HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Spaceman Blues: A Love Song
Author: Brian Francis Slattery
Cover Illustrator: Peter Lutjen
Publisher: Tor Books, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1417788514 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1417788518 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0765316141 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0765316145 Paperback
Website(s): http://www.tor.com (publisher)
Language level: 5
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: no one
Rating: no stars—not recommended
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Science fiction (almost pornographic)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Slattery, Brian Francis. Spaceman Blues: A Love Song (Published in 2007 by Tor Books, a division of Tom Doherty Associates LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10010). When Manuel Rodrigo de Guzmán González disappears, Wendell Apogee, Manuel’s “lover,” decides to find out where he has gone and why. But in order to figure out what happened to Manuel, Wendell must contend with parties, cockfights, and chases; an underground city beneath New York whose people live in houses suspended from cavern ceilings; urban weirdos and alien assassins; immigrants, the black market, flight, riots, and religious cults. I picked this book up from the science fiction table in our library’s used book room because I enjoy good sci-fi. After I had finished about three-fourths of the story, I spent about six weeks in and out of the hospital recovering from Covid-19 during which time I couldn’t read. When I tried to pick up where I had left off, I couldn’t remember half of what I’d already read and was so confused by what I did remember that I finally gave it up. Here’s what I do recall.
The language was terrible with nearly every form of profanity (including both the terms “Jesus” and “Christ” frequently used as exclamations), cursing (including both the “h” and “d” words), and vulgarity (including both the “s” and “f” words) known to mankind in the English language. There are references to homosexuality of course, fornication, losing virginity, prostitution, sleeping with someone, and other forms of sexual activity. And instances of drunkenness and drug abuse are mentioned. The biggest complaint that I saw from other reviewers was the book’s “self-indulgent stream-of-consciousness wankery” with a style of writing that flows poorly having little visible plot and is not well organized. But I agree most with the reviewer who wrote, “Some people will call this science fiction. It’s not. It’s more like being trapped in an elevator with a circus. It’s certainly pretentious and self important. The problem is that it doesn’t actually make any sense. At all. If it was billed as a satire of brittle, modernist urban fiction I’d be kinder to it. But since it appears to be serious – I won’t.” Yea verily.