Diversity, Fantasy, Humor, Loved-it, Nerdy and proud, NetGalley, Scifi, Urban fantasy

Is There Super Fun Scifi, But Not For Teens? YES. Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom by Bradley W. Schenck

If I were you, I’d just read this book already. But stick around, if you want to find out why.

So let’s ignore the somewhat tacky cover for a bit. (I’m glad I can look past the cover. I’m better than that! But I know that I nearly didn’t click ‘request’ because it’s just… well, you can see it.) This book has anything a sci-fi, fantasy or just plain adventure story reader might want! I swear I haven’t read anything this fun since my teens – in part, because stories like this are often not written for adults.

It’s like only teens can ever get to have any fun. Pfff, right?

There are so many reasons to love this book, I think I want to do it in list form. And I will also not tell you anything about the plot, cause that would just be no fun. Instead, I’ll tell you why you’ll love it.

So why should any and every sci-fi adventure lover in this world read Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom?

A Retro Future

Imagine a world like Futurama, but with less modern technology. Basically, the future they predicted in the 1960’s: robots, rockets, skyscrapers, but no internet, no touchscreens. Info-nets connected by living, human women. Like old phone lines! (This is where the switchboard comes in.) Fascinating. It goes to the point where the story uses almost only old-style names like Abner, Freda, Howard as well! It makes for a completely engrossing experience.

It’s As Witty As It Can Get

The author of this one is pretty quick with his prose. Some of the sentences are so witty, boyfriend laughed upon hearing just the one quoted, even out of context. Unfortunately, I can not quote for you as all I have right now is an uncorrected early copy. So you’ll just have to take my GIF representation of how witty it was:

It’s Incredibly Paced

This book is paced just right! As of the very beginning, there’s no dawdling, things are constantly moving, and that’s what makes it particularly cinematic and dynamic. You just feel like you’re in the flow! It’s part of why I had so much fun reading it. And even despite this wonderful pacing, there is still time to reflect, and to joke around, but in such great portions that you never notice the switch.

The Correct Use Of Cats

I don’t know if you’re a cat lover. But there’s a high chance you are, and if you are… This book has some of the best cat-related jokes and plot twists ever! I mean, cats should basically be talked about as much as possible (#amirite or #amirite?), but even aside from that, some cat related things are just funnier than others. You’ll find those here.

(No, I’m sorry. There are no pirate cats, actually, as much as you might want it. But it’s close.)

Great Character Building

We don’t really have too much freedom for character development in this book, as the story spans quite a short amount of time, but the characters are wonderfully built. Even the secondary ones who are just adding to the story! They all have these little quirks, like robots with serious cases of OCD? Half-homicidal crazy twin kids you would not wish on your meanest enemy? I’m not even going to start about the insane miniaturized robot with an actual death ray. That was officially my favorite.

And Yet, Not Lacking In Depth

With all of this witty and fun stuff going on, you might think the book’s not that serious. But strangely, it is! The book talks a lot about slavery and its implications, about equality. It gently mocks the blindness of bureaucracy and civil service, the trust of power and money. The characters very gently promote the right kind of values, just by example, which would make it a good book to read with your children.

A New Kind Of Diversity

What I particularly liked about this book is this new, completely unique kind of diversity. Sure, we talk about #diversity a lot in book blogs. But how do we think about it? Can we actually untie ourselves from the confines of skin color, sickness, sexual orientation? IS THERE another kind of diversity, apart from that? This book finds it. It talks about a new way or coexisting with a completely different form of life – artificial life, taken on par with biological life. What happens in a society that starts building mechanical lifeforms, but eventually understands that they are conscious too? That they need to be allowed to earn their right to be free and do as they please? That they need to be able to better themselves and grow up, even if not physically, and make their choices? This is a whole new kind of diversity for me, one where it’s not just differences between you and me, both of us being humans – we’re talking differences on a scale of who and what we are at all. And what it means to coexist. And I think it was done unbelievably beautifully in this book.

When was the last time you read a sci-fi novel that made you so excited you could get up and run around? And what was it? Share in the comments!