The Transient, The Emperor, and the Man Left Alone

3 StarsThe Transient, The Emperor, and the Man Left Alone is a science fiction story that follows Derren, a common man from planet Earth, and his interstellar misadventures. The novel opens on our protagonist losing his apartment in a demolition, of which he was notified several times but didn’t bother to read his mail. From there, the story gets stranger. After calling his co-worker and asking to stay with him, the two men are ripped from the surface by an alien spaceship and a grotesque alien wanting to conduct an anal probe.

However, things are not as simple as they seem, in all regards. The aliens might be much more human than they pretend, and their motives are much deeper than a simple probe. Will Derren be able to survive what his extraterrestrial friends have in store for him? And why do they keep calling him an Emperor? A long, scattered journey is in store, and hopefully readers will be able to follow along for the ride.

Overall, this story does a few things very well. It offers some outrageous situations that serve as biting commentary on the average human’s need for entertainment in all of its forms. The satirical situations, and even the satirical descriptions of characters, will cause readers to pause and reflect on why those institutions exist in our society today. Specifically, the hilarity of an alien courtroom is much more familiar than it should be, and the author does well to demonstrate that point, especially by describing the judge’s experience in terms of wins and losses. Further, seeing Derren travel through space and how he chooses to use his ample free time is a fascinating read and gives an in depth look at a character that many novels struggle to do as well as Harrell does.

However, the plot of the story does have some trouble spots. After about 150 pages, the writing becomes dull, and the plot is hindered by cliché turns and seemingly disconnected events. While much of it can be considered satire, it is not as sharp or witty as it should be. It was as if there was a long a list of points that had to be made, so they were included without regard for the plot. The text itself has some minor grammatical errors, which are jarring, but thankfully are not too frequent.

The narrator has a unique voice that I have not experienced before. This voice introduced itself by attempting to clean up some foul language, but then realizing it wasn’t worth the trouble. With some sharp commentary and an “intermission”, I was kept guessing at what the narrator would choose to describe next. If only the narrator chose to make himself heard more often!

From a village of women to a rock becoming Derren’s best friend, you have to be prepared for the story to go wherever it wants.

Pages: 202 | ISBN: 1480828998

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is a book review website which consists of mostly fiction books, but we do enjoy non fiction works that we're excited about. All reviews are the reviewer’s honest opinion. We love books and read constantly (seriously, it’s an addiction). We're always open to book review requests and have aspirations of one day being sucked into the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith where all he wants to do is read, but can’t until the world ends; you know what I mean?

Posted on August 13, 2016, in Book Reviews, Three Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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