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Noir and neo fiction hold a specific place among the most common genres of literature. A great number of modern films and stories are written in accordance with classic noir and neo traditions. It is easy to take one genre for the other since there is a very thin line between the two. Noir or black fiction is the presentation of a story line involving mystery that requires unraveling by a detective or police; the story is characterized by a horrific plot and a tragic end. Neo-noir or new-black fiction is the presentation of a storyline that is unique, horrific and fantastic; it also may include some gothic traits and does not necessarily have a tragic ending. As it is clear from the definition of each genre, the two have some common characteristics, hence, little difference. Common characteristics are also apparent in the wording of the two genres. At times, neo-noir may seem to be the upgrading and making unique black fiction. This essay will shed light on some differences that exist between classic noir and neo-noir stories relating to noir aspects.

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To begin with, classic noir stories or fiction focus on only weird breath taking incidents while neo-noir digs deep in uniqueness (Thomas, 2). In writing classic noir stories, all an author needs to do is come up with a story that incorporates a horrific situation that requires a solution. The most important requirement is the story line, which leaves the viewers breathless. The setting and tone must be unusual and weird. On the other hand, neo-noir puts more emphasis on uniqueness of the story than any other aspect. To qualify to be classic noir, the story must be horrific, but for it to qualify to be neo-noir, it must have an idea that has not been on the books or other stories. The emphasis on unique ideas explains the usage of the word neo. Therefore, the idea must be new in neo-noir while in the classic noir it can be adopted from common ideation.

Secondly, classic noir stories are normally set in modern settings while neo-noir can be set in the past, present or future. Classic noir focuses on modern settings where an expertise detective will work out a case that is depressing to a lady figure in the story, trying to come up with a solution. In the line of working out a solution, many horrific things happen, adding to other horrific incidents in the story line. Classic noir stories imply extensive use of computers and digital devices in (Robert, 129). On the contrary, neo-noir stories can be set in the past, where the setting will be traditional and the equipment in use will also be of the time in the setting. It is also acceptable to set neo-noir story in the present, where the equipment in use would be modern; respectively if the story is set it in the future, the equipment in use will be more advanced than the current ones.

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Thirdly, classic noir is more of pure horror, with a tragic while neo-noir integrates fantasy and storytelling and does not necessarily end tragically. Fantasy is far-fetched and makes the story quite comic or humorous (Thomas, 1). It is quite contradictory for a horrific story to be humorous, but it helps in keeping the story interesting. Classic noir fiction hardly integrates fantasy or storytelling. Mostly, they are totally horror stories. Integrating storytelling into horror storylines makes the story less tension giving creating a light air. Neo-noir stories are not restricted to tragic ending, implying that they may end tragically or end with a solution to the problem. Neo-noir incorporates grotesque, slipstream and magic realism, as ways of capturing the audience in storytelling. These features of storytelling are of considerable assistance in coming up with a unique idea. In addition, apart from not being pure horror, the problem in the story does not have to be about police or detectives. For neo-noir stories, the author has the freedom to choose what kind of a problem to address. Classic noir stories, do not only end as tragedies, but also must be about police or detectives solving the problem (Robert, 126). That means neo-noir stories may be more practical and real than classic noir which are limited to police related stories.


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It is apparent from the discussion above that it is possible to distinguish classic noir fiction from the neo-noir fiction. Regardless of many similarities between the two genres or subgenres, the differences are distinct and easy to identify. All the same, since the two are evolving with time, these differences continue changing widening or narrowing the difference between them. Neo-noir is taking root fast, overtaking classic noir production. From the above differences, one can see that it is most likely that the neo-noir fiction is more interesting and thrilling than classic noir fiction. That means there is a need to draw creativity in classic noir production to keep it relevant and interesting to the audience; otherwise, it will be overridden by the neo-noir. Since neo-noir can be set in the future, its incorporation of science fiction brings out thrilling imaginations, which seem quite relevant than that which appears in the classic noir that only brings out old ideas of science fiction. Classic noir emphasizing on horror makes less captivating but more engaging while storytelling in neo-noir style makes it captivating to the audience with less engagement. Conclusively, how interesting a story in either genre is, depends solely on the author's creativity and ability to communicate.

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