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Noir by [Jeter, K. W.]
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Noir Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 498 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

K.W. Jeter crossbreeds "cyberpunk" SF with visceral horror--as in his early Dr Adder which was written in 1972 before cyberpunk emerged, praised by Philip K. Dick, and too over-the-top to be published until 1984. Noir is distantly linked to Dr Adder, but stands alone. A dark novel of corporate tyranny, layered betrayals, bad sex and literal hell on earth, it has an icy glitter of wit too black to be funny. Copyright-breaking is the ultimate crime: violators suffer eternal punishment, with their brain-matter plumbed into domestic appliances. Death is, likewise, no release for the debt-ridden as they are mechanically reanimated to work off financial obligations. Homeless folk have sheltering carapaces welded to their flesh so they can curl up like woodlice in the street. Antihero McNihil, a kind of private eye with retinas rewired to show reality as a period black-and-white movie rather than the world's actual ugliness, is coerced by the monstrous DynaZauber corporation into undertaking a heavily booby-trapped investigation. McNihil can't beat the system, but has an escape plan too nightmarish for sane contemplation... Complex, confusing and sometimes nauseating, Noir explains some aspects of its ghastly future in detail while others remain obscure; newcomers to SF will find it difficult. But it's undeniably powerful.--David Langford


"Jeter is an exhilarating writer who always seems to have another rabbit to pull out of his hat....[He] accomplishes his goal of updating the genre, and he does so with commendable energy and imagination."
--"The New York Times Book Review"
"A master of dark visions, Jeter delivers his most...ambitious book to date....an SF equivalent, perhaps, of The Name of the Rose."
--"Publishers Weekly"

"From the Paperback edition."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1359 KB
  • Print Length: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway (8 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #601,500 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jeter excells himself yet again in this fast paced SciFi/thriller.
Set in a capitalist, corporation gone mad future we see our main charecter McNihill pitting his wits against Harrisch, the head of a large multinational whose aim is to control everything in the gloss.
This book is a fantastic read for SciFi fans, and is definately for those interested in conspiracy, comsumerism and capitalism gone mad!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Be prepared - tackling this dense, downbeat novel requires patience, a strong stomach and a forgiving attitude towards its narrative shortcomings. Jeter has the bit between his teeth when describing technological nightmares in near-microscopic detail, but these lengthy paragraphs are frequently bookended by lifeless dialogue which does little to advance a muddled plot. Noir's cast of characters are mere cyphers, delivery vessels for Jeter's twisted polemics with barely a sympathetic bone between them. Those willing to grind through will be rewarded with a handful of memorably dark satirical skits, but these exist like black islets in an ocean of narrative effluent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8be4bc3c) out of 5 stars 40 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8be9d804) out of 5 stars Dystopia effectively, grimly mixing noir with cyberpunk. 30 Sept. 1999
By R. B. Bernstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For fans of Hammett and Chandler, NOIR will sound comfortingly -- and discomfortingly -- familiar, for Jeter respects the genre of noir fiction and has handled its conventions with skill and panache. For fans of cyberpunk, NOIR will revisit familiar themes in effective and disturbing ways; Philip K. Dick would have admired this book. For those who believed that the two genres could not be crossbred, NOIR will be a revelation.
And yet...
I wanted to like this book (and had I liked this book I would have given it four stars), but I only ended up admiring it (hence three stars). For the central character in NOIR acts with a brutality that at one or two points goes far beyond the boundaries of noir and well into the territory of sadism. It would give too much away to those who want to read the book to go into specifics. Suffice it to say that NOIR is emphatically NOT a book for the tender-hearted or the squeamish.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c14e830) out of 5 stars Dark, but then the name implies that... 2 July 2009
By Steve Dallas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I picked this up off the shelf just for the name. Turned out to be one of the better reads I've had in some time. Based in a dystopia familiar to Neuromancer fans, Noir follows the antics of McNihil, a pseudo blade-runner whose targets are copyright thieves. His life, and everything in it are so dark, he's chosen to modify his vision to SEE the world in the same monochrome he FEELS it to be. His best friend is his dead wife.

Technology has run amok in his world, and it's gone beyond the control of even the ones that create it. The technology exists to animate the dead, for a time, so it's used to eliminate the last escape from debt. Debtors are reanimated, forced to pay off their debts. They must picking trash if that's the best they can do, till their debts are paid or they become so decrepit (from wear mind you) that even wildly advanced technology can extract no more payment from them.

