Private detectives with a dark past and a chip on their shoulder, a mysterious woman with a hidden agenda, and bodies piling up around them. You know what we’re talking about: noir fiction. Although it is the films that are generally called noir, with their book counterparts being labelled ‘hardboiled crime’, we are going to use the terms interchangeably, mostly because I just like the term ‘noir’.

I am a huge fan of noir fiction, from Raymond Chandler to Billy Wilder. But you might be wondering, what is a self-proclaimed feminist doing enjoying a genre that’s at best sexist and, at worst, downright misogynistic? The genre, in its original incarnation, did spend a lot of energy on post-war masculinity and widespread fears of women entering male spaces. But, it also let women be a bit BAD, and who doesn’t love that?

As the years passed, we moved into neo-noir territory, with authors and filmmakers reinterpreting the genre’s most recognisable tropes. This episode’s guest, CL Polk, is one such creator – whose new novel, Even Though I Knew The End, engages with noir tropes from an intersectional feminist lens.

Texts and authors mentioned in this episode include:

  • She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
  • Raymond Chandler
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Sara Paretsky
  • Veronica Mars
  • Jessica Jones
  • Nancy Drew

We may have also gone on a bit of a tangent about bizarre figure skating made-for-TV films (definitely NOT my fault!). If you are interested in watching the film, you can find it on YouTube (the short in question starts around 20:48).

C. L. Polk (they/them/she/her) wrote the Hugo-nominated Kingston Cycle, beginning with the WFA-winning novel Witchmark. Their Subjective Chaos Kind of Award-winning novel The Midnight Bargain was a Canada Reads, Nebula, Locus, Ignyte, and World Fantasy Award finalist.

Even Though I Knew The End is out from Tordotcom on November 8, 2022.

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