Digger, a private investigator fresh off a failed case and down on his luck gets a last chance at a paycheck from an old friend. But like in all noir tales the job isn’t what it seems and he gets thrown in the middle of a nefarious plot involving megacorporations, murder, rape, and government corruption set against a retrofuture techno-noir background.
Neon Harvest does something different, something cool. It’s not a true sci-fi nor a true cyberpunk. Jon takes the technological baseline of the early 80’s and stagnates it. It’s a pre-digital cyber-thriller. The heroes still use pay-phones, newspapers are still on paper, and cash is still used. Yet, colony ships take off, planets are terraformed, and the internet used to exist. I don’t want to spoil anything, because the whole concept is really cool.
Mollison excels at writing crime violence and the seedy techno-noir setting allows him to go all out with several exciting set pieces. Once scene involving a para-glider through skyscrapers was epic, an excellent action sequence where Jon showed his chops.
Another highlight was one of the villains, an disgusting billionaire rapist that was equal parts Harvey Weinstein and Baron Harkonnen, truly repulsive.
Mollison travels in the same writing circles as Alexander Helene and a lot of the PulpRev crowd and I have to say that with each new release the quality of work increases exponentially. Which brings me to my only real complaint about Neon Harvest, which is almost the same as my complaint about The Last Ancestor by Helene. I want more depth. Mollison writes ass-kicking action, the pace is quick, and the prose is pulpy goodness. But, there’s a lot of stuff in there that I wish was expanded upon, a lot of philosophical points that could of been the center of a much deeper and darker novel.
Neon Harvest is an action-packed retro scifi noir asskicker. I read it in two sittings, the second round kept me up until 2 am. Pick it up, put on some wired headphones, and throw on one of the many retrowave playlists on yotube because this one is a blast.