Synopses & Reviews
Only Uncle Wonder can save us from the death beam of...
THE DIABOLICAL LOBSTERS FROM OUTER SPACE!
New York City, 1953. The golden age of television, when most programs were broadcast live. Young Kurt Jastrow, a full-time TV writer and occasional actor, is about to have a close encounter of the apocalyptic kind.
Kurts most beloved character (and alter ego) is Uncle Wonder, an eccentric tinkerer whose pyrotechnically spectacular science experiments delight children across the nation. Uncle Wonder also has a more distant following: the inhabitants of Planet Qualimosa. When a pair of his extraterrestrial fans arrives to present him with an award, Kurt is naturally pleaseduntil it develops that, come next Sunday morning, these same aliens intend to perpetrate a massacre.
Will Kurt and his colleagues manage to convince the Qualimosans that Earth is essentially a secular and rationalist world? Or will the two million devotees of NBCs most popular religious program suffer unthinkable consequences for their TV-viewing tastes? Stay tuned for The Madonna and the Starship!
Praise for James Morrow
"The most provocative satiric voice in science fiction."
...widely regarded as the foremost satirist associated with the SF and Fantasy field.”
Morrow understands theology like a theologian and psychology like a psychologist, but he writes like an angel.”
Richard Elliott Friedman, author of The Hidden Book in the Bible
America's best satirist.”
James Gunn, editor of The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
On The Philosophers Apprentice
A tumultuous take on humanity, philosophy and ethics that is as hilarious as it is outlandish.”
On The Last Witchfinder
Intrepid, impeccably researched...”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
James Morrow's novel about early American witchcraft pulls off so many dazzling feats of literary magic that in a different century he'd have been burned at the stake.”
This impeccably researched, highly ambitious novel nine years in the writing is a triumph of historical fiction.”
On The Cats Pajamas
All the stories manifest Morrow's penchant for exploring the dark underbelly of technological promise and extracting quirky moral conundrums. Morrow's fans will revel, and first-time readers may find his grim humor making fans of them, too.”
Amply displays [Morrow's] ability to juggle absurdity, tragedy, irony and outrage ...”
Picked as an io9.com June Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Book
Jonathan Swift meets Buck Rogers in this hilarious send-up of the golden ages of television and pulp sci-fi. In mid-20th-century New York City, Kurt Jastrow, de facto head writer for NBC's Brock Barton and His Rocket Rangers, receives a transmission from the planet Qualimosa informing him that he has won the Zorningorg Prize for championing "reason in its eternal war with revelation." Then the lobster-like extraterrestrials get wind of "Sitting Shiva for Jesus," an upcoming episode of a Sunday-morning religious program written by Kurt's love interest Connie Osborne. The crustacean "logical positivists" propose to use their death ray to annihilate the show's two million devout, "irrational" viewers. Can Kurt and Connie refashion her script into a satirical, sacrilegious screed, forestalling mass slaughter? This delightful romp from Morrow (Shambling Towards Hiroshima) provides the breathless answer in short order; no need to wait for next week to tune in and find out.
"...breezy humor and provocative thinking... Don't miss the thrilling conclusion of James Morrow's The Madonna and The Starship!
"I am so besotted with James Morrow's talent that I cannot find a word big enough to deify it."
--Harlan Ellison, bestselling author of Shatterday
"The story has the tone of a manic tall tale, and is often just as hilarious...."
"To whatever extent the Qualimosians represent the spirit of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, the 'live and let live' moral of The Madonna and the Starship is closer to Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World. And what's more, it's funny!"
"a wild, over-the-top farce.... 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."
--SCI FI Magazine
". . . an enjoyable read--funny, thought provoking, and memorable."
"The Madonna and the Starship will have you laughing out loud while you think about what it means to be human.
--Looking For A Good Book
"Galaxy Quest, eat your heart out."
"The Madonna and the Starship is hysterically funny and thought-provoking at the same time."
"...reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut and the film Galaxy Quest.... this latest book by the inimitable James Morrow is rife with gonzo charm and buried barbs and offbeat parables galore."
"James Morrow is a master of couching heavy topics in irreverent, ridiculous scenarios, and The Madonna and the Starship deftly tackles atheism, science worship, and the '50s rationale of the benevolent alien visitor. . . . Transcendently weird and aggressively smart, this book is Morrow at his most barbed and satiric."
"This is a perfect summer read, light-hearted, but intelligent."
"The Madonna and the Starship gives a brisk spanking to fundamentalism on both sides of the religion vs. rationalism debate."
--See the Elephant
"The Madonna and the Starship is a very funny, very clever look at philosophy and faith, couched in a comfortable, loving homage to nostalgia for a simpler time. It's ridiculously blasphemous and completely absurd . . . and that's entirely the point."
--Beauty in Ruins
"...a work of wit and substance."
--New York Review of Science Fiction
Praise for James Morrow
"The most provocative satiric voice in science fiction."
"...widely regarded as the foremost satirist associated with the SF and Fantasy field."
"Morrow understands theology like a theologian and psychology like a psychologist, but he writes like an angel."
--Richard Elliott Friedman, author of The Hidden Book in the Bible
"America's best satirist."
--James Gunn, editor of The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
On The Philosopher's Apprentice
"A tumultuous take on humanity, philosophy and ethics that is as hilarious as it is outlandish."
On The Cat's Pajamas
"All the stories manifest Morrow's penchant for exploring the dark underbelly of technological promise and extracting quirky moral conundrums. Morrow's fans will revel, and first-time readers may find his grim humor making fans of them, too."
"Amply displays [Morrow's] ability to juggle absurdity, tragedy, irony and outrage ..."
In the golden era of sci-fi TV, why were alien crustaceans so darned literal? Beloved 1950's star Uncle Wonder must create the ultimately irreverent television show or crayfish from outer space will inflict their death-ray on an unsuspecting viewership.
It is New York City, 1953. The new medium of live television has been kind to young pulp-fiction writer Kurt Jastrow. Not only does he enjoy scripting a popular childrens space opera, Brock Barton and His Rocket Rangers, he also plays an eccentric tinkerer on Uncle Wonders Attic.
But Kurts world is thrown into disarray when two extraterrestrial crayfish-like creatures arrive at the studio. Certain that the audience for a religious program program represents a hive of irrationalist vermin,” the crustaceans scheme to vaporize its two million viewers. Kurt and his co-writer have a mere forty hours to write and produce an explicitly rational and utterly absurd script that will somehow deter the aliens from their diabolical scheme.
Who will save us from the lobsters from outer space?
It is New York City, 1953. Young pulp-fiction writer Kurt Jastrow's world is thrown into disarray when two extraterrestrial lobster-like creatures arrive at the NBC studios. Though rabid fans of Kurt's "scientific" alter-ego, loveable scientist Uncle Wonder, they also judge that the audience of a religious TV program is "a hive of irrationalist vermin." To Jastrow's horror, the crustaceans scheme to vaporize two million viewers when the next show goes on the air.
Now Jastrow and his co-conspirators have a mere forty hours to produce a script so explicitly rational and yet utterly absurd that it will somehow deter the aliens from their diabolical scheme....
About the Author
is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Towing Jehovah
, the Nebula Award-winning novella Shambling Towards Hiroshima
, and the New York Times
Notable Book Blameless in Abaddon
. His recent novels include The Last Witchfinder
, hailed by the Washington Post
as literary magic,” and The Philosophers Apprentice
, which received a rave review from Entertainment Weekly
. He is a master of the satiric and the surreal who has enjoyed comparison with Twain, Vonnegut, and Updike. Morrow lives in State College, Pennsylvania.