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Kings of Infinite Space

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  589 Ratings  ·  99 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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Picador (first published 2004)
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Quills and Pens
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 03, 2016 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm horrible, but I'm bailing out. First page... first sentence and it reads like a high school sophomore creative writing project. I'm a snot, an elitist, but I cringed.

"One brutally hot summer's morning, Paul Trilby--ex-husband, temp typist, cat-murderer--slouched sweating in his t-shirt on his way to work, waiting behind the wheel of his car for the longest red light in central Texas."

Ouch. I would have maybe been hooked on the cat murderer part, but the rest of it.. wow.

His fourteen-year-o
Nov 12, 2009 Kaethe rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I'm just too insecure for a book about a depressed temp right now
Melissa Cavanaugh
Mar 05, 2010 Melissa Cavanaugh rated it did not like it
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.
Robyn Blaber
Dec 08, 2015 Robyn Blaber rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how to classify this book. It sort of goes off the rails in about the third chapter and we never get back to conventional travel again. The book reminded me of the office space movie with many of the office cliches about cubicle life ensue, but you get a few clues that it isn't all about cubicles.

As for the rest of the book, it's hard to talk about without spoilers. All I can say is that without ever taking you far from the rows of cubicles, Hynes takes you far from the realm of or
May 01, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok
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
Sxyvaan Pichon
Mar 05, 2013 Sxyvaan Pichon rated it it was ok
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
Feb 08, 2008 Nicole rated it liked it
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
Nick Davies
DNF - I'm a bit ashamed to say that I gave up on this halfway through - partly because I just ceased to be 'in a reading mood' for a couple of weeks in a row, and partly because the book never really piqued my interest by rising above the description of 'slightly odd contemporary American novel in which things are building slowly.. or perhaps just little of interest is happening'. I may try again in the future, but..
Dec 10, 2014 Blair rated it liked it
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.
April West
Jul 03, 2007 April West rated it really liked it  ·  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.
May 28, 2008 Jaime rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This starts out pretty entertaining and rapidly goes straight into idiotic. Kind of a shame - I enjoyed the first 50 pages or so, but it moves from clever to wacky at such a breakneck speed that I found myself wondering if I'd mistakenly picked up a different book.
Apr 05, 2009 somecandytalking rated it did not like it
Mostly skimmed through the last chapters because I was so bored by the end. The writing and the story line were irritating and ultimately completely pointless.
May 08, 2011 Erin rated it it was ok
I read this clear through to the end and kept saying to myself, "When will start getting good?" It never did.
Matty Dalrymple
Oct 05, 2015 Matty Dalrymple rated it it was amazing
A story that manages to be both funny and creepy, bolstered in the audiobook by a fantastic narration by Adam Grupper!
May 15, 2017 Jane rated it it was amazing
Twisted, warped, and brilliantly funny
Renee Leech
Aug 13, 2016 Renee Leech rated it liked it
"Are We Not Men?"

I give this book 4 stars for its funny concept, but 3 stars for its literary merit. Its concept is great - indeed a combination of Office Space and the X-Files as the blurb on the back of the book states. The pivotal egg-shaped men, who all look basically the same and never sweat in the Texas heat, are introduced early and are humorously intriguing. The main character, Paul, is an asshole and knows it. He has sunken through the ranks of academia by cheating on various women and
Aug 11, 2010 Bondama rated it it was amazing
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
Oriyah Nitkin
Perhaps I should be giving this book more credit. After all, (yet again) I judged a book by its cover. This is not the sort of thing I would ever voluntarily read. And yet it held its own fairly well. It was mildly humorous - in fact I think I even laughed aloud once while reading, which *NEVER* happens - and I hate books that try to be funny in any sort of based-in-reality way. (So basically, humor and satire are usually out.) I found myself irritated in that I morally objected to rooting for t ...more
Aug 07, 2008 Todd rated it liked it
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.

Feb 25, 2009 Devon rated it liked it
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
Jun 08, 2009 Mark rated it liked it
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
Christopher Fulbright
Nov 25, 2011 Christopher Fulbright rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 04, 2008 Jacki rated it liked it
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
Robert Zoltan
Jan 15, 2012 Robert Zoltan rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
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
Sep 28, 2014 Aaron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Abi Morgan
Mar 13, 2010 Abi Morgan rated it it was ok
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
Jun 16, 2010 Sayward rated it it was amazing
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.
Eric Hines
Nov 25, 2011 Eric Hines rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy, horror
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.
Jun 13, 2007 Alyssa rated it liked it
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.
Dec 03, 2007 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.
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