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Kings of Infinite Space

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  521 ratings  ·  89 reviews
"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 t
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Picador (first published 2004)
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Pieces of Georgia by Jennifer Fisher BryantMaggie Moore and the Secret School Diary by Firna Rex ShawKings of Infinite Space by James HynesThe Collective by Don  LeeThe Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
Pencils
3rd out of 29 books — 3 voters
The Charge by Sharon BaylissAlien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian YanskyTo Cure the Humans! by Douglas  LewisSmart Blondes by Sonia KosoTulia by Nate Blakeslee
Best Books from Austin, Texas Authors
11th out of 21 books — 9 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 931)
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Kaethe
I'm just too insecure for a book about a depressed temp right now
Melissa Cavanaugh
This went from dull to ludicrous with only a brief stopover at interesting. The ridiculous finale, complete with a battle of office supplies and a deus ex machina in the form of a ghost cat, was the last straw.
Blair
This is a really fun read: a combination of horror with the office novel and a smattering of academia. The ending felt a bit laboured to me, though. I think I would have liked it if Hynes had tried to do something more interesting in commenting on office life and its true horrors rather than just keeping to the entertainment side of things, which for me made it less entertaining and just kind of tediously conventional towards the end.
Nicole
Feb 08, 2008 Nicole rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who's had a zombi-fying desk job.
Recommended to Nicole by: Nancy Pearl!
I saw Nancy Pearl speak last year, and this was one of the books she recommended. I was expecting more, and ended up skimming the end... I liked the beginning best -- an ex-English professor has travelled in his own personal downward spiral to land in a government job in Texas. The descriptions of his office, his coworkers, his downfall, etc. are all very funny, and delivered in that pretentious English professor voice. It's super surreal, which I like, but, in the end... eh, it just didn't hold ...more
April West
Jul 03, 2007 April West rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are too smart for their jobs
My enjoyment of this book was probably bolstered by two facts: the author used to work at a company I used to work at, and he also used to work at a place just like the place my spouse currently works at. Furthermore, someone who knows him recommended it to me. So I felt like a bit of an insider while reading this book all about insiders.... The story is a sometimes-adolescent, sometimes-hilarious explanation of office culture for those of us who maybe don't exactly fit in there. Really funny.
Bondama
I love this man!! This is absolutely one of the best books around -- it was published in 2004, so I read it on recommendation -- Hynes is an Irish native who now lives in San Marcos/Austin. Matter of fact, he helped my nephew with his masters' thesis on Flann O'Brien.

This book is set - not in the academic world that Hynes normally writes about, but in Austin, in cubicle-world. It's amazingly well-written - the main character is reading "Seven Novels of H.G. Wells on his breaks, and the author is
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Todd
I purposely bought this book without reading most of the back cover summary. I was merely in the mood for an "office life is stupid" book, and this seemed like that book.

It's not REALLY that book, because it takes a hard left turn fairly early on. It's still an office novel, but with more. (I can't say "with a difference" nor "with a twist", because it's not really anything we haven't seen before.) Fortunately, I also enjoy that type of book, so I enjoyed reading this. Good story, well-written.

I
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Devon
It was okay. Honestly, having come off of my Christopher Moore high, I was really looking for a novel to fill that void: something smart and sarcastic and funny. You know, more-Moorish. This book was okay. I think I only laughed out loud once. The main character got to be a little tedious in the way Hynes kept going on and on and on trying to set up what a loser he was because of his fall from grace. I found myself not really caring about the characters- not because they were successfully set up ...more
Jessica
I won this book in a contest and didn't know anything about it prior to sitting down with it. It purports to be a brilliant satire of office and academic life, but I found it wanting in both brilliance and satire. The writing style is pretentious, with flagrant use of "big words" and literary allusions that seem tacked on rather than natural, like the author is trying to say, "Look at me, I can use big words and make literary allusions that you probably won't understand, because I am smarter tha ...more
Mark
The first 2/3 of the book had me hooked, but then I started fading and wondering why it didn't continue to please. The build-up is very well done -- excellent characterizations, strangely mysterious goings-on, a love relationship that is very satisfying -- but once the weirdness starts taking center stage, it's just not convincing to me, and I found myself counting pages with 80 left to go, wondering if the whole remainder of the book would be a slog. It pretty much was, with developments there ...more
Jess
It took a while to get into, but then couldn't put it down. The author must consider himself an 'intellectual'; he throws in random words that look like they were pulled straight from Webster's to impress readers. That aside, some of the writing flows quite well with a natural feel. The story line is pretty out-there, but it still kept me interested.
Christopher Fulbright
Kings of Infinite Space grabbed me from the description on the back of the book. A technical writer, in Texas, whose work life is hell? Hey, this main character and I have a lot in common! (Minus the part about him being haunted by his dead cat.) After I read the first page, I knew I was going to love this book, and it certainly delivered. Awesome character development, genuinely creepy goings-on, and real laugh-out-loud moments. The ending went pretty far into strangeland, but it was still a fa ...more
Lila
Well I like the idea of the ghost cat and the use of H. G. Wells, but it was impossible to identify with the protagonist. Still academic and work satires are always of interest.
Jacki
This book was really all over the place. I bought it at a used book store, not really knowing anything about it. I thought it would just be this funny little 'office life' story.

