Hardboiled Science Fiction Books

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A specific form of detective story that merges film noir with the classic American detective novel. A good visual representation of hardboiled sci-fi would be Blade Runner. Hardboiled usually features a cynical down-and-out lone detective who faces some sort of conspiracy mystery investigation. The setting is often seedy bars, crime infested neighborhoods, or a squeaky clean corporate setting. The science fiction aspect adds future tech, usually in the form of bio-engineered body upgrades that give the detective (and criminals he faces) enhanced abilities. Hardboiled Science Fiction is often part of the Cyberpunk tradition.
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1

Altered Carbon

by Richard K. Morgan

3.85 avg rating
The posterboy definition of \"noir science fiction\" out there
Philip K. Dick
2
26
1

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep

by Philip K. Dick

4.6 avg rating
A classic. Set the pop culture trend for how \"noir\" is interpreted, visually, in science fiction films and even books.
3
27
7

Neuromancer

by William Gibson

4.14 avg rating
Definitely cyberpunk but noir elements
Nebula
Philip K. Dick
Hugo
BSFA
John W. Campbell

1 Similar Reader Recommendations

0 Recs
4
15
4

Snow Crash

by Neal Stephenson

4 avg rating
Cyberpunk but noir elements
BSFA
Arthur C. Clarke

2 Similar Reader Recommendations

0 Recs
0 Recs
5
10
0

The Stars My Destination

by Alfred Bester

3.92 avg rating
A proto cyberpunk before there was cyberpunk. Has an antihero and a dark, gloomy look at society. Not a detective novel per-say, but the main character is on a quest for revenge

1 Similar Reader Recommendations

0 Recs
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10
1

A Scanner Darkly

by Philip K. Dick

2 avg rating

“Dick is Thoreau plus the death of the American dream.”—Roberto Bolaño

Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person. Substance D doesn’t just alter the mind, it splits it in two, and neither side knows what the other is doing or that it even exists. Now, both sides are growing increasingly paranoid as Bob tries to evade Fred while Fred tries to evade his suspicious bosses.

In this award-winning novel, friends can become enemies, good trips can turn terrifying, and cops and criminals are two sides of the same coin. Dick is at turns caustically funny and somberly contemplative, fashioning a novel that is as unnerving as it is enthralling.

BSFA
John W. Campbell
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8
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When Gravity Fails

by George Alec Effinger

5 avg rating
Very hardboiled!
Nebula
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
8
8
1
10
6
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Yiddish Policemen\'s Union

by Michael Chabon

Won major awards. A noir, detective story. Highly recommended
11
6
1

Leviathan Wakes

by James S.A. Corey

3.67 avg rating
Space Opera, but it does have a strong noirish detective subplot to it
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
12
5
1

Gun With Occasional Music

by Jonathan Lethem

5 avg rating
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.

13
5
2

The City And The City

by China Mieville

4 avg rating
Some elements of noir. Very gritty setting. Wonderfully written. Merges with the Slipstream/New Weird, but we can throw it into the sci-fi fold nevertheless
14
5
2

Through A Scanner Darkly

by Philip K. Dick

Dark, dismal futuristic noir setting
16
4
1

Hard-boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World

by Haruki Murakami

4 avg rating
Japan's most widely-read and controversial writer, author of A Wild Sheep Chase, hurtles into the consciousness of the West with this narrative about a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters--not to mention Bob Dylan and Lauren Bacall.
18
3
1

Century Rain

by Alastair Reynolds

Three hundred years from now, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable due to the technological catastrophe known as the Nanocaust.

Archaeologist Verity Auger specializes in the exploration of its surviving landscape. Now, her expertise is required for a far greater purpose.

Something astonishing has been discovered at the far end of a wormhole: mid-twentieth century Earth, preserved like a fly in amber. Somewhere on this alternate planet is a device capable of destroying both worlds at either end of the wormhole. And Verity must find the device, and the man who plans to activate it, before it is too late—for the past and the future of two worlds…

BSFA
19
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