You say you want your comedy sci-fi leavened with a massive dose of copyright law? Oh, do I have a book for you.
Year Zero: A Novel tells us what happens when alien societies discover Earth music; specifically the theme to “Welcome Back, Kotter”. Apparently we’re the only species in the known universe who can make decent music. Soon everyone in the universe (or at least those parts that matter), are pirating Earth music, with the minor side effect that under their laws they now owe Earth something like eleventy billion dollars, which exceeds the entire wealth of the universe. That sort of money causes all sorts of issues, and it isn’t long before one group is formulating a plan to destroy the Earth, and thus eliminate the debt.
Into this comes Nick Carter. No, not that Nick Carter. This one is a lawyer who specializes in copyright law. It’s up to him, his neighbor and a couple lip-synching aliens to put a stop to the fiendish plans of an alien parrot and a sentient vacuum cleaner.
Yes, it’s that kind of book.
For what it is, it’s decent enough. Reid is no Douglas Adams, despite what I assume are his publisher’s efforts to make us think that he is. He’s got a decent sense of humor and though I didn’t laugh out loud at any point in the book, I did chuckle a bit. The idea of alien societies getting so obsessed with Earth music is entertaining, and some of the ways they use it, like having an element named vanhaylium, is pretty funny.
Ultimately, this is decent summer-time reading fare, and I’m sure that anyone who likes copyright laws will find this to be an interesting read. For the rest of us, eh. It’s enjoyable enough.