Space Opera

paperback, 304 pages

Published Dec. 18, 2018 by Gallery / Saga Press.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

"Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny. They must sing. 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 by the remnants of civilization. Something to cheer up everyone who was left. Something to celebrate having escaped total annihilation by the skin of one's teeth, if indeed one has skin. Or teeth. Something to bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, understanding, and the most powerful of all social bonds: excluding others. Once every cycle, the great galactic civilizations gather for Galactivision--part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part, a very large, but very subtle part, continuation of the wars of the past. Thus, a fragile peace has held. This year, a bizarre and unsightly species has looked up from its muddy …

3 editions

Good, but not that kind of Space Opera

4 stars

Fans of Alastair Reynolds, beware, this is not your stuff. Fans of Douglas Adams, you will probably like this, if you can admit that on some level, Valente is the better writer. Or perhaps it just seems so to me because the satire is more on point for current events.

The overall arc of the story is not too surprising, but there are many extremely quotable quips. Valente seems to have a gift for humorous (pop or otherwise) culture references.

Not to talk down the book, which has no pretensions of being more than what it is, but I look forward to reading Valente putting that raw wordpower to something a little more ambitious.

Fun sci-fi social satire: The world is a mess, but we can find the sublime in chaos.

5 stars

Absurdity, social satire, lots of music references, and a fast read that still feels like a wall of words at times. In the same vein as Hitchhiker’s Guide & Year Zero (though in this case humans are the worst musicians in the galaxy). Fun, though it’s got some dark moments. The world isn’t totally awesome or totally awful, it’s both: Everything is messy, and you can find the sublime in chaos.

avatar for sir_diesalot

rated it

4 stars