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Year Zero

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  10,550 Ratings  ·  1,605 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. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on American pop songs ever since “Year Zero” (1977 to us), resulting in the bigges ...more
Paperback, 357 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Del Rey (first published July 1st 2012)
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Tom Merritt
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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
...more
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
...more
Bradley
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Richard
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
...more
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
...more
Twesterm
Sep 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Joanna
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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... "
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
Katy
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...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
...more
Chris
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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,
...more
Cori Reed
Oct 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
1.5 Stars

This book could have been great. The premise sounded hilarious. Sadly, it was full of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and failed jokes.
Karissa
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sasha
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jason
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
...more
J.P.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ben 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
...more
Brenda Ayala
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
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
...more
Jane
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Saydde
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Anita
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Scott Sigler
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.


Enzo
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I caught site of "Year Zero" I thought Napster with an Alien head? Read the comparison to Douglas Adams and decided I would read it. Now lets say something straight out. If you are expecting the Douglas Adams incredible knack for invention and incredible worlds. You won't go disappointed. Rob Reid really does a great job in "Year Zero".
Rob Reid makes fun of the Music industry wild attempts at trying to stop piracy while backing truly bloodthirsty lawyers.
But lets get back to the wild and
...more
Shorty
This is a quirky novel. It had a great premise, but didn't really deliver much. Year Zero made me smirk occasionally, and snort a couple times, but it wasn't as funny as promoted to be. It could have been so very much more than it was. The business part of the legality of music was a bit beyond me, and a little boring also. The name dropping, trend mentioning, and band/singer naming seemed a little dated.
The narrator or he audiobook is John Hodgman, and he was pretty good at all the characters.
...more
John
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, sci-fi, music
"Hitchhiker's Guide for copyright lawyers."

K idk who aside from me is the target audience but I'm sold.
Philip
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I forget to add it to the review, one thing this book gave me is listening to Stereolab, which I've never done. As with books, there's a lot of music out there.

This book's been sitting on my side-stand for the past 4 or 5 years. On my literal side-stand, beside my bed. It's where I keep the books I'm "currently reading." But this book was there as a reminder that I wanted to be currently reading it. There are a couple more like that on there.

My brother recommended it (and loaned) it to me
...more
Mike
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
John
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Julian
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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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  
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Rob Reid is the very popular author of numerous books on children’s programming for ALA Editions. He has also written resource books for Upstart Books, as well as two picture books. In addition, he writes regular columns on programming and children’s literature for LibrarySparks and Book Links magazines. He teaches courses on children’s and adolescent li
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