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Spaceman Blues

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  516 ratings  ·  105 reviews
When Manuel Rodrigo de Guzmán González disappears, Wendell Apogee decides to find out where he has gone and why. But in order to figure out what happened to Manuel, Wendell must contend with parties, cockfights, and chases; an underground city whose people live in houses suspended from cavern ceilings; urban weirdos and alien assassins; immigrants, the black market, ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  516 ratings  ·  105 reviews


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Esteban del Mal
The Apocalypse has a broken heart.
Trin
Aug 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Sort of Neverwhere meets Men in Black, if that can be believed. Wendell's lover Manuel disappears, and rather than grieve and let go, Wendell decides to dedicate himself to finding him, even if it means giving up everything he is and traveling deep into New York City's underworld, a city beneath the city populated by the forgotten and the dispossessed. Oh, and also, there are some aliens.

There was a lot I liked about this book. Slattery achieves some very moving moments, moments that say a ton
...more
Stephen
3.0 stars. Well written, original and very, very odd. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea but I thought it was a pretty fun read.
Shaun Duke
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's not often that one comes in contact with a truly literary-style piece of science fiction with superheroes, trench coat aliens, and underground floating cities, let alone a literary-style piece of science fiction that works. Slattery's Spaceman Blues is a stunning, if not astonishing piece of fiction; the kind of book you want to read over and over, because each time you do you'll find something new that you missed before; the kind of book that reigns in the pulpy goodness of the Golden Age ...more
Mike
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
“Spaceman Blues” is an exhilarating story that runs full tilt from start to finish. That’s not to say that there are no changes in tempo, pauses where a character (and reader) can catch their mental breath, or passages that back-fill our knowledge of people or places. But, the book is so tightly woven that it feels like the rhythm of a racing heart. You are swept along with emotion, imagery, and multiple perspectives.

I found this book glancing at a shelf – talk about lucky! It’s hard to believe
...more
Ferret
Sep 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
A difficult book to explain. Cryptic and charming and filled with humor and beauty and love. And constantly, a surprise around the corner. One doesn't expect, in a book stylistically modeled after SF's New Wave, to find such a great, action-packed climactic battle. Yet Captain Spaceman's fight with the Four Horsemen is truly brilliant. The denouement afterwards is a little lacking, but satisfying and disturbing and puzzling, as it should be.
Kevin
rambling and aimless most of the time. the descriptive punch took forever to get to and would often lead to my own mind wandering off and even forgetting who was “thinking” or speaking. i wasn’t even sure who he was writing about in certain places because of the way pronouns were used.

i certainly do not enjoy the writing style but some things about the story and characters are keeping me going. little bits and pieces, glimpses of something more, something that might not be what we expect,
...more
Ryan Chapman
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Ryan by: Ami
Shelves: fiction
This book really straddles whatever arbitrary lines people keep between "science fiction" and "literary fiction." Imagine if somebody took the first chapter of V, about the sailors carousing around the city, and yo-yo'ing around, and built that into a jazzy, loose narrative about New York. You'd be close to the idea of Slattery's debut, which is filled with thrilling prose. Sure, at times it's a bit much: there's not one common verb in the book, everything's "exploding" or "burning" or ...more
Matthew
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
From the first section of the first chapter, Slattery astounded me. Spaceman Blues rocks with the people of New York City, bringing heat from cold steel and concrete. In the actions of thousands of unnamed characters, the city itself comes to life. The characters who are named experience a surreal odyssey, full of longing, passion, music, death, and of course, impending alien invasion. Spaceman Blues goes up on that too-light shelf of books I'll read again and again just to find out how the ...more
CV Rick
Oct 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
It's literary science fiction for sure - especially the underground search through floating cities part. The prose is flowery and the allusions to great works obvious. I think Slattery is very well read and equally well educated . . . and he wanted me to know it.

It is a good adventure yarn, packed with things exploding. It'd make a good movie.

But the reading is sort of a Canterbury Tales goes to Inferno - many interesting individual tales along the journey to the center of the apocalypse.
Andrew
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Balls-to-the-walls wacky, absolutely hilarious and surprisingly poignant, Spaceman Blues is an absolute joy to read. Detectives that might be literal fish, gravity-ignoring Ecuadorian soccer players, invincible robots, 23-member funk bands and, of course, tons of crazy parties make Brian Francis Slattery's debut gloriously unique and fun. Recommended to anyone who wants Vonnegut on (more) drugs.
Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷
"an underground city whose people live in houses suspended from cavern ceilings; urban weirdos and alien assassins; immigrants, the black market, flight, riots, and religious cults"?

"A literary retro-pulp science-fiction-mystery-superhero novel"?

