Charlie Human's 'Ancestral' is mightily efficient, thoroughly researched and cleverly conceived

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Ancestral is at heart a vivid, poignant combat or martial arts tale paying tribute to Nguni stickfighting, South Africa’s only indigenous martial art.
Ancestral is at heart a vivid, poignant combat or martial arts tale paying tribute to Nguni stickfighting, South Africa’s only indigenous martial art.

There’s no two ways about it: Ancestral, Charlie Human’s third novel, is an absolute firecracker – his best work to date. Apocalypse Now Now and Kill Baxter introduced one of the freshest, most irreverent voices on the local speculative fiction scene, but every so often you also got the feeling that this young writer was still finding his feet, still moving out from the shadow of his influences and inspiration: although certainly good, these two novels couldn’t quite shake the impression that Human was still straining for effect.  

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