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Year Zero Audiobook

Year Zero: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

An alien advance party was suddenly nosing around my planet.

Worse, they were lawyering up....

In the hilarious tradition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Rob Reid takes you on a headlong journey through the outer reaches of the universe - and the inner workings of our absurdly dysfunctional music industry.

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), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang. The resulting fines and penalties have bankrupted the whole universe. We humans suddenly own everything - and the aliens are not amused.

Nick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly, and he's an unlikely galaxy-hopping hero: He's scared of heights. He's also about to be fired. And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy. But he does know a thing or two about copyright law. And he's packing a couple of other pencil-pushing superpowers that could come in handy.

Soon he's on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner. With Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick now has 48 hours to save humanity, while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.

©2012 Robert Reid (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Can you imagine The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy combined with The Social Network? Of course you cannot: because only Rob Reid can. Hilarious, provocative, and supersmart, Year Zero is not merely the first IPSF (intellectual property SF) epic ever written, it is also a plain brilliant novel to be enjoyed in perpetuity, in the known universe and all unknown universes yet to be discovered." (John Hodgman, resident expert, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)

"Year Zero is a brilliant satire of the American entertainment industry, and I never stopped grinning." (Kevin Hearne, author of The Iron Druid Chronicles)

"This book is already required reading on all of the educated planets in the universe, and now they're letting us Earthlings have a look at it, too. There are at least 3.6 good jokes and 9.7 clever ideas per page. I did the math: that's a really impressive ratio. I never thought I would say this, but this book made me laugh out loud and taught me stuff about copyright infringement. Clever, smart, and so original that people are probably already trying to rip it off. (Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2032 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-31-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1151
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    "Funnier than Scalzi"

    I've been listening to a lot of Scalzi's stuff: Fuzzy Nation, Redshirts, etc... and I was always left feeling that the writing and dialog never quite met the expectation set by the premises of the stories.

    With Year Zero, I found the opposite. This book is frequently funny, and John Hodgman is the perfect narrator for the wit and satire. On the other hand, the premise of the book is so lightweight that it doesn't warrant a novel-length exploration.

    I'd recommend this book to fans of Scalzi, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye open for more literature from Rob Reid.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    january Rock Hill, SC 01-25-13
    january Rock Hill, SC 01-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great book for super nerds!"

    I wish people wouldn't compare new authors to epic writers like Douglas Adams or Steig Larsson. It just sets them up for failure and disappoints readers. While this is a funny book about aliens, that's where the comparison to Douglas Adams stops. Rob Reid may have been influenced by reading Hitchhiker's, but he may have also enjoyed a book or two by Christopher Moore, or any number of other humorous writers. If you choose to listen to this book, listen to it for its' own value and not because you liked some other book that came before it.

    That being said, here's what I thought of Year Zero:

    It started out a little slow for me. I had a hard time getting into the characters and the story line. But once I got the hang of it, I found it to be packed with little quips and references to everything nerdy that I love. From the video game Portal to Microsoft Windows. It's not the kind of book where I laughed out loud in random public places while listening with my earphones, but I did chuckle quite a few times, and thought to myself, wow, he really just said that!

    The narrator was perfect for this part. Not too over the top, and not so middle of the road that he made the funny bits boring. He did a great job with all the voices.

    If you are a nerd, geek or gamer (or have a partner that is) you will love this book.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ethan Hurd LA CA 09-28-12
    Ethan Hurd LA CA 09-28-12
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    "If you like copyright humor (and who doesn't) then"
    If you could sum up Year Zero in three words, what would they be?

    Copyright Humor Lessig


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book is what you would get if you got Douglas Addams, Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow to write a book together. It is a short but fun book to read, it has good characters, a decent plot and a solid ending. It moves right along and did make me laugh out loud a few times.


    What about John Hodgman’s performance did you like?

    Once I found out that John Hodgman did the reading for the audio book there was no way I was going to bother with the print edition. He is the perfect voice for this book, now I wish he'd go and do the audio editions for the Hitchiker's Guide series.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Hope they didn't spend too much on the FX


    Any additional comments?

    I would only recommend this book to a few people. If you are an avid reader of Boing Boing then this book is for you, otherwise move on.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 08-01-17
    Robin 08-01-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpected hero on a sci-fi romp"

    John Hodgman is delightful as the nebbishy hero of this adventure. He has to prove himself in unexpected ways. The ending has a great twist explaining why our civilization is the way it is (tongue in cheek, of course.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Divya martinez, CA, USA 05-23-14
    Divya martinez, CA, USA 05-23-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Brilliant and Funny"
    What did you love best about Year Zero?

    Brilliant and Funny


    Any additional comments?

    Just good Book could not put it down. Brilliant and Funny. It reads a bit John Scalzi book but a bit more over the top. I do agree with some that it drags on for a few short chapters towards the back end of the book and those chapters are a bit superfluous. But no book is perfect and this is as close as you can get.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cory Hoeft 08-31-17
    Cory Hoeft 08-31-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Very entertaining, well performed voice acting"

    Very entertaining, well performed voice acting. Felt like Armada meets disc world. Small but well done cast of characters

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher 08-07-17
    Christopher 08-07-17
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    "Fantastic Buy Buy Buy"

    Great book. I've listened to it a few times and it never gets stale. Ties into current technology and fantastic ending.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 11-03-16
    Jeremy KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 11-03-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Just finished my 10th listen. "

    This is my go-to book when I have a little time or just need some solid entertainment. The characters are spectacular. John Hodgman is the perfect narrator. Love the force field discussions. pluhs are awesome.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Parish 01-07-15
    G. Parish 01-07-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Tons of fun"

    This may be SciFi, but it is the tradition of the Hitchhikers Guide with its tongue firmly in its cheek. If you pick this up prepare to laugh at this glorious romp.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robertjm San Francisco Bay Area 09-24-14
    robertjm San Francisco Bay Area 09-24-14 Listener Since 2008
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    "Entertaining story, especially with the delivery!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Year Zero to be better than the print version?

    I've never read the print version so can't compare. Generally I try not to overlap between print, eBook and audio book.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    For shame Audible!! As River Song would say, "Spoilers!!" :-)


    What does John Hodgman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His delivery. I think most people are familiar with him as PC, from the old Mac vs PC commercials. He's funny when he's supposed to be the front man, and that humorous inflection in his voice makes it a lot easier to listen to, than having to make it up in your mind.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The first time in the underground train station, when they mob the Earth girl.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope. Not really.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Peter Beverley-Smith
    2/5/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I can't believe I chose this book"
    What disappointed you about Year Zero?

    The premise is poor, delivery is below standard and I have only just made it to the end of the first chapter.


    What will your next listen be?

    Still thinking about it


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of John Hodgman?

    Not sure the book is worth it


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Extreme disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Sad

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lyn Alton
    1/31/16
    Overall
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    "took time to get into but once there great"

    I took time to get into it but loved the concept. funny clever concept. recommend it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    United Kingdom
    9/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Amazingly funny"
    Would you listen to Year Zero again? Why?

    Absolutely, it packed a lot into a relatively short story and kept me laughing with every paragraph.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nick Carter, the main character because he was so level headed and reasonable without ever being dull.


    Which character – as performed by John Hodgman – was your favourite?

    Trudy, he managed to play such a curt and brusque character so well.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh out loud on the train for a whole week.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vincent
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "This will go out of date very quickly."

    This book was fairly humorous, an interesting tweak on the digital aspect of DNA and the so called 'junk genes'. In real life someone has taken the genome of a living cell and converted it into digital code, altered it using a computer to recreate a new bacteria that replicates, which has 'www url addresses' encoded in it too. The problem I had with the book is the story is too trite. The title is wrong, it should have at least have been Years Zero, but we never speak about month, day and year in the same terms as we speak of hours, minutes and seconds.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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