Transmatic by Chris Kelso

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Transmatic by Chris Kelso is an exercise in weirdness. Featuring hitmen with retirement dreams of purchasing candy-apple red Nove Supremes, doctors with scientific degrees on fields no-ones ever heard of and casual personality-wiping detox programs.

“JUST BEFORE THE PLANET UNSTUCK from its Velcro and all the animals screamed and howled in confused despair, Ignius Ellis watched himself gasp at the future memory of dying in the mirror”

Ignius Ellis is a thug by choice, a criminal by vocation and an overall nice dude, just a couple of contracts away from retiring in peace and quiet. Donning the disguise of a rat exterminator, he rents a room in the worst apartment building in the worst part of the worst town in the US, where he finds himself in the company of ex-junkies, madmen and a weird old lady that lives in a shack on the roof. It’s there that Ignius discovers the Transmatics, a secretive sub-culture of people that have cast the shackles of morality and emotional attachment and have become something…it’s hard to explain really. Let’s say it’s not as good as advertised.

“- What’s this?
– It’s my plan for a Dyson Sphere…
– A what?
– An artificial megastructure encompassing a star
that can extrapolate energy.
– I see…”

Transmatic is 70’s experimental scifi, rewritten in a single-sitting-readable format. Its cast (each creatures that seem to have been cut out of the borders of society and crudely pasted in the mainstream) are all memorable and strange. Kelso’s prose is excellent and memorable, occasionally giving me metaphors that nearly made me drop my e-reader in a good way.

I will, however, say this about Transmatic: it is a highly polarized example of fiction that will either draw you in and hold your face down to the very last page or it will pass you by. A number of the themes in it are esoteric and cover the strange and bumpy ride of spiritual elevation of a man who might or might not deserve this higher state of being. Its characters and settings, while well written and memorable, might not be for everyone. I highly recommend checking out a preview of Transmatic before your purchase it, because this could very well be the best esoteric sf book you’ve read in a while.

Technical Stuff:

  • 50,000 words
  • Chris Kelso is a proud Scottsman who tills the soil between writing books. You can visit his website here.
  • His other book, the Black Dog Eats the City, is also proving to be an exercise in weirdness. The good kind.
  • You know how people sometimes say they love Castaneda even though they openly admit that nothing happens for 450 pages? Chris Kelso thinks so, too apparently.
  • You can buy Transmatic here.

Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). He’s also hard at work writing a book about Mongols in Zastavas, tearing through Asia all the way to your back yard. He has been offered a chance to know the moment of his demise, which he described as ‘hillarious’.

For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at


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Jeweller by profession, wirter by choice. For my full writing bio, visit: