Danger Gal Friday: Parrish Plessis

This week’s Danger Gal Friday post is dedicated to Parrish Plessis, the main character in Marianne de Pierres’ Nylon Angel series of books.

Nylon AngelReviewers have tagged Nylon Angel as a “fevered romp” and Parrish as a “kick-ass cyberpunk heroine” who is “a compelling blend of Mad Max and Dark Angel.” All of these aptly describe de Pierres’ Parrishverse, but what’s really exciting about this story for me is the mix of classic pulp fiction sensibilities with a character who is connected to the people around her. After all, who your friends are keep you alive in the Tert. Despite abuse in her childhood and more recently at the hands of Jamon Mondo, Parrish is an upbeat character always reaching for a utopian goal of freedom. So while the story itself is set in a dystopian future, Parrish remains a hopeful pragmatist.

Aside from this sunny disposition, Parrish is not a woman to be tangled with lightly. She’s a kick-ass heroine in that she subverts female stereotypes by (1) wanting to be in charge of her life and (2) getting the deadly skills necessary to make that happen in a dangerous place like the Tert. In fact, Parrish leaves the much safer world of her childhood for the Tert — she’d rather be in danger but be in charge of her own destiny, than safe and a sheep.

Back to those deadly skills of hers though. Parrish carries a reproduction Glock and like any girl she dresses fashionably, an ensemble even Molly Razorshades would be into:

The tank had specially worked compartments into which I slipped evil-long poison pins. Handy in a fight! Underneath the pants I wore a string that stretched like a cobweb, front and back. Garrotting wires wound into the web.

Like any proper cyberpunk heroine, Parrish has some factory upgrades with a compass implant and olfactory augmentations, but she relies mostly on her own physical abilities:

“Nearly two meters of well-honed skin. In hand-to-hand combat I can match anyone.”

I also like it when authors mix some Romance into their Science Fiction, and de Pierres does this with the relationship between Parrish and the enigmatic Loyl “Dark” Daac, supposed heir to a powerful old Tert family. In every Romance sparks fly in some way or another when the hero and heroine first meet, and Nylon Angel follows this convention in its own way:

For a few seconds the docile look dropped away. He eyed the pistol and my web and my flares. Then he stared intently into my face, like a psy-spook.

As he held out the back of his hand to return my greeting a strange heat burned through me, like swallowing a bucket of caffeine caps on a stinking hot day. Sweat broke over my skin in its wake. The pointy knives of adrenaline running down my backbone switch to hacking great axes.

The pacing in this novel is riotous and de Pierres’ Aussie voice stands out from the other novels I’ve read recently. I can’t wait to read the two follow-ups, Crash Deluxe and Code Noir. Parrish is the kind of character who stays with you, long after you’ve finished reading the story.