The Dawnhounds is a 2019 Biopunk New Weird novel by Sascha Stronach. A doomed ship rolls into the harbour of Hainak Kuay-Vitraj, its crew fallen victim to a horrifying engineered plague. Jyn-Yat Lorn is a beat cop, demoted to the night shift after being caught in a gay bar. She stumbles on the ships deadly trail, but shes not the only onepowerful and secretive forces conspire to take control of a bioweapon with the power to reshape the world. They catch up to Yat and well
They kill her. It doesnt stick.
An ancient chthonic power called Monkey resurrects her and suffuses her body with magic. On the run from her former colleagues, she has to solve her own murder before the plague gets out and tears her home to pieces.
The Dawnhounds provides examples of:
- And I Must Scream: particularly dangerous criminals have their consciousness wiped, and are experimented on and forced into dangerous jobs, theyre still aware of everything around them, and can feel pain. Also, the particularly dangerous part is mostly a government fiction: there arent enough criminals to fill demand, so theyll blank people for incredibly minor offenses.
- Animal Motifs: all the weavers have an associated animal patron who grants them magic. Different patrons grant different powers: crane weavers can teleport, ox weavers are incredibly strong, and tiger weavers hide in plain sight.
- Big Damn Heroes: the Kopek teleports into a city canal, wrecking itself in the process, to save the day.
- Bio Punk: with a Steampunk twist.
- Body Horror: the plague repurposes human flesh and other organic material to create aggressive fungal/flesh hybrids.
- Cast from Hit Points: weaving requires life energy going in to put magic out. That energy can come from an external source, but in a pinch can come from the weaver themselves. It has a tendency to go poorly.
- Combat Pragmatist: Cannath.
- Dirty Cop: of two flavours: Wajet is tremendously corrupt but is good-natured and has secretly been letting LGBT+ people out of the cells and directing them towards better company, while Varazzo is squeaky clean but is working to unleash the plague.
- Eldritch Abomination: Monkey is not a monkey. None of the Gods are what they say on the tin.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Malaysia/Indonesia/Singapore
- Large Ham: WAJET MAKES AN ENTRANCE
- New Weird
- Nightmare Fuel: the effects of the plague are, uh unpleasant.
- Resurrective Immortality: when weavers die (if theyve got magic left in their body) the Gods stitch them back together and throw them back. Jumping back and forth between the void and the land of the living makes them significantly more powerful, but chips away at their sanity and makes them less and less human as time goes on.
- Slasher Smile: Zao would be bad enough, but he has anglerfish teeth implants, apparently for the intimidation factor.
- Subverted Trope: Bury Your Gays. Most of the weavers are queer, and theyre very hard to put down.
- Synthetic Plague: the MacGuffin, though it takes a more active role in the story later on.
- Touched by Vorlons: weavers get their power by making contact with a specific God, and the Gods are nontraditional.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: implied to be the eventual fate of all weavers: every time they come back, a little bit of their sense of self gets chipped away, until theyre barely human.