Imagine that a talking flamingo from outer space just appeared in your living room. The flamingo goes on to tell you that aliens are real, they’re currently judging whether humans are sentient, and the only way to prove our sentience is to engage in a giant intergalactic version of the Eurovision Song Contest that will determine whether our civilization survives. And our only hope is a strung-out, has-been, David-Bowie-wannabe. Got all that?
Welcome to the world of Space Opera, Catherynne M. Valente’s take on reality television, alien life, and celebrity. It’s a curious mishmash that manages to combine an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music with a sci-fi history book, with a few dashes of alien biology thrown in for flavor.
And for the most part, it works. The alien species are truly alien, with different values, different goals, and appearances that go far beyond the “human plus funny forehead” patterning of Star Trek.
Although the narration is a little overwritten at times — overexplanatory in ways that evoke Douglas Adams without mirroring his smoothness — the book is still rife with hilarious detail and ridiculous scenarios that leave you laughing as often as they leave you scratching your head. This is madcap fun.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Author||Catherynne M. Valente|
|Page Count||304 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|