Reading and working more and more on some stuff, I jotted this out really quick on my cellphone. It was initially up at Tumblr (where I tend to post unstructured and random stuff like this), but wanted to post it here on my more “formal” site because I really really enjoyed dwelling on it.
A mini-thought on crime fiction –
It’s an intense genre. A real genre. A genre that I think appeals to a post-WW2, post-Vietnam world because it’s interpretations of the utter uncertainty of reality that we hid for so long in our fiction before those times in history.
Crime fiction is arguably the most “real-life” type of fiction there is to me, specifically because of that lack of solid resolution we see in the best examples of the genre. It plays with the weird quagmire of whether or not there truly is any resolution in fiction if there isn’t any kind of absolute righteous victory for the protagonist. We’re used to heroes winning. And if they don’t, such as in tragedies like Shakespearean or Greek classics, then we want to see flamingly-wonderful crashes of characters in orgies of personal failure and ego.
I think it was either Ed Brubaker (CRIMINAL, FATALE) or Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS) who said something to the effect that the fundamental truth of noir is that it’s about hopelessness. And I totally agree. In the end someone is supposed to be dead, poorer, in jail, broken down, or just still at the same indifferent state that they were at the beginning. No one wins or can really effectively gain anything, which most of us can attest is what the real world feels like.
And the various “crime fiction” variants of the genre all, in a way, cater to the audience seeing that even a “hero” (the protagonist) doesn’t have to rise triumphant at the end in order to Get A Job Done.