Year Zero

[BOOKS] ✸ Year Zero By Rob Reid – 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 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” 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 Nick now has forty eight hours to save humanity while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.Year Zero

Rob Reid is a writer and technology entrepreneur based in both Los Angeles and San Francisco California He's the author of Year Zero Del Rey a novel about aliens with a mad passion for human music He also wrote Year One William Morrow a memoir about student life at Harvard Business School; and Architects of the Web Wiley which chronicles the rise of the Interne.

Audiobook  · Year Zero PDF ò
  • Audiobook
  • 10 pages
  • Year Zero
  • Rob Reid
  • English
  • 06 May 2016
  • 9780449009451

10 thoughts on “Year Zero

  1. says:

    Nobody should ever be compared to Douglas Adams It's unfair Not to eulogise the dead but Adams is literally incomparable That's why I respect the bravery of Eoin Colfer Now there's an idea Rob Reid matches and often surpasses the wit and glorious absurdity of Eoin Colfer Year Zero not only paints a beautiful tale of the absurdity of our laws but packs the story full of excellent geeky nuggets both musical and Monty Python Plus there's some damn fine science fiction concepts packed in like the ideas of wrinkles and The Townshend Line Absolutely a pleasure to read

  2. says:

    I can imagine Rob Reid writing with a copy of Mad Magazine or Cracked on his desk if not for comic material ammunition for spit wads perhaps Fiction needs a funny bone but my patience has its limits and like having to sit in front of the class clown Year Zero exhausted mineIn a nod to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Year Zero begins with a thoroughly average Earthling who realizes his planet is facing annihilation for bureaucratic reasons Nick Carter cue the first of many Backstreet Boys jokes works as an entertainment attorney in Manhattan Facing certain termination by his boss Judy Sherman due to lack of original thought Nick is visited by a young woman dressed as a Catholic nun and a dope who looks like a mullah Giving the names Carly and Frampton the pair have confused Nick with the Backstreet Boy and assume he's partner at the law firm ruthless litigators for the music industry There's a lot of explaining in this book so Carly and Frampton explain that the universe has been pirating Earth's music since 1977 when a broadcast of Welcome Back Kotter was intercepted and the theme song brought ecstasy to billions of beings 1977 is known as Year Zero when Earth's pop music changed life everywhere Carly and Frampton get it? get it? are Perfuffinites a race that have gained fame as interstellar concert performers lip synching Earth's pop music They're concerned that by our arcane copyright laws every being in the universe owes us 140000 for each illegal download Certain parties would prefer to destroy the planet rather than pay upIntergalactic adventure or lack thereof ensues with Nick receiving assistance from his neighbor curvaceous musician Manda Shark and cousin a capable creep who Nick refers to as PugwashI downloaded a copy of Year Zero for Kindle because the first several pages did sound irreverent and fun Reid demonstrates a great deal of acumen about music copyright law and the gears of a cutthroat law firm hired to enforce it My favorite sections simply dealt with Nick's ne'er do well poker player versus his boss of brass balls Judy Nick is clearly a Mary Sue a nice guy like the author whose only flaw is being a bit vanilla and the attention that Nick's red hot musician neighbor lavishes on him stretches believability Manda such a fun character and I wanted to see what happened to her next Year Zero is a joke based book and I hate jokes Black Sabbath references or digs at reality TV are fine but what I love is humor based on character humor that comes from some sort of reality even if it's Ghostbusters reality Reid fires pop culture jokes at a clip of one per page and after a while I just wanted that to stop I wanted to spend time with characters I liked and enter a strange universe that stimulated my imagination This book fails to manage either This isn't so much a novel it's a wit delivery system loaded by the author and fired at the readerThe special characters and punctuation in Year Zero annoyed me The novel is littered with footnotes at least four per chapter revealed at the end of each chapter Footnotes took me out of the story practically directing me to the table where the author of the book was signing copies And the uestion marks never cease to end So what do we do now? said Manda after a long pause Call the FBI? The air force? NASA? Forget showing versus telling this is showing versus asking and telling Even worse

  3. says:

