Monday 3 December 2012


Kameron Hurley, 2011
(November 2012)

The sequel to God’s War, which I saw described on another blog as a book, ‘in which Space Muslims are endlessly violent’. This is a lovely turn of phrase, completely accurate, and an almost perfectly enticing sales pitch. Seriously, they should put that on the cover of the next edition. I mean that with no sarcasm whatsoever. Anyway, round two of Angry Space Muslims coming up.

The writing’s better this time out. There’s more polish and control, the plot has more consistent pacing and progression, and the characters have more room to grow and develop. Thing is, authorial control is almost a complete antithesis to the thing I most enjoyed about the first book: the unbounded, gleeful ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-fuck-it-let’s-throw-that-in-as-well-and-the-fridge-and-the-hob-and-the-cutlery-drawer-while-we’re-at-it’ explosion of ideas and imagination.

Clearly you can’t have the enthusiasm of the debutant and the varnish of the veteran in the same package. It’s certainly no worse than its predecessor, and in many ways it’s noticeably better. By itself this is a very good book, but when do you ever get to judge a sequel by itself? And this is a sequel to a book that was stuffed to the exoskeleton with catshit insane mania and fury. Compared to just the opening page of God’s War the first two thirds of Infidel do resemble a bit of a glorified Easter Egg hunt, and it’s only once the gang’s all back together that it really kicks into gear. It’s very much like The Blues Brothers in that respect.

Unlike Jake and Elwood, however, the protagonist really isn’t on a mission from god. Or anyone else as far as I can make out. Love for queen and country, perhaps? Not sure that quite works, but it’s certainly fun viewing this as a gritty James Bond reboot that might have been. Periodically the press get all excited that the next Bond might be black – the current favourite is Idris Elba – but Nyx would be better.

That might be interesting, actually; a compare/contrast session between this and Dr No, say. Amoral violence, embittered cynicism, and throwaway sex in the service of higher powers who certainly don’t have your best interest at heart. And funny tech.

That’s one for later though. Round three awaits…

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