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Spaceman Blues: A Love Song [Kindle Edition]

Brian Francis Slattery
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.99
Kindle Price: $7.59
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Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

When Manuel Rodrigo de Guzmán González disappears, Wendell Apogee 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 whose people live in houses suspended from cavern ceilings; urban weirdos and alien assassins; immigrants, the black market, flight, riots, and religious cults.
Painted in browns and grays and sparked by sudden fires, Spaceman Blues is a literary retro-pulp science-fiction-mystery-superhero novel, the debut of a true voice of the future, and a cult classic in the making.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Editor/writer/musician Slattery's chaotic debut takes readers on a headlong trip to the end of the world. Manuel González, a legendary New York City party animal, has disappeared and his apartment has exploded, leaving behind only the memories of his thousands of friends and enemies. His lover, Wendell Apogee, is determined to find out what happened. So are police inspectors Herman Trout and Lenny Salmon, who uncover a web of bizarre characters, from Lucas Henderson, former Lunar Temple cult member, and Arturo El Flaco Domínguez, González's worst enemy, to a washed-up '80s pop band the Marsupials. As Wendell tracks González through Darktown, the place where you find lost things, the prophecies of the apocalyptic Church of Panic begin coming true: aliens threaten to invade Earth, and Wendell must become superhero Captain Spaceman and save the planet. The story itself doesn't make much sense, but Slattery has a grand time showing off the colorful underground culture of cockfights, raves and endless intoxication that keeps things moving in his hallucinatory vision of New York. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Manuel Rodrigo de Guzmán González disappears, his apartment is consumed by an explosion, and most of the city mourns as though he's dead. The police aren't convinced, and after they question Wendell Apogee, Wendell decides to find out for himself. He doesn't foresee the madhouse things he then proceeds to do—asking questions during a cockfight that gets raided, finding an apocalyptic cult based on valid scientific evidence, going to an underground city in which the best bar is a train car hung from a cavern ceiling. He is changed forever. When aliens come for him wielding weapons from Manuel's apartment, Wendell has to shake up his ordinary life and become someone able to fight such seemingly unstoppable foes. And, wouldn't you know it, the aliens are just forerunners of something bigger and far more devastating than anyone suspected—anyone, that is, except a few who stumbled on certain evidence and created an apocalyptic cult. Spaceman Blues is a mad ride related by a pulp sensibility filtered through the nonstop freneticism of New York's subcultures, real and imagined. Schroeder, Regina

Product Details

  • File Size: 289 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0765316145
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043M6IW0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,395 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Ride of Words March 16, 2008
An apartment explodes, and, supposedly, Manuel González is blown to smithereens along with it. Or is he? Brian Francis Slattery's debut novel, "Spaceman Blues: A Love Song," is an explosion of words, all in bright sparks, in all directions, a flaming sky of beautiful chaos. Even when I had trouble following this surreal story, I loved reading it. It almost didn't have to make sense. Sometimes the joy of literary paint splashing on walls, Pollack if this were visual, Monk if this were musical, is enough to enthrall the audience:

"He could find another man, sweet and kind; they could retire to a house upstate with flowing windows, where the roads are framed in green and there are only the assured rhythms of farm equipment, occasional guests, the piling and melting of snow, mud in the spring, angry summers mollified by shade and wind. He could let this rage cut wrinkles into him and dissipate. He could let solace in.

"But he is here now. Subways mumble above his head, the tugboat shudders on its cables. Children swing from spindly walkways, singing songs over the thrum of music and machinery. Every second is another escape from death: it swings by, brushes your clothes, and then wheels around, cheated and livid, and you plant your feet on the crumbling rock, curl your hands into fists. Come and get me." (pg. 111)

As authorities and Wendell Apogee, González's gay lover, track him through Darktown, an underlayer of New York that serves as the dryer to lost socks, the scenes become ever more surreal, wheeling in every direction, mixing with alien life (forms and style), swimming in apocalyptic madness toward the final days on earth. No matter if you lose track of this wild path. Enjoy the dizzy ride.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spaceman Blues - WOW March 29, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are many good reviews for this book already - they helped me decide to buy this book in the first place. Check them out. The best praise I can personally give this book (that hasn't already been said) is this: After reading Spaceman Blues I bought two more hard back copies and gave them to my friends.

