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Shenanigans
Noel K. Hannan
Pendragon paperback £6.99

review by Tony Lee

This first collection of SF from comics' writer Noel Hannan contains some delightfully offbeat short stories. The opener, Seeds, is a curiously affecting little fable about militarism, in which the spawn of male robot and female golem start fighting for no reason other than that they are different. The Brightside And Monger War is a tragic tale of doomed romance set on a space ark generations out from Earth, concerning a teacher and a warrior on opposite sides of an ageless conflict, both unable to avoid the pressures and conditioning that their respective societies inflict upon them.

Bad Jihad boasts probably the first Muslim superhero character, while The War Diary Of Conolly Troon offers yet another variation on the recurring theme of warfare. Medical Ethics and Stone Cold Killer are both gangland dramas featuring typical Hannan protagonists, taking place in the urban nightmare of Purgatory, a city somewhere between the hell of Blade Runner's Los Angeles, and the black hole of Manhattan Island in Escape From New York.

My use of words like recurring and typical may give a false impression, though. Not all of this writer's fiction is the same. HyperGolgotha revisits the crucifixion by means of a holographic reconstruction right on site in Jerusalem. Divide By Zero is simply British cyberpunk, but perhaps the best UK-based example of that style I've ever read. Saturday Nightshift looks at the problems of getting to work on time in 21st century Manchester. A Night On The Town tells of a young man's hot date in Caracas, and plays on barrio myths. Of the 13 stories here, The Fugazi Virus is my instant favourite, if only for the sheer number of concepts and images Hannan crams into a mere dozen pages.

If you like to discover new writers, Shenanigans is well worth a look!

This review previously appeared in Starburst magazine.
Shenanigans

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