While science fiction is immensely popular, it's also very open to parody and derision.  Filk music (folk songs based on science fiction and fantasy) has been popular at conventions for decades, so naturally much of that made its way to Dr. Demento's comedy radio show.  Dr. Demento's Hits from Outer Space features filk and other comic songs based on science fiction -- and the results are hit and miss.

Hits from Outer Space mainly features songs about Star Wars and Star Trek.  The songs "Stardrek" and "Star Trip" are juvenile, taking cheap shots at the cliches of the Trek universe.  By contrast, "Star Trekkin'" nicely sums up the each character in a few sentences, while "Weird Al" Yankovic (Dr. Demento's most famous find) turns Don McLean's "American Pie" into a summary of The Phantom Menace with "The Saga Begins." There's Leonard Nimoy reciting poetry ("Twinkle Twinkle Little Earth"), a summary of Star Trek: TNG ("Do the Picard") and a rap about the other Trek series ("What's Up Spock"), and a story of a shore leave gone awry ("Banned from Argo").  And for something a little different, Bill Mumy makes the show Lost in Space poignant with "The Ballad of William Robertson."

Surprisingly, some of the best songs aren't tied to a franchise.  "Carmen Miranda's Ghost" from Leslie Fish is an odd yet interesting look at what would happen if a celebrity's apparition turned up on a space station.  And Boots Walker's "They're Here" is a song of alien paranoia that feels like a kindred spirit to "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-haaa!"  It's too bad there aren't more original songs like these on the collection.

I believe true geeks have to be able to laugh at the eccentricities and flaws of their favorites.  The good songs on Dr. Demento's Hits from Outer Space poke loving fun at them, while others take a meaner, mocking approach.  The former outnumber the latter here -- but not by much.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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