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Waiting for the Galactic Bus (Snake Oil, #1)
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Waiting for the Galactic Bus (Snake Oil #1)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  454 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Imagine two brothers off on an intergalactic Spring Break. When their friends leave them behind on Earth, they've got a few millenia to kill before they'll manage to get back to school. So, as an experiment, mind you, they decide to give evolution a bit of a nudge... And that's when all hell breaks loose... a little more literally than either of them planned...
Mass Market Paperback, 279 pages
Published May 1st 1989 by Spectra (first published April 1st 1988)
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Jun 15, 2009 steven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Imagine if "Job" by Heinlein was written from the immortals' perspectives.

Good, yes? Now keep that image in mind. Hold it firm and tight, and you won't have to read this book, as likely what's in your head is better than what's on the page.

It's not bad, exactly. It's an interesting look at the development of a series of beliefs based on a clumsy perception of the universe. And it works, for a time. But mostly it feels like it's a joke that's too long in the telling, and that the main characters
May 12, 2012 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book tongue in cheek and I enjoyed it. Yes the premise of it could be seen as sacreligious by some- but the book doesn't take itself seriously so it shouldn't be read that way.
So what if God and the devil were really just teenage aliens who accidently got left behind on earth? And what if they were bored so they speed up evolution a little?
The book starts there and delivers the funny and the interesting along the way with only the occasional hiccup.
This was an enjoyable read and it'
The Library Lady
Re-read this and its sequel just this week and marveled sadly again about how much it still had to say about modern society, 20 years after its publication. Of course, it's also just a heck of a lot of fun.
Steve Carroll
Sort of like a lost Douglas Adams book if Douglas Adams didn't like people very much.
May 15, 2007 Lexicon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves Darwin, religion, and especially Douglas Adams's fans.
Shelves: newclassics
Quite possibly one of the best books I've read this decade. Hands down.

A bold statement? Possibly. But also very true. Waiting for the Galactic Bus is a both a hilarious look at humanity from the outside in, a thought-provoking journey into the dark parts of human emotion and mental processes, and a new take on the theme of God, religion, and the madness that seems inheirent in the human psyche.

It's a lot for one book to cover, but in true Douglas Adams style the author manages to tie everythin
Jun 30, 2008 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An extremely funny and moving book about what happens when the beings we call "God" and "The Devil" collaborate to prevent the conception of a possible Hitler. Young, conservative Charity and Roy are snatched from a seedy hotel room and taken on separate journeys through the afterlife, with the cooperation of theatrical and historical figures recruited to play supporting roles. Meanwhile, "Judgement Day" is coming for the two puppet masters as their long-lost past catches up to them.
Absurd, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking in its portrayal of the impact of organized bigotry in a clear parallel to the rise of the Nazis. The passage in which one character, a young woman who has been in a relationship with a bigoted bully, really sees the meaning and impact of his beliefs for the first time, is one of the most intense and devastating things I've ever read.
Oct 20, 2009 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: SFBC purchase
Shelves: sf-fantasy
A decidedly irreverent look at God and the Devil that I was reminded I had read because I just finished James O'Donnell's Augustine: A New Biography. The bishop of Hippo makes a cameo appearance in Godwin's book and his personality is just as O'Donnell describes.

On the likeablity scale it falls somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars.
Aug 08, 2011 Tammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of my all time favorites, and at this point, the only book I’ve read twice.

Jul 06, 2009 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong start, but it gets confusing toward the middle.
Jan 19, 2017 Ari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, science-fiction
Bit of a rough start but overall very enjoyable. Reminded me of Good Omens if Gaiman had paired up with Douglas Adams instead of Terry Pratchett.
Feb 20, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it
An ingenious take on the aliens made humans concept with two overlapping plots, a tongue-in-cheek take on world religions, and a wry wit.

This take on aliens made humans makes humans the result of the bumbling activities of aliens from a species that controls evolution in the universe. However, these aliens are currently uncertified, unsupervised, and basically the frat boys of outerspace. At least at first. Thus, instead of it all being some evil experimental conspiracy, the direction of life on
Dec 18, 2016 Drmeow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Based on this story Barion and Coyul would have missed the rise of Trump because while Trump got Roy Stride's side in spades, Charity's brains are nowhere to be seen in the tiny handed orange one (who desperately needs his own Florence Bird). It is a little depressing how well Godwin had the masses pegged.
=== Shallow characters indulging in the frivolous ===

I tried to like this book from the beginning. The concepts were good, having great potential for satiric play between two mischievous “creator” beings, cosmically out-of-bounds, and their interventionary “evolved” humanity populated by stereotypically frivolous, shallow, fanatical or violent characters. But, as is true with so many science fiction novels, the character development is artificial and shallow; there is no one for readers to like,
This book was published in 1988. My guess is that it was written when Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984, after Godwin's head (like mine) nearly exploded. I just learned about it recently, when Jo Walton reviewed it on Godwin writes excellent novels. This is something rather different. He's ranting and raving about politics fueled by fear and hate, and the ways that fundamentalist religions (of every variety) feed into that. I think I'd have found it a bit quaint in 2000, but in 2010 ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick, enjoyable read about human social and philosophical error. Godwin seems to barrow much from The Divine Comedy, Joseph Campbell, Shakespeare and many other classical works, too numerous to list. In a tale that is cosmic farce, Godwin throws in two original jokes.

