August Kitko and the Mechas from Space (2022) – Alex White

Orbit Books delivers a loud space opera with Alex White’s new novel, August Kitko and the Mechas from Space. The first in a new series known as the Starmetal Symphony, August Kitko is a fantastic tale that plays like a jazz fusion anime in the mind’s eye.

Combining giant robot action, with a joyously crafted queer romance, the story is big, sweeping, and compulsive reading.

Earth and all the worlds that humanity has spread to are under attack by giant mechas known as vanguards. When Earth’s last hope fails, extinction seems inevitable, and August Kitko, a renowned pianist is contemplating ending it all before the drones launched by the mecha kill him and absorb his memories. He would rather have some control over his death, and since he feels he just screwed up his latest relationship with iconic pop singer Ardent Violet, he’s preparing to take his own life. But when one of the vanguards reacts to the music he creates, things change.

And from that moment on, it’s a rapid-fire story that races along barely pausing for breath. Filled with emotion, great action beats, style, and humor, White’s tale fires on all thrusters.

Why are the mechas attacking? What is behind these giant robots? Can they be defeated and at what cost? And will August and Ardent’s relationship be ok?

White does some fantastic world-building, making Earth and a lot of the tech they are using in this far-future seem very relatable, and not too far from some things we have now. But it is the humanity of the characters that truly ground everything that happens in the story.

With the combination of humor, emotions, and storytelling you can’t help but be caught up in August’s arc and the events that he finds himself in. The action beats are thought out, and I could see every one of them in my mind’s eye in a stunning combination of live-action and anime.

It’s fast-paced, riveting, and is completely engaging. The only downside is now having to wait a year for the next installment in the story.

The idea of the vanguards and the things that happen to change their missions so that August and a few select others can use them to fight are, like all great science fiction, worth examining in a day to day life. What makes humanity worth fighting for? Are we worth saving?

I love the fact that those who are fighting to save us are all artists in some form or another, and that makes a very pointed commentary on their place in society.

August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is available 12 July from Orbit Books. Check it out!!

Alex White Author Photo

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