King Space Void – Anthony Trevino
Gargantuan, Semi-Robotic, Planet-Eating Monster, you say? I'm in!
All right, King Space Void owes a teeny, tiny little nod to Jack Kirby and Galacticus but let's be honest here, everyone who is being creative at this moment in time owes a debt to Marvel somewhere.
So, King Space Void is the tale of Dane Shipps, a worker in the guts of the eponymous, planet-devouring god. He's a regular schmo, but slightly dissatisfied, think Winston Smith at the start of 1984. He meets Scarlett, who is a sort of commando from one of the planets about to be devoured. She, using Danes naivety, convinces him to step outside his routine. Together they journey through the titan's innards in an attempt to stop the monster once and for all.
Anthony's novella has a smattering of the Orwellian about it. The great clanking machine which one cannot possibly hope to destroy and the small rebel band trying to take it out. But, it also reminded me of the Odyssey as well (just like Karl's Towers but in a different way). The episodic nature as Dane travels from organ to organ, each organ being a new setting of weird, is good and fun and keeps the story from becoming stale and it is this quality which reminded me of Odysseus's journey.
Some of these island stop off's didn't work for me, although they are varied I would have preferred them be directly linked and representing each biological system, and then the descriptions and inhabitants reflecting that. And sometimes the pacing can get confusing especially during the action sequences. But these are little quibbles and in future projects I'm sure Anthony can refine this.
At first glance, this novella can appear a little nihilistic – there's a giant, robotic, planet-devouring monster on a search for the end of the universe and we're the ones running it! But look a little closer and there is hope in here. Perhaps hope in just the moment of existence before you are obliterated, or perhaps hope in a wider sense, the reader will have to decide.
Do, I recommend King Space Void? Yes. If you like the idea of Orwellian 1984, mixed with some Homeric Odyssey, through the filter of Marvel's Galacticus, then you're completely bat-sh*t crazy, but you've also found the book for you! So, take a journey on King Space Void, it's well worth the read.