The Best American Noir of the Century – introduction

November 17, 2010
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Noir has always been one of those slippery terms that people can’t define but love to try doing anyway. A bunch of us have thrown our hats into the “what is noir” ring. Even Otto Penzler and James Ellroy can’t seem to fully agree in their pieces that kick off the collection.

Doesn’t matter though because what we’ve got here is The Best American Noir of the Century. 39 stories that may or may not fall into narrow noir definitions but collectively offers a master class in noir short fiction. This is immersion learning at its finest. You don’t need to read about what noir is or isn’t you need to get in there and feel its guts for yourself.

From right now through Friday Spinetingler is going to be taking a story by story look at The Best American Noir of the Century much in the same way we did with Requiems for the Departed. Every hour until 7pm EST there will be a new review of a story from the anthology. We hope to explore the stories, the authors, the anthology and maybe even what noir is.

We asked some of our friends: authors, reviewers, readers and editors to review these stories.

Some of the contributors for this project will be:

Gary Phillips, Steve Finbow, Sandra Seamans, Patti Abbott, Chris Holm, Adrian McKinty, David Corbett, Ben Whitmer, John Rector, Russel McLean, Steve Mosby, Sean Doolittle, Charlie Stella and Paul Tremblay.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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4 Responses to The Best American Noir of the Century – introduction

  1. Paul Brazill on November 17, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I’m looking forward to this. Great idea.

  2. Michelle Isler on November 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    It is like going into a candy store. I cannot wait.

  3. Kathleen A. Ryan on November 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I borrowed this anthology from the library a couple of weeks ago. I’m enjoying it so much I renewed it, and I’m probably going to buy my own copy because I hate the thought of having to return it! This should be a terrific event.

  4. Pickle on November 24, 2010 at 9:46 am

    “that may or may not fall into narrow noir definitions”

    I believe that noir should be classified into different sub-genres. Mr. Penzler doesn’t appear to take that stance and instead chooses to classify noir chiefly based on the occupation of the main characters instead of the character’s mood (disillusionment, melancholy) and depth of moral corruption. In his view, carnival workers fit nicely into noir definitions but detectives do not.