April 27, 2017

Review: Department Zero by Paul Crilley

On sale now!

Ever wondered why this reality is as strange as it is? Certainly, the multi-verse idea is one very possible solution, especially in light of the worldwide political wackiness we’ve experienced in 2016.

And former Los Angeles detective Harry Priest (Atticus Pope, or at least, that’s who he thinks he was before the world went strange on him) is about to join the ranks of those who attempt to keep order across multiple dimensions.

Enter the amazing worlds of Department Zero by Paul Crilley to see just what we mean. Out this coming week courtesy of Pyr Books, Department Zero is a multi-dimensional tour de force, a romp through worlds that might have been.

Fans of this space will also recall our reviews of Paul Crilley’s The Osiris Curse and The Lazarus Machine, as well as another dimension spanning alternate history classic, Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley.

Department Zero refers to those attempting to keep the inter-dimensional peace, often hunting down those who would exploit alternate worlds for personal gain. And in a great twist, the fictional worlds of some of the science fiction and fantasy greats are real, or at least they are on other planes. There are realms dominated by magic, where Lord of the Rings is reality. There is also a visited plane of existence where H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds Martian invasion really happened, and its fun to see how humanity dealt with the aftermath… and Lovecraft fans take note, Lovecraftian mythos icons Cthulhu and the Miskatonic University make key appearances in the tale.

A crime scene accident may have sent Harry to Department Zero – the bottom rung of Interstitial Crime Department’s (the ICD) network, but he may also hold the key to saving the multiverse. Oh, and the fabled Spear of Longinus (referred to in the book as the Spear of Destiny) makes a central appearance as well. This is the holy relic said to be the spear that the Roman solider Longinus used to pierce the side of Jesus Christ while he was on the Cross. Hey, everything’s real somewhere, right?

It’s fun to wonder: in an infinite set of realities where things that are fantasy or fiction in this world actually occur, just how far down do such simulacrums go? Is Moby Dick real somewhere? How about the most recent Dungeons and Dragons mis-adventure played out in your basement? Or are only the classics worth channeling from the inter-spatial realms?

All amazing stuff to ponder, sure. Also, Harry has to defeat Cthulhu and make it back in time to read to his daughter at bedtime, a tall order indeed. Be sure to read Department Zero for a fun and innovative beginning to a never-ending adventure.

Post script: Well, its 2017. We’ve kept this blog going for well over a decade now… what would you like to see from Astroguyz for the coming year? We’re hankering to shuffle things up a bit, though we’re not sure just what direction to take just yet… more reviews? Strange meanderings? Odd videos? Let us know!

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