New York, 1953— On the set of kid-friendly television show Brock Barton and his Rocket Rangers, writer Kurt Jastrow is about to have an extraterrestrial encounter that will change the way he writes TV scripts.

“I shall call Yaxquid again, telling him to piggyback the death-ray onto the carrier wave of every NBC affiliate station in North America.”

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Fans of Jastrow’s scientific writing, blue lobster-like aliens visit earth, only to be horrified by the “illogical,” but devoted watchers of Not by Bread Alone,  a religious program.  They decide to exterminate this “cult of irrationality,” unless Kurt and his crush Connie (lead writer for the religious program), are able to write a new script— a biting satire that can convince the aliens the show is really very blasphemous and the world quite secular.

Stay tuned for The Madonna and the Starship!

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Paying homage to the world of science fiction pulp magazines and early Space Age TV, the references alone are enough to merit a place on a geeky bookshelf. Give me that Buck Rogers stuff!

Rating (4 stars)

I don’t read a lot of satire, but I made an exception because of the setting.

I loved it!

This is a perfect summer read, light-hearted, but intelligent. Sometimes the writing felt like fond teasing for an age since past rather than any driven denunciation. Even religious sensibilities are respected, despite what the synopsis might imply.

Despite the comedy, there were surprisingly poignant moments, especially themed around Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle.” But these stayed far away from cloying, and didn’t detract from the overall tone.

I’m not sure what I expected when I picked this book up, but whatever they were, those expectations were exceeded. Need something light for the beach? Pick up this fast read.