Winner of the Compton Crook Award
From a new voice in the tradition of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor comes The Prey of Gods, a fantastic, boundary-challenging tale, set in a South African locale both familiar and yet utterly new, which braids elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark humor.
In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:
A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .
An emerging AI uprising . . .
And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.
It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.
Fun and fantastic, Nicky Drayden takes her brilliance as a short story writer and weaves together an elaborate tale that will capture your heart . . . even as one particular demigoddess threatens to rip it out.
In this genre-bending debut novel, a science fantasy set in 2064, newly awakened demigods and artificial intelligences battle for the fate of South Africa. As a new drug spreads through the population, it unlocks long-hidden abilities and animal affinities, remnants of a mythological time when humans and nature intermingled. While an ancient demigoddess schemes to regain her full powers by causing terror, other people are swept up in the tide of events, including a politician who dreams of embracing his female side as a stage performer, a pop diva, a gay teen in love with his best friend, and an AI collective unsure of its role in the world. Drayden uses numerous perspectives to weave an engaging story that's populated by a diverse cast and enhanced by fascinating concepts. There's a lot to take in as the various plot threads interweave and converge toward a surprising climax, but Drayden balances the genre elements skillfully, creating a world where genetic manipulation, sentient robots, and folkloric origin stories can coexist plausibly, if not peacefully.