Sisters of No Mercy (Vincent Silk, Brio)
In Vincent Silk’s debut ‘cli-fi’ novel, scenes of destruction and desperation are artfully crafted in a city that seems like most metropolises in the western world. It’s an unnamed, yet extremely plausible, near future. Hurricane Martha has struck, leaving many destitute, and the economy is collapsing around itself. People order shuttle buses to their destinations, and are increasingly finding employment in the gig economy. But something even more sinister is happening: the housing market is being usurped and further annihilated by an opportunistic corporate mogul, who the vigilante group Sisters of No Mercy is trying to take down. Protagonists Pinky, Neeah-Nancy, Del and Almond are a rag-tag crew of punks and anarchists with a vision for a better future, even as they grapple with their own hardships and insecurities. However, Silk’s prose, while being very evocative, also tends to come off as precocious—the book’s idealistic yet overly simplistic desire to normalise subversive politics leads to the characters seeming incomplete, akin to rebel teenagers filming themselves wearing Guy Fawkes masks in their family home. Some readers might be left feeling like the narrative needs more nuance, but it’s an admirable first effort at critiquing society’s current failures.
Cher Tan is a writer in Adelaide