TITANIUM NOIR by Nick Harkaway (aka Nicholas Cornwell, aka Aidan Truhen)


Believer in flawed heroes
Nov 4, 2010
I started writing a door stopping wedge of a sci-f
For what it's worth, here's my personal, subjective, take on TITANIUM NOIR by Nick Harkaway.

The whole Chandleresque SF vibe is exactly my thing. So I'd say great style, great concept (really clever idea, wherein body enhancement/repair involves increasing body size), and I really, really enjoyed the first 40-50%.

But I'd say TITANIUM NOIR works in terms of concept, character and style, but ultimately fails as a novel. Why? Well, the plot pretty much sticks in a holding pattern between 50% and 90%. The protagonist basically just spends a lot of time asking everyone what they know about a fairy tale and about the Marx Brothers – and "everyone" basically replies saying that they don't know anything.

There needed to be either a lot more main plot (more clues/levels to the mystery) or at least a couple of juicy sub plots.

The story re-engages at 90%. At that point I guessed the end straight away. (If I wanted to be cynical, I'd say that Harkaway chose not to have anything much happen in the preceding 40% because he sensed that as soon as things shifted the end would be too obvious too soon). But I enjoyed the last 10% a lot regardless. The end is satisfying.

Finally, lots of clever vocabulary. Intellectual and scientific ideas. Literary and classical references. But I wouldn't say it's a "writer's read" in the sense that there isn't really any "prose style" going on.

Harkaway has already teased a sequel, and despite myself, I might well pick it up. Because, I mean, hell, that Chandleresque SF vibe …
I tried Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway. I really should push myself to finish books, but I DFNd early on. I was impressed by the mad language skillz but I could not connect with the story and I stopped. It was a shame, because the setup looked marvelously surreal, but I think I could feel the narrator sitting over my shoulder crowing at how good they were at writing, and it annoyed me.

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