"What is two hundred feet long, green, with warts all over and, sleeps at the bottom of the ocean?

Moby Pickle."

"What's purple, wears a Scout hat and stamps out forest fires?

Smokey the Grape."

(Hey, I liked them and silly fun is w
Oct 08, 2008 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was okay, but it didn't really suck me in. It's quirky in a Douglas Adams sort of way, but a little more grounded in a story line. My interpretation is that this is a story of a battle of good versus evil, meanwhile questioning the similarities and differences of good and evil. The author strikes directly at fundamentalism as you take an unusual trip through heaven and hell. A background in religion and 20th century politics is helpful in understanding some of the allusions a ...more
Robert Hudder
Aug 06, 2015 Robert Hudder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This first book in the series delves into American religious fanaticism by way of two wayward alien scientists responsible for humankind's evolution trying to prevent the next Hitler.

funny and thoughtful read. Written by a foresworn enemy of fantasy and scifi who has written in the genre. Lots of fun. Please read and see how relevant it is even after 25 + years. Thanks to a friend who gave me the recommendation about 20 years ago. Finally got around to reading it.

Going through the shelves.
Bob Rust
Jun 18, 2016 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Snake Oil Wars series – Waiting for the Galactic Bus (1988) The Snake Oil Wars, or Scheherazade Ginsberg Strikes Again (1989) – is an erratically amusing but ultimately very dark-complected Satire on Religion and US society at large refracted through the behaviour of the two Aliens who were long before responsible for breeding Homo sapiens from its primate stock and have now taken on the roles of God and Devil; the assault on Christian fundamentalism is explicit.
Aug 29, 2008 Brina rated it liked it
Just when I thought I wasn't interested in sci-fi anymore, here comes a charming, lyrical little slice of said same. My friend Cyn suggested this title (along with its sequel) and sent me copies. It was light-hearted enough to be entertaining, while beefy enough topically to keep it from feeling like fluff.
Jul 30, 2008 Jimbo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a story about two aliens that find earth when the smartest animal was a monkey. they help tweek the brain of the monkey and evolve mankind faster than predicted. also its about a sci-fi version of heaven and hell. a very good read
Matt Hourigan
Sep 03, 2013 Matt Hourigan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love expeditions of the future! pageturner. Written so clearly, I suspect Parke Godwin must be from the future. His perspective on contemporary aspirations and commodities questions the foundations of love; past, present and future.
Apr 23, 2008 Boyd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This would have been a great book if not for all the bad language. It wasn't over the top, but enough to make me not give it a 4 or 5 star rating. I loved the storyline, and it was very funny in spots. If you can overlook a few 4-letter bombs, this might be for you.
May 09, 2012 Lorraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I keep trying to get ppl to read it but no one does. Maybe I should stop telling them that it's my bible : )
Jul 08, 2008 Wil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book at least six times over the years and its still one of the funniest things I've ever read!
Apr 16, 2012 Darlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What if aliens visited earth and gave the apes a little nudge on the evolutionary ladder? Hilarious book, but not for those who are easily offended.
The execution left something to be desired, but the concept? Five stars. Very clever take on creation, God, the Devil, Heaven, and Hell.
Apr 20, 2010 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Parke Godwin's Firelord & Sherwood books were far better. Galatic Bus had flashes of wit and charm but at other times dragged, suffering from the pretentiousness of its own sarcasm.
Jul 07, 2007 Robert rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Couldn't finish this book. I looked at my life, how much I work, and reading this book was a huge waste of my limited time. I tried, but 120 pgs in it was still bad.
Bonnie Ferrante
Not like his other books I've read, but excellent still. Science Fiction. Examines evolution, good, evil, dualism.
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Parke Godwin was an American writer known for his lyrical yet precise prose style and sardonic humor. He was also known for his novels of legendary figures placed in realistic historical settings; his retelling of the Arthur legend (Firelord in 1980, Beloved Exile in 1984, and The Last Rainbow in 1985) is set in the 5th century during the collapse of the Roman empire, and his reinterpretation of R ...more
More about Parke Godwin...

Other Books in the Series

Snake Oil (2 books)
  • The Snake Oil Wars or Scheherazade Ginsberg Strikes Again (Snake Oil, #2)

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