Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom: A Novel of Retropolis by Bradley W. Schenck
Trade Paperback – Tor – Nov 2018 – 383 pages
If Fritz Lang’s Metropolis somehow mated with Futurama, their mutant offspring might well be Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom. Inspired by the future imagined in the 1939 World Fair, this hilarious, beautifully illustrated adventure by writer and artist Bradley W. Schenck is utterly unlike anything else in science fiction: a gonzo, totally bonkers, gut-busting look at the World of Tomorrow, populated with dashing, bubble-helmeted heroes, faithful robot sidekicks, mad scientists, plucky rocket engineers, sassy switchboard operators, and much, much more—enhanced throughout by two dozen astonishing illustrations.
After a surprise efficiency review, the switchboard operators of Retropolis are replaced by a mysterious system they don’t understand. Dash Kent, a freelance adventurer and apartment manager, is hired to find out what happened to their jobs. Dash discovers that the replacement switchboard is only one element of a plan concocted by an insane civil engineer: a plan so vast that it reaches from Retropolis to the Moon.
And no one—not the Fraternal League of Robotic Persons, nor the mad scientists of Experimental Research District, nor even the priests of the Temple of the Spider God, will know what hit them when that plan is complete. Because when engineers go mad, they know how to build madness.
And meanwhile, the World’s Smallest Giant Robot is striding toward his destiny. An inch or two at a time.