Alistair Rennie's "‘The Gutter Sees The Light That Never Shines" in the VanderMeers' New Weird anthology, I knew I wanted more. I tracked down "BleakWarrior Meet the Sons of Brawl" in Weird Tales, but it was still just a tease. Finally, the world has BleakWarrior, a novel-length excursion into the weird, pulpy, lurid, and violent.
In brief: BleakWarrior is less a novel than a series of shorts and vignettes in a fantasy world where a species of of super-powered sociopaths fight Highlander-style for...well, they don't really know. The characters have eccentric names like (The Light that Never Shines or Whorefrost) that sometimes point to their particular schtick, sometimes not. These Meta-Warriors stalk each other and fight to the death and pursue idiosyncratic schemes and passions, all while dodging/slaughtering/abusing mundane--"linear"--humanity.
The effect of all this is like Masters of the Universe re-imagined by some 2000 AD-bred British writer into an edgy 90s comic. It's got sex, graphic violence, quirky badasses and colorful madmen with slightly silly nom de guerres, black humor, and the occasional faux-Shakespearean soliloquy. It's Sword & Sorcery remade for the post-anime and videogame world.
It will not be for everyone, but if any of the above sounds interesting to do, then, check it out. Oh, and give Rennie's soundtrack it put together for it a listen. How cool is that?
( my friend Jack of Grotesque & Dungeonesque and I wound up reading it at the same time, so you can head over there and get his take, too.)
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