    I had a great time with this very funny book but a few things should be accounted for1 You have to be a music nerd2 You ought to have a healthy respect or disrespect for music copyright laws and the dimensions they involve3 You must have a sense of humorOne really ought to be a must or most of the great references and jokes will be lost and it is entirely possible to learn and be impressed by the great solutions to the copyright kerfuffle here so you could sueak by with number two but I'm gonna have to insist on number three That being said this is a light and completely snarky SF about music Specifically how the rest of the galaxy so completely loves our music that it has been secretly stealing every single song we've produced to their great joy and as we soon learn their great dismay because they respect the law Or at least they apply that respect to the home world's system of laws where the art is produced and this is where the biggest problem arisesStolen songs here comes at a cost of 150k per song in damages Current estimation of damages across the galaxy is about 13 the total gross wealth of the galaxy Earth would be RICH AS HELL if it wasn't for that little spark of expediency called destroying the debt owed Good music? Sure But we can't pay that much Kill em So yeah this does have a bit of a DNA vibe going on and it is very funny throughout because those galactics love everything we've made but that's where the similarities endNo spoilers but a single Earth lawyer's journey through the galaxy is fantastic and the eventual solution is geeky and fun as hell Thank you Lessig

  4. says:

    Picture yourself as a child about to be given a kitten for Christmas Imagine your excitement as you approach the Christmas tree to find a meowing shaking present with your name on it The anticipation alone – that something special is about to happen – is electric Now imagine your face if you opened the box to find instead of a cat a tiny standup comedian A little man yelling endless pop culture jokes on the same theme all of them laboriously spelled out and followed with a ‘Get it? Get it?’That was my experience with Year Zero a book I expected to love but instead found savagely disappointing and I don’t use those words lightlyThe disappointment is so brutal because the concept behind this comic novel is one of the best I’ve encountered in SF – it's pure geniusAliens exist and they have been watching us Since 1977 when our radio broadcasts were discovered by the wider galactic civilization we have been the most famous most loved species in existenceWhy? Our music It turns out we make the best music in the universe so much better than anyone else that aliens initially had pleasure aneurysms when they first heard even the theme song to one of our shitty TV shows As a result every alien in the universe has been listening to our tunes And sharing them and copying them and they've only just realized that under our law they're all criminals Without knowing it every alien in existence has breached music copyright millions of times and now personally owes earth billions of dollars in copyright violation fines So many songs have been copied that Earth is owed wealth than actually exists – we are the richest planet in the universe and we don’t even know itThis fact has led factions of the alien federation to uietly seek our destruction hoping we will never find out we are being watched or that we now own the entire universeAnd that’s where Year Zero begins Even writing this makes me want to give it another go – this is an idea that IMHO rivals that of The Hitchhiker’s Guide After ploughing through 160 pages though I’m done The first hundred or so pages are pretty good – there’s some great set up involving a young lawyer getting recruited by some concerned aliens and some fine gags Reid sets things up well and brutally savages the self destructive stupidity of the record industry like someone who knows were the record execs’ skeletons are buried It’s genuinely enjoyable and I was loving itAnd then things begin to tail off and get repetitive There’s no sudden spectacular collapse It’s a slow grinding away of reader engagement – death by overdone jokes and the gravelly rub of great slabs of expositionThe music gags about aliens named after artists like Sonny Bono and Peter Frampton start to wear thin especially when they are explicitly spelled out The jokes themselves seem to become the entire point of the story leaving the book to meanderThe characters are fairly identikit too They’re the bounce along and take everything in their stride types so common in lighter SF who after hearing about first contact and the imminent destruction of Earth or even meeting an actual alien barely pause from drinking their coffee and go straight into ‘how can we save the world’ mode with nary an existential or introspective thoughtFinally and this is perhaps my own bugbear – this novel is full of endnotes They sit in a clump at the end of each chapter forcing readers to either1 Break the reading flow by flicking back and forth in the book2 Finish the chapter and read the endnotes all at once with not a damn clue what they relate toI went with the latter but both options suck just like endnotes suck outside an academic essay Hello publishers? Stop doing this Use footnotes if you must at least they are on the same page as whatever they’re referring toAnyway I’m genuinely sad that this novel wasn’t what I hoped for Up until now I thought John Scalzi’s Redshirts was the worst execution of an amazing concept that I had encountered in SF Sadly Year Zero takes that crown relegating Redshirts to a distant second place and becoming my new standard bearer for books based on great ideas whose greatness will exist only in their unrealized potential – the Schrodinger’s kittens of novels best left under the treeOne and a half Guns N' Roses jokes out of FivePS I was given a kitten for Christmas as a child Ginger the cat was everything I could ever hope for in a friend and he never over explained a joke

  5. says:

    A science fiction book for people who normally wouldn't be caught dead reading science fiction and one that's directed with laser like focus at its intended audience Year Zero is entertaining enough for what it is but the book is trying very hard to evoke the spirit of Douglas Adams and not surprisingly it falls well short of that mark Add to that an irritating tendency to include pop culture references that are getting well past their time Rickrolling Gaga etc and flavor of the moment vocal tics as well Really? Zip it and you have a book that's going to feel very dated in about Well actually it feels a bit dated alreadyEven this would be fine if the book wasn't uite so desperate to pander to its intended audience Obviously a book like this should be entertaining but it's hard not to notice certain details Take for example the corrupt senator in the pocket of the music labels who happens to belong to the political party the book's probable readers would prefer he hail from even though he almost certainly would belong to the other party You know the one this book's 30 40 something likely to be loyal NPR listening readers probably belong to themselves But we might have found that upsetting so Reid obliges even if the result seems very unlikely and thereby misses a potentially biting opportunity for humor So it's not surprising that the book is getting positive reviews from the likes of BoingBoing it's not like they would ever ding a book like this no matter how it was written and you might very well love it too But you might want to sample the first couple of chapters before you take the plunge just to be sure you won't find it annoying than amusing

  6. says:

    Nick Carter but not the Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys works at a law firm as a copyright assistant Life drastically changes when two aliens pop into his office and tell him the news Earth know owns the entire galaxy and some aliens aren't so happy about thatNOTE I received this through the Vine programUp until this morning I had every intention of reading this book until the very end But I had an epiphany I had absolutely ZERO interest in finishing this bookWhy did I stop at page 156 at the book that everyone is comparing to Douglas Adams' brilliantThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Cline's amazing Ready Player One? I've loved both books I've read Hitchhiker's twice once on audiobook once in actual paper form Ready Player One is the best book I've read all year and my new top 5 favorite book So if this book is being compared to those great works of art why did I not finish it?I think the biggest reason is because this book is most definitely NOT either book It's nowhere near as clever witty funny and irreverent as either book Instead this book is sophomoric clunky and mean The characters are 100 shades of stupid the prose is bland and emotionless the story is buried under legalese the footnotes made me stick a fork in my eye and instead of being satirical or funny the book is mean spiritedNick Carter is a 12 year old boy stuck in adult's clothing I can understand why he has to be clueless wasn't Arthur Dent? but making juvenile jokes about petting someone's cat caters to the lowest common denominator Manda is like most women in stereotypical scifi books reduced to being a set of boobs Judy Sherman is a hideously caricatured boss even so far as to be nicknamed Cruella deVille REALLY?? And the aliens Carly and Frampton are so stuck in their roles one as the person who knows everything and the other as the stupid beyond belief idiot that I wanted to cry At least in Hitchhiker's Guide pretty much everyone was a moron And in Ready Player One the characters weren't perfect but they were likable and relatableThe story idea had promise Aliens coming to Earth trying for music rights? Interesting no? But execution wise not so much Much of the book is like one massive info dump in music copyright laws and given that the author was the creator of Rhapsody I'm not that surprised I suppose if you are a lawyer or like legal thrillers you may not mind this as much as I do But I came in for a scifi novel not a legal thrillerWhat about the scifi aspect? Pathetic Although there are some mildly amusing sciency remarks in the footnotes about the periodic table powers of ten designators there are ONLY mildly amusing sciency remarks in the FOOTNOTES FOOTNOTES What are FOOTNOTES doing in a fiction piece? Talk about completely disrupting the flow of the book And half the time they could A have been omitted without losing anything or B integrated into the text and only ADDED humor to the situationNot once in the entire 156 pages I read did I laugh I didn't even crack a smile It's just not funny It's like a 12 year old tossing in every half funny thing he's ever heard and screaming LAUGH LAUGH IT'S FUNNY And what jokes there are seem to be mean spirited jabs The senator nicknamed Fido because he's at the law firms beck and call The insults hurled at Clippy the Microsoft Word assistant The horrible racial joke about how all Koreans playing WoW are actually aliens Even the WoW scene seems to be making fun of people who play MMO's This isn't like the references in Ready Player One which may have been silly but at least they didn't outright insult people who play MMO's or video game nerds or people who like kitschy 80's bands and TV shows and whatnot Here it comes across as someone with an axe to grindIf you are thinking this is like Hitchhiker's Guide or Ready Player One I would be VERY cautious when entering this Please if you consider reading this check it out from the library or at least find a place that has a few chapters and not just the Prologue which is pretty good for you to peruse before plunking down nearly 30 bucks Maybe you'll find you like this book and that my review doesn't reflect what you like at all But maybe you'll be surprised that this book is nothing like what it is touted to be and I can save you some money and time

