PDA

View Full Version : A scifi murder mystery



Dhewco
02-26-2006, 12:47 AM
Hello everyone,



Here's an idea I've been toying with: A Terran Imperial Naval Intelligence officer (Earth and its colonies have a constitutional monarchy whose monarch has US-presidential-style powers) is assigned to an Embassy on a foreign world as the attache to the human ambassador. At a party, an important alien is killed.

The officer is assigned by the ambassador to discover who killed the 'man' before the alien's government retaliates. (there are extenuating circumstances that make this reaction plausible)

There is also a subplot: the officer, before the embassy assignment, returns from a deep space mission, to find out he has a son. The boy has been in an orphanage since the age of two (he's eleven now) because his mother killed herself. The hero asks for a 'calm' job, hence the embassy assignment. He and his kid need time to bond.

My question is this: How many deep space murder mysteries are there? I can't think of many. Someone suggested Blade Runner, but I don't remember the mystery there. LOL, I think of it as strictly an action movie.

Can someone suggest similar books I can look at? I don't want to accidently do something too cliche.


David

veinglory
02-26-2006, 12:54 AM
Asimov's robot books often fit that mold, a few of the golden age writers of s f seems to write detective stories from time to time (Silverberg etc).

Dhewco
02-26-2006, 12:56 AM
Don't remember Asimov writing murder mysteries. Guess I'll have to look him up again.

veinglory
02-26-2006, 01:00 AM
One of his big characters was an agorophobic policeman as I recall--dealing with the bizarre circumstances that might cause a robot to kill, or seem to kill, under the laws of robotics. Don't get me started on *that* appaulling movie, though.

Dhewco
02-26-2006, 01:59 AM
I, Robot was Asimov? I didn't realize that. I liked the movie, though. More for the action and effects, than the plot. Will Smith has great comic/ action timing and made the movie for me. The man playing the scientist (the good one, not the head of the company) is an underrated actor. I wish he did more roles.

But the movie didn't really have a murder mystery feel to it.


David

veinglory
02-26-2006, 02:29 AM
He wrote a lot of robot books, most were mystery to some extent, often murder. once you read them you migth understand my frustration with the movie and what they did to the characters. i.e. turning intelligent mystery into action/adventure no matter how competant

Jamesaritchie
02-26-2006, 06:30 AM
Don't remember Asimov writing murder mysteries. Guess I'll have to look him up again.

His main robot murder mystery was "Caves of Steel," where a human detective named Elijah Baley teams with a robotic detective name R. Daniel Olivaw. This was the novel that really started me reading Asimov. But he also write a straight murder mystery called "Murder at the ABA," I think.

And he wrote many, many mystery short stories. Most of them were the wonderful "Black Widowers" stories, most often published in Ellery Queen, but there were others.

emeraldcite
02-26-2006, 06:39 AM
Read Jack McDevitt's A Talent for War, Polaris, and Seeker. These are all deep space mysteries that involve murder, but the murder is not the centerpiece.

I also have a few other books around, I think, but I don't believe they are in print any longer...

ChunkyC
03-07-2006, 05:05 AM
According to what I could find, Asimov wrote three Elijah Bailey SF detective novels: The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn. He also wrote some SF short stories featuring the agoraphobic Professor Wendell Urth, collected in Asimov's Mysteries.

His other mysteries were mainstream, most notably the Black Widowers stories.

You could also check out Sci-Fi Private Eye, an anthology with stories by Asimov, Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Philip Jose Farmer, Robert Silverberg, Donald Westlake, Tom Reamy, Wilson Tucker, and Philip K. Dick. I have it on my bookshelf ... ISBN 0-451-45592-4

TheIT
03-07-2006, 05:19 AM
I can't remember whether Retief solved any murders, but you might want to check out the Retief series by Keith Laumer for a humourous take on the alien embassy angle. They're fun reads.

Jamesaritchie
03-07-2006, 09:19 AM
According to what I could find, Asimov wrote three Elijah Bailey SF detective novels: The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn. He also wrote some SF short stories featuring the agoraphobic Professor Wendell Urth, collected in Asimov's Mysteries.

His other mysteries were mainstream, most notably the Black Widowers stories.

You could also check out Sci-Fi Private Eye, an anthology with stories by Asimov, Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Philip Jose Farmer, Robert Silverberg, Donald Westlake, Tom Reamy, Wilson Tucker, and Philip K. Dick. I have it on my bookshelf ... ISBN 0-451-45592-4

Yep. Just me, but I'd skip the last two Elijah Baily novels. Caves of Steel was the good one.

