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Gun, With Occasional Music (1994)

af Jonathan Lethem

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,327656,675 (3.73)105
Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny-and not so funny.… (mere)
  1. 30
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Indlæser...

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» Se også 105 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 65 (næste | vis alle)
Eh--if I want to read Philip K. Dick, I think I'll just read Philip K. Dick, and not his--however worthy--epigones.
  Mark_Feltskog | Dec 23, 2023 |
Gun, with Occasional Music remained on my shelves decades after my first reading. I did not recall specifics, but the premise remained enticing, probably in much the same way I initially was persuaded to buy it. Lethem's plot and dialogue follow the gumshoe trope of distracting the reader: they carried me along effortlessly, the banter and interactions among characters amusing, the clues and case developments holding my attention.

There was nothing to it. The Super Chief was on time, as it almost always is, and the subject was as easy to spot as a kangaroo in a dinner jacket.

The setting, meantime, works on a parallel track: a future dystopia, unclear how far in the future, unstated but presumably our own United States. Like the Chandler epigraph, Lethem does well not to say too much about it, nor about his world except in dribs and drabs. This layer of textual commentary rides shotgun while the shamus goes about his rounds, sketching out the generic reality the detective lives in, and later, the one it evolves into. The sci-fi alternative reality starts out amusingly different from our own, takes a turn, and ends up feeling uncomfortably familiar.

It's a quick read, the barest suggestion of an alien landscape, and all in all, worth keeping in my library for another couple decades. ( )
5 stem elenchus | Nov 11, 2023 |
This is a science fiction-mystery-noir-humor story with a hard-boiled detective, I think I missed a category.

The setting is poorly defined and that is part of the reader’s exploration. Conrad Metcalf is a detective, a private inquisitor in a world where (not-private) inquisitors spy on people doling out or removing credits. Drugs are commonplace and. tailored, people use them to create moods, to forget, to enhance experiences, it seems endless and very personalized.

Society has created intelligent animals, educated babies and a few gadgets. These are revealed slowly through the book.

At the beginning, the book felt like a detective noir story, it read like a Raymond Chandler story. Conrad is approached by a man panicked, being framed for a murder and no means of payment and low on credits. During the investigation, he encounters kangaroo muscle, holographic houses and a few others.

The extensive use of drugs made me feel like the whole book is a drug-induced illusion. The author reinforces this by making use of bizarre idioms and metaphors that get increasingly peculiar as the book goes on.

The title is a reference to a gun that plays music whenever it is drawn, something to do with advertising.

The book started off amusing and new but started to get old toward the end. It ended just in time. ( )
1 stem Nodosaurus | Sep 12, 2023 |
A lot of this book felt like a cheesy noir detective story, from the bantering that always leaves our hero with the last word to the predictable sexual conquest. On top of that, the writing had some pretty big flaws. Of many, here is one example:

The big man chuckled. "What would be my motive for telling you that?"
"Simple. I'll find out one way or another. Either you tell me now or I bother your loved ones about it."
"Very well. There's something I like about letting you go on thinking your threats are effective with me. I suppose I admire your bluster."


See how the author has to have the big-man character explain his motive for revealing information? That's because the author is having that character do something that makes no sense given what has already been told to the reader. Major no-no.

So, three stars? Really? I think yes, and it's because of the twist 2/3 of the way through the book, and the way that the twist sustains itself to the end. I was phoning it in with this book, just getting through it for my bookclub, until that twist. Then I sat up, tucked my feet under myself, and dove on in. ( )
1 stem blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
Lethem, Jonathan. Gun, With Occasional Music. Harcourt, 1994.
Jonathan Lethem says he was much influenced by Philip K. Dick, and it shows in his first novel, Gun, With Occasional Music. It is crammed with original speculative details and repurposed genre memes. It has the noir zip and pop of books like A Scanner Darkly. Like Dick, Lethem is fascinated by the drug culture. In his world, mood-altering drugs are legal and free. They have names like addict all, forget all, accept all, and avoid all. If you use too much forget all, you will need to carry an electronic storage device to tell you what you decided not to permanently erase. Freedom of the press is a thing of the past. Print news has been outlawed, and the brief morning news reports are always accompanied by music that tells you how you should feel about the story. Humans share their world with evolved animals to do menial jobs; and the wealthy invest in evolution therapy for their children, which turns them into unhappy prodigies called babyheads. Babyheads have their own bars in which three-year-olds drown their sorrows and lament the side effects of their evolved condition. The justice system in this tightly controlled future Los Angeles is based on “karma points.” Pro-social behavior adds them to your karma card. Bad deeds cost you points. Our protagonist is a private inquisitor who takes the case of a man charged with murder. The government has already reduced his “karma points” to zero, giving him the choice of cryosleep or prison. The investigation will not be easy, because the local gangster has a gun-toting kangaroo as a bodyguard. 4 stars. ( )
1 stem Tom-e | Mar 6, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 65 (næste | vis alle)
A final note: one might expect that it would be hard to immerse oneself in a novel filled with such outré characters and settings, but that wasn’t the case for me. I fell right in. I don’t know why I’ve not read more Lethem.
 

» Tilføj andre forfattere (3 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Lethem, Jonathanprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Isaacs, GaryOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Keynäs, VilleOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Koelsch, MichaelOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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There was nothing to it. The Super Chief was on time, as it almost always is, and the subject was as easy to spot as a kangaroo in a dinner jacket. Raymond Chandler
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Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny-and not so funny.

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