Space Opera

book cover image

Humanity has just been discovered by aliens. As part of the deal, they must send a representative to participate in the Megagalactic Grand Prix, a galaxy-wide singing competition. The Grand Prix is more than just a celebration of questionable musical choices, though. Ever since the Sentience Wars almost destroyed all civilizations in the galaxy a hundred years ago the Grand Prix has brought everyone together in a a battle for resources and survival though the medium of song. Humanity has one chance to sing for their lives and prove their sentience to the galaxy, or lose and be wiped out completely. Washed up glam-rocker Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros now have to convince the universe that humanity deserves to survive.

Sometimes you just need to revel in sheer ridiculousness. Catherynne M. Valente has written a big chewy novel where every sentence smacks you in the face with a glitter bomb of fabulousness and absurdity and a smidge of total planetary annihilation. This book aims the comedic stylings of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy squarely at the improbable global phenomenon that is Eurovision and extrapolates it into a galaxy full of horrifyingly (and hilarious) alien cultures. Her writing is surprisingly dense and addictive. Once you commit to a paragraph the writing style just keeps dragging you along, throwing jokes and absurd situations at you until you almost miss some of the darker undertones that flesh out the world she has created. It is a hilarious read – full of space flamingos, gendersplat singers, time-traveling pandas, galactic genocides, giddy spectacle, and some stealth topicality that is all the more powerful for being almost hidden by a shiny veneer.

If you like Douglas Adams, Red Dwarf, Terry Pratchett, or Tom Holt, Space Opera will be right in your wheelhouse.

 

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