cover image Space Opera

Space Opera

Catherynne M. Valente, read by Heath Miller. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, 8 CDs, 10 hrs., $24.99 ISBN 978-1-6816-8916-6

Miller shines in his reading of Valente’s outrageous sci-fi adventure. The book opens as washed up glam-rocker Danesh Jalo of the band Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros learns that his band has been chosen to represent the planet Earth in an intergalactic music festival. The hitch is that the festival is quite literally a battle of the bands in which each group must compete for the future of their planet and species. Danesh and his band don’t have to win the competition necessarily, but if they place last, it will be the final riff for planet Earth. For the audio edition, Miller delivers a high-energy performance reminiscent of the radio work of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which originated as a BBC radio series in the 1970s. Whether he’s providing the voice of a seven-foot-tall ultramarine half-flamingo, half-anglerfish alien in a Southern accent or describing the potential perils of intergalactic sex, where an uncovered cough can lead to unexpected parenthood, Miller handles each outlandish character and situation with a fittingly over-the-top delivery. There is never a dull moment in the audio edition of this wacky novel. [em]A Saga paperback. (Apr.) [/em]