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Larry’s Introduction

When Kacey came to me with a pitch for an anthology of noir themed sci-fi and fantasy stories, it was an easy sell. I love noir. As a kid I read a lot of Louis L’Amour. He was known for his westerns, but he also wrote hardboiled detective pulp stories. Reading a collection of those had caused me to check books by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett out of my local library.

It was fantastic stuff. Tough guys, seductive women, scheming crooks, weary cops, fast talkers, all competing, not to see who wins, but to be the one who doesn’t lose the most.

I’ve been a fan ever since.

When I started plotting the novel Hard Magic, it actually started out with a typical epic fantasy setting, except then my friend and author Mike Kupari said something to the effect that everything was cooler back when men wore hats, and it kind of stuck. So I took all those fantasy elements and stuck them into 1932 Great Depression Detroit. My weary knight became a detective. I kept the wizards. Strangely enough, it worked really well.

Personally, I had a lot of fun mixing noir with fantastic elements. So when I was presented with the idea of getting together a bunch of other writers to see what they could do with femme fatales in fantasy or sci-fi settings, it was a no-brainer for me. I was hooked from the get-go. Kacey is clever like that.

When putting together a collection of stories, noir is one of those things that can be hard to define. I’m not the kind of writer who gets hung up on arbitrary genre rules. Depending on the creator, noir can be a vibe, a look, a lifestyle, or an attitude. The characters can be morally ambiguous or heroic, jaded or naïve. It can take place in seedy back alleys, or glittering nightclubs…or in this case, nightclubs on spaceships.

We’ve assembled some of my favorite authors in this anthology, and they all had different, creative takes on the subject. There are some stories from well-known authors writing in their popular franchises, and some from newer writers in settings you’ve never seen before. Either way, if you like what they’ve done here, I’d encourage you to check out their other work.

I truly hope you enjoy reading these as much as I have.

—Larry Correia

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