Alex Holden (alex_holden) wrote,
Alex Holden

Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede

Thanks for the recent comedy SF recommendations. I've ordered several of the books that were recommended.

I finished Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede by Bradley Denton at lunch today (bought before I asked for more recommendations). What a great book - I found it hard to put down. Cory Doctorow says this book is the reason he wears Buddy Holly style glasses, and I can sort of see the attraction (though I don't wear glasses myself ;). It was one of the most enjoyable reads I've had for quite a while, and it won the 1992 Campell award for Best Novel, yet tragically it seems to be out of print (though used copies aren't difficult to find).

It's a surreal but clever SF comedy set in 1989 about a guy called Oliver Vale who was conceived at the moment of Buddy Holly's death and brought up by a single mother who was obsessed with rock and roll. On the thirtieth anniversary of his death, Buddy Holly is resurrected by ancient non-corporeal beings from Atlantis and imprisoned in a bubble on Ganymede. A live broadcast from the bubble intercepts all the TV channels on Earth, and in-between songs, Holly reads out Oliver's name and address and tells people to go to him for assistance. Oliver soon finds himself riding around America on his classic Ariel motorbike pursued by his psychiatrist, his next door neighbours' cyborg dog, a mad woman who detests all bikers, an elderly government assassin, the followers of a TV evangelist who says Oliver is the agent of Satan, and thousands of couch-potatoes angry at their favourite shows being replaced by a non-stop Buddy Holly concert. I particularly loved the cyborg Doberman character, who bears many similarities to Sergeant Chip, the protagonist in Denton's excellent short story of the same name.
Tags: reading

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