Listener of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Intrigue (not romance), Historical Fiction and very eclectic in her literary wanderings.
Surprising in it's originality, Year Zero (which I think is a rather boring title) is funny, sleek, modern and fine heir in the lineage of Douglas Adams.
I imagine the author sitting in front of his computer saying, "What's the worst stereotypes in the world and how can I turn them all on their head?" Sleazy lawyers, evil music companies, super b*tchy bosses...it's all there and not at all in the ways you expect.
The universe owes a big debt as humans appear to be the only planet to write noteworthy music. The aliens have come to pay their dues and more to the point, try to find a way out of paying royalties to the record companies. So naturally, they look up an attorney who has an unfortunate name identical to a has-been pop star. Intergalactic law is far more complex than either side bargained for. Where does the Parrot show up? You'll have to listen to find out.
In the Hitchhikers Guide tradition, the aliens are anything but predictable, their actions are well...alien. The humans are flawed and enjoyable. The narrator did wonderful voices and that made it a fun listen.
Yes, there are surprises. The first for me was how one would tackle an expose on the music industry...in fiction. Reid does it and does it well.
I love history.
Brilliant social satire.
Aliens? Or Copyright Laws?
Yes, delightful, I love satires.
As a social satire, this novel is absolutely brilliant, though not much of anything else. Static characters and nonsensical plot serves as a caricature of every western pop cultural, from Reality TV shows, to Warcraft, to Windows Vista, to Copyright laws to be mocked, I love this very lighthearted novel.
Comparisons to other space books are well-deserved. The wit is similar, but extremely current. You don't have to know copyright law to appreciate this book as other reviewers suggest, but unfortunately I DO happen to be a lawyer who studied copyright, so I may not be the best source. This book is about the ridiculousness of our copyright laws, the music industry, our view of our place in the galaxy, and the Windows operating systems, as well as taking pokes at hipster culture, politics, and the Backstreet Boys. Hodgman was absolutely the perfect narrator for this book. 5 stars all the way.
John Hodgman's narration is wonderful. Great voices. Great delivery. However, I would not have enjoyed reading this book myself. There was very little about the characters and plot that I enjoyed. The characters were very archetypal. Although the idea of the main plot is funny and clever, I feel it was not fleshed out very well into a believable, consistent universe. The 'plot twists' were seen coming a mile away.
He just has a very dry, witty nature about his narration, which I enjoy. He does very well with the limited characters and silly plot he is given to work with.
I liked the concept best, the execution least.
The different voices for the characters, although some were a little much.
Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
The characters were "universal"
It was about copyright lawyers trying to get as much money as they can from infringers. My favorite line was when one lawyer was talking about people who steal intellectual property and the author said, he said this with the disdain ussually used for audible listeners. I don't know what that means but funny.
His characterizations were funny. They reminded me of Woody Allen characters. If Woody Allen and George Lucas corraborated
There was all kinds of twists and turns and coincidents it was fun to find out what will happen next. Plus you never knew who was the good guys or bad guys ar who was even who they said they were. It was part comedy of errors, part universal tragedy. and i mean universal literally.
This reminded me of John Scalzi Agent to the Stars which I liked a little better. The premise was the same being introduced to life on other planets through lawyers but the stories were vastly different. This was a lot of fun and well worth the price of commision. So if you liked this I would suggest that. If you like that or Redshirts I would suggest this.
I have no idea
Something with more depth to it. real characters not cardboard cutouts
Performance was average
This is the first time I skipped to the end to see how it was resolved and felt more let down than if I had simply dropped the book in the middle.
I'll admit it - I'm a John Hodgman fan - his brand of humor is what initially made me buy this book. I was pleasantly surprised by a story that is not only zany, but, in its own way, entirely possible. This book is more about us than aliens, but uses aliens to comment on ourselves. Its funny - its a bit wacky - but it works.
A failed attempt at Scott Adams whimsy that reads like the author was making it up as he went along. The humor was utterly hackneyed--I'm talking Bill Gates jokes here. In the few spots where the book was clever enough to make me chuckle, the author felt the need to explain the joke, just in case we didn't get it. The plot starts off interesting, then meanders, so that while the book is under 10 hours, I felt like it was dragging on after 6. The commentary about copyright law was interesting, but presented in such an obvious way that I felt like I was being "edu-tained." Reid really underestimates his readers' intelligence; which is odd, considering that his target audience consists of computer/science fiction geeks.
I don't normally write bad reviews, but I'm honestly surprised that this book got published at all.
On the bright side, Hodgman's narration was great.
A shorter chapter about the stupid vacuum cleaner robot, and less perfunctory romantic navel gazing.
John brings his classic voice to an otherwise irredeemable book.
The vacuum robot