Friday, August 17, 2007

Book Review: "Kings of Infinite Space"

Paul Trilby just can't catch a break. James Hynes has put him through the wringer before in Publish and Perish, but that was almost tame compared to what happens to the poor guy in Kings of Infinite Space. After losing his job and his wife in Publish and Perish due to the bizarre antics of a maniacal cat, Paul's slowly been descending into the depths of despair, and the bad luck hasn't stopped. As Kings of Infinite Space begins, Paul's working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services, and is about to be kicked out of (yet another) apartment ... again due to the bizarre antics of the same maniacal cat, this time in ghostly form.

Just as a few positive developments start to lift Paul's spirits (he gets a raise, meets a nice girl, has some fun, &c.), the weird stuff starts. And not just visitations-by-devilish-felines weird, I mean really weird. "Office Space" meets "The X-Files" as the book progresses as Hynes turns up the creep factor bigtime. With the same dry humor and biting satire that saturated his earlier works on academia, Hynes tackles government bureaucracy and office culture here, and does it well.

A book filled with the strange and unbelievable, yes, but funny and disturbing and a good casual read.