‘Year Zero’ Book Review

‘Year Zero’ Book Review

Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 91/100


Year Zero By Rob Reid

Audiobook Edition

Finished on 10/28/2017


Description: 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.

Genres: Science Fiction, Humor


Aliens really, really love human music. Unfortunately they didn’t know it was illegal to pirate human music. Now the entire universe owes the American Music Industry gigawads of money thanks to copyright laws.

Spoiler-tastic review

This was a hilarious science fiction novel, vaguely like ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.’ This contains some soft sci-fi tropes, like folds in reality allowing travel across the universe in a fraction of a second. It also contains hard sci-fi tropes like nanites used for vaccines.

All of earth is a one great quarantine planet for the rest of the universe. Instead of a vast Federation of enlightened alien species, we have a ‘Refined’ league of species who adore arts as diverse as stained glass and Reality TV. To them mankind is a crude and disgusting species. Our science and arts are barely out of the stone age.

Except our music. Our music is the best thing ever. They rewrote their calendar from the moment human music was discovered. Their musicians were put out of work. Each alien in every galaxy keeps terabytes of our music on hand at all times. They pirated our music without paying for it, and since they are such law abiding creatures they absolutely insist on paying for it. Unfortunately to pay for all the music they stole they need to give humanity the total value of all the Universe.

This was a hilarious book, filled with both internet memes and pop culture jokes, ethically challenged parrots and amoral lawyers. Highly recommended, so long as you can abide by a hugely preposterous premise.


Audiobook Notes: Read by John Hodgman, the audiobook made it infinitely better. I would recommend this as the media format of choice.


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