Please help id this sci-fi book (very vague)

My Dad was telling me about a sci-fi book that he read recently and he would like to read more by that author, but he can’t remember the name. His details were incredibly vague, but I thought my fellow Dopers might have a clue. Here are the things he remembered:[ul]
[li]Sci-fi story and takes place in the future (imagine that, in the future).[/li][li]He read it a few years ago and thinks it was new then.[/li][li]Story takes place in San Fran or … the moon.[/li][li]Main character is a Philip Marlowe type guy.[/li][li]He drives around in a 1940’s car.[/li][/ul]

Just on a limb, I’m going to guess Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem. It’s about a grim private eye living in a future “utopia” in which asking questions is restricted by law (because it makes people uncomfortable, and we can’t have that) and goverment-produced designer drugs make everybody happy. I think it’s in San Francisco. I don’t recall any mention of the car he uses.

If your dad can remember a talking kangaroo as well, then this is the book.

Sorry, I’m no help. Instead, I want to ask about a different very vaguely remembered sci-fi novel I read about 20 years ago.

What I remember is that the protagonist (I think a child or young adult, though I don’t recall this being a kid’s book) lived in a future earth where technology had been forgotten for some reason. For some reason, he gets separated from his home (I very vaguely recall that he didn’t know of any other human beings than his own family, btw, though maybe I’m remembering that wrong) and for some further reason ends up entering some tunnel leading underground, and gets lost in a maze of passageways and rooms full of high-tech artifacts of various kinds. At one point he accidentally activates a system and is mystified by the operation of what I took to be some kind of TV.

That’s all I remember.


Right book or not, I’m intrigued.


Blade Runner?

I was going to suggest that very book; a damn fine read - definitely one I like to re-read every now and again.

"Davy" by Edgar Pangbourne?

"The Chrysalids" by John Wyndham?

Frylock’s book is almost certainly The World and Thorinn (1980) by the late Damon Knight.

Not sure about CaveMike’s book though…

It sounds like those Tex Murphy computer games. Not that this has anything at all to do with your question.

Christopher Ford Amateur Paranormalist - A regular old Dick and some not so regular advisaries. The author hasn’t writen anything new for a while, but the many stories on the home page are great.

Try The Galactic Customs too. A very excellant group effort.

It’s definitely not The Chrysalids - the kid doesn’t encounter future tech until the NZs pick him up, and I think the book ends just as they leave America anyway.

I have it on my shelves at home. I assure you it’s almost certainly The World and Thorinn by Damon Knight. I’ve read it two or three times.

until he came to the TV part, I was sure it was Ayn Rand’s ANTHEM.

No idea about the OP

It could be The Long Orbit by Mick Farren

This might be Fool Moon by Jim Butcher. Set in Chicago not SF, so ask if the hero is Harry Desden - the only wizard in the phone book. Fool Moon is the second in the Harry Dresden series.

No, not Harry Dresden. It is Fantasy, he is a private detective but not a Marlowe type, it is set in present day. He never goes to the moon and in fact rarely gets out of Chicago in the entire series so far.

Thanks everyone for all of your help! I’ve have passed your leads on to my Dad for him to figure it out.

One of the best things about these threads is that I get great ideas for things to read. I just finished Gun, with Occasional Music last night (enjoyed it a great deal) and I am setting my sights on Fool Moon next.