This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
17.10.20 / Cyberpunk Thriller / Titan Books / Paperback / 400pp / 978-1789090741
Target Audience: Readers looking for a cool cyberpunk style thriller with a great central cast of characters and increasingly intense action set pieces.
About Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick
ZOEY ASHE RETURNS IN NEW YORK TIMES-BESTSELLING AUTHOR DAVID WONG’S SEQUEL TO FUTURISTIC VIOLENCE AND FANCY SUITS
It’s not easy being twenty-three, trying to organise a kids’ Halloween party. It’s really not easy running a sophisticated criminal empire you’ve just inherited. It’s something else when someone delivers a rampaging disembowelled corpse that smashes up your house and accuses you of being its murderer. How does that even work?
As Tabula Ra$a prepares for its annual Halloween parade –an outrageous and bizarre celebration of the dark secrets of the city – Zoey sets out to prove her innocence. But everyone wants their moment in the spotlight, and bringing Zoey down could be someone’s ticket to fame now she has a price on her head. Seems every jacked-up cyborg steroid junkie in the city wants to cash in on her skin.
In a world of madness, ultra-tech spider-drones and electric crotch whips, it’s down to Zoey, with her team of bodyguards, confidantes and criminals, to solve the murder, stop Tabula Ra$a from tearing itself apart and finish organising that party.
Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick Review
After reading Futuristic Violence And Fancy Suits, it never occurred to me that there would be a sequel. I was beyond thrilled with the reveal of Zoey Punches The Future In The Dick (a title that I feel is quite marmitey). I mean what’s not to love about a cyberpunk rags to riches tale of a young woman who inherits her father’s criminal empire in a lawless town and promptly becomes a target for lost souls and hungry gangsters. It was great to see the story continue in new and meaningful ways and at the same time become crazier than ever.
Zoey Ashe is one of my favourite lead characters of all time for many reasons but it’s mainly do with the fact that she’s a good person. A good person who faces constant anger, jealousy, hate, violence and very real death threats and all because of what they think she represents. Zoey is trying to fit into this world but on her terms and that is what ZPTFITD is all about. That and a city wide cannibalistic vendetta that leaves a huge bounty on Zoey’s head and rarely a moment where she is not being hunted, attacked or kidnapped at the hands of a radicalist group who want to see her suffer and a wider community not opposed to her turmoil and even possible eventual defeat. But Zoey has plans and is determined to set things right, even at the cost of her own life.
ZPTFITD is as crazy as Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, if not more. The storytelling is as strong as ever with all the edgy thrills, odd humour, humble moments and pure action you could ask for. David Wong is incredibly passionate about both Zoey, her story and this crazy cyberpunk world he has created in Tabula Ra$a, a pop up city run by outlaws and independent contractors. The SF aspect to this novel is impeccable. It is not anything we haven’t really seen before but it is fluid, flawless and so imaginative in its execution.
DW must have had so much fun fleshing out this world. From ice-cream brownie balls that heat or chill to perfection and stealth choppers with everything kind of defence to body modifications that turn people into tanks and holograms that can be as helpful or hurtful as they want to be. It all feels seemless, exciting and made me smile with satisfaction a lot. Though this novel does have some dark, intense and hair-raising moments to be had and DW makes full use of his imagination in orchestrating some incredibly difficult problems for Zoey and the gang to face.
Zoey’s journey to figuring out who she wants to be at the hands of people desperate for her demise is as action packed as it is endearing. The stakes are beyond just life and death but Zoey, along with her trusted team (who are amazing) are prepared for anything or so they think. I didn’t remember much from the previous novel going into ZPTFITD but it felt immediately great to be back with the gang. They are a great collection of supporting characters. The enigmatic Echo is also my favourite as she reminds me of Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn 99.
David Wong is the master of surreal, challenging yet immensely likable fiction and that has never been more apparent than in Zoey Punches The Future In The Dick. I am almost desperate for a third instalment because I thoroughly enjoy my time with Zoey and the insane yet increasingly plausible future she resides in. Zoey and her struggle to be accepted in a world looking to bring people down to their level is something I think most of us have or will empathize with in the current world of 24 hour social media. I feel like this is considered by DW as part of his narrative but mostly wants to write a badass story about woman facing trouble in every direction and trying her best to survive. I think he succeeded and I couldn’t get enough of it. This book could have gone in for twice the length and I would have been right there for it.
DW has, behind the cool tech and terrifying chaos, a reflective and relevant perspective on how the world will continue to change. I cannot recommend this more than I already have. Please take a look as ZPTFITD can be read as a standalone and if you love it then Futuristic Violence And Fancy Suits can be read as a prequel (David Wong’s words, not mine).
About David Wong
David Wong is the pseudonym of Jason Pargin, online humorist, National Lampoon contributor, and editor-in-chief of Cracked.com.