Anti-hero Nyxnissa so Dasheem (the eponymous Nyx) is great at surviving but a crap with a gun. She’s an ex-government assassin turned freelance bounty hunter who, along with her motley crew, seem to spend less time on the hunting and more on the trying not to die while on the job. Nyx is the foul-mouthed, whisky drinking, high-libido sort of lass who can’t start the day without a hangover and a mug of buni (think strong, thick Turkish-esque coffee).
Apocalypse Nyx is a collection of episodic novellas that follow on from Hurley’s previous Bel Dame Apocrypha series, however, it can be read as a standalone book without the background gained from reading the series. For those uninitiated into Hurley’s world, the bel dames are the ‘honourable assassins’ guild of which Nyx was a member but had been cast out of for one too many misdemeanours. As you may have guessed already, Nyx and rules have a very distant friendship. Nyx lives in a world that features bug technology - arachnophobes, entomophobes and pacifists look away now - where bullets and tech have too-many-legs, there are tonnes of violence, and buckets of blood and gore served with heavy dollops of mucus. Nyx’s gang includes: spotty teen and com tech Taite, hired gun Anneke (Hurley amusingly describes her as ‘a wiry fearsome little woman with a face like a hammer’) and a shape-shifter later joining the team. However, the key foil for Nyx is religious magician Rhys with whom she has a simmering will-they-won’t-they-possibly-not-unless-the-End-of-Days-is-nigh-and-even-then-it’s-a-close-run-thing relationship.
There are tensions between religions - there is an obvious Islam-inspired backdrop - and class; there is corruption at the highest levels and a perpetual war - one that Nyx barely made her way out of - that thunders around them. These are the sort of parallels with the real world that some of the best science fiction gestures towards and here Hurley does a cracking job. While there are many aspects that conform to expected dystopian tropes in this collection, this is a dystopia that revels in it in a big, joyous way with cracking one-liners and tight squeezes to escape. Apocalypse Nyx is definitely not for the squeamish, but if you like your heroines as kickass as Dutch from the TV series Killjoys you’ll love Nyxnissa. Good, honest science fiction fun with a feminist twist.
APOCALYPSE NYX / AUTHOR: KAMERON HURLEY / PUBLISHER: TACHYON PUBLICATIONS LLC / RELEASE DATE: JULY 17TH (KINDLE), AUGUST 2ND (PAPERBACK)