Milky Way Marmalade Mike DiCerto

Milky Way Marmalade

First Published 2003
??? Pages

Available from the publisher
Zumaya Publications
Zumaya Publications
Date Read
January 2003

Caffrey Quark is an exotic meat collector. That is, he travels all around the galaxy hunting down some of the rarest species to sell to some unbelievably rich person who has nothing better to do than attempt to eat every delicacy known to man - never mind the danger or illegality involved in catching and killing the animal the meat originally formed part of.

He is also a man raised despising music, for all the music he has ever heard was in the form of the worst imaginable advertisement jingles. One day, however, he discovers some space junk and hauls aboard a still functioning juke box, complete with some classic rock records.

This changes the direction of Quark Caffrey's life. He sells his ship, must to the chagrin of Angie, the onboard computer who is in love with him, and travels back in time to 20th Century East Village, New York to pursue a career as a rock musician.

Poe 33 is an android, the 33rd bearing the name created by Quark's uncle Greppledick. He was created to become Portsmith to the wisest substance in the universe, L'Orange - "a cube of orange colored gelatin the size of an average throw pillow".

Unfortunately Poe 33 has been separated from L'Orange and needs help to find it, and the only person the android feels can help him is Caffrey Quark. Although initially reluctant to leave his dream of Rock Stardom behind, he changes his mind when his band-mates are kidnapped by member of O.D.O.R. (The Order Determined to Overthrow Reality) and sets off with the android, his newly reacquired sentient (and jealous) ship, and Yin, a small highland terrier.

However when Yin turns out to be a Frezenese Bopple (an alien who just so happens to resemble a small canine) who is working for O.T.H.E.R. (The Order to Harmonise Eternal Reality) life starts to get a little weird.

The author certainly seems to have a passion for music, for as well as forming a significant part of the plot of this novel each chapter is prefixed with a quote from a classic rock track from bands such as The Who, Yes, The Rolling Stones or Black Sabbath. However, this is not overdone, and certainly shouldn't put anyone off reading this book.

Mr. DiCerto brings together a rather unusual bunch of characters. Caffrey just wants the universe to leave him alone, he is the hero of the piece most reluctantly. Poe 33 as a damaged android is unpredictable and his continuous running diagnostic routines have a habit of causing him to spit out components, unfortunately ones that he does actual need.

Angie frequently describes Caffrey in some of the most sickly treacly terms of affection, they are actually embarrassingly too sweet. And as for Yin, he reminds me of the small dog alien in "Men In Black" and does have the knack of making me smile.

To give you a flavour of the rest of this book you need look no further than the opening line of the introduction "The Universe is not only stranger than you can imagine, It secretly dresses in studded-leather bunny pajamas". A classic mental picture if ever there was one!

This is an odd read to say the least. If you read and enjoyed Douglas Adams but felt that it was little too sane and well grounded in reality then you might find yourself in for a treat. If the book does have a downside it is that it can be a little too far out there at times, and maybe once or twice the humour is subjective, but these are minor detractions - it's a fun book!


Milky Way Marmalade is more than just science fiction. It is more than just hysterical, off the wall humor. It goes beyond mere social satire. Above mystical thrill seeking. While it is a love-letter to classic rock- it is more. Read it. Read it again. Perhaps thrice. You'll peel away its layers and make new discoveries upon each subsequent enjoyment.

Caffrey Quark is tired of killing exotic alien creatures for the fickle taste buds of his rich, powerful and obnoxious clientele. So he takes a jaunt through space-time and retires to 1960s East Village, NYC to live out his life as a struggling rock star.

But some weird stuff is going on around the Milky Way. Planets are selectively vanishing and the enigmatic and rather narcissistic android, Poe 33, has become separated from his charge- the Great L'Orange- the wisest lump of orange, gelatinous star stuff in the Universe. As his programming dictates, he must track down the blood-line of his maker- Caffrey Quark!

Will Caffrey bow to synchronicity and realize that his new found rock & roll bliss will be short-lived? Will he become the reluctant hero? Can Poe 33, Yin- his beloved West Highland Terrier and his jealous but soft-hearted computer, Angie aid in his adventure to some of the Milky Way's more bizarre ports-of-call? Will Caffrey be able to save his band mates, the galaxy and music itself, from an insane megalomaniac and his Order Determined to Overthrow Reality (O.D.O.R.)?