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What is Space Punk II: Nightingale’s Song?

Review

SPACE PUNKS II: NIGHTINGALE’ SONG is the sequel to SPACE PUNKS, which is at least a very accurate title to the story. I’m a huge fan of Anna Mocikat’s BEHIND BLUE EYES series and really enjoyed the first of this series.  If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s close to COWBOY BEBOP except hewing closer to cyberpunk motifs instead of Western. A bunch of sexy cybernetically augmented mercenaries live on the starship Nephilim, doing odd jobs for their mysterious boss, while being involved in both organized crime as well as politics. Most of humanity was exterminated when Earth was destroyed in the wars against the machines but the survivors live in comparative high tech luxury.

In the previous book, we had the discovery that newcomer David was actually an android that had been sent to infiltrate the crew. We also had Nightingale being horribly injured This book picks up with giving us David’s origins as well as a follow-up on Nightingale’s condition. Well, it’s not good. If he doesn’t receive a super rare part then he’ll be dead in a week. He also can’t have sex with his girlfriend, Aztec, that he has just proposed marriage to in a time when that institute is considered to be obsolete.

Much of the book is divided between the protagonists showing their complicated and fascinating relationships, world-building so we understand how this new society works, and the “big heist” where they attempt to hit a military depot in order to get the rare part that Nightingale needs to survive. Say what you will about the Nightingale crew but they are willing to do whatever they have to in order to protect one another.

The best part of the Space Punks series is definitely the cast and all of the characters are interesting with a variety of dark and troubled pasts. They’re a rare sight in science fiction in that most are in committed relationships and deeply devoted to one another while still being no less “cool” and edgy for it. As stated, the crew is intensely loyal to one another and seeing how they can rely on one another makes them easy to root for despite they’re a bunch of dedicated ruthless cyborg mercenaries.

We get a good look at Mars this book and find out how he’s gone from being first of Earth’s colonies to the center of human civilization in the setting. Despite being a space based series, it is very cyberpunk and the Pentad substitutes for the evil megacorporations of most fiction. They are a ruthless oligarchy with control over all of humanity’s vital supplies as well as militaries, so they can do more or less whatever they want without fear from the public. We also get regular tidbits from an in-universe encyclopedia that help fill in the blanks on how the universe functions.

I’m especially fond of Lucien, the villain, who fills all the depraved psychopath folders that make for a good cyberpunk villain. It may be cheating that one of the heads of the cyborg armed forces is also a serial killer but it certainly makes for a delightfully hateable villain. His scenes have genuine menace and you are worried about the protagonists when they are up against him.

In conclusion, Space Punks II: Nightingale’s Song is an excellent dark and edgy piece of science fiction that would make a good television show with a sufficiently pretty cast. Anne Mocikat is one of my favorite indie writers right now and if you want dark, forboding, and yet fun adventure fiction then this is definitely for you.

Available here

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