Created by Mike McQuay
Sorry, but this sci-fi/P.I. hybrid works better as spoof, than straight. McQuay dedicated the whole series to to the memory of Raymond Chandler, “because he understood.” It’s too bad McQuay didn’t. Chandler wanted to rise above the pulps, not wallow in them. But a bit of misguided name-dropping aside, the series has some real pleasures to offer, mostly of–YES–the good ol’ pulpy type.
Private eye MATHEW SWAIN meets all the requirements of your typical pulp P.I. He’s tough, packs a rod, drinks too much, has a seedy office and gets bonked on the back of the brainpan with alarming frequency. Okay, so the weapon of choice is a frumpgun, which reduces its targets to “nothing more than a pile of warn goo on the ground”, and the seedy office is in a large, un-named city somewhere in south-central Texas circa 2083 A.D. that makes “Blade Runner’s L.A. look like Disneyland,” according to our pal Chris Mills.
And the streets were never meaner. Only the very rich can afford police protection, so anyone with any geetus at all has to rely on private security guards, nicknamed Fancy Dans, who are essentially fascist-thugs-for-hire. Entire sections of the city are cordoned off, due to massive radiation, garbage is everywhere, poverty is rampant and life was never cheaper. Death is so common, by starvation, violence or disease, that Meat Wagons prowl the city, sweeping up the daily dead.
- “Beautifully written in a hard-boiled style…these four novels are precursors to the whole cyberpunk genre. I highly reccommend them.”
— Raegan Butcher
- Hot Time in Old Town (1981) | Buy this book
- When Trouble Beckons (1981) | Buy this book
- The Deadliest Show in Town (1982) | Buy this book
- The Odds Are Murder (1983) | Buy this book
- Down Those Mean Skies
An ever-expanding list of Sci-Fi P.I.’s.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks, Chris.