Space Opera

Space Opera

Book - 2018
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"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 planet-bound cradle and noticed the enormous universe blaring on around it: humanity. Where they expected to one day reach out into space and discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of grave aliens, they have found glitter. And lipstick. And pyrotechnics. And electric guitars. A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent their planet on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of Earth lies in their ability to rock"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Saga Press, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781481497497
Characteristics: 294 pages ; 22 cm


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A Book of her Own Making: Cathrynne M.Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is one of the most versatile and imaginative writers working today. She often has a deliberate pace, but then again, you don't want her books to end. Many of Valente's books have a dreamlike feel, even when dreams are not the subject.  While quite prolific, I am going to focus on her latest title and then her award-winning novels. Valente's latest is Space Opera. In… (more)

From Library Staff

Long ago, the races of the universe warred to determine who was sentient. Realizing it was futile, they settled on a song contest instead. Finally, humans have been noticed, and it is their turn to perform. If they lose, the hairless monkeys will be obliterated, and dolphins and elephants will be... Read More »

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JessicaGma Oct 18, 2018

I feel the other two commenters (SCL_Justin and Jessica_erbacher) have captured my feelings about the book: fantastic premise, great commentary, good jokes but perhaps too much "muchness". I barely registered that the story had ended....

SCL_Justin Jul 10, 2018

I loved this book about glamorous hasbeen rockstars singing to prove to the galaxy that humanity isn't just meat. Valente's style is rollicking and funny in a way I sometimes find exhausting, but works so incredibly well here. My favourite thing about the plot is that humanity can't be trusted to save themselves by sending what they think is the best musician we've got because our taste is terrible. We don't even appreciate Yoko Ono!

The universe she's created holds together much more coherently than the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy universe, and I think this is one of the first books I've read that's similar to Douglas Adams' masterpiece that I actually really liked. Great, light, funny, but also about what it means to be sentient. Highly recommended.

Video review here:

May 09, 2018

Funny, charming, and wistful in the typical Valente style; I love the inspiration of a Eurovision style competition to prove your sentience to the rest of the universe, and all the weirdness that went along with it. I couldn't quite give it 5 stars, though. While I love her vivid descriptiveness, it felt like she was trying entirely too hard this time around, piling on an avalanche of adjectives for each and every character and setting and concept. I guess it's fitting with the "too much of everything" glam rock aesthetic of the book, but it gets a tiring after a while. Still, I think fans of her other works will enjoy it.


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