Synopses & Reviews
The night before the turn of the millennium, a tour bus bound for a Louisiana casino is suddenly beamed inside a spaceship hovering high above the Earth's surface. As its twelve passengers emerge nervously from the vehicle, they come face-to-face with the being who has brought them aboard, a sixteen-fingered zoot-suited alien named Desi.
Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, Desi will seek their help as he readies himself for the final phase of the mysterious mission he has traveled across the galaxies to fulfill. For decades, Desi has patiently studied the curious primary species of our planet, absorbing human culture from afar and occasionally bringing a chosen few aboard his ship to read their thoughts and experience their emotions with his telepathic powers. Over time, he has come to love Earth's confusing, fascinating, and frustrating inhabitants and even taken a human wife, a gregarious former hairdresser from Alabama named Edna Bradshaw.
Now, to complete his mission, Desi must position his ship in full and irrefutable view of the people of Earth and descend to the planet's surface at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
"It is a testament to Butler's gifts as a writer that he has fashioned from such cartoonish materials a novel of surprising poignance." New York Times
"A charming novel brimming with love." Library Journal
"There are three things about this planet which are too wonderful for me. Make that four things. The way of dreams in the mind; the way of tears in the eye; the way of words in the mouth; and the way of my wife Edna Bradshaw when she acts like a cat and love-nibbles me into her arms." This is the voice of Desi, the hero of Robert Olen Butler's novel Mr. Spaceman, who has kept a quiet vigil above the Earth for decades while studying the confusing, fascinating, and frustrating primary species of our planet, occasionally venturing to the planet's surface to hear their thoughts and experience their memories using his empathic powers. Now, on December 31, 2000, he prepares for the final phase of his mysterious mission, which begins when he beams a tour bus bound for a Louisiana casino aboard his ship. The twelve passengers will be the last humans whose lives he will experience before he positions his spaceship in full and irrefutable view of the people of Earth, and descend to the planet's surface to proclaim his presence to all of humanity at the turn of the millennium. Poignant, funny, and charming, Mr. Spaceman is filled with unexpected twists and turns, a tribute to the powers of love and understanding and the essence of what it means to be human.
About the Author
Butler is the Francis Eppes Professor of English, holding the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing, at Florida State University.