Year Zero by Rob Reid
There are many, many, many Refined Beings in the universe. They are skilled at all the arts that humankind knows of, and many more we’re just not cool enough to have discovered yet. But there is one thing we can do much, much, MUCH better than any alien. (UnRefined Beings as we are.) We have rhythm and we can carry a tune. Our music is the best music in the universe. Nothing has been the same since the Kotter Moment; the moment alien life managed to get into our television frequency in the 70s and heard the theme song from “Welcome Back Kotter.” (You can’t get the Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Backout of your head now can you?) Ever since then the universe has been obsessed with our music and has downloaded everything we’ve got. Unfortunately for the universe they believe that the laws of the creative entity formulate the distribution and payment for their art. In other words every being in the universe owes humankind $150,000 per song (that’s the price for illegally downloading music based on current copyright law) and they have each got a copy of every song ever recorded… The universe is facing bankruptcy on a MAJOR scale. That’s why some aliens figure they are better off just blowing us up.
I have to admit I wasn’t sure about this one. But it grew on me. And there are footnotes – I have a weakness for fiction with footnotes. It is funny, it helps to know a bit about late 70s pop culture, and for a short giggling diversion it is a good choice.