Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Crime writer Ian Rankin predicts rise of 'kind and gentle' books
Hong Kong (AFP) Nov 3, 2017

Global turmoil after seismic events such as Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump may push readers away from dystopian crime fiction to novels with a more comforting message, best-selling author Ian Rankin says.

The Scottish writer has made millions penning dark tales of serial killers and murderous gangsters, but thinks the current bleak outlook for world affairs may be a catalyst for a shift in what readers look for in fiction.

"I think this may happen -- a move away from serial killers and bleak dystopian crime fiction towards something with a more comforting message," Rankin tells AFP.

"Maybe good will be seen to triumph and ordinary people will overcome crises in psychological crime novels," he adds.

It has been 30 years since Rankin first introduced his famous protagonist John Rebus in Knots & Crosses, where he is a Detective Sergeant investigating the Edinburgh Strangler, a serial killer who has been abducting young girls.

As the brooding Rebus probed case after case involving shootings, prostitution, junkies and hit-and-runs, his books surged in popularity -- and are now bestsellers on several continents.

But Rankin believes troubled times in the real world could lead consumers to search for more light relief in fiction, pointing to the success of British writer Alexander McCall Smith, whose traditional mysteries set in Zimbabwe became popular after the 9/11 attacks in America.

Rejecting gruesome crime in favour of exploring everyday problems, his hit No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series also delighted in the simple things in life such as drinking tea.

"People craved normality and stories of kind people helping each other," Rankin says of McCall Smith's success.

He adds that he believes that fiction is currently more believable than real-life events, and readers would soon turn to books to provide a dose of comfort and stability.

"Right now, the world seems so crazy and irrational that many novelist(s) have difficulty trying to shape it into a coherent narrative. Fiction must be credible; the real world right now feels to me like the opposite of that," the 57-year-old explains.

- Playing God -

But he insists he would not abandon his tales about the grim underbelly of Edinburgh for "kind and gentle" books.

"I am too much of a cynic. Maybe my books will become wilder and more chaotic instead," he adds.

The writer has previously said it took him 14 years to make a decent living from his books. But he never considered stopping and despite forays into other genres, including comic books, an opera libretto, thrillers and film scripts, he says that he has stuck with crime fiction because "every theme... can best be explored with a detective".

"When I write, I feel like a child, playing games and having adventures with my imaginary friends in a universe where I get to play God," he says.

A criticism regularly levelled at the publishing industry is that it is too dominated by white authors but Rankin rejects the idea it is "white, male and stale".

"New voices are always being heard and crime fiction is leading the way. Recently there has been the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and this has led publishers to look at other cultures in search of the Next Big Thing," he says.

But there are no signs that Rankin's worldwide popularity -- he's sold more than 30 million novels and his work has been translated into 22 languages -- is dwindling in favour of younger writers. His 22nd Rebus novel will be published in autumn 2018.

Asked why there is still interest in the recently retired detective after three decades, Rankin says readers like that he is a believable character.

"Rebus is a complex human being who ages and changes... and also they like that he is a force for good -- he seeks justice for victims."

And will he ever be killed off?

He replies: "When I begin work on a new book I am never entirely sure if Rebus will be alive or dead on the final page."

* Ian Rankin will be speaking at the 2017 Hong Kong International Literary Festival, which takes place from November 3 to 12.

Displaced Puerto Ricans find refuge in New York
New York (AFP) Oct 31, 2017
Francisco Gonzalez, 79, and his wife Marisel arrived in New York nearly a month ago to live with their student son after Hurricane Maria. US citizens, they nonetheless feel like foreign refugees in their own country. Uprooted from the island they love, they are angry at corruption and the political system in Puerto Rico, and its complicated ties to the United States, which they believe hinde ... read more

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Displaced Puerto Ricans find refuge in New York

$129 bn in extreme weather losses last year: climate report

Five years on, New Yorkers still live with the scars of Hurricane Sandy

Puerto Rico 'heartbreaking' five weeks post-storm

Liquids take a shine to terahertz radiation

Voltage-driven liquid metal fractals

Jellyfish-inspired electronic skin glows when it gets hurt

Nanoscale textures make glass invisible

Scientists map coastal communities most vulnerable to natural disasters

Ivory Coast inaugurates huge China-funded dam

Climate change could transform key bacterial interactions in the ocean by 2100

Taste, not appearance, drives corals to eat plastics

Canada caribou herds, habitat continue to decline: report

IceBridge Launches Two Sets of Antarctic Flights

Wanted: a medical doctor for a cold adventure

New Greenland Maps Show More Glaciers at Risk

The advent of 'green' cattle

Marijuana farming is harming the environment, study shows

RUDN University researcher found out what happens to organic matter on rice fields

Flour power to boost food security

Future volcanic eruptions could cause more climate disruption

Tsunami reveals human noise pollution in Hawaiian waters

Authorities lower Bali volcano alert status

Anticipating aftershocks

Death of soldiers highlights US military presence in Niger

Pentagon looks at stepped-up Africa role to counter IS

US military to pursue Niger operations after deadly attack

Niger raid highlights US forces' growing Africa role

Newly discovered orangutan species is most endangered great ape

The relentless rise of migration in Europe over last 10,000 years

Researchers demonstrate 'mind-reading' brain-decoding tech

Study shows how memories ripple through the brain

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement