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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Kings of Infinite Space: A Novel

by

Kings of Infinite Space: A Novel Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"This macabre, funny, and very twisted satire of office life displays James Hynes (the author of Publish and Perish) as a wonderfully eccentric and entirely original writer." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Paul Trilby is having a bad day. If he were to be honest with himself, Paul Trilby would have to admit that he's having a bad life. His wife left him. Three subsequent girlfriends left him. He's fallen from a top-notch university teaching job, to a textbook publisher, to, eventually, working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services. And even here, in this land of carpeted partitions and cheap lighting fixtures, Paul cannot escape the curse his life has become. For it is not until he begins a tentative romance with the office's sassy mail girl that he begins to notice things are truly wrong. Strange sounds come from the air conditioning vents, the ceiling bulges, a body disappears. Mysterious men lurk about town, wearing thick glasses and pocket protectors...

Kings of Infinite Space is a hilarious and horrifying spoof on our everyday lives and gives true voice to the old adage, "Work is Hell."

Review:

"Paul Trilby is still haunted by the ghost of Charlotte, the cat he drowned in 'Queen of the Jungle' (included in Hynes's 1997 story collection, Publish and Perish), in this hilarious supernatural sendup of office life. An affair having destroyed his marriage and promising academic career, Paul now temps as a tech writer in the General Services Division of the Texas Department of General Services (TxDoGS) in the Austin-like city of Lamar. One hot summer morning, stuck in traffic, he has an encounter with a peculiar homeless man who repeats a question from H.G. Wells's Island of Doctor Moreau, 'Are we not men?' This is but the first of a series of uncanny incidents — a corpse in a cubicle no one appears to notice, a recycling bin that seems to have no bottom — that dog Paul at TxDoGS. The romance he strikes up with Callie, the appealingly goofy company 'mail girl,' provides the novel's emotional center. When the feckless Paul is put to the ultimate test, a Faustian bargain with zombies to surrender his soul and sacrifice Callie for a free ride at TxDoGS, readers will be on the edge of their seats wondering whether he'll do the right thing. Amusing incidentals include the subversive sentences Paul pens for a textbook and the cat-related fare that is all Charlotte allows him to watch on TV. While the office may not be quite as juicy a subject for satire as the academic world skewered in the author's last novel, The Lecturer's Tale (2002), the same literate wit should have wide appeal. Agent, Neil Olson at Donadio & Olson. (Apr. 13)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Academia slides to the back burner and science fiction to the front, but the voice is distinctly Hynes's and the satirical strain is as strong as ever....Hynes briskly advances toward the novel's faintly ridiculous but entirely amusing and mostly satisfying conclusion." The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"There's a spirit of H.G. Wells and The Island of Dr. Moreau throughout....Hynes meshes real-life and supernatural horror so that it becomes difficult to distinguish the real and imaginary absurdities." Fred Cleaver, The Denver Post

Review:

"By turns ominous, hilarious, and genuinely scary: Hynes offers a highly original send-up of the most unnatural activity ever conceived by the human mind — work." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Deliciously creepy....Hynes's writing is diamond sharp, revealing his characters' souls as surely as a Judgment Day angel." People

Review:

"In the best tradition of Baum, Carroll, and Orwell, Hynes crafts a mordantly incisive satire on a corporate America where incompetence is rewarded and talent ignored." Booklist

Review:

"At once too ambitious and not ambitious enough, Kings of Infinite Space loads really interesting questions into the mix and then declines to take them seriously enough to satisfy." Donna Minkowitz, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

Hynes must moonlight as a fisherman for he has mastered the art of luring, hooking and reeling readers in with his salty style and quick wit." USA Today

Review:

"The Kings of Infinite Space is social satire that slides smoothly into horror." Time

Review:

"[A] very funny, very macabre novel, filled with unforgettable characters (the living dead among them) and a plot so bizarre it could just possibly be true." Seattle Times

Synopsis:

"Immensely witty...thoroughly entertaining."--The Washington Post Book World

Paul Trilby is having a bad day. If he were to be honest with himself, Paul Trilby would have to admit that he's having a bad life. His wife left him. Three subsequent girlfriends left him. He's fallen from a top-notch university teaching job, to a textbook publisher, to, eventually, working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services. And even here, in this land of carpeted partitions and cheap lighting fixtures, Paul cannot escape the curse his life has become. For it is not until he begins a tentative romance with the office's sassy mail girl that he begins to notice things are truly wrong. Strange sounds come from the air conditioning vents, the ceiling bulges, a body disappears. Mysterious men lurk about town, wearing thick glasses and pocket protectors...

Kings of Infinite Space is a hilarious and horrifying spoof on our everyday lives and gives true voice to the old adage, "Work is Hell."

Synopsis:

"Immensely witty...thoroughly entertaining."--The Washington Post Book World

Paul Trilby is having a bad day. If he were to be honest with himself, Paul Trilby would have to admit that he's having a bad life. His wife left him. Three subsequent girlfriends left him. He's fallen from a top-notch university teaching job, to a textbook publisher, to, eventually, working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services. And even here, in this land of carpeted partitions and cheap lighting fixtures, Paul cannot escape the curse his life has become. For it is not until he begins a tentative romance with the office's sassy mail girl that he begins to notice things are truly wrong. Strange sounds come from the air conditioning vents, the ceiling bulges, a body disappears. Mysterious men lurk about town, wearing thick glasses and pocket protectors...

Kings of Infinite Space is a hilarious and horrifying spoof on our everyday lives and gives true voice to the old adage, "Work is Hell."

James Hynes is the author of the novels The Lecturer's Tale, Wild Colonial Boy, and the stories Publish & Perish (all New York Times Notable Books of the Year). He lives in Austin, Texas.
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year

Paul Trilby is having a bad day. If her were to be honest with himself, Paul Trilby would have to admit that he's having a bad life. His wife left him. Three subsequent girlfriends left him. He's fallen from a top-notch university teaching job, to a textbook publisher, to, eventually, working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services. And even here, in this land of carpeted partitions and cheap lighting fixtures, Paul cannot escape the curse his life has become. For it is not until he begins a tentative romance with the office's sassy mail girl that he begins to notice things are truly wrong. Strange sounds come from the air-conditioning vents, the ceiling bulges, a body disappears. Mysterious men lurk about town, wearing thick glasses and scary smiles . . .

Kings of Infinite Space is a hilarious and horrifying spoof on our everyday lives and gives true voice to the old adage, "Work is Hell."

"This macabre, funny, and very twisted satire of office life displays James Hynes as a wonderfully eccentric and entirely original writer."—Esquire

  

"Hynes has mastered the art of luring, hooking and reeling readers in with his salty style and quick wit . . . A refreshing escape from the typically mundane plots of commercial fiction"—USA Today

  

"The Kings of Infinite Space is social satire that slides smoothly into horror."—Time

  

"Immensely witty . . . A fast, funny ride through pretty peculiar territory."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

  

"What makes this novel scarier—and more ambitious—than The Lecturer's Talk and Publish & Perish, Hynes's previous books, is that it isn't about the academy. It's about all of us—porters, waitresses, office schlubs, and TV anchorwomen, as well as people who read The Norton Anthology of English Literature. They, we, are all trying to rise or at least not fall, haunted by the idea that someone—no matter where we are on the totem pole—is richer, more important, hipper, less humiliated than us."—The New York Times Book Review

  

"Very few novels can manage to be both hilarious and creepy, but this one does. Fewer still can show off their smarts without slowing down the plot, but this one does that, too."—Laura Miller, Salon.com

 

"[A] brilliantly twisted new satire . . . a slapstick apocalypse, part H. G. Wells, part Buffy the Vampire Slayer."—Time Out New York 

 

"A strange, suspenseful, and splendidly written novel. Think Stephen King writing satire . . . a very funny, very macabre novel, filled with unforgettable characters (the living dead among them)."—Nancy Pearl, The Seattle Times

 
"People really do laugh out loud when reading Hynes novels . . . Funny, frightening, smart, and sexy! It is absolutely unlike anything you have ever read."—Keith Taylor, Ann Arbor Observer

 

"Hilarious . . . It's part Falling Down . . . part Lars von Trier's The Kingdom . . . part Temp Slave! 'zine, part erotic love story, and part (of course) The Island of Dr. Moreau."—The San Diego Union-Tribune

 

"In the best tradition of Baum, Carroll, and Orwell, Hynes crafts a mordantly incisive satire on a corporate America where incompetence is rewarded and talent ignored."—Booklist

About the Author

James Hynes is the author of the novels The Lecturer's Tale, Wild Colonial Boy, and the stories Publish and Perish (all New York Times Notable Books of the Year). He lives in Austin, Texas.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312319663
Author:
Hynes, James
Publisher:
St. Martins Press-3pl
Author:
Hynes, James, Ma
Subject:
General
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Loss (psychology)
Subject:
Technical Writing
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Satire
Subject:
Humor : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
March 2005
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8 x 5 x 0.789 in 0.74 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

Kings of Infinite Space: A Novel New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.00 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Picador USA - English 9780312319663 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Paul Trilby is still haunted by the ghost of Charlotte, the cat he drowned in 'Queen of the Jungle' (included in Hynes's 1997 story collection, Publish and Perish), in this hilarious supernatural sendup of office life. An affair having destroyed his marriage and promising academic career, Paul now temps as a tech writer in the General Services Division of the Texas Department of General Services (TxDoGS) in the Austin-like city of Lamar. One hot summer morning, stuck in traffic, he has an encounter with a peculiar homeless man who repeats a question from H.G. Wells's Island of Doctor Moreau, 'Are we not men?' This is but the first of a series of uncanny incidents — a corpse in a cubicle no one appears to notice, a recycling bin that seems to have no bottom — that dog Paul at TxDoGS. The romance he strikes up with Callie, the appealingly goofy company 'mail girl,' provides the novel's emotional center. When the feckless Paul is put to the ultimate test, a Faustian bargain with zombies to surrender his soul and sacrifice Callie for a free ride at TxDoGS, readers will be on the edge of their seats wondering whether he'll do the right thing. Amusing incidentals include the subversive sentences Paul pens for a textbook and the cat-related fare that is all Charlotte allows him to watch on TV. While the office may not be quite as juicy a subject for satire as the academic world skewered in the author's last novel, The Lecturer's Tale (2002), the same literate wit should have wide appeal. Agent, Neil Olson at Donadio & Olson. (Apr. 13)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "This macabre, funny, and very twisted satire of office life displays James Hynes (the author of Publish and Perish) as a wonderfully eccentric and entirely original writer." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "Academia slides to the back burner and science fiction to the front, but the voice is distinctly Hynes's and the satirical strain is as strong as ever....Hynes briskly advances toward the novel's faintly ridiculous but entirely amusing and mostly satisfying conclusion."
"Review" by , "There's a spirit of H.G. Wells and The Island of Dr. Moreau throughout....Hynes meshes real-life and supernatural horror so that it becomes difficult to distinguish the real and imaginary absurdities."
"Review" by , "By turns ominous, hilarious, and genuinely scary: Hynes offers a highly original send-up of the most unnatural activity ever conceived by the human mind — work."
"Review" by , "Deliciously creepy....Hynes's writing is diamond sharp, revealing his characters' souls as surely as a Judgment Day angel."
"Review" by , "In the best tradition of Baum, Carroll, and Orwell, Hynes crafts a mordantly incisive satire on a corporate America where incompetence is rewarded and talent ignored."
"Review" by , "At once too ambitious and not ambitious enough, Kings of Infinite Space loads really interesting questions into the mix and then declines to take them seriously enough to satisfy."
"Review" by , Hynes must moonlight as a fisherman for he has mastered the art of luring, hooking and reeling readers in with his salty style and quick wit."
"Review" by , "The Kings of Infinite Space is social satire that slides smoothly into horror."
"Review" by , "[A] very funny, very macabre novel, filled with unforgettable characters (the living dead among them) and a plot so bizarre it could just possibly be true."
"Synopsis" by ,
"Immensely witty...thoroughly entertaining."--The Washington Post Book World

Paul Trilby is having a bad day. If he were to be honest with himself, Paul Trilby would have to admit that he's having a bad life. His wife left him. Three subsequent girlfriends left him. He's fallen from a top-notch university teaching job, to a textbook publisher, to, eventually, working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services. And even here, in this land of carpeted partitions and cheap lighting fixtures, Paul cannot escape the curse his life has become. For it is not until he begins a tentative romance with the office's sassy mail girl that he begins to notice things are truly wrong. Strange sounds come from the air conditioning vents, the ceiling bulges, a body disappears. Mysterious men lurk about town, wearing thick glasses and pocket protectors...

Kings of Infinite Space is a hilarious and horrifying spoof on our everyday lives and gives true voice to the old adage, "Work is Hell."

"Synopsis" by ,
"Immensely witty...thoroughly entertaining."--The Washington Post Book World

Paul Trilby is having a bad day. If he were to be honest with himself, Paul Trilby would have to admit that he's having a bad life. His wife left him. Three subsequent girlfriends left him. He's fallen from a top-notch university teaching job, to a textbook publisher, to, eventually, working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services. And even here, in this land of carpeted partitions and cheap lighting fixtures, Paul cannot escape the curse his life has become. For it is not until he begins a tentative romance with the office's sassy mail girl that he begins to notice things are truly wrong. Strange sounds come from the air conditioning vents, the ceiling bulges, a body disappears. Mysterious men lurk about town, wearing thick glasses and pocket protectors...

Kings of Infinite Space is a hilarious and horrifying spoof on our everyday lives and gives true voice to the old adage, "Work is Hell."

James Hynes is the author of the novels The Lecturer's Tale, Wild Colonial Boy, and the stories Publish & Perish (all New York Times Notable Books of the Year). He lives in Austin, Texas.
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year

Paul Trilby is having a bad day. If her were to be honest with himself, Paul Trilby would have to admit that he's having a bad life. His wife left him. Three subsequent girlfriends left him. He's fallen from a top-notch university teaching job, to a textbook publisher, to, eventually, working as a temp writer for the Texas Department of General Services. And even here, in this land of carpeted partitions and cheap lighting fixtures, Paul cannot escape the curse his life has become. For it is not until he begins a tentative romance with the office's sassy mail girl that he begins to notice things are truly wrong. Strange sounds come from the air-conditioning vents, the ceiling bulges, a body disappears. Mysterious men lurk about town, wearing thick glasses and scary smiles . . .

Kings of Infinite Space is a hilarious and horrifying spoof on our everyday lives and gives true voice to the old adage, "Work is Hell."

"This macabre, funny, and very twisted satire of office life displays James Hynes as a wonderfully eccentric and entirely original writer."—Esquire

  

"Hynes has mastered the art of luring, hooking and reeling readers in with his salty style and quick wit . . . A refreshing escape from the typically mundane plots of commercial fiction"—USA Today

  

"The Kings of Infinite Space is social satire that slides smoothly into horror."—Time

  

"Immensely witty . . . A fast, funny ride through pretty peculiar territory."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

  

"What makes this novel scarier—and more ambitious—than The Lecturer's Talk and Publish & Perish, Hynes's previous books, is that it isn't about the academy. It's about all of us—porters, waitresses, office schlubs, and TV anchorwomen, as well as people who read The Norton Anthology of English Literature. They, we, are all trying to rise or at least not fall, haunted by the idea that someone—no matter where we are on the totem pole—is richer, more important, hipper, less humiliated than us."—The New York Times Book Review

  

"Very few novels can manage to be both hilarious and creepy, but this one does. Fewer still can show off their smarts without slowing down the plot, but this one does that, too."—Laura Miller, Salon.com

 

"[A] brilliantly twisted new satire . . . a slapstick apocalypse, part H. G. Wells, part Buffy the Vampire Slayer."—Time Out New York 

 

"A strange, suspenseful, and splendidly written novel. Think Stephen King writing satire . . . a very funny, very macabre novel, filled with unforgettable characters (the living dead among them)."—Nancy Pearl, The Seattle Times

 
"People really do laugh out loud when reading Hynes novels . . . Funny, frightening, smart, and sexy! It is absolutely unlike anything you have ever read."—Keith Taylor, Ann Arbor Observer

 

"Hilarious . . . It's part Falling Down . . . part Lars von Trier's The Kingdom . . . part Temp Slave! 'zine, part erotic love story, and part (of course) The Island of Dr. Moreau."—The San Diego Union-Tribune

 

"In the best tradition of Baum, Carroll, and Orwell, Hynes crafts a mordantly incisive satire on a corporate America where incompetence is rewarded and talent ignored."—Booklist

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