Good News From Outer Space
Tor Books, August 1989, 402 pp., $18.95,
Tor Books, August 1990, 402 pp., $4.95,
mass market paperback
Orb Books, April 1995, 402 pp., $13.95,
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
--James Patrick Kelly, author of Look Into
"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."
"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
--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
--Bruce Sterling, author of Islands in
"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
--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."
Good News From Outer Space is copyright
© 1989 by John Kessel.