The hard-boiled detective story is perhaps a niche genre, and especially hard to nail. It seems as though every possible story has been done to death (pun intended), and dated nature aside, at the very heart of the genre lie two paradoxes it seems impossible to solve.
I’ve heard a lot about how we should let James Bond be a man, and just make a different franchise, and give women their own female Bond-counterpart. I've heard that James Bond is a male ideal, and a woman in the role would turn the film into nothing more than a feminist statement. I've even heard that making a female James Bond is like making 'a male Laura Croft' (to the anonymous YouTube commenter who made that comparison: you have a male Laura Croft. His name is Indiana Jones and he gets far more recognition than Laura Croft does). Most alarmingly, I've heard that we shouldn't have a woman as James Bond because it won't solve the rampant sexism in our entertainment industry. I have addressed these complaints respectively in the list below.
Where, when, why, and how to murder your darlings...
As a follow-up to my hearty defense of fan fiction, I've compiled a short list of quality fan fiction that I can recommend as a good jumping-off point for anyone interesting in the genre. Recommendations are a way to start filtering out the writing you don't want to read and locating the stories you like—they might prevent you from being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work on websites like Archive of our Own and Fan Fiction dot net.
When you hear the term "fan fiction," your mind probably jumps to works the likes of My Immortal and Fifty Shades of Grey—graphic, controversial, and poorly written. Fan fiction is notorious for its grammar flops, its chapters upon chapters of sappy, angsty romance, and its comedically bad sex scenes. But fan fiction is so much more than its smutty, grammatically disastrous surface.
I’m halfway through my route when I pass a powder blue automobile with its tire blown out. It’s got a polish on the hood like it's made of sunlight, and the engine growls like a bear. I wonder who’d be out on the highway this early besides me and my bike—I’ve got my Sunday route, after all—when John Wilder gets out of the car and opens the passenger side door for his daughter.
The hard-boiled private detective props her feet up on a disheveled desk, smokes a cigar beneath the light of a dim floor lamp and the shade of a wide-brimmed fedora. Her eyes are dark; her face is lined; her office smells of Scotch, coffee, and tobacco.
I was reading up on Oceans 8 (the all-female reboot of Oceans 11) this afternoon, and I couldn't help but notice how many people were complaining in the comment section that it would destroy the integrity of the original—right up there with "it ruined my childhood" as far as non-specific melodramatic criticisms you hear every time a reboot of anything is released.
Jenny Shepard speaks like Louis Armstrong sings: husky and decisive, full of wit and jazz and careful severity. She chooses her words slowly, unafraid of an argument. She will override a classified mission, confident that she’s in the right, and will not back down.
Jenny earns her eleventh star three days before Christmas. It seems almost too late to hang another token on our raggedy tree, but Jenny adheres strictly to her own unique traditions. She's bright and snarky when I pick her up from the hospital, smirking at the sight of me.