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Publisher's Summary

Finalist for Hugo Award for Best Novel 2019

Finalist for Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2019

In space everyone can hear you sing.

A century ago, intelligent space-faring life was nearly destroyed during the Sentience Wars. To bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity and understanding, the Metagalactic Grand Prix was created. Part concert, part contest, all extravaganza, species far and wide gather to compete in feats of song, dance and/or whatever facsimile of these can be performed by various creatures who may or may not possess, in the traditional sense, feet, mouths, larynxes or faces.

This year, humankind has discovered that it must fight for its destiny not with diplomacy, gunships and stoic councils - but with glitter, lipstick and electric guitars. 

A washed-up glam-rock trio from London, Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes, has been chosen to represent humanity on the greatest stage in the galaxy. The fate of Earth lies in their ability to rock.

©2018 Catherynne M. Valente (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about Space Opera

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Like hitchhiker's on steroids

It has the same feel to it as hitchhiker's guide to the galaxies British bizarre humour, but the dial has been turned up to eleven. Worth a listen if you want your interdimensional great blue tits tickled

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Too little plot

Too little plot, book seems to be more about witty descriptions than about the story. Feels like 17 examples are given when 3 would suffice. the pace did pick up towards the end, though, so I was not sorry I stuck it out, but not going to listen again.

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  • Michela
  • 12-01-20

Fun, cool and imaginative

Lots of cool, weird, colourful aliens and detailed descriptions of their physical singing-related characteristics perfectly complement the "best" human glam rock band that is chosen to represent the just-discovered Earth in the intergalactic music competition at the centre of this novel. The stakes are high: only if the humans win will they gain survival for their own species / planet. Because of course you can only be considered sentient and worthy of living if you can write, play and sing really good music. It's all quite complicated for a number of foreseeable as well as unexpected reasons, including rules, pre-show parties and tests, opponents attempting to murder each other, and a cat who nearly ruins everything, but is too lazy to actually carry out destruction. Along with the singing competition developments, readers also learn about the glamorous past of the band, as well as their sad and bitter end. A fantastic read, and the audiobook of course also features actual singing!