Imagine you’re wealthy enough to do just about any damn thing you want. Imagine you’ve bought all the kicks you can think of. EXCEPT MAYBE ONE. The ultimate thrill. The thrill of hunting down and killing the biggest, most dangerous game of all: MAN.
Imagine that somewhere – probably in Africa where life is lived at the outer limits of survival – there are two men (both ex-mercenaries) who are happy to arrange this kind of slaughter-safari for you. For a hefty price, naturally.
Imagine all this – and you’ve barely imagined the start-point of probably the most savagely, bloodily violent story ever written. ATROCITY WEEK a reading experience you will never forget. Never…
The blurb inside:
"Atrocity Week is without doubt a towering landmark in the literature of violence. For too long, writers have either balked at the task of describing in legitimately graphic terms the effects of bullets striking living targets - or they have been restrained from doing so by publishers and critics hung up on dangerously irrelevant and reactionary notions of 'taste'.
Andrew McCoy refused to be dissuaded from his aim to portray as vividly as is possible on the printed page the horrendous reality of high-muzzle-velocity violence - a reality that, like it or not, forms a part of the experience of millions of people in the twentieth century world. The result is Atrocity Week. A compellingly readable story of crazed violence, lust and greed set in the pulsating groin of southern Africa, it is probably the most unforgettably savage story you will encounter in a lifetime of reading."
Chris Decker and Curtis Bill Bonham run a successful, though very illegal, business called Ultimate Test Inc. They operate from a base camp somewhere in the African veldt. Bonham tells Decker that he is quitting the business at the end of the coming week. Decker is unhappy with the news and tries unsuccessfully to persuade his partner to reconsider. At loggerheads they collect their latest three clients, an American Doctor, an English business man and a wealthy Japanese. All have brought their wives and hunting rifles along. Over the course of the week each man will be given the opportunity to hunt human prey from a helicopter with a high powered rifle. But things start to fall apart from day one – and there’s a whole week ahead of them! To make matters worse, a gang of ruthless terrorists are making their way to the camp intent on causing their own newsworthy atrocity.
I bought this when it first appeared on the shelves in the late 70s (how could anyone resist that blatant warning?) and was pretty shocked by it at the time. I reread it again recently after having a hell of a time tracking it down. I recalled the plot but had completely forgotten the title and author. After decades of immersing in horror novels both good and bad, hard-core and frail, it still remains an effective, brutal and violent work wallowing in blood and guts, animal and human torture, gang rape, mutilation, castration, decapitation... basically a Sordid Sphere essential!
A few rambles whilst I remember... I have on tape an interview with Nick Austin who was editor of this book. It's one of those interviews I keep saying to myself "I must pull my finger out and transcribe" as it is interesting. He talks about inventing the "adult western" at Sphere in response to a reader's complaint, the furore that surrounded Alternative 5 (? I think, a UFO hoax documentary and tie-in book which was later covered in Fortean Times) and Atrocity Week.
Apparently it did stir up something of a stink and questions were asked at Sphere as to how it got released considering the strong content. And it meant that censor-ship or editorial interference was introduced at Sphere to avoid a further hoo-hah. Recently picked up The Insurrectionist also McCoy with a similar cover motif which suggests it was a headline maker.
...Apparently it did stir up something of a stink and questions were asked at Sphere as to how it got released considering the strong content. And it meant that censor-ship or editorial interference was introduced at Sphere to avoid a further hoo-hah...
That's really interesting, Justin. What a turn-around by Sphere after bemoaning the fact that authors have been "restrained" by publishers and critics!
The other title you mention is Alternative 3 by Leslie Watkins. A book based on the hoax documentary of the same name about the impending end of planet Earth and man's secret ongoing colonisation of Mars. Never read the book but saw the documentary when it first aired. Needless to say, in my impressionable years, I thought it true as indeed do many conspiracy theorists to this day!
After decades of immersing in horror novels both good and bad, hard-core and frail, it still remains an effective, brutal and violent work wallowing in blood and guts, animal and human torture, gang rape, mutilation, castration, decapitation... basically a Sordid Sphere essential!
i agree entirely, and i'd never even heard of Atrocity Week or its author until your post, far less read it! Justin, when you're done transcribing Nick Austin, Mr. McCoy/Andre Jute is another who would likely make for an interesting interviewee. According to his website, The Writers House, "The apartheid security police, BOSS, twice sent assassins after novelist Andrew McCoy on publication of Atrocity Week and The Insurrectionist. South American Nazis hunted him for Cain's Courage."
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Very interesting. I recently re-read "Atrocity Week " for the first time in a quarter -century , expecting to dislike it after all these years as I dislike most of what I enjoyed back then. In fact I liked it even more. Did you ever transcribe the Nick Austin interview ?