Kings of Infinite Space A Novel

James Hynes




Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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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."


Praise for Kings of Infinite Space

"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,

"[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

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


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. He was steeling himself for a confrontation with his boss, screwing up his nerve to ask for a raise, but his present circumstances were conspiring against him. His fourteen-year-old Dodge Colt rattled in place in the middle of the Travis Street Bridge, hemmed in on all sides by bulbous, purring pickup trucks and gleaming sport utility vehicles with fat, black tir
Read the full excerpt


  • James Hynes

  • 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.
  • James Hynes




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