Michael's Reviews > Year Zero

Year Zero by Rob  Reid
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Aug 13, 12

Read from August 05 to 13, 2012

This is probably one of the funniest novels I've read in quite a while. It's simultaneously a story about potential destruction at the hands of an alien race but also a look at the sheer absurdity that is American copyright law. I have mortified my friends with the fact that a person can be fined a maximum of $150,000 for one single illegal copy of a song. While the story is fictional, the references to copyright law are in fact completely real.


The story itself revolves around the unfortunately-named Nick Carter, a New York City lawyer who is contacted by two aliens. As it turns out, Earthlings produce the most revered music in the universe and aliens have been pirating Earth music since 1977. They have come to tell him that because of Earth's copyright laws and the universe's own code, the universe may become completely bankrupt. This makes other aliens not too pleased, and so one alien comes up with a plan to have the Earth blow itself up to cancel the debt.


The story itself is pretty funny as Nick learns about alien culture while trying to figure out how to save his own planet. It starts to fall apart a little with the plot. There's never any doubt that the Earth is going to be saved, and a few characters are basically deus ex machina generators.


Still, the references to mainstream and semi-obscure artists is a lot of fun, and the pop culture references are extremely current. It's a fun story to read, and it should rightly appall anyone unfamiliar with copyright law.

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