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Year Zero

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  6,297 ratings  ·  1,172 reviews
An alien advance party was suddenly nosing around my planet.
Worse, they were lawyering up. . . .

In the hilarious tradition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Rob Reid takes you on a headlong journey through the outer reaches of the universe—and the inner workings of our absurdly dysfunctional music industry.

Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s
...more
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Del Rey (first published July 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tom Merritt


Nobody should ever be compared to Douglas Adams. It's unfair. Not to eulogise the dead but Adams is literally incomparable. That's why I respect the bravery of Eoin Colfer. Now there's an idea. Rob Reid matches and often surpasses the wit and glorious absurdity of Eoin Colfer. Year Zero not only paints a beautiful tale of the absurdity of our laws but packs the story full of excellent geeky nuggets both musical and Monty Python. Plus there's some damn fine science fiction concepts packed in lik
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Richard
A "science fiction" book for people who normally wouldn't be caught dead reading science fiction, and one that's directed with laser-like focus at its intended audience.

Year Zero is entertaining enough for what it is, but the book is trying very hard to evoke the spirit of Douglas Adams and not surprisingly, it falls well short of that mark.

Add to that an irritating tendency to include pop culture references that are getting well past their time (Rickrolling, Gaga, etc.), and flavor-of-the-mom
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Joe Valdez
Mar 15, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Illegal download junkies, alien visitors, jokesters
I can imagine Rob Reid writing with a copy of Mad Magazine or Cracked on his desk, if not for comic material, ammunition for spit wads perhaps. Fiction needs a funny bone, but my patience has its limits, and like having to sit in front of the class clown, Year Zero exhausted mine.

In a nod to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Year Zero begins with a thoroughly average Earthling who realizes his planet is facing annihilation for bureaucratic reasons. Nick Carter (cue the first of many Backstre
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Crystal Starr Light
Nick Carter (but not the Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys) works at a law firm as a copyright assistant. Life drastically changes when two aliens pop into his office and tell him the news: Earth know owns the entire galaxy and some aliens aren't so happy about that.

NOTE: I received this through the Amazon Vine program.

Up until this morning, I had every intention of reading this book until the very end. But I had an epiphany: I had absolutely ZERO interest in finishing this book.

Why did I sto
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Joanna
Dec 20, 2012 Joanna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People actually involved in the music industry or copyright/license law
It starts off really funny, but not gonna lie I got kinda tired of the joke after about the halfway point. Like, seriously I should have written this review earlier because I find it hard to have an opinion anymore. Like two months after watching a mediocre movie or television episode and someone asks you, "How was that?" and you're like, "Uh... it was... okay? I think? I mean, I finished it so it couldn't have been bad... "
Chris
Both hilarious and relevant, this book is a must read for people of my generation. The plot is zany and off-the-wall, but it is a great vehicle for explaining the complications, greed, and absurdity behind our music industry. The characters are fun and easy to like. There are plenty of references to bands and musicians that will make any pop culture geek smile. There are also actual laugh out loud moments. This surprised me because I rarely find "humor" books funny anymore. They all seem to try ...more
Terri Light
As I listened to the audiobook during a particularly long and grueling week of work, this was a welcome and hilarious distraction from the technology grind. Probably one of the funniest things I have come across in a while, it has a wicked satire of popular music, trendy television, our array of must-have-electronic devices, laws and lawyers and the improbabilities of space. I probably can't describe the plot any better than any other reviewers, but I will say that all of the music-related easte ...more
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
I received this book in a First Reads giveaway and really had no idea what to expect when I got it out of the mailbox. It had an alien wearing headphones on the cover... I read the back and realized that this is totally not my style. Still, I felt an obligation to the author to give it a go (he gave me a free copy of his book, after all).

Right from the start, the reader has to be up to date with every musical performer from the 70s until today. As a child raised in the 90s, I have no idea what
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Katy
Nov 28, 2012 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: folks who enjoy humorous, sci-fi and music
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon Vine
Book Info: Genre: Science Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of humorous stories, science fiction, people who like music.

Disclosure: I received an ARC paperback copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumblin
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Kevin Hearne
I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this and I'm still laughing over it. Reid somehow manages to point out horrifying truths about lawyers, music executives, and Microsoft and make it all funny. In many ways, he's confirming suspicions that we've all had for quite some time. YEAR ZERO is a brilliant satire of the American entertainment industry and I never stopped grinning.

