One of the field’s more mordant satirists here puts his more pessimistic side on the shelf and dispenses his usual irreverence toward religion in a wild, over-the-top farce. The setting is 1953 Manhattan. Young science fiction writer Kurt Jastrow has left the pulps for the more lucrative field of television, scripting BROCK BARTON AND HIS ROCKET RANGERS and hosting a science spinoff, UNCLE WONDER’S ATTIC. It turns out that both have earned him fans among the extraterrestrial Qualimosians, who give him a prize for his efforts: a fine honor that turns threatening when he realizes that the squid-like beings are at war with religion back on the home world, and will upon the inevitable discovery that humans possess the same thing will use a death ray on the viewers of the inspirational program that follows his. The problem: how to keep the aliens occupied while he and a growing army of allies write a script for a show that will not only comfort the alien visitors with blasphemy, but also forever stop them from bringing their conflict to Earth?
This is a slim novel, that once it starts, never stops racing, Complications abound, lunacy predominates, the aliens are kept distracted and the world is saved with a broadcast that surely would have made viewer heads explode in 1953.
Read the rest of Castro’s review in the May issue of Sci-Fi Magazine.
For more on The Madonna and the Starship, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover and design by Elizabeth Story.