Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede, one of the all-time great American comedy sf novels, will be a movie

Holy CRAP this is good news: Bradley Denton's incredible comic sf novel Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede is being made into a movie directed and written by Robert Rugan.

Buddy Holly is the story of Oliver Vale, whose mother was obsessed with Buddy Holly, and who one day discovers that Buddy Holly is on the TV, on every TV, on every station, with a guitar around his neck, standing in a bubble on the surface of Ganymede, disoriented, musical, and periodically reading out a sign saying that further information is available from Oliver, and supplying his home address.

The entire world chases Oliver at this point: cops, radio cops, televangelists and their flocks, aliens -- you name it. And Oliver begins a road-trip across America to Lubbock, Texas, there to exhume Buddy Holly's corpse and verify for himself that the famous musician is not on a distant, airless moon.

When this book came out, I was a bookseller at Bakka in Toronto, the venerable science fiction bookstore. If you were a science fiction reader in Toronto in those days, it's a damned good bet I sold you a copy of it. I hand-sold about 750 copies of that book, and would have sold more. Will sell more.

Bradley Denton is a stone comic genius and no two of his books are alike, but this is the one I love -- I worship -- as the apotheosis of a certain kind of gonzo, brilliant, marvellous thing that is to American science fiction comedy what Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers' series is to British sf comedy.

To see it come back and to the big screen, too -- marvellous. Congrats, Brad, and well-deserved.

Jon Heder to star in 'Buddy Holly' (via IO9)

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  1. Holy crap indeed. I love that novel! I re-read it every few years, although I’ve never really been able to explain why I like it so much.

  2. I picked that up a few years back and it sat in the to-read stack for ages before I finally got to it last year. It’s very good, I hope the movie doesn’t screw it up.

  3. I hand-sold about 750 copies of that book, and would have sold more. Will sell more.

    You apparently didn’t sell enough to keep it from going out of print, unfortunately. Habent sua fata libelli. Time for an NYRB edition with you writing the introduction?

  4. I’ve only vaguely heard of this book before, so this gives me an interesting choice. Should I wait at least a year to see the movie first, and then read the book which is almost certain to be better, or read the book now and be disappointed later?

  5. I’m definitely going to give this a read.

    The author’s website has the book in PDF format available freely.

  6. Uncle Max:

    Read the book first! The main note of this book is certainly a kind of gonzo, absurdist comedy, as Cory says. But it’s deeply and surprisingly poignant as well, and it’s richly evocative throughout. With this in mind, you’ll want to first read it tabula rasa, your mind uncluttered with whatever images Hollywood comes up with.

    I’ll certainly see the movie, but the best thing about this news for me is that the book is bound to get more recognition/readership. A lot of the science fiction people I know haven’t heard of it / haven’t read it.

  7. Chances are, you sold me the copy I have… I bought many books from Bakka and frequently bought books based on the recommendations of the staff (especially the mini reviews stuck to the shelves).

    Thanks!

  8. I think Cory was the one that turned me on to this book, in a post here a few years ago. Be interesting to see if they mess with it.

  9. Very excited about this. The book was a weird joy to read. Best part being that the film will likely kickstart a fresh run of printing for the book.

  10. “Bradley Denton is a stone comic genius and no two of his books are alike, but this is the one I love — I worship — as the apotheosis of a certain kind of gonzo, brilliant, marvellous thing that is to American science fiction comedy what Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers’ series is to British sf comedy.”

    Yeah, pretty much right on all counts there – Denton’s just an astounding guy and this is REALLY sharp writing. (Plus, rock and roll as personal theology resonates like a motherfucker to me.)

    I’m really, REALLY looking forward to next year’s ApolloCon now.

  11. thanks for the post, and to the author for the book itself and providing it free online.

    i just stayed up all night and finished it. last time i did that was when i downloaded ‘little brother’ (picked up a hardback later). and now i have two new writers.

  12. 1.66 years after Cory kindly posted this announcement, the “Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well Development Teaser” is finally online. Produced by Molly Mayeux for Dahlia Street Films, written & directed by Robert Rugan, and starring Jon Heder as Oliver Vale:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmQpZ7iYDo4

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