Title: Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom:
A Novel of Retropolis
Author: Bradley W. Schenck
Genre: Retro Science Fiction
Rating: 4 of 5
First, a big thank-you to BiblioSanctum for sponsoring the giveaway where I won this. It was a fun read!
This lighthearted adventure is set in Retropolis, a city of the future as imagined by pulp sci-fi authors: hoversleds, personal rockets, mad scientists, priests of the spider god (who live on the moon), robots, and don’t forget the switchboard from the title. The author works in plenty of tropes without obscure in-jokes, so anyone can enjoy it. Either that or the obscure jokes went over my head…either way, it was great! Most of the characters are delightfully quirky, if a little one-note. I don’t want to describe them here because meeting them is a big part of the enjoyment.
Rather than straight up good vs. evil, this is more of an order vs. chaos story with a nice twist (though it does bear similarities to a popular children’s movie from a few years ago). There were parts where the action was a little slow and messy, and I was wavering toward a three-star rating, but in the end the scattery style worked. The narration had occasional silly comments or clever turns of phrase that reminded me of a slightly saner Douglas Adams. Overall: not a literary masterpiece (after all, it is based on pulp sci-fi), but charmingly enjoyable.