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
I loved the story. Reid's imagination is fantastic. I really could not stop chuckling at all the lines.
He did a very good job with the material. He got into the voices and the characters.
Yes and as soon as it was done I wanted to listen to it over again.
You see so many books compared to The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, but this really is the best book since. If you liked Dougles Adams you will love this book.
It felt like the book tried too much to be the next "HG2G". I bought into the review which mentioned "HG2G" and "the social network"-- not even close. Characters could have been better. It seemed like the author knew at some points he would lose his audience so he threw in some "clever" space technology. Too much and hard to finish....
It started out well: the premise was interesting, and I laughed out loud at the prologue and first chapter. However, after that, it just didn't do anything interesting. I purchased this book because of the comparison to Douglas Adams,. Unfortunately for Rob Reid, that's a heckuva yardstick to have to measure up, and he fails. It was mediocre, at best.
Rob Reid is a PC-hating, Apple-loving fanboy, and his obsession shows throughout the novel. If you too are an Apple fan, then by all means, get on the gravy train. Otherwise, Reid's obsession will rapidly become tiresome.
The epilogue, with the final interview with one of the 7 aliens living on earth. I was so irritated that I almost abandoned the book, but with 12 minutes left to the entire audio program, I figured "what the heck - just finish it". I should have gone with my first impulse.
I enjoyed this book as much as any in years, but was prepared to give it 4 stars on the theory that you had to be a certain kind of reader to fully enjoy it. But then i realized, this is my review, so if you are a tech nerd, understand the music industry problems, a science fiction and Douglas Adams fan, then you are in for a custom made treat. (If you are old enough to remember music from the 70's in its first pass, bonus points.) If not, then read this as 4 stars, and weep for your loss.... Reid's humor is not as joke dense as Adams, but is much more wry and meta, which makes the choice of Hodgman as a narrator perfect. He does things with the reading that no other narrator I have heard could have pulled off. He delivers the many gems in this book so perfectly you would swear he wrote the book.
I will be looking at any book Reid writes, and any book Hodgman reads, but any more that they do together will definitely get my credits.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
John Hodgman was the reason we bought this and he did not disappoint. Perfect show.
The main one, because I kept thinking he was John Hodgman.
This was a very funny story, although I suspect if you are not a New Yorker familiar with corporate/legal workplaces and the absurdity of last year's 'it' bars, it might not be as funny. Hodgman was a great narrator, better than I expected - you forget it's Hodgman, it's just a very solid and funny narration. Great subway listening.
Rob Reid writes a witty and clever novel with Year Zero which is well performed by John Hodgman. This book caused me laugh out loud moments, lots of smiles, and an eagerness to get in my car and make the drive to work. It was also quite insightful, in that, after finishing the book, I'm pretty sure it's a true and accurate factual depiction of at least Microsoft* and lawyers :) If you're looking for something light-hearted and enjoyable that still retains great writing, a plot, characters with some depth (and some shallowness), and a lot of witty banter, take a listen. You won't be disappointed!
*Note: Word crashed on me while I was 5 minutes from project completion the day I finished this book. Listen and you'll understand why this was AMAZING, proves this book to be entirely factual, yet was nonetheless hairpullingly frustrating.