almost be de rigueur: the detective finds a dead body, the detective gets grilled by the bulls, the detective gets sapped or slipped a mickey… So once I started to get a sense of the rules of the genre, the fun for me was looking for ways to play with those expectations and subvert them. Not sure how well I succeeded, but it was a hell of a lot of fun.