Made to Kill
By Adam Christopher
The strange bond between noir and science fiction has never, at least to my satisfaction, been explained. What is it that makes trench coats and laser pistols go so well together?
It’s a matter that’s raised again in Made to Kill, which returns us to the mean streets of Raymond Chandler with a fun story set in an alternate 1960s Los Angeles. In true noir fashion it begins with a beautiful and mysterious dame entering the office of private investigator and confidential hitman Ray Electromatic.
If Ray’s name makes you think of a vacuum cleaner, that’s not unintentional. He’s six-foot-ten-inches and one ton of bronzed steel: the last of a line of robots that temporarily took over America’s labour force in the mid-twentieth century before being decommissioned for political reasons. Ray’s brain consists of whirring magnetic tapes that fill up after a day’s use and are then downloaded back at the office, where they are analyzed by his partner, the cigarette-voiced A/I Ada.
Noir plots are notorious for their complexity, and Made to Kill doesn’t cheat on this score. Before long Ray’s job involves the CIA, a cabal of A-list Hollywood actors, evil Russian spies, robot mummies, and power beams that effect the transmigration of souls by way of radioactive cubes. It will take a computer to figure it out.