Jonathan Lethem
Gun, with Occasional Music
July 08, 2019 Comments.. 123
Gun with Occasional Music Conrad Metcalf has problems He has a monkey on his back a rabbit in his waiting room and a trigger happy kangaroo on his tail Maybe evolution therapy is not such a good idea He s been shadowing Cele

  • Title: Gun, with Occasional Music
  • Author: Jonathan Lethem
  • ISBN: 9780312858780
  • Page: 417
  • Format: Paperback
  • Conrad Metcalf has problems He has a monkey on his back, a rabbit in his waiting room, and a trigger happy kangaroo on his tail Maybe evolution therapy is not such a good idea He s been shadowing Celeste, the wife of an affluent Oakland urologist Maybe falling in love with her a little at the same time When the doctor turns up dead, Metcalf finds himself caught inConrad Metcalf has problems He has a monkey on his back, a rabbit in his waiting room, and a trigger happy kangaroo on his tail Maybe evolution therapy is not such a good idea He s been shadowing Celeste, the wife of an affluent Oakland urologist Maybe falling in love with her a little at the same time When the doctor turns up dead, Metcalf finds himself caught in a crossfire between the boys from the Inquisitor s Office and gangsters who operate out of the back room of the Fickle Muse Jonathan Lethem s first novel is a science fiction mystery It s funny It s not so funny.

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      Posted by:Jonathan Lethem
      Published :2019-07-08T06:13:51+00:00

    1 Blog on “Gun, with Occasional Music

    1. Dan Schwent says:

      When down and out private inquisitor Conrad Metcalf's last client turns up dead, Metcalf takes up the case to find out who killed him. Can he find the killer before he runs out of karma and winds up in the deep freeze?If Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick spent an evening together doing hard drugs, this would be the book that would result. Lethem weaves together the sci-fi and noir elements together so tightly that an evolved kangaroo doesn't seem out of place after his first appearance.The wor [...]

    2. Michael says:

      The style and voice and plot are pure Raymond Chandler, set in a weird future of talking kangaroos and mind-altering drugs. It's a wild ride that's largely successful, though not as ambitious as other futuristic genre mash-ups (for example, China Mieville's The City and The City), in part because it hews pretty closely to a standard Chandler-esque plot and in part because the futuristic elements aren't quite as developed. Still, there are moments of sheer brilliance here.

    3. Mariel says:

      Book, with constant boredom. Answers, with no questions. Questions, with no answers on the tips of tongues or inside cheeks (maybe ass cheeks). Music, with no tone. Gun, with no bullets. Who signed off on the license? Déjà vu that reminds of nothing. Is that the appeal of genres to remind of nothing and feel the welcoming coma with dreams that someone else plants there and you wake up before you can see anyone's faces? The eye from that book, the nose from this "Make me look beautiful!" "But I [...]

    4. Rob says:

      In Gun, With Occasional Music, Jonathan Lethem gives us science fiction's worthy successor to Raymond Chandler. Though this is the easy take-home message from nearly every quoted newspaper columnist, book jacket blurb, and miscellaneous reviewer -- they also all happen to be right. Even a cursory familiarity with Chandler's pulp noir will ring through with startling clarity to readers of this novel. The cadence of the narrative, the hard-boiled dialogue, the archetypal characters Lethem's Conrad [...]

    5. Andrew says:

      Excellent. His style is as cold as Hammett's, and the moral core as strong as Chandler's. And any book that says both "In Los Angeles it's illegal to know what you do for a living" and "Tell him next time he wants to talk to me, don't send a marsupial" should be in everyone's library.This character develops, is one thing somewhat new: he loses his early self-consciousness about his metaphors, and eventually solidifies enough to end a chapter with the brilliant line: "It was time to stop fucking [...]

    6. Mattia Ravasi says:

      Video reviewManages to offer some of the most unforgettable world-building I've ever read without pausing the action for more than a few words at a time. Offers an absurd dystopian future that's just absurd enough to be convincing. Fuses hardboiled with scifi as seamlessly as to be unfair. Rocks.

    7. Punk says:

      Sci-fi noir detective story. It's Blade Runner meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and exactly as goofy and dark as that sounds.Conrad Metcalf is our narrator, a Private Inquisitor in a world where direct questions are considered rude and question marks are flashy punctuation. The story's filled with products of evolution therapy: talking kittens and mobster kangaroos, plus the mysterious babyheads -- toddlers with advanced intelligence that hang out in babyhead bars and babble their babyhead talk. I [...]

