Brandon Barker, 2006 - 268 pages
In 1992 NASA planet watchers discovered alien life in a nearby galaxy. Immediately they conducted a secret experiment called Operation EMU. Francine Dean, aspiring B-movie actress, saw it as a way to avoid tax evasion charges, and maybe a career boost. Legendary schlock director Enoch Jeffries signed on to avoid felony charges from his guerilla-style film shoots. And astronauts Nimrod T. Ashby, Erasmus J.T. Clark and T.W. Tongue faced the opportunity of a lifetime. At Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, the three astronauts underwent intense training, were sedated in a spacecraft and -- after eight months in space -- woke on an alien planet complete with cave people, woolly mammoths and a mind-boggling prehistoric society. Or, did they? Editorial Reviews Sharp, fierce, and funny, Operation EMU is a wicked satire about the space program, low-budget filmmaking, and why Americans love to be told what to believe. Brandon Barker's first novel doesn't stop surprising or delighting. Imagine NASA run by pro wrestling's Vince McMahon -- or better yet, start reading this book. -- Douglas E. Winter, author of Run (Knopf). I loved Operation EMU -- very, very funny and wicked at the same time, with nice digs at popular/unpopular culture. I think it could be, aside from the delightful novel it already is, a very amusing movie. -- Judy Bachrach, author of Tina and Harry Come to America: Tina Brown, Harry Evans, and the Uses of Power (Free Press). Operation EMU is original, fresh, smart, funny, touching, and compulsively readable. Brandon Barker's take on man's first contact with life on another planet -- one suspiciously like our own in the age of the cave men -- could be a collaborationbetween Calvin Trillin and Philip K. Dick; but in the end, this fascinating novel is all Barker, a major new talent with a unique voice and a shrewd and compassionate eye on the human condition. -- Steven Spruill, author of Before I Wake (St. Martin's Press), Painkiller (St. Martin's Press) and Sleeper (Berkley).
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