Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente audiobook

Space Opera

By Catherynne M. Valente
Read by Heath Miller

HighBridge, Highbridge Audio 9781481497497
9.77 Hours 1
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top galactic science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne Valente where sentient races compete for glory in a universe-wide musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth. A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding. Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete. This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny—they must sing. A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.

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Summary

Summary

Finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Novel of 2018

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top galactic science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne Valente where sentient races compete for glory in a universe-wide musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.

This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny—they must sing.

A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“As if Ziggy Stardust went on a blind date with The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then they got smashed and sang karaoke all night long.” John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author
“A wildly comical and cheerfully absurd galactic adventure.” Chicago Tribune
“Channeling the giants of sci-fi satire and glam rock into a brilliantly over-the-top burlesque.” B&N SciFi & Fantasy Blog
“It’s all big ideas written in glitter. It’s surprising tenderness on a galactic scale. It’s about loneliness and nerdliness and acceptance and making fun of the old, frowsy powers that be. Valente offers up a universe in which the only thing of true value is rhythm. Not guns, not bombs, not money, not power, but sex and love and pop songs.” NPR
“The funniest science fiction novel I’ve read since Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy." Verge
“Valente has pulled off another spectacular feat of world building (it’s worth reading just for the descriptions of previous performances) and a story which is uproariously funny, sweet, and hopeful.” Booklist (starred review)
“Miller shines as the sarcastic and sardonic narrator who guides listeners through the byzantine galactic history…He also does an outstanding job creating a range of convincing alien personas, as well as bringing the human characters to life…Those who enjoy intelligent satire will be richly rewarded. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

by John 4/20/2018
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

A most remarkable book

When you start a book by Catherynne Valente, you are always in for a treat. Whether it is a girl going to Fairyland on the back of a magical flying leopard or a clever peasant girl encountering Koschei the Deathless (stepping out of Russian folklore) as his bride and then his destruction. But here, you get the epic tale of two aging rock stars as the last hope for humanity in a sing-for-your-world's-salvation contest.
Decibel Jones (born Danesh Jalo) and Oort St. Ultraviolet (born Omar Calisșkan), are the surviving members of the glamrock band "Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros" and find themselves on the short list to represent Humanity in the Metagalactic Grand Prix - a way for the galactic civilization to avoid any more intergalactic wars. Humanity has few allies (including the representative of the sponsoring race, something like a blue flamingo), but also many potential enemies, since losing means Humanity is not deemed sentient and will be eliminated from the universe.
The story (inspired by live-tweeting the Eurovision song contest) is more than a little bit like something Douglas Adams might have written. But Cat Valente's use of language is wholly unique to her works: every sentence is hand crafted and dense with alliteration, florid adjectives, or the occasional profanity, depending on the need. All of the common tropes of both science fiction and rock music are pulled out, tried on, altered, and fitted just right, all to drive the story's varied needs. It's also a huge amount of fun.
The narration, by Heath Miller, matches the text beautifully. He manages the dense text wonderfully, using his facility for accents to highlight the different characters. And when the story calls for it, he sings (I presume he dances too, but it's hard to tell because it's an audiobook). Between the hilarious story and the excellent narration, there is always the risk of driving off the road laughing, so be careful if listening on your commute.

Author

Author Bio: Catherynne M. Valente

Author Bio: Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is an acclaimed author of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, World Fantasy Award, and the James Tiptree Jr. Award. She made her children’s book debut with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Fiction/Science Fiction
Runtime: 9.77
Audience: Adult
Language: English