Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Year Zero

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Ever since 1977 every sentient race in the universe has been obsessed with the music coming from planet earth, so much so that they even dubbed it "year zero" and began reckoning time forward from it. In all other aspects of our existence, earthlings haven't developed far enough to be made aware of the other races out there and warrant an invitation into the association of developed planets, but our music is light years ahead of all others.

Nick Carter is a low-level entertainment lawyer, whose firm specializes in copyright litigation and whose career is going nowhere. One day two aliens, who mistakenly believe he's the same Nick Carter who used to sing with the Backstreet Boys, arrive at his office because they need his legal expertise in their attempt to save earth from annihilation. Ever since year zero, every being in the universe has been downloading earth's music for their listening pleasure, amounting to an unimaginable number of downloads. Unfortunately for us, all life off earth follows an unequivocal moral and legal code requiring them to abide by other planets' laws. When they discover that there's a law on earth prohibiting the free download of music, with an associated $150,000 fee per illegal download, they realize that they are in debt to earth far beyond their ability to ever repay it. And some out there have decided that the best way to cancel the debt is to surreptitiously assist mankind in destroying itself.

Year Zero is very similar to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy both in humor and creativity, but it's not its equal. Nevertheless, the book made me laugh out loud numerous times, causing people riding the light-rail train with me to opt for sitting next to the fragrant homeless passengers instead of me (an added pleasure from reading the book).

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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