DUSTBALL AIR by Kenneth M. Schuett


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A smart-mouthed young smuggler is tasked with a dangerous assignment in this steampunk-flavored adventure novel.

After a calamity called the Breaking, Earth is no longer a solid object but a group of loosely connected landforms called Rocks hanging above the Dustball below. In the slums of Hanging Town—created after a gravity disruption turned one Rock upside down—Dizzy Whiteman, 18, makes a scant living doing odd jobs, mostly illegal. A foulmouthed, wisecracking daredevil who’s a tad sensitive about his short stature, he rides a steam-powered vehicle akin to a motorcycle, helped out by his older sister, a gifted mechanic. Dizzy’s skills gain attention, and he’s intimidated into joining a pirate ship and helping retrieve valuable artifacts related to the Breaking. He’ll need all his wits, courage and skills as a fighter and flier to avoid becoming anyone’s pawn and to survive several exciting, perilous adventures, including going undercover into Purgatory, the sort of prison where no one comes out alive. Don’t be put off by the novel’s overweening introduction (mirrored in its afterword), which claims that this is “the type of book that strangles its readers remorselessly before smacking them in the face just for the hell of it.” Actually, Dizzy’s courage, curiosity, humor, decency and love for his family define him as much as his smart mouth. While the action is virtually nonstop—fight scenes range from hand-to-hand combat to grand naval battles—the book also takes time to consider this future world’s culture, politics, art, architecture and people, as Dizzy’s adventures take him to palaces, dive bars, pirate hangouts and more. A hero who isn’t all height and muscles is also a nice change, though he’s nevertheless a tough fighter. That said, the book’s wonderfully vivid descriptions can turn into purple prose—in particular, adjectives galore—and a firmer editing hand would help.

Inventive, profane and action-packed, with a wiseass, resourceful hero.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1492173168
Page count: 556pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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