Tahlia Newland's Reviews > Year Zero

Year Zero by Rob  Reid
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Aug 03, 12

bookshelves: humorous, sci-fi
Read in July, 2012

Year Zero is the silliest and probably the funniest book I have ever read. Many books bring a chuckle, but this one had me laughing aloud. But, like the best stories, it also makes a statement; in this case it’s the absurdity of the copyright laws of the music industry and the lawyers who gain from it. You’ll also find an interesting take on the Windows operating system. If this book isn’t sponsored by Macintosh, it should be.
If this doesn’t intrigue you enough to read it, then consider the possibilities if the universe could fold back on itself. At a wrinkle beings from a planet light years away if you took the long route could cross in a matter of minutes or hours. This is what allows our hero Nick Carter to meet a wealth of aliens. One race looks like a tennis ball with ten legs, another looks like a vacuum cleaner, and the plurrhs are so boring and insignificant that you have to concentrate very hard when you’re talking to one or you’ll forget why you’re there or even fall asleep with boredom.
The plot is tight and delightfully unpredictable, the physics and special effects fascinating, and the ease with which humanity can be encouraged to destroy itself is a little horrifying. The characters are vibrant and expertly drawn, especially the women.
I recommend anyone who likes absurdity and a good laugh. Think The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and you get the idea.
Here’s the blurb.
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 bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news.
The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity's music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang. The resulting fines and penalties have bankrupted the whole universe. We humans suddenly own everything-and the aliens are not amused.
Nick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly, and he's an unlikely galaxy-hopping hero: He's scared of heights. He's also about to be fired. And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy. But he does know a thing or two about copyright law. And he's packing a couple of other pencil-pushing superpowers that could come in handy.
Soon he's on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner. With Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick now has forty-eight hours to save humanity, while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.
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