Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Review: King Space Void by Anthony Trevino

A bizarre (or, more accurately, bizarro) and horrific science fiction tale of this giant planet-eating thingamajigger that uses people as sort of willing slaves to keep it cruising around the galaxy, doin’ its thang.

That’s all you’re going to get from me about plot on this one. Otherwise I’ll just do it a disservice (if I haven’t already). But you can read about the plot on Amazon or Goodreads if you want to know more. Let’s talk about other things related to this book instead. I want to talk about Trevino’s warped mind and how he applies it to his debut novella. He has a few obvious strengths and likes to play to them (as any writer should). One of those strengths is the ability to describe various grotesqueries with wicked style. And, yes, thankfully there are a lot of those moments here. If you appreciate body horror, there is much to relish in King Space Void. When Trevino goes full-blown carnal is when the book really shines and gets extra wild. Maybe I’m just a pervert, though. Stylistically, I think his prose works best when he’s doing these short, sharp, almost rhythmic sentences. It happens pretty frequently, so I have to believe it’s intentional. Overall, the prose is tight with only the rare stray bit of vocabulary going to waste.

My only real complaint about King Space Void (at least on a storytelling level) is its length. I know many would say it’s better to “leave ‘em wanting more,” but I think this book is an exception to that rule. Trevino has created a potentially rich world here, but I think a lot of it remained in his mind when it really deserved to be on the page. The vision was obviously vast. I think this could have easily been a 300 or 400-page novel instead, giving the characters and the overall strangeness of this book some more breathing room. Is it a bad book at just under 100 pages? No. However, I think it could have been even better with some extra girth, possibly fantastic.

Now I must move on to something that has nothing to do with the story itself. A rant if you will. Maybe you’ll say this is nitpicking, but I believe in my last post I already warned that could happen. Anyway…the copyediting in this book is pretty much nonexistent. As someone who edits and proofreads for a living, I can’t let this go unsaid. It irks me. Now, I’m not perfect. I make editing mistakes (knowing my luck, there’s probably an error or three in this post). It happens. Hell, I’ve caught a typo in a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel before. But King Space Void has grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors on nearly every page. It’s a real bummer because it takes me out of a story I’m enjoying because I have to figure out what went wrong, what was trying to be conveyed, etc. I hate to call Eraserhead Press out on this, but I’ve seen this happen in other books they’ve published. Guys and gals at Eraserhead: you put out some cool, otherwise high-quality products…why is the copyediting getting left behind? If you need a freelancer or something, hit me up! Who needs sleep? Not this guy.

Leave it to me to cry for almost half the review about errors. That’s how I roll. Trevino and his book don’t deserve that, though (but that’s kind of the point I’m trying to make, you dig?). Don’t sweat the small stuff…this book is worth picking up even if you don’t normally read bizarro fiction. In many ways it’s more grounded than some of the other titles in the genre (not TOO grounded, mind you). But it still has that sick, humorous edge you might expect. It’s a satirically surreal trip down the mind of someone who certainly has some more sickening tricks up his sleeve, and I’m looking forward to seeing those.

Anthony Trevino also recently released the first issue of his comic book, Fruition, which was illustrated by Kai Martin (who also did the cover to King Space Void). Seek that sucker out. It’s an odd one and it’s really, really cool.

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