The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide might be a warning for the future of humanity; a cautionary tale to be better people, treat others with kindness, etc. That might be wishful thinking, but as it is, The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide is a successfully Kickstarted short sci-fi work by Geek.com’s Russell Holly. A tech writer by day, Holly wanted to write about something a bit different. So he took to the crowd-funding marketplace, and The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide was born.
This guide puts you in the shoes of Justin Rivey, a janitor at a secret government facility out East that’s had it’s figurative (and literal) hands full with some extra-terrestrial visitors. The general public, of course, has had no idea that these creatures exist. That would have been great, if not for the fact that the captive aliens have invited a whole mess of their friends, and Humanity doesn’t look to stand a chance. Whereas many stories might take you through the trials and tribulations of a hero that’s stood against the aliens and conquered, this story goes in a bit of a different direction.
Justin (great name, by the way) has seen just what these monsters can do, and he’s provided an easy way out for those looking to check out early. The gist is, you’re not going to survive, don’t even bother trying, at least know what you’re up against so you can choose a quick, painless death (it is an anti-survival guide, afterall). This guide is made up of Justin’s observations from his time working at this facility, and from documents commandeered once things started going bad.
Each section of the book goes into detail about each monster, including their strengths, some of their triggers, along with the horrible things that these creatures can do to a person. After some of the backstory, an illustration of each creature is provided. The art for Space Monsters was provided by Aaron Wood, and is very clear and colorful. In a few instances, if I’m being perfectly honest, some of the extra-terrestrials seem surprisingly terrestrial, both in description and in illustration. Though with that being said, based on their descriptions I can assure you that I wouldn’t want to run into (or be found by) any of these creatures in a dark alley.
I enjoyed Space Monsters quite a lot, but there are a few things that would have increased my enjoyment even further. As I mentioned previously, the book is made up of a combination of narration and reports taken from this secret facility. In some instances, the tone and overall flow of the narration seems somewhat similar in both sections. While it’s possible that a janitor and the researchers at a top-secret government facility would write in the same way, I have a feeling that the reports might be a bit more (probably needlessly) complex.
One other thing that would have made the reports more believable would have been more heading information. Having worked in a ridiculously low-secret security industry for longer than I probably would have liked, nearly every piece of communication had at minimum: to: from: subject: and date: fields. One of the Kickstarter backer rewards was a custom Incident Report (seen below) showing that the backer had been killed. Something similar, or any sort of report heading on some of the research summaries stolen from the facility would have helped provide a deeper immersion into this world.
My only other real complaint is that there isn’t more! Space Monsters is a fun take on sci-fi that goes in a direction you don’t normally see. The monsters and their motivations are well thought out and interesting to consider. I’d really just like to read more about them! Sure, it’s pretty quick and easy to explain how to make a gargantuan beast kill you, but more examples would always be appreciated. Some truly inspiring people said to always leave the audience wanting more, though the complete annihilation of the human race doesn’t really leave much room for an Anti-Survival sequel.
The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide is a short but exciting run through a dystopian future based on government lies and secret facilities. The staunchest tin-foil-hat aficionado will tell you that we’re already headed toward this future, so perhaps we can all learn how to best prepare for this inevitable fall of civilization in an entertaining short story brought to you by a tech writer (nothing wrong with being a tech writer, btw). I’ve said it’s a fun read, but this book has definitely earned a solid 8 out of 10.
Pick up your digital copy of The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide at your favorite digital distribution website for $9.99 today! A print edition is in the works, but is not available as of this time.Buy The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide on Google Play Buy The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide on Amazon Buy The Space Monster Anti-Survival Guide on iTunes