From beloved Cuban science fiction author Yoss comes a bitingly funny space-opera homage to Raymond Chandler, about a positronic robot detective on the hunt for some extra-dangerous extraterrestrial criminals.
On the intergalactic trading station William S. Burroughs, profit is king and aliens are the kingmakers. Earthlings have bowed to their superior power and weaponry, though the aliens—praying-mantis-like Grodos with pheromonal speech and gargantuan Collosaurs with a limited sense of humor—kindly allow them to do business through properly controlled channels.
That's where our hero comes in, name of Raymond. As part of the android police force, this positronic robot detective navigates both worlds, human and alien, keeping order and evaporating wrongdoers. But nothing in his centuries of experience prepares him for Makrow 34, a fugitive Cetian perp with psi powers. Meaning he can alter the shape of the Gaussian bell curve of statistical probability—making it rain indoors, say, or causing a would-be captor to shoot himself in the face. Raymond will need all his training—and all his careful study of Chandler's hardbitten cops—to outmaneuver his quarry.
As he did in his brilliantly funny and sharp science-fiction satires A Planet for Rent, Super Extra Grande, and Condomnauts, Yoss makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar in Red Dust, giving us an unforgettable half-human hero and a richly imagined universe where the bad guys are above the laws of physics.
PRAISE FOR A PLANET FOR RENT
"A Planet for Rent is the English-language debut of Yoss, one of Cuba's most lauded writers of science fiction. Translated by David Frye, these linked stories craft a picture of a dystopian future: Aliens called xenoids have invaded planet Earth, and people are looking to flee the economically and socially bankrupt remains of human civilization. Yoss' smart and entertaining novel tackles themes like prostitution, immigration and political corruption. Ultimately, it serves as an empathetic yet impassioned metaphor for modern-day Cuba, where the struggle for power has complicated every facet of society."
—Juan Vidal, NPR, Best Books of 2015
"In prose that is direct, sarcastic, sexual and often violent, A Planet for Rent criticizes Cuban reality in thinly veiled terms. Cuban defectors leave the country not on rafts but on 'unlawful space launches'; prostitutes are 'social workers'; foreigners are 'xenoids'; and Cuba is a "planet whose inhabitants have stopped believing in the future." The book is particularly critical of the government-run tourism industry of the '90s, which welcomed and protected tourists—often at the expense of Cubans—and whose legacy can still be felt today."
—Jonathan Wolfe, The New York Times
"Some of the best sci-fi written anywhere since the 1970s.... A Planet for Rent, like its author, a bandana-wearing, muscly roquero, is completely sui generis: riotously funny, scathing, perceptive, and yet also heart-wrenchingly compassionate.... Instantly appealing."
—André Naffis-Sahely, The Nation
"This hilarious and imaginative novel by Cuba's premiere science-fiction writer gets my vote for most overlooked novel of the year. Yoss's book imagines a world where Earth is run as a tourist destination by capitalist aliens who have little regard for the planet or its inhabitants. A Planet for Rent is a perfect SF satire for our era of massive inequality and seemingly unchecked environmental destruction."...