Popsugar Reading challenge category: A book about a band or musical group
Book: Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente
This is my only reread for the year, and one of my favorite books. Earth has been contacted by the rest of the galaxy's known species, who are going to apply their usual test to determine whether Earth's inhabitants are sentient. A band from Earth must participate in the Megagalactic Grand Prix, a Eurovision-like music contest. If the new participant comes in last (or is prevented by schemers from performing), their entire species will be vaporized.
Earth's hopes now hang on Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros. Two of them are washed-up glampunk rockers, and the third is dead. Somehow they have to impress an audience that includes time-traveling red pandas, extremely cultured zombie viruses, sentient gases named Ursula, and artificial intelligence that manifests in the form of Clippy, the Microsoft paper clip. And their competitors are not playing fair.
Hilarious and truly original. An incredible setup that leads to a mind-blowing payoff at the end. And remember: in space, everyone can hear you sing.