The masters of this world, the creators of content, have trapped McNihil into working for them. He's sent to track down technology intended to allow a form of forced addiction on entertainment consumers, forcing them to pay continuously for a 'fix' that costs the companies nothing to provide. It's task that will eventually cost McNihil everything, including his life.

It's a dark world, and a dark tale and it's not for the squeamish. If you can put up with some truly sickening bits, you'll be rewarded with a decent story, and thoroughly realized world.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't think Jeter has an axe to grind on copyrights. Just the opposite, this book stands as a commentary to what would happen if copyright were king. The RIAA sues people for file sharing that have never owned computers. It holds college students hostage, demanding they forfeit their education to pay them. Al this and more over actual damages that, to be generous, might amount to a few hundred dollars. Is there any doubt that, if they COULD, the MPAA and RIAA would license asp-heads to kill tomorrow?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c3afb44) out of 5 stars A grotesque but brilliant book 18 Dec. 2009
By rickzz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back when I was in high school (over 20 years ago!), I happened to read Dr. Adder (written in 1972 but only published in 1984) and Glass Hammer (1985) by KW Jeter. I thought both books were brilliant and that Jeter would become a major SF writer. When Noir first came out in 1998, though, I didn't read it because I didn't like the cover blurb and ch1 was unreadable.

11 years later, I finally decided to read Noir because it's the last original novel Jeter wrote. I could almost kick myself for waiting so long because it's truly superb. Yes, it has some rather grotesque moments (I will NEVER forget the "asp-head trophy" or a "Prince Charming" makeover). However, except for ch1, it's highly readable, has a great story and it pulls everything together for a memorable ending.

Some might find it to be too extreme but I think that reflects Jeter's horror background. Like some readers, I didn't care for the copyright rant (however, this occupies only 1/4 of the book). Let's hope Jeter returns to writing again.

Update: After a 2nd reading, I feel even more strongly Noir is a neglected masterpiece (no doubt the grotesque "trophy" interlude is part of the reason for the neglect)- certainly, it's not for everyone but many of the reviews here are unfairly negative.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Sylvia F - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Noir is cool. It has atmosphere and style and enough substance to back it up. The book sparkles with gripping visuals, betrayal, a very submerged streak of romanticism in the lead and a nasty but fun sense of humor.
In fact it's very...well, noir-ish.
The first chapter is hard to get through, disconnected and odd and reading like a fever dream. The story coheres quickly as you move onwards however, and it ties in neatly with the rest of the book. Noir might appeal to fans of Philip K. Dick or Steve Aylett (Although Noir's story is clearer than most of their's. Once the final revelations are pulled up the plot isn't actually terribly complex, but the ideas and characters Jeter used to move it along are interesting -- cynical and snappy and entertaining).
Noir has a strange ring of truth to it. The little jabs and philosophies Jeter brings out aren't completely new but pertinent all the same. Set within a slightly quirky cyberpunk background, it's a welcome change of pace from most of the sci-fi out there.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c3ada98) out of 5 stars Hard but Good 1 Dec. 2001
By Matt Inwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Noir is a book that one has to want to read. The first chapter throws you into the setting too quickly for you to understand, but for those what dare read on, it gets better. Noir, like all cyberpunk fiction, takes place in a bleak future. The world of Noir is dark and gloomy, reminiscent of the word noir itself. Corporations are few but powerful, either merged or subsidized into larger ones. Middle-class can be said to be non-existent, and death is no longer an escape from poverty. It has a lot of statements against certain issues that are present today, such as management and information theft, that are blown out of proportion. The plot revolves around McNihil, a protector of copyrights, who sees the entire world like an old black & white detective movie. He gets hired by one of the huge corporations to retrieve something, and gets thrown into something larger than he could have imagined.
The storytelling is of excellent quality, allowing deep visualization of the scenes in the book. However, many minor things get overlooked, but it doesn't impede the story all that much. I enjoyed this book a lot, and would recommend it to anyone who can devote enough time to this book to fully appreciate it. My suggestion is to be ready to reread things, as things can get very difficult. If you can get past the difficult parts, the book can be very enjoyable.
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