No More Monkey Business
Gareth L Powell on the Ack- Ack Macaque trilogy
British novelist Gareth L Powell first met Ack- Ack Macaque in 2006, when he was searching for “a fictional anime character” to appear in a short story. “I had the words ‘ Ack- Ack’ and ‘ Macaque’ jotted in one of my notebooks,” he recalls, “and they somehow gravitated towards each other.”
Thus Powell’s monkey pilot made his way into the world, and made his name in Ack- Ack Macaque ( 2013), the first volume in a now completed trilogy. The novel shared the BSFA Award with Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, and Ack- Ack’s direct approach to problem- solving (“If somebody’s getting in his face, he’ll bite them”) was an instant hit with readers.
“Maybe he’s my dark side, the part of me that doesn’t give a rat’s arse for rules and social etiquette, the part that gets bored in meetings, or just wants to blow off work and sit in the bath with a box of doughnuts,” says Powell. “The nearest comparison I can find for him is John Belushi’s character, Wild Bill Kelso, in Spielberg’s 1941 – although Ack- Ack has more fire in his belly, and is much a better pilot.”
Macaque Attack, due to be published in January 2015, won’t just finish up the monkey’s story, but tie up loose ends from his 2011 space opera The Recollection too. “It takes the story to a whole other level,” he says. “At the start of the book, Ack- Ack finds himself at the head of a dimension- hopping monkey army – and things only get weirder.”
The macaque attacks on Thursday 15 January 2015.
Gareth L Powell, the man behind the macaque.