Review: Age of Godpunk / Author: James Lovegrove / Publisher: Solaris Books / Release Date: September 12th
Age of Godpunk is a collection of three novellas, all set in a world in which long forgotten deities continue to interfere with the affairs of man. Minor mythic beings messing about with mortal affairs has been a mainstay of the urban fantasy genre for quite some time, but Lovegrove’s approach to this sort of storyline always makes the relationship adversarial.
The first story is Age of Anansi. A highly successful barrister finds himself striking an unlikely bargain with the infamous African trickster god, and is coerced into competing in an annual competition with representatives of all the other trickster gods from other cultures. It’s the lightest story of the three, and it’s a compelling and enjoyable read. Much of the fun comes from the various tricksters trying to one-up each other, and they’re handled rather beautifully. Loki is particularly fun, and this is a great (though dark) tale of cunning, foolishness and knowing when to quit whilst you’re ahead.
We reviewed Age of Satan when it came out on its own in eBook only format; its inclusion in this compilation means you can now own a copy that will fit neatly on a shelf and that doesn’t need batteries. This short tale of madness, malevolence and manifestos sits perfectly in the collection; it’s much darker than the previous tale but also sets the scene nicely for the final story.
Age of Gaia is a bit of an odd tale, featuring an arrogant CEO of a global power generation company who tries to reform his ‘green’ image. Though part of it is clearly a polemic against the close-minded and arrogant on both sides of the environmental debate, it’s also a tale filled with fear and confusion, and it’s hard to tell if all of this is entirely intentional. It’s also, in part, a parody of recent publishing trends. (It’s tempting to call it 50 Shades of Gaia, put it that way). Of all of the stories in this set, this one suffers from being slightly too long to deliver a short, sharp shock, but also too brief to actually explore the full potential of its themes.
Overall, this is a great little treat for fans of the urban fantasy genre, and it should satisfy those who like their horror thrillers short, snappy and filled with interesting ideas.