    8. Lea says:

      Sci fi, maybe? Definitely noir. This is one of the most unusual and interesting books I've read . . . maybe ever. The only thing that comes close are the bizarro titles I've read this year, but this has the extra bonus of being three times the length of most of those books.Conrad Metcalf, PI (Private Inquisitor), lives in a world where conversation is frowned upon, and asking questions is permitted only by professional Inquisitors. Everyone functions by using drugs (Forgettol, Acceptol, etc), an [...]

    9. Maureen says:

      somebody lent me this book because they know i love my noir, and the book pays off in that regard but the notion that this is science fiction or a successor to pkd is confusing to me -- the world lethem introduces us to has drugs coming out the wazoo, and there are evolved animals yes, but really? that all seems window dressing, a spin on what is primarily a detective story. lots of what i would consider the speculative elements don't actually seem to go anywhere -- why is text outlawed? what's [...]

    10. Still says:

      The quotation from Newsweek's review of this novel that appears on the front cover is quite accurate: "Marries Chandler's style and Philip K. Dick's vision".I was also reminded at times of Jack O' Connell's "Quinsigamond" series of futuristic crime thrillers:Word Made Flesh,Box Nine,Wireless (Quinsigamond #2), andThe Skin Palace.This novel is set in near-future Oakland. The police investigators are known as "Inquisitors" and if you cross them, you'll have your karma card punched. Your karma card [...]

    11. Mandapants says:

      "Gun, with Occasional Music" is the best kind of science fiction- you barely know it's science fiction at all. Every aspect of the world Lethem has created is in service of the plot, even the bits that seem overly goofy or derivative at first, not the other way around. The story is a slab of thick noir starring the every-P.I. Metcaff. Letham casts the heavy as an evolved kangaroo, and his world also features 3-foot tall evolved babies. While this could come off as "Disney Does Noir", there's ver [...]

    12. Paul says:

      Gum-shoe Conrad Metcalf is a Private Inquisitor, once an Inquisitor (Police with wide ranging & draconian powers), who consolidate their power to completely control the populace at large. Their powers are such that media is rigidly controlled to the extent that newspapers carry photos only (no text) & even the photos promote the successes of the Inquisitors in keeping order, the cases real & imagined. The populace are further controlled by drugs, free of charge. Although there are va [...]

    13. Eric says:

      In the same way non-inquisitors are not supposed to ask questions in this novel's setting, readers shouldn't ask too many questions, lest the thin facade Lethem built crash down and reveal his underdeveloped world building. Questions such as how society came to a point with such controlled media, freely available addictive drugs, evolved animals and "babyheads," and yet so few other technological advancements. Altered Carbon takes a similarly noir approach to science fiction, but Richard K. Morg [...]

    14. Penny says:

      I see now what all the fuss is about. This is a fantastic book. The writing style blew me away. I really enjoyed it and found the humour particularly brilliant. The dystopian world Jonathan Lethem builds is presented so casually and is actually one of the most terrifying I've ever read of. Sure, many aspects of this world have been in other books, but not quite like this. And there's just something about how this is written that makes you laugh while a chill runs down your spine. It's really rat [...]

    15. Amanda says:

      HOLY WOW! what a great book! Maybe not 5 stars but most definitely a solid 4 and a half. Don't have the time to expand on that right now but if you like weird, original noir like nothing else you've ever read, then pick this one up! So happy i already have another of his books, Amnesia Moon, which i'll be enjoying very soon!

    16. Richard says:

      This is a fun and quick read. But in the days after I finished it, I found that my impression took a bit of a dip as I pondered it, and it lost its four-star rating in the process.But first, a curiosity: this is the second off-beat mystery novel set in Oakland that I've read recently. The other one, Swing: A Mystery by Rupert Holmes, isn't SciFi at all, but also involves a musical theme which is even more central to the plot.As the blurb and other reviews have remarked, Gun, with Occasional Musi [...]

    17. Leo Walsh says:

      I've never read Jonathan Lethem. He gets great accolades, and has a new book out. So while waiting for my library to buy his new book, I pulled "Guns With Occasional Music" down from the shelf. It read like a Sam Spade, so I decided to check it out. I'm glad I did. The story was a good, hard-boiled detective tale.My problem with the book were varied. The big one was some silly science fiction concepts that, to me, made no sense. For instance, there are scientifically altered "evolved" kangaroos, [...]

    18. Craig says:

      I wanted to like this book, I really did. A nice little mixture of the standard down-on-his-luck detective story and the dystopian science fiction future setting, with some humor mixed in - what's not to like, right? Sadly, it turns out there isn't much I can say for it. Lethem gives us this cobbled-together society with evolved animals, "evolved" babies, this wonderful mixture of government-issue chemicals that pretty much everyone imbibes with regularity, and a karma-tracking system - but why? [...]

