Space Opera

paperback, 304 pages

Published Dec. 18, 2018 by Gallery / Saga Press.

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4 stars (11 reviews)

"Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny. They must sing. A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented by the remnants of civilization. Something to cheer up everyone who was left. Something to celebrate having escaped total annihilation by the skin of one's teeth, if indeed one has skin. Or teeth. Something to bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, understanding, and the most powerful of all social bonds: excluding others. Once every cycle, the great galactic civilizations gather for Galactivision--part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part, a very large, but very subtle part, continuation of the wars of the past. Thus, a fragile peace has held. This year, a bizarre and unsightly species has looked up from its muddy …

4 editions

Fun sci-fi social satire: The world is a mess, but we can find the sublime in chaos.

5 stars

Absurdity, social satire, lots of music references, and a fast read that still feels like a wall of words at times. In the same vein as Hitchhiker’s Guide & Year Zero (though in this case humans are the worst musicians in the galaxy). Fun, though it’s got some dark moments. The world isn’t totally awesome or totally awful, it’s both: Everything is messy, and you can find the sublime in chaos.

hyperborea.org/reviews/books/space-opera/

Review of 'Space Opera' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Space Opera, as anyone who has even heard of it can tell you, is Eurovision in space. Of course, it’s also a grand homage to Hitchhiker’s Guide.

Aliens make first contact with Earth. They have just one teensy request: enter the galaxy-wide song contest. As long as you don’t come dead last, humanity will be deemed worthy of survival. Otherwise: (throat-slicey gesture).

Decibel Jones and Oort St Ultraviolet, last surviving members of the Absolute Zeros, must sing for their lives.

You know the old adage, ‘Show, don’t tell’? Otherwise known as ‘Thou shalt not info-dump’… This book seeks to take that nonsense and show it up for the lie it is.

It is approximately 90% disembodied narrator filling you, dear reader, in on everything that came before. It does so in the most campy, ridiculous, over-the-big-top fashion imaginable.

Expect sequins and unimaginable creatures and a history of galactic war, peace, …

Review of 'Space Opera' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Love. This. Book.

I'll admit if you don't love the humour of Douglas Adams, this book isn't for you. Space Opera pulls a lot of obvious inspiration from the Hitchhiker's Guide series, but the story comes together into a much more satisfying whole than any of Adams' works do. I am a life long Adams fan but I have to say dodges flying tomatoes I love what Valente does with comedic sci-fi even more than Adams. I love everything Adams but even I have to admit he's pretty lacking on the plot and/or theme front.

Catherynne Valente brings that beautiful sense of humour into a plot that makes sense and coheres into a sensible whole. When I realised what the part titles were referring to I actually squeeled with joy.

This novel brings together tropes and philosophy in a way I didn't think possible. I am so in love. If …

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