The Despicable Fantasies of Quentin Sergenov by Preston Fassel
His name was Quentin Sergenov—the unexpected hero of the 90s wrestling scene. A middle-aged bruiser called up to the big leagues on the eve of what should’ve been his retirement, his story of late-in-life success and can-do attitude won the hearts of fans all over the world—and the heart of Wave, his in-ring rival. The two shared a forbidden love that was doomed from the start; but the end of their affair would prove to be the beginning of something terrible for Quentin…
His name is Quentin Sergenov—recluse, artist, romantic. Something happened to Quentin after he was cast out of the wrestling world: something that left him less—and more—than human. Now that he’s been given a second chance, Quentin is about to go on a quest—one that will find him crossing paths with Nazi scientists, internet celebrities, sci-fi groupies, and bodybuilding CEOs. It’s a quest to reunite with Wave and finally take back what was stolen from them; and the results will be as gruesome as they are hilarious…
How to review a book about a former pro wrestler, turned dinosaur, pining over a lost love while obsessively watching Pretty in Pink on repeat? To be honest, I imagine I’ve either sold you on the book or lost you entirely with that sentence alone, but bear with me, because as wild as the book sounds, there is far more to it than meets the eye.
Quentin Sergenov was a big name in the 90s wrestling scene before he was forced to leave in disgrace amidst a flurry of rumors. That was a long time ago, and Quentin is now a different man. Well, perhaps not a man anymore…
Now Quentin spends his days in self-imposed isolation, creating art and watching reruns of his glory days. When a chance encounter and a series of unlikely events give him a second chance to reunite with the man he once loved, he goes on an epic adventure that will find him cross paths with sci-fi fanatics and nazi scientists to get back what he once lost.
This second novel from Preston Fassel is an exceptional case of a book where the author has thrown all manner of things in the mix to see what sticks, and the answer is; all of it. It’s a gleefully odd book and a clear passion project, with a huge array of pop culture references and loving odes to things like Star Trek, WWF and Jurassic Park. If you’re going into the book wanting something unique and entertaining, then you won’t be disappointed.
Look a little deeper, however, and there is so much more to Quentin Sergenov than weirdness and nostalgia. It is a funny book and it’s also a very entertaining book, but at its core, it’s an incredibly melancholy and a tragic look at a man who worked hard to achieve everything he ever wanted, then lost everything. Quentin’s sexuality is a major driving factor for a lot of the events of the book and some of the most difficult sections to read come from a lack of acceptance from the people he has surrounded himself with.
As much as I loved the kookier aspect of the book, it’s Quentin and his very real experiences that will make this book so memorable for me and will be the reason why I’ll no doubt revisit it again and again. So much time is spent making him a three dimensional and sympathetic character that you can’t help but be invested in his story, regardless of how crazy things get. I honestly never thought an author could make me care so much about a sociopathic Trekkie dinosaur, but here we are.
The Despicable Fantasies of Quentin Sergenov is an unmitigated triumph of creativity and masterful storytelling. It is outrageously offbeat, charming and wonderfully strange, but what really elevates it from a fun read to one of the year’s best releases to date, is its underlying story of how the man became the monster.
Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.
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