Review: Year Zero by Rob Reid

Posted: May 9, 2014 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This review was originally posted at West of Mars. It is being posted here, at its new permanent home.

There it was in my post office box, unsolicited. I didn’t even have a head’s up that it was coming. Some dude named Rob Reid had written a book that looked all Science Fiction-y. Made me wonder what the heck the publisher was thinking, sending it my way.

And then I realized – by opening the front cover – that those weren’t funky ears on that alien. They were headphones.

I’d been gifted a work of Rock Fiction.

No wonder it came my way. I’m an expert in the genre, no?

So I set about reading. In a nutshell, aliens have come to Earth because they owe humanity all the wealth in the universe in royalties. We Earthlings are awfully rich folk – even though our newfound cash completely destroys the rest of the cosmos. Which, of course, is a problem. Not for us, but for them.

Oh, the cleverness doesn’t end there. A new heavy metal, metallicam, has been discovered. Yep. Metallicam (although our guide wanted it to be named ironmaidium). A robot-thing is named Ozzy, and our narrator’s guides are Carly and Frampton – after Carly Simon and Peter Framption, of course. In outer space, a celebrity looks like an eighties rock star and lip synchs their music, inserting horrific dance moves of their own. They’ve never seen how we do things, after all. They’ve only heard the music – and been blown away by it. Smart aliens. Sort of.

And for an Earth-bound lawyer named Nick Carter (not the Nick Carter you may be thinking of), all hell breaks loose. Of course, it can’t happen at any old time in his life. Oh, no. It comes at a time when this middling attorney is in jeopardy of being ejected quite dramatically from his firm. Can he save the day and make partner – not to mention, get the girl? Even more pressing: can he manipulate his boss, the evil Judy, into believing him and getting on board so she can do all the work and thinking while believing it’s really him doing it all?

This book oozes music. It oozes music as it skewers the music industry, and as I laughed out loud and woke my kids. It’s about music, and it lives and breathes the stuff – and all the while, it is making an awful lot of points, not all of which are music-related. Wait for the end and the reveal of the bad guy. Yeah, you may see it coming, but think about what Reid is saying, here. He’s got a point. A number of them, in fact.

This is one that I’d love to see my old satire professor teach. Sadly, he retired many years ago. But I can’t help but wonder what he’d see that I’m missing.

Go pick up a copy for yourself and let me know what you discover. And have some fun while you do.

Me, I’ll be busy playing with a stereopticon. Man, I want one of those things!

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