Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gunslinger Ronin Hacker Noir

I've decided that what the world sincerely lacks is a consolidated genre of the things I love. Fantasy/speculative/science fiction? No, no, that's too broad; these are times of specialization.

I shall call this new genre Cowboy Ronin Hacker Noir, and I invite all of you to write it. Now, you might be thinking that's a blended beverage of a little too many flavours... so allow me to present an argument of why it all fits together:

Archetypes (are fun):

The gunslinger.

The ronin.

The hacker.

The noir detective.

What do they have in common? (I mean besides how they are all too often male, which is something that I aim to resolve.)

You have a character living by a code of personal ethics often at war with the world around him. Despite this, he has a level of respect for the others who inhabit his world be they ally or rival—and they are often rivals. Your trade, even if it's killing dudes, is a thing to be honored.

Because this is one of my favorite, types, I totally loved the movie Drive. I'm not a big fan of violent movies—I don't enjoy torture porn or Tarantino films. But Drive is so elegant in its violence—it is just what it needs to be. That movie is tight and it is beautifully filmed.

It's also better than the novella because the prose is a little heavy-handed with its noir message of enjoy this silent moment of happiness because life wants to kick your head in. The movie just devastates you one narrative line, but if you watched it and felt it needed fleshing out then you should read the novella.

What redeems Driver for me in the movie, besides that he's played by Ryan Gosling who can light up a set with one slow smile, is that his adherence to his code is what makes him likable but also ultimately damns him.

I want a book that is as well crafted as that movie. I want you to know you shouldn't like a character, and to know he is damned and it's all going to end in blood and feathers, but to still care. And these archetypes and the stories that grow around them are the best framework for doing so. It's not even about being cruel or sad or making people upset... it's about creating something with all that darkness so that the one slow smile that lights the set shines bright enough to stay with you.

1 comment:

Lesliejm said...

Well said. I really enjoyed Drive too, especially the days afterward that I spent trying to figure out exactly who the driver was. Absolutely fabulous characterization. I'll check out the novella.