The premise is that the earth is going to be destroyed to prevent the universe from going bankrupt—aliens have
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Cathy
It started off with a good chuckle--the noble opus so sublime as to trigger the dawning moment of Year Zero was the theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter. Which, I've got to say, while I might not call an opus, is a mighty fine song that is on my iPod.

My first impression was Christopher Moore meets Hitchhiker. I'm not sure why the Moore since it's sci-fi, maybe just the slapstick humor. Now I know everyone is comparing it to Hitchhiker, and really it's not fair to hold it to such a high standard,
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Twesterm
I hated this book.

I think it has a brilliant premise but beyond that it just fails on everything else. Poor writing, bland characters, boring world, and old jokes. Nothing in this book really worked for me and it was made even worse to find out the book is one long setup for an old, uninspired, not-that-funny, and completely obvious joke at the end of the book.

I think besides the bad writing, boring characters, poor execution, and boring obvious jokes, I think the thing that gets me the most is
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Sasha
I won this book on the Goodreads "enter to win". I read it and all I have to say is that this book is amazing. It truly made me laugh out loud, and I couldn't stop reading it. It has some really clever humor, some of which you have to have the right references to understand like "The cake is a lie", etc. The story line kept me captivated and it's delivery made me feel almost as if I was speaking to a friend. I honestly feel this is one of the best books of all time and I will be truly disapointe ...more
J.P.
If you’ve seen the movie Earth Girls Are Easy that’s where I thought this book was going. A motley bunch of aliens bumbling around Earth trying to assimilate our culture and instead standing out like the Three Stooges.
It turns out to be a lot more than that. Although creative, original and funny there were times where the author overdoes the creativity and the humor felt forced. Instead of building on the background of previous aliens, we get introduced to more of them. And there were a few p
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Jason
4.5 Stars

This book is a laugh out loud blast to read. It is cut from the news headlines and it is very relevant with the news of today. This is a novel that centers on the greed and machinations of the ultimate evil in the universe, the largest and most powerfully corrupt empire to ever walk the face of our Earth. I am speaking of the music industry of course…those dirty bastards. This novel is a parody, a science fiction unmasking of the music industries corporate greed. It is an alien novel tw
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Anita
This is a satire set today in NYC as a low-level lawyer must save the world from aliens. Doesn't sound great--but what if the earth was to be destroyed because of the popularity of our great music and the enormous penalties from copyright infringement? But wait, there's more. What if the song that first created the universal mass hysteria for Earth music was the theme song from Welcome Back Kotter? Now you have my attention. This is a very funny--maybe not laugh out loud, but certainly a snicker ...more
Russ&Sara
Oct 28, 2012 Russ&Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone 18 and up!
Shelves: own-it
Since the moment I first saw this book I have been completely fascinated by it, and was even more enthralled when I won an advanced reading copy on GoodReads.com. At first glance, the cover looks somehow familiar, yet foreign. Anyone see a hint of Napster? Well you should, as Rob Reid took a lot of the inspiration for this story from those very legal battles. Oh, also, he was the founder of Rhapsody (Napster competitor and iTunes predecessor).

Have you worked in an office in the past decade? Have
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Jane
According to Year Zero by Rob Reid, it turns out that there are many sentient life forms in the universe, and all of them are terrible at music – except one species. Humans. Us. Other brilliant and peaceful species in the universe have formed a confederation called the Refined League (Earthlings have not yet been invited to join), and members of the Refined League value music as the highest of the 40 identified “Noble Arts.”

One day a few years ago some alien anthropologists eavesdropping on Eart
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Martti
Squeezed some fresh sf between my "reading the classics" routine. Saw Rob Reid in TWiT 427 (http://twit.tv/show/this-week-in-tech...) discussing tech and writing (kudos to Leo & team for bringing up cool guests). The description of Reid's book sounded just bordering on crazy, so it probably would be a good read. Instincts didn't betray me.

This is Douglas Adams/Terry Pratchett style of humor with some additional sarcasm for flavor.

Intellectual property (IP), copyright theft and piracy are dai
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Julian
Jul 19, 2012 Julian rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
No, no, no, no, no. This is not in any way like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The only remote link is that like Hitchhiker's, we discover that there is a rather large and very silly universe out there, but that is where it ends. The book is amusing, slightly chuckle worthy and a good book in its own right, but it has absolutely none of the intelligent, dry, hilarious and out right craziness of Douglas Adams.

The sad thing is that the reference to Adam's work in the marketing for this book has
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Mike
It's clever, but not enough to make me marvel at the mind that created it. It's funny, but never laugh out loud funny, and never even "Lol" funny.

