Imagine living on a space station the size of a planet. Not just any space station, but one with a thriving community with different social classes and communities to match. Now, imagine what happens when a minor disaster takes place that requires clean-up and repair. Who takes care of it? Is there an engineering repair team? Is there even, dare I say, a team that handles the plumbing when it goes awry?
Enter the character, Roy. His appearance is that of a salamander-human hybrid. He is known as a very reliable, but somewhat depressed plumber. He had been a very successful engineer, but one divorce later along with providing child support for all of his children (Roy has a very large family) he is now on this station as a plumber. He mouths off at his boss and pretty much everyone around that he meets. His boss doesn’t mind because Roy is pretty much the best at what he does. If anyone else were to mind then Roy has a trick to defend himself. Let’s just say he “alters” his appearance somewhat. Roy is still totally benign, but that altered look is enough to give anyone nightmares. Then, one day after he’s home from a day of work and drinking, he inexplicably does a computer search that puts him in contact with some of the unsavory elements on the station. After a few successful assignments, including saving the bacon of some important people simply because he knew how a toilet works, he unexpectedly becomes the unwitting instigator of something infamously regarded as “The Incident.”
Despite the previous synopsis, this truly is a tale that properly defies description. This story is a spin-off from the second book of the Max and the Multiverse series. This is important because this particular universe operates like a clock forever chiming 13 times. If the activities on this space station are any indication, then it must be clear that the deity who created this universe used as its foundation a perverse and ironic sense of humor. Oh, and the deity is named Tim. The nature of this book is also quite odd, as it is attributed to an editor named Puki (pronounced Pookie) Horpocket, and as the story is being told Puki interjects with his own observations as well as interviews with some of the survivors of The Incident who had contact with this individual named Roy. As for how it came into my particular hands was through its translator, an author named Zachry Wheeler.
Well, now that we’ve gotten all of that silliness out of the way, all I can say about this book is that if I didn’t know it came from the deranged mind of Zachry Wheeler I would have thought that it was some long lost work by Douglas Adams. I am glad that it is not for if it were then that would mean there probably wouldn’t be any more books of this nature. Knowing it comes from Zachry Wheeler is pleasing because it means that we could see more such tales from this universe created by the deity known as Tim, assuming that the men in the white jackets don’t find Zachry first, not to lock him up into a padded room, but to keep him in their company for hours of endless entertainment.
Zachry is a truly gifted writer as has been proven time and again. He has already completed the most brilliant dystopian science fiction trilogy regarding vampire mythology that, in my mind, elevated him to the likes of Arthur C. Clarke or Robert Heinlein. Then, in a surprising turn that shows he has the same bizarre sense of humor as the great god Tim, he churned out one of the most hilarious series of books with his Max and the Multiverse series followed by this amazing novel simply titled Roy. From the beginning, we already get a sense of its irreverence and even self-deprecating humor. As the story starts we see that it doesn’t take itself seriously and goes places that might not be the faint of heart. While the Max and the Multiverse stories could be considered as having “family-friendly humor,” possibly even Disney-like in its approach, Roy would have to be categorized as “Disney after dark.” If books were given movie ratings it would be “R” for some of its subject matter is hilariously shocking (I nearly choked on my breakfast as I was reading one of the chapters.). It is controlled chaos, it is sheer lunacy, and it is one of the most original and hilariously funny books I have read in a very long time. It is filled with some of the most incredible characters ever to pop up, or in some cases, slither out onto the pages of a book. All of the characters, both main and tertiary have a believability to them that makes you wonder if this story truly occurred and that if Zachry Wheeler is receiving these pages from a certain Puki Horpocket, because as insane as the universe this story takes place in, along with its equally lunatic cast of characters, and as much as the story refuses to take itself seriously, Zachry Wheeler has done the impossible by carefully constructing a universe with an amazing amount of controlled care. This is a story that could have exploded bigger than The Incident itself. Instead, the explosion here is nothing more than a Big Bang of controlled chaos. Zachry has taken some of the most illogical and irrational and batsh*t crazy ideas imaginable and carefully crafted them into a novel that deserves to stand next to the likes of Douglas Adams. In short, Roy is simply a work of sheer genius.
I give Roy 5 out of 5 Snake Bone Pucks.
Roy is available for pre-order for both Kindle and Paperback Home | Zachry Wheeler and will be available on May 4th, 2021.