The noir backdrop of Kameron Hurley’s thrilling APOCALYPSE NYX is enlivened by a double helping of gritty violence
The recent release of Kameron Hurley’s APOCALYPSE NYX spawns some excitement.
At SFREVU, Benjamin Wald praises the collection.
The influence of noir on Nyx and her worldview was either absent or lost on me in the original novels, but is inescapable in this collection. Nyx sees the corruption and evil of the world she inhabits, where the rich profit while the poor are fed into the meat grinder of war or scrabble for survival. She likes to think she is inured to this injustice and purports to be out only for herself, but time and again she can’t help trying to protect those around her and right what injustices she can, often despite herself. Indeed, several stories feature femmes fatales who drag Nyx, against her better judgment, into intrigues that underline this message.
But this noir backdrop is enlivened by a double helping of gritty violence. Nyx is a self-admitted terrible shot, but she makes up for it with her scattergun, sword, and sheer bloody-mindedness, leaving a trail of corpses through the stories–most of whom might possibly deserve it, if you squint a bit, but some of whom just find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nyx is a killer and her tragedy is she can neither accept this in herself nor bring herself to walk away from the violence by which she makes her living.
This collection starts off with two longer stories, “The Body Project” and “The Heart is Eaten Last” that do an excellent job of introducing Nyx and her team and setting a pattern that other stories will elaborate on. In each story, Nyx and her team take on a job, find out that the job is not quite what they had been led to believe, overcome danger and obstacles (often with significant injuries and moral quandaries), and finally achieve an ambiguous victory. Sometimes, victory is just survival. While this might seem formulaic, it is a perfect frame for the character moments that lie at the heart of the stories, while giving plenty of space for the gritty action scenes that Hurley does so well.
Hurley always innovates enough within the pattern for the stories to feel fresh. APOCALYPSE NYX is an excellent introduction for those wondering whether to pick up the original trilogy or a great way for those who have already read the previous books chronicling Nyx’s adventures to spend a bit more time in Nyx’s violent world.
John Keogh for BOOKLIST enjoys the book.
The plots are taut, thrilling, gritty, violent, profane, magical—everything Hurley’s readers expect. New readers will not feel lost in this world—Hurley has created one of the most engrossing environments in modern sf—but fans will delight in learning how Nix meets Khos and the first time she hires Anneke. Though there is not much personal growth, all of the characters are well realized, even in the short story format, and each story covers familiar interpersonal conflicts and emotional highs and lows. These stories were previously published online, but fans of sf adventure stories with lots of political intrigue will welcome them in print.
THE FANTASY INN delights in their introduction to Nyx.
To put it lightly, Nyx is not the easiest person to love. She is almost completely selfish. For example, in one scene a crew member saves someone’s life and leaves something valuable behind; Nyx berates them for not getting the valuables first and going back to see if the person was still alive. She is incredibly stubborn and gives off a vibe that she doesn’t really care about the majority of her crew as individual people. She just cares that she has a crew. Yet Nyx is competent and acknowledges were weaknesses. Doing something about her shortcomings, though? Nah. And while she will leave a crew member to die if it benefits her in the short run, she still does depend on them. Her character is excellently written, along with the others.
Another positive about this book is how it incorporates grimdark and new weird elements (bugpunk, for example) seamlessly in the world. Nyx’s moral seems to be, “A job is a job. If it pays well, take it.” The world is full of morally grey characters. Nyx might be extreme, but her crew isn’t innocent either. And despite the perspective being mainly hers, the other characters are still well developed.
LLAMA READS BOOKS also found interest her first meeting with Nyx.
As a first introduction to Nyx, I think it works pretty well, and it definitely made me interested in picking up the rest of the books in the series to see more of Nyx and her team. Recommended for fans of kickass flawed heroines and grimdark SF&F!
Marty Halpern on his MORE RED INK blog is excited about the book’s release.
Last week I received my contributor’s copy of APOCALYPSE NYX, Kameron Hurley’s collection of stories set in her Bel Dame Apocrypha world of God’s War. The book should have arrived within a couple days of being mailed as I live only about fifty miles south of the publisher, Tachyon Publications…but that’s not taking into account the mode of transport: the United States Postal Service! So the package was mailed in San Francisco, Tachyon’s home; upon checking tracking updates, I discovered that the package was transported to a Los Angeles USPS receiving station (about 350 miles south of me), before, eventually, making its way back to good ole San Jose, where I live. I believe it was about six days after being mailed that the package was actually delivered. Six days to really travel only about fifty miles….
In my December 11, 2017, blog post, I wrote about my work on APOCALYPSE NYX. At that time the book was scheduled for publication in July 2018 – and here we are! Aside from the quality of their books, Tachyon Publications have always met their release dates (rare for an independent publisher… I could tell you stories about other publishers….), and I’ve been working with them since 2002. In fact, I just looked up the details: my first invoice was dated February 19, 2002.
As Kirkus states at the conclusion of its review of APOCALYPSE NYX “For established fans, a bittersweet reunion with old friends; for new readers, a reasonable enticement toward the superior novels of the series.”
For KIRKUS, John DeNardo includes APOCALYPSE NYX in If You Could Read a Book a Day, These are the 31 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books You Should Read for July.
For more info on APOCALYPSE NYX, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Wadim Kashin
Design by Elizabeth Story