Book Review: Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente (Four Stars)


Book Review: Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

(Three Stars)

“In Space Everyone Can Hear You Sing.”

Great–almost obvious in hindsight–concept, from the title pun, to the obvious rip-off of Hitchhiker’s Guide, through the also inevitable, but brilliant dénouement (even though Valente telegraphs her punchline). Excellent cultural references to give the story and characters immediacy.

“This was a joke, a very unfunny joke, and whether he was the setup or the punchline, he’d no idea. Humanity was doomed.”

Theoretically better than Hitchhiker’s Guide, but Valente gets lost along the way–and takes the reader with her. Totally silly, as expected, but way too long. Valente gets lost in the minutia of her rabbit trails. Not to mention the General Unkillable Facts of Life.

“Do you have soul?”

Others will revel in the absurdity, but it gets boring and repetitive. Totally English. Not to mention obviously right thinking.

“No matter how mad, bad, and dangerous a civilization gets, unto every generation are born the lonely and the uncool. Only the uncool have the requisite alone time to advance their species.”

I’m with Fermi. And glad we haven’t been discovered yet, because when/if we are the discoverer being more probably more like Thanos than Picard.

“Life is beautiful and stupid. The history of a person is a simple tune with lyrics flashed on-screen and a helpful, friendly bouncing disco ball of glittering, occasionally peaceful light to help you follow along. Cue the music. Cue the dancers. Cue tomorrow.”