By Nick Cutter
Nick Cutter (the tough-as-nails pseudonym adopted by Craig Davidson) is an author who likes to push things to extremes. This is again the case with The Acolyte, a dystopic black comedy about an ultraviolent future state dominated by neo-Christian fundamentalists.
As a general rule, religion and SF don’t mix. If we’re in a future world where religion still plays a prominent role then we know something has gone horribly wrong. That’s certainly the case in New Bethlehem, an apartheid community of believers ruled over by a campy Prophet dressed in a vanilla sharkskin suit and black spats.
Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte in the New Bethlehem police force, tasked with rooting out various undesirables (Muslims, Jews, Scientologists, Wiccans, homosexuals, etc.). When dangerous elements start blowing the city up in a series of suicide bombings the police are at their wits’ ends since forensics has been outlawed as a heretical discipline, and Murtag is losing his faith in the power of prayer and blood sacrifice.
What follows is a wild neo-noir adventure with something in it to offend everyone. Cruel fun, for those with the stomach for it.