This book is good stuff and if it signals a trend in the genre then I am officially stoked about our reading futures.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read September 3, 2007
"Pynchonesque" was an accurate preview; this is a multi-cultural Pynchon brought to the sci-fi set. New Yorkers will recognize the urban landscape. But most of all, this is gripping, dazzling, and fun. Clearly, the one previous review just "didn't get it", although I'd grant that he's right that a comparison with Gibson is not the right one. One more key thing: if you're a fan of the music scene, that is captured effectively here, too.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
_Spaceman Blues _ is a wonderful, rollicking roller coaster of a novel that swings and sings. Brian Slattery's prose style enlivens every line, with sentences that spill into each other in a kaleidoscope of people, places and passions. His writing resembles a version of Thomas Pynchon (author of _Gravity's Rainbow_ and _V.) with his coruscating run-on sentences, only a lot more whimsically upbeat (and less obscure), mixed with Chuck Palahniuk's _Fight Club_. Slattery moves us into and out of character's histories, within and without geographic locations and back and forth in time. The influence of Slattery's musical background is evident; music and happy gatherings of people are spread throughout the novel. His unusual characters with their wild backgrounds wander in and out of fantastic situations: Wendell Apogee searches desperately for his well-connected, dangerously charismatic, mysteriously missing partner Manuel Rodrigo de Guzman Gonzalez; Lucas Henderson, unemotional survivor of a childhood cult, hunts down another: the "Church of Panic"; Diane, loved by four short Ecuadorian soccer-playing Kennedy Airport maintenance men, seeks after the heart of Lucas; Robert Lord Townshend Jr., heir to family fortunes, in turn courts Ma Xioa Ling, beautiful refugee from China, who ignores his attentions; Detectives Salmon and Trout's investigation of Gonzalez's disappearance sends them after Wendell and Masoud, a former Lebanese jet pilot who deals with memories of abandoning his brother by teaming up with Wendell to keep him safe from the authorities and much, much worse. And the Pan-Galactic Groove Squad tumbles through windows and into the streets to set people dancing with their rousing music, while ominous intimations of impending doom gather. Never has an apocalyptic vision been so joyful. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A literary casserole August 13, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I suppose if you took a bunch of fictional genres and threw them in a blender, you might get something like Brian Francis Slattery's Spaceman Blues, an interesting if imperfect mix of science fiction, mystery, and superhero fiction, with a bit of apocalyptic fiction and romance thrown in for flavor.

The plot focuses around Manuel Rodrigo de Guzman Gonzalez, who I kept picturing as being a bit like the World's Most Interesting Man from those Dos Equis commercials. At the beginning of the novel, Manuel has disappeared, and actually the reader will mostly learn what Manuel is like through flashbacks and inferences. Manuel was a man with his finger in many pies and who touched many lives, none more so than Wendell Apogee.

"Apogee" is an appropriate surname for Wendell as his whole life orbits around Manuel, and without his center of gravity, he's been cast adrift. While others have been able to move on, Wendell can't, and goes on a quest to find his one-time lover. In the process, he will visit strange people and go to exotic places, most particularly another whole city that exists beneath New York. In the process, he will be transformed into the heroic Captain Spaceman, the only hope against the viciously super-powered Four Horsemen. It all somehow ties into aliens and a doomsday cult.

Amazingly, Slattery is able to tie all the loose ends together. Spaceman Blues is a wild ride, one that is fun and often funny, but one that may be a bit more sensation than real substance. With his distinctive style, off-beat characters and weird situations (also seen in his second novel, Liberation), Slattery has composed a unique novel, one that is enjoyable as much for its oddness as actual writing skill.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing
The first few pages of this book made one of the best and most memorable intros I have ever read.
Published 7 months ago by Matthew Janes
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing literary fiction with a science fiction bent
This book is my definition of a "beach read"; plenty of fantastical elements and a really quick pace that pulls you into the protagonist's quest for answers.
Published 16 months ago by Kate the Great
5.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction Set Mostly in...
Brian Francis Slattery introduces readers to a Brooklyn, New York unlike any other in his impressive debut novel "Spaceman Blues: A Love Song"; a most beguiling blend of comic book... Read more
Published on June 30, 2012 by John Kwok
1.0 out of 5 stars How can you care so little about characters?
I didn't care about any of the characters in this novel. Of course, more time was spent reading about various parties that were going on and how people were drinking/getting... Read more
Published on May 10, 2010 by Perkele
2.0 out of 5 stars This author may have potential--but not even close yet.
This book owes a ton to Thomas Pynchon--a rambling style, occult/underground conspiracies, wordplay. Read more
Published on January 14, 2009 by Brendan Frost
1.0 out of 5 stars He certainly writes like a spaceman
As a lifelong avid reader of scifi, I have encountered many styles. This book is in the "stream of consciousness" style and flows poorly with little visible plot and is not well... Read more
Published on January 6, 2009 by DocAuthor
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
It's not often that one comes in contact with a truly literary-style piece of science fiction with superheroes, trench coat aliens, and underground floating cities, let alone a... Read more
Published on December 22, 2008 by S. Duke
5.0 out of 5 stars At last!
I've read Kurt Vonnegut for years always wanting to read an actual Kilgore Trout book (not Venus on the half shell). This is that book, but only better. Read more
Published on November 14, 2007 by C. Markley
5.0 out of 5 stars Drugs, aliens, parties, superheroes, New York, good writing, and a...
I rarely lend books to friends to read (mostly cuz I never get them back), however this book was definitely lend-worthy. Read more
Published on September 6, 2007 by Aj Primo
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More About the Author

Brian Francis Slattery is the author of Spaceman Blues, Liberation, and Lost Everything, as well as a handful of short stories. He edits public-policy publications by day and is a musician by night; he is also an editor of the New Haven Review. He lives just outside of New Haven, CT with his family.

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