Count me in!
Shek
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A talented writer - particularly good at describing action. He bit off a little more than he could chew with this one, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next.
Nick
May 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Needs to take a chill pill. Slattery is talented but needs to get away from the Pynchon/Vonnegut lolsorandomness and write with focus.
Bbrown
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
At the start it isn’t clear that Spaceman Blues needs to be science fiction, as New York City is a large enough and a strange enough place that you can fictionalize it with all the parties, eccentrics, and hidden nooks you want and it’s not that far from the truth. But as the story goes on it’s clear that Slattery’s Spaceman Blues needed to be a piece of science fiction, to create the type of boiling point that reveals the true priorities of the characters. Love, friendship, or selfishness, when ...more
Jean-Pierre Vidrine
I'm not normally one to use words like "kaleidoscopic" or "psychedelic" when reviewing a book, but I'm hard pressed to come up with anything else to describe my experience with reading this. More than 2 thirds of the way through the book, and I still wasn't quite sure just what kind of novel I was reading. It didn't matter though, as I was enjoying every word.
The present tense prose flows far more easily than conventions would have one believe. The author has a real knack for making the absurd
...more
Laura Devitt
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book years ago. I don't know how to describe it other than it was like that that first few seconds of holding your breath with the anticipation of the exhaul mixed with smiles and heartbreak. It is like a dream with all the dream logic and dream feelings. Thinking about it makes me want to read it all over again. I read it over two nights. The first night I read until I forced myself to stop and then stared at the dark ceiling for an hour thinking about it. The next night I didn't ...more
Dan Kifer
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The language of this, the creativity, the story, I loved it from beginning to end. Was my favorite book of the year.
Wendy
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
An oddball, rambling book. A little too much backstory for me, which made it hard to concentrate on the main story line. Gave up about chapter 3. Not really my cup of tea unfortunately.
Debdanz
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Slattery channels Richard Brautigan! Fabulous trip down memory lane- now I need to dig out Trout Fishing in American and In watermelon sugar.
Julie
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dmla, othercities
When Manuel Rodrigo de Guzmán González disappears, Wendell Apogee decides to find out where he has gone and why. But in order to figure out what happened to Manuel, Wendell must contend with parties, cockfights, and chases; an underground city whose people live in houses suspended from cavern ceilings; urban weirdos and alien assassins; immigrants, the black market, flight, riots, and religious cults.


Oh, what a lovely book. It only took 6 days (and considering how slow and sluggish I've been
...more
YouKneeK
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I had trouble making it through this book, mainly due to the writing style. In some ways, the writing style was almost conversational, which isn’t a bad thing. The problem was, it was like listening to somebody who rambles about random things and takes forever to get to the point. Some characteristics that I would normally like in a book, such as descriptiveness, backstories, and extra details, were a chore to get through in this book because of my difficulty with the writing style. The ...more
Abraham Thunderwolf
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
There's a blurb on the cover of this by by Harlan Ellison that starts with, "What a breathless, mad tornado of words!" Which is true. Sometimes I get on the L and the train is going so fast that it's a little a scary but mostly exhilarating, that's kind of the way the book reads. Spaceman Blues is about Wendell Apogee's search for his lost love, Manuel Rodrigo de Guzman Gonzales. Along the way Wendell ends up at cockfights, an underground city, and massive, riotous parties. There is so much ...more
John
A Riveting Blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction Set Mostly in Brooklyn, New York

Brian Francis Slattery introduces readers to a Brooklyn, New York unlike any other in his impressive debut novel “Spaceman Blues: A Love Song”; a most beguiling blend of comic book fiction, fantasy and science fiction from one of the most distinctive and original voices working not only in science fiction, but indeed, all of contemporary fiction today. In a literary style that echoes Thomas Pynchon and the latest
...more
Amber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori
review copy from author

Read 1/24/12 - 1/29/12
3 Stars - Recommended to readers who like their sci-fi a little more literary
Pgs: 219
Publisher: Tor

A man who managed to turn New York City against him suddenly disappears. His lover decides to find out where he went. Tracking him down will prove to be the biggest challenge of his life... if he manages to survive it.

Spaceman Blues is not your typical "aliens come to take over the world" story. Don't get me wrong, once you hit the end of the book, there
...more
Zinta
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An apartment explodes, and, supposedly, Manuel González is blown to smithereens along with it. Or is he? Brian Francis Slattery’s debut novel, Spaceman Blues: A Love Song, is an explosion of words, all in bright sparks, in all directions, a flaming sky of beautiful chaos. Even when I had trouble following this surreal story, I loved reading it. It almost didn’t have to make sense. Sometimes the joy of literary paint splashing on walls, Pollack if this were visual, Monk if this were musical, is ...more
Matt
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kellie Wells
This book popped up on some twitter feed or other as a great example of contemporary GLBT genre writing, and well, I's have to agree.... The genre in question is sci-fi, mostly, since there's an alien invasion, though there's some superhero stuff in here, too, as the protagonist trains to be a bad ass killer to help him find his lost lover, whose disappearance is connected to the invasion, etc.

But really, the plot is pretty much an empty hanger for a lot of really good, yes, maximalist writing.
...more
Jacob Jones-Goldstein
Calling this a science fiction novel is to do it very little justice.

This book a fever dream song set to a Latin rhythm. Slattery's words pour off the page and dance around to Cumbia, merengue and Nina Simone singing 'Sinnerman'. You won't so much read this as hear it playing in your head.

The book revolves around one mans mission to find his lost lover but is really a journey through several love affairs in a New York that is somewhere between Ezra Jack Keats and Robert Crumb.

The main
...more
vladimir
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, the New Weird
We sometimes go about things the wrong way; we regret the lover we tired of, and then when they were absent realized that the quiet power of their presence was what we thrived on; we 'discover' a writer's latest work and maddeningly slap palm to forehead for not having read the author's previous works.

So, this is the second book by Slattery I've read, though it was his first.

"Spaceman Blues" contains more of the verve, the jazz, groove infused prose evident in his latest book, "Liberation" (more
...more
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