Apocalypse Now Now, by Charlie Human

Title: Apocalypse Now Now

Author: Charlie Human

Published: 2013

Five-word synopsis: kidnapped girlfriend, supernatural underworld, magic

Think: South African speculative fiction

What’s cool about it: the covers, there’s two I’ve seen so far and they’re both pretty awesome, and the narrator, Baxter Zevcenko – porn-king, teenage machiavelli, and slightly insane with the possibility of graduating to full-blown psychopath

What’s not: it’s a little nightmarish in some parts, so not for the faint hearted*

In a nutshell: it’s set in Cape Town, South Africa, and Baxter is the leader of a small gang devoted to selling porn in the local high school.  At the start of the novel his main priority is engineering a truce between two rival gangs – war, it seems, is bad for business.  But this all changes when his girlfriend Esme is kidnapped and Baxter, who dreams of blood, death, crows, and an all-seeing red eye, is quickly implicated in the crime.  In order to save his girlfriend he enlists the help of a bounty hunter named Ronin, who introduces him to a world hidden just beneath the real one, a world of monsters, secret agencies, mad scientists, and crazy visions.

Best bits: the dwarf legionaries, the preying mantis god, the springbok kid, the supernatural bounty hunter… it’s all good

Keep an eye out for: Baxter’s brother, Rafe, and Table Mountain

Fun fact: Charlie Human mentions his writing mentor, Lauren Beukes, in the acknowledgements.  If you liked Apocalypse Now Now, you’ll love Zoo City

Tell your mates: if they take their fantasy with a side of horror

*spider zombies, you have been warned

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Toni is a reader, writer, blogger, and postgraduate student living in Christchurch. When not reading she enjoys road trips and going to the movies. Her favorite books are set in space, boarding schools, the ruins of civilization, and city streets. She loves a good love story, and characters that surprise and delight. You can follow her on Goodreads and Twitter.