Good News From Outer Space

First edition:
Tor Books, August 1989, 402 pp., $18.95, hardcover
ISBN 0-312-93178-6

Second edition:
Tor Books, August 1990, 402 pp., $4.95, mass market paperback
ISBN 0-812-50905-6

Third edition:
Orb Books, April 1995, 402 pp., $13.95, trade paperback
ISBN 0-312-89041-9

From the jacket copy...

The year is 1999. The millennium is approaching fast, and America is ready to believe that the World is indeed about to End. The economy is a disaster, despite a complete restructuring of the money supply. Nuclear war in the middle east has created a new, permanent gasoline shortage. Gene-splicing technology has given terrorists almost undetectable weapons. Poverty, drugs, disease are rampant in the cities, while the new Christian Fundamentalism has taken almost total control of the countryside. The Church is even running the prison system. The most popular on-line news service in America is the Hemisphere Confidential Report, a computer network descendant of today's supermarket tabloids.

George Eberhart is HCR's top reporter and writer--once a legitmate newsman, the crumbling economy has forced him into writing "news" that is little more than fiction. But now George is onto something, something real. He has perceived a pattern in the sensationalist stories he reports, a pattern that has led him to believe that the stories of alien invasion may be something more than hysteria.

The Reverend Jimmy-Don Gilray is a TV evangelist, whose Zion Tribulation Hour brings in millions of dollars and converts every day. His message is simple: on the stroke of midnight, December 31, 1999, God will send his messengers to Earth in a spaceship, and the Day of Judgement will dawn. There is nothing that The Rev wants less than some reporter proving that the Aliens are already here.

And meanwhile, all over America, strange beings who look human are doing totally inexplicable things--committing acts which seem like meaningless cruelty or kindness to their victims.

Quotes from reviews...

"A black comedy, it tells the story of the last days of this century. It combines dazzling extrapolation, mystery, wild adventure, satire and menace in a road book that is well on its way to becoming a cult classic, the first and perhaps the best of the millennial novels."

--James Patrick Kelly, author of Look Into the Sun

"THE END OF THE WORLD! Or else a new beginning. Read Kessel's wonderful novel of the American apocalypse, and find out for yourself. YOU WILL BE TRANSFORMED!"

--Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Red Mars

"John Kessel testifies with a brilliantly comic flair to the appalling resolution of the Age of Decay. Good News From Outer Space is a wonderful and frightening book."

--Lucius Shepard, author of The Golden

"Social commentary is too tame a term for Kessel's caustic, cautionary, and endlessly entertaining examination of the modern human condition. Kessel's writing, which recalls the best of such cutting-edge authors as Norman Spinrad and Philip K. Dick, while retaining its own acidic elegance of style, is nothing less than brilliant."

--Austin American-Statesman

"The genius of the novel is that Kessel successfully walks the fine line between mordant farce and psychological realism...Real people moving through an American reality that gets more and more surreal..."

--Norman Spinrad, author of Agent of Chaos

"A very funny book; Kessel is a deft parodist, and his wacky Weekly World News world is full of clever takeoffs...But even the zaniest stuff has barbs underneath...on one level it is also a very serious book."

--The New York Review of Science Fiction

"Simply the best science fiction novel of the year."

--New York Daily News

"Good News From Outer Space has got everything--it's funny, moving, intelligent and scary. Reading this novel is like watching Bugs Bunny, while listening to Beethoven's Fifth, with a voice-over by Kafka. For social commentary, religious and philosophical insight, and plenty of har-de-har-har, tune in."

--Lee Smith, author of Family Linen

"Kessel's darkly comic vision is whackily funny, brilliantly cruel, and joltingly powerful--like Silly Putty with high-tech plastic explosive. This book does things I didn't believe were possible."

--Bruce Sterling, author of Islands in the Net

"Good News From Outer Space resembles Robert Coover's The Public Burning in its pacing, ranging over a wide canvas and hundreds of pages as it counts inexorably down to a scheduled apocalypse."

--The Washington Post

"Kessel is a superb satirist with a keen eye for detailing the human spirit. What begins as a mad romp, with George in pursuit of the Alien, evolves into what you might get if Philip K. Dick had written a frantic, paranoiac's version of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, taking potshots at everything from Zionist Fundamentalism to Southern regional literature on its way to the Second Coming."

--Philadelphia Inquirer

Good News From Outer Space is copyright © 1989 by John Kessel.