Sunday, July 11, 2021

Vampires of Avonmouth – review

Author: Tim Kindberg

Published: 2020

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Avonmouth, 2087. David has had to exile himself from his beloved daughter.

Everything changes when a ship arrives from West Africa, carrying a vampire who hungers not for blood but mental energy. David finds himself falling in love with the woman she hunts – despite himself. For he is carrying his own monstrous secret inside.

And it wants to get out.

A gothic science fiction story of mental enslavement – by systems of oppression, and by parts of our own selves.

The Review: Vampires of Avonmouth is a science fiction novel that has a cyberpunk mentality, in a world where humans are fitted with beads at a young age – an interface between themselves and the virtual – and corporations push products directly to the mind amongst streams of sensa keeping the populace distracted and docile. The sci-fi is solid and also has a welcome streak of noir running through it

Most of the Between (between the Poles) is as described, although Westaf is more independent, though still as bound to tech. David is a cop looking for renegades when he is abducted. When he comes to, weeks later, with no memory of the intervening time, he can feel another presence in his mind, though it is compartmentalised, caged. However, when he sees his daughter and feels love, that cage begins to open. To save her (and himself), he exiles himself from her and ends up in, in, where he is an ID cop, searching for ID infractions amongst the flesh (humans). In this world data is all – death is referred to as a total loss of data.

He has discovered that the presence in his mind is a vodu – a vampire. He doesn’t know how it was implanted or why it has been imprisoned by his mind rather than taking him over. In, in his previous life, the authorities had been mystified by the appearance of dolls – humans who lost their minds, bar the most basic automatic processes, and would (one and all) seek to climb the nearest structure as high as they could and stay there until they eventually fell as their strength failed. Now he knows that they were victims of vodus. His life is thrown back into turmoil when a ship (an anachronism in itself) floats into port, piloted by an unlikely crew with false ids and carrying a woman fully taken over by a vodu – a woman the system allows to walk free and vanish amongst the throng of flesh and bodai (ai driven androids).

So vampire lore in this is interesting as they are psychic vampires, eating the minds of the victims (actually taking them and storing them in what is described as mental sarcophagi, devouring them at leisure). They posses a host and reproduce every 200 years by implanting their offspring into a new victim. The tell-tale signs are in the eyes, David wears shades to hide them, a standing out and blueness to the veins in the forearms and a sharpening of the teeth (though they don’t bite). The host body becomes physically impressively strong. The vampire lore’s internal logic worked well and gave us an unusual variant both naturally occurring and artificially conceived.

This is an excellently written novel, drawing a dystopian world ravaged by ecological disaster – the temperature of is unbearably hot – and a humanity enslaved by its own technology and blissfully unaware. It is a world alien to ours and yet recognisable also. The characters are well drawn, with clear, distinct voices and the plot rolls along at a good pace. The warning is that it is a sci-fi and therefore if that isn’t your bag this may not be for you, but if you like good sci-fi and vampires this is a must. 9 out of 10.

In Paperback @ Amazon US

In Paperback @ Amazon UK

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