The story is very disjointed and painfully slow. I have read books where jumping back and forth from the characters memories to the present has created a tether, this creates a noose that makes the listener want to place their head in it.
There are holes in the "science" so large that you may need the Hubble to get a grasp of their boundaries. While there are elements that grab the imagination, the very tedious character development is painful to say the least. There was so much useless information that the author could have easily cut half of the book and it would be far more bearable. There are parts that are just glossed over that could be interesting, while others are examined in such minute detail that I almost turned the book off a number of times.
To be fair, this reminded me of Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. There is just no redemption. If you are looking for something slow and artsy, this may just do it for you. If you found yourself liking the main character in Stephen R Donadlson's Thomas Covenant series, then you may indeed like this. If you wanted to slap Thomas Covenant because he was so self pitying, then this is not the listen for you.
I have been happy with all of my purchases except this one. I really wish I could get my money back for this book.
I really enjoy this author and the questions he raises here about the nature and bare utility of consciousness. The details and world are convincing and interesting, and the characters are all very 3d. The fact that non-male and non-caucasian characters exist and have interesting things to say and do is refreshing as well. He delves into tech, philosophy, Linguistics, and cognitive science with what is obviously a lot of research and thought, and will likely give most readers something new to ponder.
Long haul trucker, nerd, and scifi fan.
My major issue with this book is the narration and engineering. The sound quality is aweful. The narrator has a softly pleasant voice, but no sense of performance. The result is a mumbling narration in a muffled recording.
The story if a narrator could vocally signal when the story changes character, flashback, and substory... it would be MUCH easier to follow. .. as it was, I found the number of bugs on my windshield far more interesting than this book. It's one of the few that I simply could not bear to finish.
PLEASE consider reperforming. I may buy it again, but.. it's a definite return.
A different author.
First Contact is a genre I will always enjoy. But this isn't just one of the worst First Contact genres I've listened to, it's one of the worst books of ANY genre.
The narrrator's reading was just as flat and lifeless as the material he was reading. But I doubt any other narrator would have improved the listening experience by much.
If could play editor I'd cut almost every scene except the very few that actually had some semblance of plot or action.l But that would have made an 11 hour book closer to 1 hour.
This book had no romance, no sex, no humor, no sense of adventure, no joy, no drama, no intrigue, and almost no action. The lead character had no charisma. The writer had no style or skill. This was the kind of book that Mark Twain said made you wish all the characters would drown in the same boat and be done with it. Some books make you wish that each chapter is not the last. This book had me hoping that each chapter would be the last. The author is a poor writer with no ability to paint a scene or the characters in it. Its just page after page of dreary introspection on the nature of consciousness with less than a thimblefull of plot to move things along.
Truly extraordinary sci-fi. A post-scarcity world in the late 21st century is confronted by an entirely alien life form. Oh, and there are vampires in the future too. Great.
Solid hard Science Fiction leaving the reader with much to ponder after the narrative ends. This is definitely the perfect audio book for that long haul drive.
A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.
I put off reading this book for a while because of some reviews I read. I need to stop doing that. You can shoot holes in any novel, and Blindsight is no exception, but for me this is classic science fiction. Strip away some of the silly stuff (like a vampire commanding a crew), try to look past the fact that the main character is not very endearing, and you're left with an awesome description of indescribable aliens. Page after page is chock full of scientific concepts centered around a discussion of consciousness and its value. The characters were strange and interesting. I highly recommend this book for the hard and near-hard sf enthusiasts.
A complex work that needs to be read in print. Complex descriptions based on analytic geometric constructs requires long pauses to work out the 'vision'.. A great book but just not suited to audio.
too many to count
A brilliant, speculative, and very densely written work. I had to re-listen to the first several hours twice - but it was entirely worth it.
If you have some understanding of human neurophysiology this is a great story. That said, there is quite a bit of technical jargon. This is not your average "humans meet aliens" space opera. Instead it's an examination of the nature of consciousness and how humans would be able to understand beings that have a totally different way of existing and communicating.
The reader was adequate, but his tendency to have very similar voices for all the characters sometimes left me confused as to who was speaking and when transitions were happening.