Not so much. It starts as that, but even in the first chapter, you're given hints that there's more. By the end, we're dealing with human sacrifice, ghost cats, zombies, the whole works. Strange book, not my usual style, but I enjoyed it somehow.

It was pretty funny and all the characters were totally over the top. I rea
...more
Aaron
Um, okay...who doesn't dream that their cubicleworld is more than it really is? Who doesn't look at their life and think "That's it? Isn't there a bit more romance and action and meaning to get out of this?" But Hynes goes too far. Ghost kitties, cannibal zombies, undercover superheroes...all in a Texas government office? Where's the humanity, feeling, and beauty of Lady in the Water? (Holy crap I just praised M Night Shyamalan!) This author is clearly gifted with prose, but wastes it on an utte ...more
Robert Zoltan
I'm going to give this another chapter or two. It's pretty well-written. Amusing, fairly absorbing, with a nice creepy atmosphere that's building slowly. If I don't continue reading it's only because I'm not totally gripped by the subject matter. I was intrigued by the idea of comedy and cosmic horror of some type, but there are other things I'd rather read, especially as a writer needing inspiration.

Stopping for now. May come back to it someday, but unlikely. A decent book, but not my cup of te
...more
Sxyvaan Pichon
I didn't completely finish, but I couldn't get into it. It isn't that there is anything wrong with the book, I think it's competently written (better than a book I could write for sure) it just didn't grab me. The way it's described makes it seem like it is more entertaining than it is, in my opinion, and it just feels like one description of a stereotypical character after the next. I think it's one of those books worth giving a shot. I picked it up from the library because of its title and the ...more
Abi Morgan
This book is really interesting for the first two thirds, and then... it just gets to be too much. I found myself skimming through narrative to get to dialog to get to the end. I think part of the problem is that there really aren't any likeable characters. The protagonist cheats on his wife and his three girlfriends and kills a cat. (Actually, the one character I did like was the cat's ghost.) So there really wasn't anyone to cheer for, and my enthusiasm for the material petered out before the ...more
Gaije
3.5 stars really. Maddening that's not an option.
Caroline Herbert
Hynes does for office work (for the state government, no less) what he did for academia in the Lecturer's Tale, providing witty satire of office politics and drudgery. At the same time he tells a macabre tale of mysterious goings-on after hours that takes a turn to the supernatural (the point being that office work is so mindless that the undead could do it for you?). I would have liked a little more of the office satire and less of the scary tale, but it was definitely a page turner.
Trish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Taylor
I thought this novel was funny and entertaining. I really enjoyed the main character and I blew through this novel pretty quick.
itpdx
Dark humor! A man with a PhD in English is working as a temp typist in the cube land of a state of Texas bureaucracy with some decidedly strange people. And he returns at night to his apartment that is haunted by the ghost of the cat that he drowned in a bath tub. Horror and comedy are not my usual choices for reading but if there are any more out there that are this good, I want to know!
You have to read to the rousing climax to understand the cover.
Eric Hines
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.
Janet
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.
Sayward
I absolutely loved this book! Strange as it is hilarious, it has introduced me to one of my newest favorite characters of all time. It also takes place in a fictional version of Austin so I had a lot of fun trying to figure out the "true" locations mentioned in the story. As crazy as the book is and the directions the characters travel, it'd be a literary sin to give away too much, so I'll leave this review at that.
David
Aug 09, 2008 David added it
Shelves: sf
Speaking as a six-year veteran state employee, I’d like to say that James Hynes novel, Kings of Infinite Space, is pretty much true. Not the part about overbearing co-workers, ill-paid temps, or difficult parking. I meant he part about blood sacrifices in the unexplored network of pre-human caves under our offices.

http://fireandsword.blogspot.com/2007...
Alyssa
Reads like a sci-fi/conspiracy version of Office Space. It kept me engaged for entertainment purposes, probably for two reasons. First, the interesting/outlandish details and plot items. I mean really, who can go wrong with zombie cats? Second, the quantity of pop culture and literary allusions you'd expect from an episode of the Gilmore Girls. In short, I'd say the book is amusing.
andeeeeee
The greatest story ever told about escaping your dead end job, while falling in love, and trying desparately to stay alive. Work is most definitely hell. Imagine Office Space as horror film (or more than it already was). Helps that there's a beautiful southern belle, mysterious creatures living behind the walls, a secret organization and a bunch of other weird shit. Super funny and ultra weird...
Erin Clark
I really liked this book until the last 2-3 chapters. At this point the absurdity of it really left me unable to suspend disbelief. Maybe I'm just not that into the science fiction genre, but I wasn't buying it.

I love the author's style and flow, and I wish that I allowed myself to stop reading with about two chapters left. It would have been a sublime, untainted experience.
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