Humans are not alone in the universe. In Catherynne M. Valente’s new science fiction comedy, we find out about the existence of aliens when electric blue fish-flamingoes appear in the living rooms of every human on earth announcing our invitation to the Metagalactic Grand Prix, an American Idol-styled singing competition designed to determine if newly discovered species are sentient or not. If our chosen representative can prove our sentience, we get to join the intergalactic community. If not, whoops, the Earth and all its inhabitants get disintegrated.
So, as it goes, the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the surviving members of the band, Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes infamous for inventing “the entire electro-funk glamgrind genre.”
Singer Decibel Jones and multi-instrumentalist Oort St. Ultraviolet haven’t spoken to each other in years since Decibel’s self-centeredness drove drummer Mira Wonderful Star (the glue that held the band together) to her death. But they’ll have to overcome their long-held differences if they want to write a planet-saving song and ensure the continued existence of humanity.
If you love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you’re either going to love Space Opera. or hate it. The book brazenly appropriates the absurdist comedy of the classic five-book trilogy, but the jokes and page-long metaphors don’t feel as effortless as those of Douglas Adams. Give it a try.