Review: ‘Apocalypse Now Now’ by Charlie Human

27 Oct


Rating: ★★★★☆

Set in Cape Town, ‘Apocalypse Now Now’ follows the story of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko, the enterprising kingpin of pornography-peddling schoolyard business The Spider. When his girlfriend Esme goes missing he discovers a secret supernatural underworld and, with the help of a grizzly bounty hunter sidekick, must try to avoid gang wars, his meddling younger brother, being devoured by giant crows – and an apocalypse or two.

The title comes from a common South Africanism relating to the amount of time to elapse before an event occurs. In the near future; not happening presently but to happen shortly.

I loved this book. With a dangerous polarity of personalities, Baxter is the kind of bad boy you can’t help but love. It’s written in first-person present as well, which would normally be a bit of a risk but Human pulls it off seamlessly. I would say that it falls into the YA category — but definitely read this before giving it to your kid, as there’s talk of drugs, vandalism, violence, porn and demonology (all the good stuff) from the first page.

‘Apocalypse Now Now’ has been described as “Neil Gaiman meets Tarantino”, but I think it’s more ‘Chuck Palahniuk meets China Mieville’. You’ve got your asshole male protagonist, cyberpunk backdrop, and ‘unexpected twist’. It’s unpredictable, sexy and violent. An engrossing debut, dark and amusing in equal measures.

And the cover looks like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 23.10.24

I think Baxter looks kind of like Harry Potter here, with the forehead scar and glasses, tie, and implications of magic at work. Just an observation.

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