The description for a two-star review seems tailor made for this book: it was "ok". Nothing more, nothing less. And ultimately, from the setup and the comparisons being made, that disappointed me terribly.

There's some good ideas in there, but I'm not sure whether they were ruined for me by the fact that the book was too normal in some ways (the dialog
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Everitt
Sep 07, 2012 Everitt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans, douglas adams fans
This is my favorite book of 2012 so far. And if a book were to be published between now and January 1, 2013 it would have to be damn good to beat Reid's debut novel.

The premise is simple and original. Aliens suck at music. But humans have just the right gravitational relationship to our planet to produce eardrums perfectly designed for creating the most beautiful music in the universe. As a result aliens have set up a piracy station under New York's subways and have been pilfering our music sin
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John
Jan 25, 2013 John rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Americans 30+ years of age who are lawyers or music aficionados
I read this book over the course of two days and mildly enjoyed it. It contained a few laughs and wasn't a waste of time. Gen X-ers who were "into" pop music during their youths, adolescence and early adulthood might really dig it, but I didn't. I would not read it again, nor would I recommend it to anyone who wasn't into law, music or clumsy silliness.

Year Zero has been compared to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and High Fidelity. It is nothing like either book. This is a light, silly read w
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

To tell you the truth, about a month now after I first finished this book, I just now had to re-look at the manuscript just to remember what it was about; and that should give you a good idea of this book's inconsequential nature, competently done but bound to be quickly forgotten by the culture at large.
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Scott Sigler
I did a video review for this book, which I posted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7bI9b...

Below, I'm experimenting with pasting in the YouTube embed code. If it winds up being gibberish, just move along, nothing to see here.


Kim
This was a quick, fun read. I saw a lot of ads about it when it came out and thought I'd finally give it a try. It was humorous but no laugh out loud moments. There were a lot of plot holes as well. By no means horrible it just wasn't great enough to rate any higher.
René
Found this book to be laugh-out-loud funny at first, the premise being so absurdly enticing. I can't say the humor levels off, but rather I found that my reaction to it became increasingly level as the read progressed. The situations are too neatly bound up and resolve themselves by all-too-convenient twists. In the end I felt rather bored with it and was happy to finish it. Too much information is given out, so one gets a sense that it's the author doing a show-and-tell about the universe he cr ...more
Kayla
Thank you for picking me! I won this book and it enjoyed every second of it. I couldn't stop turning the pages. I stayed up way too late last night finishing it. I'm at work right now half asleep.. Haha! I couldn't put it down because it was so funny... I never knew what was going to happen next. Hands down this was awesome! If you love music & have a light heart you're sure to love this book. I will read this again in the near future!!!! Thanks again!!!
Steven E
Listless plotting, obvious cultural references, a boring protagonist--all the works of a mediocre novel. It's also weirdly right-wing, but not in a funny way. I think particularly of the veiled shots at the UN and environmentalism, institutions whose self-righteousness ought to make them easy targets. Reid, as is his wont throughout the book, misses the mark terribly.

Certainly there's some funny stuff here even beyond the high concept--particularly our hero's super competent boss--and the high p
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Kressel Housman
I'm taking a course in copyright law at coursera.org right now, and I'd heard of this sci fi copyright parody on NPR months ago, so I thought it might be relevant and fun. The gist is that most of the universe's aliens have illegally downloaded earth's music and now they owe a fortune in copyright fines. Two aliens hire our protagonist, Nick, an earthling lawyer, to negotiate a deal. But there are other aliens who'd just as soon cancel out the debt by destroying the earth, so there's a lot at st ...more
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Club 42: * July Pick: Year Zero 11 11 Jul 31, 2013 10:12AM  
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Rob Reid is a writer and technology entrepreneur based in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. He's the author of "Year Zero" (Del Rey, 2012) - a novel about aliens with a mad passion for human music. He also wrote "Year One" (William Morrow, 1994), a memoir about student life at Harvard Business School; and "Architects of the Web" (Wiley, 1997), which chronicles the rise of the Interne ...more
More about Rob Reid...
Year One: An Intimate Look Inside Harvard Business School Architects of the Web: 1,000 Days That Built the Future of Business

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“I used to think that English-speaking who conveniently look, dress, and act human only turned up in lazy science fiction. But as Carly and Frampton dematerialized, I became grimly aware of how well they'd also fit into a psychotic hallucination.” 1 likes
“Clippy got that pervert-on-the-playground look again..” 1 likes
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