Review: Fractal Despondency by Trent Zelezny

Author: Trent Zelazny
Publisher: Black Curtain Press
Print Ed: June 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1617203909
Details: 76 Pages | Paperback | $6.99


Publisher’s Blurb: Was she an angel from above, or a walking time bomb of doom?

His life having crumbled, Blake Gladstone returns to his hometown of Santa Fe, and tries to settle back into the unsatisfying life he’d had before he left for Florida.

When he meets Denise, a pretty young blonde with a bag full of tricks, his sad routine breaks, and the more they get to know each other, the more Blake can’t figure out if he’s on a road to salvation, or a road back to hell.

Note: I purchased this book to review.


Fractal Despondency by Trent Zelazny is dark and gritty novella, filled with an honesty of experience that will leave you feeling as if you just walked a mile in Blake Gladstone’s shoes. From Blake’s first appearance on the page, the grimness of his situation is made painfully clear. Newly returned home to Sante Fe from Florida, he bears the physical and emotional wounds that have bled away every ounce of joy and love that had once lived inside of him. However, when Denise comes into his life, a beautiful blond radiating excitement and trouble, Blake finally feels something. Only he doesn’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

Zelazny has deftly captured the desperation of emotion that a person feels when confronted with and forced to deal with the loss of a loved one. Secrets, lies, mistakes – all these things bubble to the surface as Blake’s past and present collide in the “now” that he is experiencing as a result of his encounter with Denise.

From the writing to the characters to the plot of the story, Zelazny’s prose will reel you in and make you wish that you could do something, anything to help Blake overcome the affects of the trauma he has suffered. You can’t help but to want to assist him, all the while knowing there is nothing you can do except to go along for the ride to see if Blake will be okay in the end. It is clear that he must go through this experience if he is ever going to reclaim anything of his former self, and even then he may not succeed.

Fractal Despondency is a must read novella for anyone with a taste for dark, noir literature. Trent Zelazny is someone you’ll want to follow when his next book comes out.

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
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