Title: The Tenant’s Wrath
Author: Gabriel Nombo
Publication date: January 31, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
One Sentence Summary: Tussled Platters is an Earthling conducting research on Memento Mori regarding the aliens’ innate wrathfulness and how it manifests when tenants and landlords/landladies all live under the same roof.
The Tenant’s Wrath offers an interesting research project by Earthling Tussled Platters on a world similar, yet different, to Earth called Memento Mori. In this story, Tussled is asking how the natural wrathful natures of the aliens impacts the tenant/landlord relationship when they all live under the same roof. While I did like how the world was like Earth, but with fun twists, and the peculiar nature of how research is carried out on Memento Mori, I was sorely missing the wrath as the main character felt a little too even keeled and level-headed. I did like how agreeable he was, but I also longed for the promised wrath that ultimately fell a little short.
It’s the 34th century. Earth and another planet called Memento Mori have made contact and now inhabitants of both travel in both directions, though the journey lasts for a few years. Tussled Platters is one of the Earthlings who have chosen to journey to Memento Mori, and has decided to undertake a research project.
Research on Memento Mori, though, is quite different than it is on Earth and requires the use of a specific recording device. It also requires all participants to return to the time points Tussled wishes to document and study. Tussled has chosen to work with a specific young man named Setifokasi in order to study how the natural wrathful nature of the inhabitants of Memento Mori impacts the tenant/landlord relationship when they all live within the same building.
The Tenant’s Wrath was one I had decided to read even though I’m not one for books with aliens because it sounded like a lot of fun. I liked the idea of reading about an Earthling carrying out research on another planet and thought it would be humorous, especially since the aliens are so wrathful by nature. Instead, it felt more like it was a series of conversations with increasingly ridiculous misfortunes of (essentially) apartment living.
This is a rather long novel about one young man and the nine different houses he rents a room from. It follows Setifokasi as he decides to leave his parents’ home, seek employment, and simply live on his own. During the course of the novel, he also attends a university program in the main city and acquires a job following graduation. In many ways, this is simply the tale of a young man finding his feet in life. In other ways, it’s a fairly long description of the strange and annoying things landlords heap at the feet of their tenants.
I did find the plot of this book a little uneventful despite all the crazy things Setifokasi had to put up with. For one, even with so many conversations, there wasn’t nearly as much wrath as I expected. For an alien race that’s supposedly naturally wrathful, I expected some truly crazy and angry shenanigans, but instead got a fairly levelheaded and laid back main character. Certainly, he had to put up with some truly maddening landlords and landladies, but he really tried his best to smooth things over. Overall, it didn’t feel too different from an Earthling who rents for too long, forced to live under annoying rules, who then decides it’s time to get a house of their own.
The world of Memento Mori, though, was interesting. The author clearly went out of his way to create a world similar and different to ours. In some ways, it felt like an alternate Africa. In other ways, it was truly interesting and different. I loved the way the countries and cities were laid out. But I did often wonder why most of the world seemed kind of backwards for a planet that has made contact with Earth and now experiences space travel in both directions. It seemed oddly primitive. I was definitely missing the technological advancement.
What I did love, though, was the strange way in which Tussled had to collect his data. While it was absolutely outlandish and probably nutty and crazy expensive, I liked the idea of Tussled having to record the exact people in the exact original locations with the exact same words spoken by all parties. It was fun to watch it go back and forth in time as conversations were recorded as though they were happening for the first time, and yet there were asides from Tussled to explain things to point out a lag in time in order for respondents to travel and houses to be set up the way they had been years before. It was totally nonsensical, but I had a lot of fun reading about it. What I didn’t love were all the alien words that so clearly resembled some thing from Earth that were used rather liberally. It was confusing to keep up with and I had an awful hard time of trying to pronounce them. All the similarities to things on Earth just made me wonder how unique this world was and made me feel like I was reading something of an alternate reality.
I’d have to say I enjoyed the beginning and end of The Tenant’s Wrath the most. The middle kind of dragged for me and, while I could understand why Setifokasi lived in so many houses, it started to feel like a little too much. I do wish there had been a lot more wrath going on as it would have made the middle that much more interesting, but I do like that it felt like the author had taken Earth and twisted it a bit.
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Thank you to Gabriel Nombo for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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