The Velocity Gospel (2002) Steve Aylett, Gollancz, £9.99, pbk, 131pp, ISBN 0-57507-088-9
This is the second in the Accomplice series (there will be two further volumes: Dummyland and Karloff's Circus) starring Barney Juno, who "lives only to care for the winged and stepping animals of the Earth". The demon Sweeney, having failed to ruin Barney's life through his agent Dietrich Hammerwire, despatches a minor demon, Kermit Skittermite, to aggravate Barney unto death. But Barney's quite aggravated enough as it is, trying to ditch his unwanted girlfriend Magenta Blaze so that he can be with his preferred choice, Chloe Low. Meanwhile the absolute bastard Mayor Rudloe is plagued by the Followers of Cyril, who is at least semi-fictional until Prancer Diego writes a manifesto for him and uses Skittermite's image to make him seem real. Hammerwire knows Skittermite's out of his depth, but remains out of favour with Sweeney... Rejoin Barney, Edgy, Gregor and co for more surrealistic romps in the highly improbable town of Accomplice; you know it makes sense. Or doesn't, as the case may be...
The hugely talented Steve Aylett continues to bamboozle and enthrall with his sick and twisted humour though, reportedly, is a little disappointed with this installment (put it down to being a perfectionist) but looks forward gleefully to volume four, Karloff's Circus. "The Circus finally makes it to town, and there are all these zombies in pretty horrible shape..." Aylett is, of course, a genius; a sick, twisted puppy of a genius, to be sure, but still a genius. If you're not already reading his work, then you should be, unless you don't like this sort of thing, in which case get stuffed. Just a suggestion.
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