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Spaceman Blues: A Love Song by [Slattery, Brian Francis]
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Spaceman Blues: A Love Song Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 228 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 518 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (August 7, 2007)
  • Publication Date: August 7, 2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043M6IW0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,177,910 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Of all the things that I'm thankful for, one of the ones at the top of my list happens to be that I picked this up in a used bookstore for $2. Unfortunately, that was about $1.50 more than it's actually worth.

If you're a fan of self-indulgent stream-of-consciousness wankery, you'll likely enjoy this novel. If, on the other hand, you expect things from a work of fiction such as a cohesive storyline, engaging characters, and a story that draws you in, you may find it to be something of a disappointment.

Ultimately, this book is perfect for hipsters: it lacks substance and looks slightly retro, but fundamentally has no clue as to what makes the real thing great. Recommended for anyone looking to capitalise on its relative obscurity with the other skinny-jeaned patrons down at the local oh-so-indie-it-hurts coffee house, but actual fans of well-written science fiction will likely want to look elsewhere.
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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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By S. Duke on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
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 literary-style piece of science fiction that works. Slattery's Spaceman Blues is a stunning, if not astonishing piece of fiction; the kind of book you want to read over and over, because each time you do you'll find something new that you missed before; the kind of book that reigns in the pulpy goodness of the Golden Age of science fiction and comics with a style that will draw in readers of Thomas Pynchon and E. L. Doctorow (in my opinion and based upon a limited exposure to those writers).

Spaceman Blues takes off with the disappearance of Manuel Rodrigo de Guzman Gonzalez, the boyfriend of Wendell Apogee. Wendell isn't willing to accept that Manuel is simply dead and sets out to find out what happened. But in doing so he finds himself chased by alien assassins and the unexpected hero to an underground society stricken with fear by the destructive force of beings that have more in store for the Earth than they are letting on.

With a diverse cast, each with their own stories and connections, Spaceman Blues is a rather unusual and exciting read. Every sentence seems packed with important information and Slattery's style manages to wander into the lives of his unique characters while still pushing the story forward; that wandering rarely harms the overall integrity of the story.
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