Dhewco
03-12-2006, 05:26 AM
Gee, it's more prevalent than I thought. I don't remember any of these titles at my local BAM, but I could have missed them. If I wasn't impressed with the cover, or the title, I didn't pick anything up. I could have seen it and didn't think enough of it to read the back, thereby not noticing the author's name.


David

Nangleator
05-02-2006, 12:00 AM
Niven wrote a short story murder mystery where the murder weapon was a black hole. Heh.

Trouble with science fiction murder mysteries is, the audience has to have a clear knowledge of all the possibilities, in terms of technology and alien biological strengths/weaknesses in order to have a chance at figuring out the killer (theoretically, of course.)

If I read a story where the crime was committed via some technology I wasn't aware of, I'd be upset with the cheating author.

soloset
05-19-2006, 08:40 PM
This is an exaggerated version of a problem that can crop up in even 'straight' mysteries; I'm reminded of an episode of Murder She Wrote where, after the final commercial break, Jessica reveals the killer as a long lost cousin never previously mentioned. She knew this because of some gloves she'd found off-screen, apparently during the commercial break.

Oh, and Murder at the Galactic Writers' Society is by Janet Asimov. I own a copy, but I honestly can't remember reading it.

You should try Bimbos of the Death Sun. :D

Evaine
07-12-2006, 10:12 PM
Bimbos of the Death Sun is wonderful - very funny, and embarrassingly true to life about SF Conventions.
It also led me on to read Sharyn McCrumb's other work, which is quite different, and mostly set in the Appalachian mountains.

Pomegranate
07-12-2006, 10:30 PM
I can't remember whether Retief solved any murders, but you might want to check out the Retief series by Keith Laumer for a humourous take on the alien embassy angle. They're fun reads.

The Retief stories are available online at the Baen free library (http://www.baen.com/library/) and they were very entertaining.

Also, try your public library. I'm sure they would have most of the golden age writers like Asimov in the collection or via interlibrary loan.

I think your plot sounds interesting. Keep working!

Kate Thornton
07-13-2006, 12:45 AM
Bimbos of the Death Sun is wonderful - very funny, and embarrassingly true to life about SF Conventions.
It also led me on to read Sharyn McCrumb's other work, which is quite different, and mostly set in the Appalachian mountains.

Sharyn McCrumb actually wrote several SF books - Bimbos of the Death Sun, Zombies of the Gene Pool, and Bimbos & Zombies.

She is known for her mysteries, though - with 2 major series, the 9 Elizabeth MacPherson books and the 8 Ballad books (these are the ones set in Appalachia.)

She a 4 time Agatha Award winner, too (mystery award)

Lloydyboy
07-13-2006, 05:35 PM
I recall an old Sean Connery flick called Outland. Then, of course, there's Blade Runner.

They may or may not fit the bill. Your ideas do sound cool though.

Evaine
07-14-2006, 12:33 AM
If we're mentioning films, does anyone remember a shortlived BBC2 series called Star Cops? It was set on either a space station or a moonbase, and was quite ingenious when it got going.

Gillhoughly
07-14-2006, 06:43 AM
Star Cops (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0002K103O/202-7912695-7248617?v=glance&n=283926&s=gateway&v=glance) was an amazing Brit series and wears well even now.

YES to Lois Bujold! Mysteries figure big time in her works.

Try Mountains of Mourning (http://www.baen.com/library/1011250002/1011250002.htm)-- won her a Nebula and Hugo award. The link is to Baen's site where you can read some of it.

AnneMarble
07-14-2006, 07:44 AM
Can someone suggest similar books I can look at? I don't want to accidently do something too cliche.
There's The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. As a symbol of how influential this book was, the character "Bester" in Babylon Five was named after him. :)

Kate Thornton
07-14-2006, 06:58 PM
There's The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. As a symbol of how influential this book was, the character "Bester" in Babylon Five was named after him. :)

Alfred Bester also wrote one of my all time favorite books, The Stars My Destination.

AnneMarble
07-15-2006, 12:52 AM
Alfred Bester also wrote one of my all time favorite books, The Stars My Destination.
"Vorga, I kill you filthy." :D

Ooh, what about Tamara Siler Jones' fantasy novels, Ghosts in the Snow and Threads of Malice? They're been referred to as forensic fantasy novels.