Route 666 – A Dark Future Anthology Review

Though I’ve owned the Games Workshop game Dark Future on more than one occasion in the past, I had never actually owned or read any of the novels. Well, as astute readers of my last post…you know I now have the complete collection.

Many of the titles are stand alone, but there is a series or two and we’ll get into those in due time. For this Dark Future book report series, I’m going to read them in order of publication. Starting with…

route666book

The book that kicked started the series is the 1990 anthology compiled by David Pringle. There are nine short stories here from six authors. All of these gents are more talented than I, so it’s hard to critique how well written they are. The critic’s role never really suited me, so I’m going to give loose impressions of each story. That’s still more than I’ve found on the net for these stories, so ‘ere we go…

Route 666 (Jack Yeovil) – Jack Yeovil, pen name for the esteemed Kim Newman, is an author I’m very familiar with through his Warhammer Novels Drachenfels and Beasts in Velvet. Two of the finest novels I’ve read set in the Old World. I’ve also read his Anno Dracula which I enjoyed quite a bit. Sort of a pre-League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tale where various literary characters interact beyond their own tales. Back to Route 666….This story kicks off the Jack Yeovil series of Dark Future books and, no surprise, is the strongest tale in this anthology. We’re introduced to Sgt. Quincannon of the United States Road Cavalry as he and Co. escort series antagonist Elder Seth and his flock to Spanish Fork where all hell breaks loose….literally.  We’re also introduced to Jazzbeaux of the Psychopomps gang who I believe we’ll see again down the road. Route 666 also begins the “maybe Dark Future is the beginning of the 40K universe” theories as it alludes to demons from the Realm of Chaos.

Kid Zero And Snake Eyes (Brain Craig) – Kid Zero, young ganger with the Low Numbers falls for Snake Eyes, a regular of The Underground who has a bit of a reptilian look having been experimented on by the GenTech Bioproducts Division (GenTech, the biodivision that cares…). Seem she has altered eyes and scaly patches of skin. This was a short tale on Kid Zero going rouge taking his crusade against the Corp and anyone in he and Snake Eye’s way. This was a fun little tale told in a campfire tale manner, and it highlighted that there is a society in this setting and it’s not all wastelands and highways.

Ghost Town (Neil Jones) – Three Sanctioned Operatives defend a hideout hidden in an abandoned town. Wasn’t real memorable, but felt like an early 90’s Full Moon Features flick, so thinking of that was fun.

Duel Control (Myles Burnham) – Sheriff Jesse McHeath duels with a gang harassing New Carthage. Strong opening scene here of a gangcultist left for dead on the road. This tale also dropped a lot of corporation names from the rule-book, giving a strong tie to the setting.

Thicker Than Water (Brian Craig) – Two bounty hunter brothers, Carl and Bro, get caught up in a mission over their heads dealing with GenTech (GenTech, the biodivision that cares…) and a rogue experiment. I liked this one as it gave me some ideas for a proper game scenario.

Maverick Son (Neil McIntosh) – Blue Star Op, Joe Gold, gets sent on a mission to hunt down a former Op that’s now leading a fanatic cult. Despite the dusty, desert setting this was very much a Shadowrun tale…crooked ‘johnson’ and all…

Four-Minute Warning (Myles Burnham) – Three individuals hijack a televangelists’ taping and air all the dirty laundry of he and his wife. This was a good story and its inclusion is interesting. It had nothing to do with ops, gangs, V8s, or anything to do with life on the road. So, in that regard it felt completely out of place. However, it does seem like the sort of event that could take place in this world’s city and viewed on the telly. A good tale and a wake-up call that there’s more to the setting than highway dueling.

Only In The Twilight (Brian Craig) – Ever wonder what the story of Troy and the Trojan Horse would be like if it didn’t take place along the Mediterranean in the Ancient World, but in the dark future of the American Southeast? Wonder no more…and listen to  Homer Hegarty tell it.

Uptown Girl (William King) – Mr. King is the other author I was familiar with going into this anthology as I had read Trollslayer and a few other Gotrek and Felix stories. This story gave me a Escape From New York/The Warriors vibe. Sanction Op Travis has to retrieve a captive Gruber heir while avoiding several gangs, a rival Op, and general bad attitude populations. This one also felt like there was more to come of the story, but I don’t recall ever seeing any of the names in any Dark Future backstory mention so I doubt that’s the case. We’ll see.

So there you have it. A rodeo roundup of the tales in Route 666.

jazzbeu

(by John Blanche…is it Jazzbeaux?)

This post sponsored by GenTech. GenTech, the biodivision that cares…

 

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