  7. says:

    It starts off really funny but not gonna lie I got kinda tired of the joke after about the halfway point Like seriously I should have written this review earlier because I find it hard to have an opinion any Like two months after watching a mediocre movie or television episode and someone asks you How was that? and you're like Uh it was okay? I think? I mean I finished it so it couldn't have been bad

  8. says:

    I hated this book I think it has a brilliant premise but beyond that it just fails on everything else Poor writing bland characters boring world and old jokes Nothing in this book really worked for me and it was made even worse to find out the book is one long setup for an old uninspired not that funny and completely obvious joke at the end of the bookI think besides the bad writing boring characters poor execution and boring obvious jokes I think the thing that gets me the most is the world I've had friends that read the book and loved it tell me that the book is so self aware and that is the excuse for the world being so horrible That's crap Just because a book is meta doesn't give it an excuse to be that bad A self aware book still needs to be interesting and have characters I actually care about The characters in this book are all unbelievable and one note Nothing interesting or likable about them and they never change once throughout the bookI've also had people scoff at me when I tell them the universe the author created is so unbelievable it's bad I admit that's a funny thing to complain about in a sci fi book but the world is just so bad it takes you out of the story It's like the author looked at Hitchiker's and thought it would be a good idea to turn it up to 11 see he can use old jokes so I can tooI think the best example of this would be to look at the Harry Potter world and this world Strange fantastical things happen in the world and characters always act in odd ways but all those things are somewhat grounded Nothing is grounded in Year Zero and everything just kind of happens which makes for an incredibly unbelievable book that constantly takes you out of the worldAll in all this is just a bad book It's not actually funny The jokes are old The characters aren't interesting It tries too hard to be self aware and current but everything just falls completely flat

  9. says:

    As I listened to the audiobook during a particularly long and grueling week of work this was a welcome and hilarious distraction from the technology grind Probably one of the funniest things I have come across in a while it has a wicked satire of popular music trendy television our array of must have electronic devices laws and lawyers and the improbabilities of space I probably can't describe the plot any better than any other reviewers but I will say that all of the music related easter eggs hidden in the text there are hundredsI completely lost count and all of the supporting characters the mysterious cat the girl next door the copyright breaking alien colony the pretentious cousin the seething medusa lawyer boss the vacuum cleaner were all uite hilarious in their own rights And the resolution to humanity's dilemma could probably send at least dozen conspiracy theorists to the geneticist uicker than Ozzy Osbourne can snarf down a Chipotle burrito I say read it Read it when want to laugh aloud in public and spew beverages from your nose onto strangers Long Live The Townshend Line

  10. says:

    Book Info Genre Science FictionReading Level AdultRecommended for Fans of humorous stories science fiction people who like musicDisclosure I received an ARC paperback copy of this book from the Vine program in exchange for an honest review All opinions are my ownSynopsis 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 newsThe 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 amusedNick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly and he’s an unlikely galaxy hopping hero He’s scared of heights He’s also about to be fired And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy But he does know a thing or two about copyright law And he’s packing a couple of other pencil pushing superpowers that could come in handySoon he’s on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner With Carly and Frampton as his guides Nick now has forty eight hours to save humanity while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him My Thoughts “ An alien advance party was suddenly nosing around my planet Worse they were lawyering up ” This book is hilarious Seriously if I started throwing in uotes this review could end up going on to pages – I ended up reading huge sections of it to my husband wherever we happened to be because it was so funny I couldn’t stand to keep it to myself and wanted to share it with whomever around me would listen It’s amazing I didn’t end up going downtown standing on the street and starting a performance as I read it truly A good example is a scene a bit past the half way point in which Nick and his neighbor Manda are in a cab view spoilerand are mistaken for top secret government agents hide spoiler

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