The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Three chapters of Good News from Outer Space were published independently as short stories in 1987 and 1988, but they were rewritten extensively and now contribute to the novels intricate plot, a satire about religion, politics, and the mass media in 1990s America. The main characters are Lucy, a lawyer; her husband, George, a reporter at a tabloid news television program; and Richard, Georges editor. Lucy is the most sympathetic character, though George learns kindness and consideration, and Richards manic personality has its own appeal.

George becomes interested in two sinister developments: the increasing popularity of televangelist Jimmy-Don Gilray and a growing mass hysteria that malicious aliens have invaded the country. He grows obsessed with the latter reports and even abandons Lucy to track down the aliens.

Lucy naturally is upset, and when Richard visits her, showing no concern for George but demanding to know what story he is pursuing, she recklessly attacks him. She then hides from the law by taking refuge with some feminist bioterrorists who plan to spread a plague that will make men mentally and emotionally more like women.

Richard, always reckless himself, decides to scoop Georges televangelism article by becoming a publicist for the Reverend Gilray. Gilray rightfully suspects Richard to be a spy but is intrigued enough to hire him. Ironically and amusingly, Richard himself becomes such a superstar in his...

(The entire section is 575 words.)