I recently finished off the second book in Jack Yeovil’s Demon Download cycle.
To be honest, this one took me a little longer to get through as it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in a Dark Future tale. It’s not that it was bad, but there wasn’t too much in the way of Sanctioned Ops vs Gangcults vs US Road Cavalry action.
Krokodil Tears actually takes place after the events in the Route 666 Anthology, but prior to the previous book in the cycle, Demon Download. Last surviving member of the Psychopomps street gang, Jessamyn ‘Jazzbeaux‘ Bonney, is on the run from Nguyen Seth’s minions – a Californian surfer Op, a serial killer that’s a parody of Hannibal Lector, and some outer dimensional Lovecraftian beast. Jessamyn, herself a cyborg, ends up a vassal for some spiritual force becoming an ultimate weapon of sorts…Krokodil.
Jack Yeovil, again a pen name for Kim Newman, loves pop culture references, so there’s a lot to spot. In fact, my favorite chapters were the ones about media news outlets broadcasting events around the world. The actual story of Krokodil v Seth wasn’t as engaging and with its focus on demon action felt more like something from a twisted World of Darkness novel rather than what I was wanting to explore in the Dark Future setting.
I understand in the next book, Comeback Tour, Krokodil teams up with retired Sanctioned Op Elvis Presley, yes him, so I’m hoping we get into more road war there.
One thing that does jump out at me from the Dark Future setting, as told through these novels, is that there are no shortage of strong, female protagonists. In fact, the main characters of the setting (outside of Seth) are all female: Vatican hitwoman Sister Chantal Juillerat, former ganger turned spiritual warrior Jessamyn/Krokodil, and Sanctioned Op Redd Harvest. For the past 20 years, it’s felt like GW’s universes lacked leading female characters. I can only think of the vampire Genevieve in the Warhammer Fantasy universe from the early 90s…another character created by Kim Newman. I believe that at one point there were even going to be some Dark Future action figures with Redd Harvest leading the series. Artist Pete Knifton mentioned it earlier this summer on Auroch Digital’s FB page. Would have been neat to see.
Note – The book has inspired me to resurrect the Psychopomps as an underhive gang the next time I play Necromunda.