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Year Zero

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  12,981 ratings  ·  1,765 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Del Rey (first published July 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,981 ratings  ·  1,765 reviews

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Tom Merritt
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it

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 li
Joe Valdez
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-shelf, sci-fi, humor
I had a great time with this very funny book, but a few things should be accounted for.

1. You have to be a music nerd.

2. You ought to have a healthy respect or disrespect for music copyright laws and the dimensions they involve.

3. You must have a sense of humor.

One really ought to be a must or most of the great references and jokes will be lost and it is entirely possible to learn and be impressed by the great solutions to the copyright kerfuffle here, so you could squeak by with number two, but
3 Stars for Year Zero (audiobook) by Rob Reid read by John Hodgman.
I thought the book started out promising, it’s a fun premise. And it has a clever ending. But somewhere in the middle it just got kind of boring to me. Kind of like it needed another rewrite or two.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Picture yourself as a child, about to be given a kitten for Christmas.

Imagine your excitement as you approach the Christmas tree to find a meowing, shaking present with your name on it. The anticipation alone – that something special is about to happen – is electric.

Now imagine your face if you opened the box to find, instead of a cat, a tiny standup comedian. A little man yelling endless pop-culture jokes on the same theme, all of them laboriously spelled out and followed with a ‘Get it? Get
Sep 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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... " ...more
Sep 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Terri Light
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, comedy, read-2012
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
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have had this book on my to be read this for a few years. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. I loved the hilarious concept behind it, but I thought the pacing started to drag a bit as the book continued.

I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very well done. The narrator did an excellent job with emotion and having individual character voices for everyone.

In the year 1977 aliens discovered Earth music and found it was far superior to anything aliens had created (i
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Cori Reed
Oct 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 Stars

This book could have been great. The premise sounded hilarious. Sadly, it was full of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and failed jokes.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012, e-books
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
3.5 Stars

Year Zero is a humorous romp about a guy just trying to save the Earth from copyright infringements and fangirling aliens.

The publisher’s blurb and a lot of readers compare this book to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy . And on the surface, they do have similarities. They are both comedies about average joes who get stuck in the middle of aliens trying to destroy the Earth. But it’s kind of unfair to compare Year Zero to such a hallmark. I think it might have set some extremely h
Scott Sigler
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I did a video review for this book, which I posted here:

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

Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 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
The premise of this book is that aliens have been illegally listening and copying the music of Earth, and due to the copyright laws and penalties now owe the citizens of Earth the entire wealth of the known universe :)

Pretty amusing concept and some of the prose quite pretty funny. The blurb compares Rob Reid with Douglas Adams but I think that's going too far. In this example I find him amusing in places but not hysterical. I think a better comparison would be to John Scalzi's 'Agent to the Sta
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Kara Babcock
Why not finish out 2015 by reading a book called Year Zero? I was ambivalent about this one, and I figured this for a win–win proposition. Either I love it, so my year ends with a bang; or I hate it, but if so, then there’s always next year! I was correct—and I’m coming down on the “hate it” side. So here’s to 2016: a brand new year for reading! But first, let’s sweep away this year with one last scathing review!

The warning signs for Year Zero start early. The prologue, Chapter Zero, is a neutro
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-con-2017
Year Zero is significantly better than After On. It’s funnier and more direct and a uniquely new plot I haven’t come across yet.

I still didn’t care much for it.

It boils down to the style; I get tired of the tone set by the writing, and the witty jokes only work so long before I zone out. Footnotes are a killing blow for me; books can be amazingly written, but if there are unnecessary footnotes? Game over. This was especially true in Year Zero because SO MANY EXCESSIVE FOOTNOTES. Seriously. If y
John Park
Jan 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Most politely described as a satirical farce about the popular music industry in North America.

If you care deeply about such matters and are willing to accept the premise that the entire universe’s population of aliens is obsessed by recent US pop music, the resulting laboured exposition might strike you as occasionally witty or worth following. I don’t, I’m not, and it didn’t.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A nice quick read that was fun. A good popcorn book.

Characters: 4*
Universe: 4*
Plot: 3*
Silly fun and John Hodgman absolutely crushes the narration.
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The Sword and Laser: This topic has been closed to new comments. Your questions for Rob Reid 4 70 Oct 01, 2013 02:38PM  
Club 42: * July Pick: Year Zero 11 12 Jul 31, 2013 10:12AM  
Club 42: Year Zero **SPOILERS** 1 17 Jun 30, 2013 09:13AM  
Bloggers Unite™ : Win an ARC of Year Zero by Rob Reid 1 4 Jul 31, 2012 10:36AM  
Book Bloggers Ano...: Win an ARC of Year Zero by Rob Reid 1 1 Jul 31, 2012 10:35AM  
Creative Reviews: Win an ARC of Year Zero by Rob Reid 1 2 Jul 31, 2012 10:34AM  
The Sword and Laser: S&L Video- #07 Pt. One- Interview with Rob Reid and Our New Format! 19 175 Jul 28, 2012 07:35AM  

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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

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