Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Milky Way Marmalade
Mike DiCerto
Zumaya Publications, 311 pages

Martine Jardin
Milky Way Marmalade
Mike DiCerto
Growing up in East Harlem, NY, and a storyteller from a young age, Mike DiCerto's literary aspirations were on one side buffeted by intolerance and on the other encouraged by the enlightened. DiCerto worked for 10 years in the film industry, directing numerous shorts, music videos, documentaries, and a feature film (No Exit), before seeking greater artistic freedom. Mike is fascinated with mysticism, yoga, ancient wisdom, meta and quantum physics, dream theory and most importantly, music -- especially Rock Music. He feels Rock has helped mold both his political cynicism and anti-violence philosophy as well as his child-like sense of wonder and love of what is rather cool about the Cosmos. He lives in New York City (though one site lists him as a Texan author) in a one bedroom apartment, with his wife Suzy, and Thumper and Nana, two cats.

Zumaya Publications
Homepage for Milky Way Marmalade
Author photo
Author interview
Author's humorous tale of the difficulties of self-promotion

BOOK REVIEWS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

Milky Way Marmalade is touted by some as the 21st century's answer to Douglas Adams, and while I must confess to having bogged down within the first couple of chapters of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I found Milky Way Marmalade entertaining and humourous in a lighthearted way -- it's not every day that all the thoughts, events, and matter in the universe, past, present or future are embodied in "a cube of orange gelatin the size of a throw pillow," or for that matter when acid-rock era music can save the universe from a music-hating tyrant.

Caffrey Quark, retired interplanetary hunter and purveyor of exotic meats is just innocently travelling through space when he comes across a drifting jukebox. Upon hearing the late 60s-early 70s rock music borne upon the strange black discs, he undergoes a spiritual epiphany and books a trip through time to mid-60s New York City, to live the music as a member of the progressive rock group Milky Way Marmalade. But an android with a few screws loose, reminiscent of Gallagher Plus' creation "Joe", the android's un-deceased creator, a dog-like counter-tyranny operative, and a hovering ship's-computer entity, not to mention Nefarious Wretch, a music-hating fascist-megalomaniac, have other plans. Quark is inexorably drawn into the effort to counteract Wretch's plans to wipe music from the face of the universe.

Milky Way Marmalade maintains a good pace, has plenty of action and narrow escapes, a coherent if wacky plot, and the seldom subtle humour isn't so pervasive as to detract from moving the story along. The fact that the bad guy wasn't destroyed by violence -- bombs and laser-cannons were futile -- but by understanding and addressing the psychological trauma that led to his hatred of music and wish to rid the universe of it, was also a pleasant surprise. Conflict needn't always be solved through violence, a message which many today could benefit from seriously considering.

On the other hand, while chapter headings are drawn from acid/progressive rock lyrics, factual information regarding rock groups/artists is presented and the author's obvious reverence of Led Zeppelin shines through, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of in-jokes (beyond the blatantly obvious) or era atmosphere surrounding the music which inspires the main character and which ultimately saves the universe. While having truly in-jokes risks leaving some people off the boat, as my reference to Gallagher Plus (above) may have done for some, one assumes that a portion of Mike DiCerto's intended audience lived through this musical era, and might have appreciated such references.

Certainly Milky Way Marmalade is entertaining and has no pretence of presenting anything terribly deep or controversial. Mike DiCerto's experience in producing screenplays allows him to maintain a strong and coherent undercarriage to the novel while allowing his imagination to drift into a chaotic, mystical and most of all humorous universe. Not quite as tangy as Seville, Milky Way Marmalade remains a cut above restaurant toast-packets.

Copyright © 2003 Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide