Book Review : Anthony Trevino - King Space Void (2015)
The 2016 U.S Presidential election has been foreshadowing the end of times for close to a year now and people have been looking for reasons to freak out. Are we REALLY going to elect a morally (and financially) bankrupt reality T.V star for president? How did such a dangerous and pronounced social rupture happened without anybody noticing? Now that debate has been weaponized against social harmony by Donald Trump, art really is all we have left to understand what we're doing to ourselves and there might not be a more pertinent time for you to read Anthony Trevino's New Bizarro Author Series novella King Space Void, an oddly pertinent and subtly nuanced space opera.
Dane has always been a part of King Space Void, a spaceship that harbors a planet-eating monster that floats through space and annihilates life wherever it can find it. He leads a hard working and monotonous life until the day he finds an intruder, a bloodied up woman who is fortunately still alive and breathing. Scarlet is going to awake Dane to a whole new world that doesn't gravitate around King Space Void and throw his life's balance out of its precarious axis, turning Dane into an intruder inside the machine himself. King Space Void a story of a bug in the mainframe, of a seemingly inconsequential anomaly in a monstrous machine that's not good at dealing with unpredictability.
The first thing that came up to me when reading King Space Void was that it felt exactly like Star Trek meets Snowpiercer. It's a tale of class warfare in space. Dane begins his journey in the belly of King Space Void doing grunt work, the equivalent of the human body's intestine. He is inconsequential and anonymous. He literally IS shit to his maker and ruler. It's when an intruder slipped inside the system like a virus that King Space Void's "body" starts rebelling against him. I particularly enjoyed the medical metaphor Anthony Trevino used in King Space Void because it's a metaphor historically used by tyrants around the world, so it was cool to see it used against a fictional one. It puts a new perspective on this terrifying rhetoric.
"I will throw you off these fucking stairs if that's what you want, but remember this, it won't change anything. Your death will have no impact other than to validate your worst fears...that your God abandoned you. Or worse, never cared in the first place. Come with us, though, and your life will mean something."
That brings me to what I believe is the most interesting and pertinent theme in King Space Void: the monster itself. Anthony Trevino created a Cronenbergesque space monster that's half flesh and half machine and much greater than the sum of its parts. King Space Void is a monster in itself, but it draws a considerable amount of power from the people working on it to earn a living and those people barely scrape by. Anthony Trevino did a wonderful job at acknowledging the survival instincts of the working class and seeing past it. The narrative motor of King Space Void lies in an uncomfortable truth: you'll never change anything if you don't take any risks. Such political stories that are both efficient and respectful of their protagonist's reality are not all that common.
King Space Void was the most standard New Bizarro Author Series novella I've read so far. It doesn't pack much surprise. It's predictable yet very satisfying. Its strength lies in creating such a complex and nuanced political allegory with a rather straightforward and action packed space opera. That's what's so fun about Bizarro. It's such an inclusive movement that authors are never afraid to go balls out, take risks and tell stories that are meaningful in the most original way. King Space Void is another great starting point if you're starting your Bizarro journey because it has much in common with science fiction and David Cronenberg's movies. It also might bring you some comfort and hope as we might be a few months away from turning our greatest monster yet into the most powerful man on Earth.