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Kings of Infinite Space (2004)

by James Hynes

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2971166,094 (3.27)6
With a defeated sigh, ex-college professor Paul Trilby faces the downward spiral that is his existence. After his wife and three subsequent girlfriends dump him, and he loses just as many jobs, he's sure he's a pawn in some vast conspiracy. Now working as the most over-qualified temporary typist in Texas, he faces the daily grind of the offie, with all its snarky bickering, abrasive personalities, and fluorescent lighting. But something else is going on behind the battleship-gray veneer. Ceilings are warping. He's hearing voices. He may be losing the only thing he has left--his mind.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Mind numbingly pointless office that may be hell; zombies crawling in the ceiling; human sacrifice; lots more zombies crawling around in tunnels, all in office attire; a romance; a mystery; a ghost cat; an over the top battle. The tone is decidedly uneven, and there is way too much going on, but it was a fun read. I especially liked the intensely well groomed and manipulative office worker who becomes the zombie queen. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
After watching Hynes' excellent writing course from the Teaching Company, I decided I should read one of his novels. Perhaps I picked the wrong one. Kings of Infinite Space takes about 80 pages to even get going, and my first laugh was on page 245. It is a bizarre tale of a failed academic working as a temp at a Texas state agency who finds himself inducted into a very strange group of men whose intent he can't quite figure out. Meanwhile, he becomes involved with the office mail girl, Callie, who is by far the book's most interesting character, and in fact the only one we can really care about. Paul (the protagonist) is also being haunted by a dead cat from a previous relationship. The book is just plain bizarre, but lacks the narrative momentum to make it very interesting, although it does pick up a bit toward the end, but not in a great way, just in a busy sort of way. I just found the whole thing to be rather uninvolving. It is set in Austin, although for some reason Hynes gives it an alternate name. Still, if you have lived there, you'll recognize the Central Market as the site of Paul and Callie's first date. And a few other places as well. But I didn't pick up the novel for fond memories of my time in Austin. I thought I would be more entertained--or something. Instead, until the last hundred pages or so, the best I could do was to read one or two short chapters each night before going to bed. I just kept staring at the book, thinking I needed to finish it, to see if it was as disappointing as I thought, but there was just no motivation. And come to think of it, no motivation to ready any of his other work as well. But I do still recommend the Teaching Company course. ( )
  datrappert | Aug 7, 2018 |
I have a vague memory of there being creatures under his office building? It was a strange story but it didn't stick in my head. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
Those familiar with Hynes's academic horror-satires won't be completely disappointed. He's moved on a bit into bureaucratic, neo-Lovecraftian satire a la Charles Stross. But his shtick still seems to have gotten a little old. Another twist is the surprisingly successful attempt to recoup Paul Trilby as a sympathetic character. All more than competently done, but the formulas really seem to have overwhelmed any inspiration that may have been here. ( )
  ehines | Jun 25, 2011 |
I really have no idea what book the other reviewers read. I should have put this book away at the very beginning, but I just kept chugging along hoping that a clever twist or maybe a little character growth on the protagonist. Nope. Ultimately, I was left hollow like the caverns the zombies worked in.

Paul Trilby is an academic loser who couldn't complete his book, cheated on his wife and lover, and then kills a cat. I am supposed to sympathize with this guy? He actually gets into another relationship that seems to be based solely on sex, and all he can do is whine about his life and deny everything bad as a dream. On top of this screwed up protagonist, you are faced with a lack of suspense (unless you are as dimwitted as Paul Trilby), and a complete lack of any sense of real or imaginary action that could possibly happen. A barbecue grill going into water is supposed to make some kind of tidal wave and steam up a cavern holding 37 people... please!

I wasted 12 hours 10 minutes and 13 seconds of my life listening to this awful Recorded Books venture. Don't make the same mistake! ( )
  wvlibrarydude | May 2, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to eat Flesh or Fish; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to claw Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?

--H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau
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To Mike and Tom a couple of hardworking guys
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One brutally hot summer's morning, Paul Trilby -- ex-husband, temp typist, cat murderer -- slouched sweating in his t-shirt on his way to work, waiting behind the wheel of his car for the longest red light in central Texas.
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With a defeated sigh, ex-college professor Paul Trilby faces the downward spiral that is his existence. After his wife and three subsequent girlfriends dump him, and he loses just as many jobs, he's sure he's a pawn in some vast conspiracy. Now working as the most over-qualified temporary typist in Texas, he faces the daily grind of the offie, with all its snarky bickering, abrasive personalities, and fluorescent lighting. But something else is going on behind the battleship-gray veneer. Ceilings are warping. He's hearing voices. He may be losing the only thing he has left--his mind.

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Average: (3.27)
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1 4
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2 7
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3.5 7
4 19
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5 7

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