    19. sologdin says:

      Like Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs, this is detective story set in scifi setting with some dystopian flavor (all descendent of Asimov's Baley-Olivaw)--that makes it part of the nerd-boiled sub-genre.I suppose nerd-boiled fiction isn't really for me. It's got some cool ideas (articulate animals & infants, lotsa creative narcotics, Hindu ideas for law enforcement), but generally it appears that it solves dystopian fiction's universal problem of slick setting/stupid story by superimposing the standar [...]

    20. Nate D says:

      Jonathan Lethem, an obsessive reader of the sloppy but exhilaratingly inventive Phillip K. Dick, began his writing career with a period of somewhat less sloppy but still exhilaratingly inventive science fiction of his own. Not to say that Lethem's sci-fi is better than Dick's but that at his best, his prose is a little more even, his concepts a little more tightly executed. Gun, a wildly entertaining noir set in a future where developmental biology is in boom and drugs aren't just legalized but [...]

    21. Kirsten says:

      I read this as part of my challenge to Read Around the World as documented in my blog: highlanddrive/This time I went to Oakland, California (where I was born!) This, I think, is not the Oakland of my birth. It's an Oakland where you need a license to ask other people questions. It's an Oakland where drugs are not only legal, but de rigeur. It's an Oakland were "evolution therapy" has made not only intelligent animals, but also intelligent toddlers, or "babyheads". (Very creepy.)Into all of this [...]

    22. J.I. says:

      Yes, there is a quote that starts this book off by Raymond Chandler, and yes, it is written in that hard-boiled detective style, and yes it is set in the future and deals with individuality and choice, which brings up all of the Dick references, but this is a book that more than anything is channeling the lovechild of Huxley and Orwell. Set in a future that is not entirely dissimilar to the fifties, it is populated with evolved animals and sarcastic, whiskey drinking babies and everyone does sta [...]

    23. Chris says:

      I tried about eight times last night to post my review, but lost the text every single time. I think I'll just start mailing in my reviews, eh? Sigh.Anyway: holy cats! How did I miss this novel? I really love film noir, though I haven't so frequently read the pulpy literature variety. It's a genre that has all of these really comforting fixtures and traditions - it's so utterly predictable that when you get socked in the mouth by something unexpected, it really leaves an impression. LOVE that.An [...]

    24. JoeNoir says:

      I loved this book. A humorous hardboiled science fiction mystery. It's the story of tough P.I. Conrad Metcalf involved in a case no one wants solved. He keeps getting points deducted from his karma card when things don't go his way. Set in a future bay area with "evolved" (brain accelerated by evolution therapy) animals and babys, including a thug that's literally a kangaroo in a suit (shades of Raymond Chandler!). There are gangsters, and molls, ex-girlfriends, rival detectives, beatings and mu [...]

    25. Maggie K says:

      So, because of being a detective-noir fan, I have been wanting to read this for a while. A dystopian future world detective story with sentient animals and karma points. sounded right up my alley, literature-wise.The gritty detective story was therea complicated cheating spouse turning to murder scenario with enough complication to hit the right notes.However, I found myself questioning the world-building a lot. Was there a reason for baby-head humans, kangaroo gangsters and gorilla detectives? [...]

    26. Jeffrey says:

      This first novel is very good noir science fiction detective mystery novel with some time travel and non human characters, from the then unknown Lethem, who has gone on to become a big novelist.Try it if you like original science fiction coupled with a mystery and with a detective as the main character.

    27. Marc Nash says:

      Fizzes along as a nice blend of detective noir and future dystopia. Some nice concepts such as musical guns and musical news broadcasts. Not quite as mind-blowing linguistic wise as "Motherless Brooklyn" but a pretty decent debut.

    28. Martin Ott says:

      Really sharp cross-genre sci-fi mystery - enjoyed it immensely.

    29. aPriL does feral sometimes says:

      In the future as invented by Jonathan Lethem, San Francisco is full of musical tones installed in appliances and objects which sound when they are touched. People even wake up to musical news on the radio, with soothing harps in the background, and tubas supplying mood music for stories about justice done. Murders gets violins. All of ordinary life is beginning to be lived to background mood music, as encouraged by government and private businesses. (Admit it, as you live your life today, don't [...]

    30. Daniel Polansky says:

      Yeah, I mean, it’s fine. I enjoyed reading it, and I’ve been so pathetically fucking lazy lately when it comes to my reading that this kind of mean something, I have all the moral strength of a…haha, well of a weak person, the slightest mental effort and I just veer off into something else, whoosh. Anyway. It’s funny and it goes by quick but it didn’t dig into me in any particular way and I sometimes found him guilty of that thing ‘literary genre’ authors do of kind of half assing [...]

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