SciFi Friday – Ack-Ack Macaque

Courtesy Solaris Editors’ Blog

What can I say? A book that has monkeys and Zeppelins over Paris on the cover has to be interesting, right? As the author himself explains:

“It’s a genre mash-up between a noir detective story, set in 2059, but on top of that you have an embedded steampunk adventure with the titular monkey,” Powell told the SFX website in an interview. “And then it surfs into a sci-fi, alternate history, detective, dieselpunk mash-up.” (Quote taken from here – but beware of SPOILERS at both links).

From the back-cover:

In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque.’ The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.
A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins circle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.
The entire first chapter is available here. Read it. Get the book. If you are like me you will be pleasantly surprised at the story. As much as one might “think” they can tell what the story is from the cover, the back cover blurb, and the sample chapter, I am happy to say it is better than that.
As one reviewer summarized it:

 It’s an over-the-top, verbally caffeinated adventure story with smart, nasty ideas and plenty of pulp. What makes it truly special is Ack-Ack, the action hero who can cut through any strategy session or infodump:

“Yap, yap, yap. So we’ve all got a stake in this. That’s why we’re here. Can we get on and do something now? ‘Cos personally speaking, I’m (expletive) off and I want to break stuff and hurt people.” (Same SPOILER link as above).


In another interview, author Gareth L. Powell was asked “Who would play the monkey?” His immediate response was John Belushi as seen in the movie 1941. Looking back on publicity shots of the movie, one can tell it is a great answer, and yet another reason to read this book!

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