Apocalypse Now Now Paperback – 8 Aug 2013
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"Lauren Beukes meets Neil Gaiman." (WIRED)
"Pure, unbridled joy ... every bit as awesome as you might think." (Pornokitsch)
"It’s mad, dark, irreverent and wonderfully twisted in all the right ways." (Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls)
"A riot – a firebomb of a novel, exploding with sick humour, violence and depravity." (SFX)
"With a wild imagination and savage glee, Charlie Human throws us into a school yard battle zone that’s part teenage wasteland, part Lovecraft fever dream. Rock and Roll High School meets the apocalypse." (Richard Kadrey)
Neil Gaiman meets Tarantino in this madcap, wildly entertaining journey into Cape Town's supernatural underworld.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Baxter Zevcenko perfectly embodies your typical teen. Brash, cock-sure strut one moment, and then all childlike innocence the next. He comes across as a delightful amalgam of Machiavelli and Harry Potter. On more than one occasion I had a profound desire to give him a good slap. As the plot continued to unfold however, I found myself warming to the young man. Ultimately, I suspect he's really not as bad as he thinks he is. Sure his relationships with his family and friends are a bit strained, but he is at the very peak of the school pecking order. Everyone just needs to appreciate how clever he is and everything will be fine.
My other favourite character without doubt has to be Jackie Ronin. He's just so damned demented, I loved him. Like a hard-boiled supernatural fixer, he lives on the periphery of normal existence. He introduces Baxter to a brand new world of death, destruction and decay. What teenager wouldn't get a kick out of that? There are also a few tiny nuggets of Ronin's history scattered throughout the narrative that suggest an even more colourful past. Murky doesn't seem like an adequate enough word to describe him. Sadly, Ronin's history remains shrouded in secrecy, the tantilising glimpses that the author reveals are never explored in any great depth. I'll state categorically here and now that I will immediately buy, or indeed sell my soul, for any novel that features more of Mr Ronin.
In hindsight I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. When I spotted the beguiling cover artwork by Joey Hi-Fi, I should have guessed that beneath it beats the darkest literary hearts. Human's first novel showcases an author who delights in messing with his reader's heads. He plays around with the ambiguities that exist in Baxter's life and it makes for an enthralling tale. I was particularly impressed with the way Human has folded elements of South African folklore and horror into the mix. It all fit together seamlessly.
Apocalypse Now Now is a story for anyone who has ever felt left out or isolated, for anyone who has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous high school. The writing manages to be funny in one sentence and then horrifically graphic the next. This is highly entertaining and unexpected fiction that delivers on every single promise. I really wouldn't want to be Charlie Human right now. The difficult second novel is going to have to go some to beat this.
Charlie Human's début novel Apocalypse Now Now is a riotous mix of horror, comedy, thrills and spills, all held together by the beautifully twisted mind of Charlie Human.
Don't be fooled by the resemblance to another famous fictitious schoolboy, any resemblance to that rather wet and dull kid suggested by the cover image is purely coincidental. Baxter Zevcenko is not what you would call your classic hero. In fact he can be barely classed as a likeable character.
The head of the schools premier porn distribution ring Baxter seems to have have everything a kid could ever want, money, respect, power and the woman of his dreams. But when his girl is kidnapped Baxter is plunged in the strange, dark and odd world of Cape Towns supernatural under belly. Aided by the only man crazy enough to help him, a drunk washed up bounty hunter by the name of Ronin Baxter will face the deepest nightmares to save the girl of his dreams.
Apocalypse Now Now is an extremely ambitious novel, Human, throws everything including the kitchen sink into this glorious novel. Kung-Fu dwarves, giant crows, zombies and fabulous cast of South African folklore creatures all come together to give this book a twisted dreamlike quality that is just a joy to read. Human's prose is tight and gifted, and manages to maintain an air of reality in the ever increasing insanity that unfolds. By making Baxter such an utterly despicable character is a master stroke of genius, he's the sort of kid that I I was his teacher I'd lose my job over him, after stringing him up a flag pole. And yet despite this you still feel for him and connect with him.
One of the strong points of this novel is the skill of the author at injecting a mischievous vein of dark sarky humour in the narrative. in one sentence he will have you chuckling out load, and in the next sentence he will have you squirming uncomfortably in your seat. With these sort of novels there is always a danger that the humour takes over and cause all sense of tension and horror to be lost in a sea of gags. Thankfully Human keeps the humour firmly caged.
With a cast of characters so weird and mysterious Apocalypse Now Now can stand proudly next to such works as Clive Barkers Weaveworld and Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. This is a rich novel that will take the reader on a thrilling journey through a wild and wondrous land.
Every now and then a special book comes along, that blows the cobwebs from stale and dull genre. Apocalypse Now Now, not only gives the urban fantasy genre a spring clean it gives it a well need kick up the backside.
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