cover image Red Dust

Red Dust

Yoss, trans. from the Spanish by David Frye. Restless, $17 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-63206-246-8

Cuban author Yoss (Condomnauts) brings a hard-boiled noir aesthetic to this uproarious space opera about a wisecracking, Raymond Chandler–loving robot detective. Raymond, an android cop on the Galactic Trade Confederation outpost William S. Burroughs, is tasked with capturing an alien fugitive, Makrow 34, whose psychic power to scramble the laws of probability makes him particularly dangerous. Inspired by the film 48 Hours, Raymond recruits criminal Vasily Fernández, a human imprisoned for the illegal use of the same ability as Makrow, to help track down the alien. Vasily uses his connection to a Romani crime lord to help Raymond hunt for clues, leading to an ill-planned showdown at an asteroid hideout that the two only escape thanks to Vasily’s physics-defying mental skill. Yoss plays the mix of sci-fi and square-jawed detective fiction for some big laughs while layering in loving allusions to the greats of both genres. Though the mile a minute plot briefly stalls for some late-night philosophizing between the heroes, it regains its footing and barrels into a cinematic shoot-out of a finale, complete with bullets, blasters, and samurai swords. This is good fun. (July)