I'm always leery about getting Sci Fi books, I love certain kinds, but hate others. This one just reminds me of Star Trek, which I do not like. I tried to listen to the whole book, but Part 3 just got incredibly dull so I gave up. Wasted credit for me....
Between the narrator and the writing, this feels like a mash up of Jim Kirk and Zapp Brannigan from Futurama. I got this because I highly enjoyed Niven & Pournelle's later book Lucifer's Hammer which was set back in the 70's I believe, and the staunch tone and machoism seemed to fit the time. This is set over a century in the future, and characters are terribly out of place.
The first encounter with the aliens, they send 1 man who can't hold his temper and ends up yelling at the top of his lungs because it doesn't respond to his hand gestures or verbal language. Then they completely disregard biological needs or risk of disease/contamination and let the alien into their ship to interract with crew, etc.
The aliens are too similar to us, much like Star Trek's concept of humanoid with some funny ridges and spots added on here and there.
I'd pass on this one, if I had the chance again.
As some other readers have mentioned, the narration is really mediocre. However, aside from that, I truly do not understand why people love this book so much. The chracters feel so uninteresting and incomplete and one-dimensional. I just finished it and am sure by tomorrow would be hard pressed to describe any of the characters - they are that forgetably blah...And the plot just drags along forever - even the action points were dull as dishwater, partly because I couldn't care less about the characters or the stupid story that is supposed to support the action and make the action exciting, but really doesn't succeed. And the big revelation of what the problem is with these aliens was such an anti-climax. When it was revealed I thought "What? So? That is it? Who cares??? Not that clever an idea... and I had to listen to all that over this lame idea???" It simply isn't enough of clever or original or in any way intriguing orsurprising idea to base a book on to begin with. On top of that the book isn't terribly well-developed or well-written. I tried to read this in paperback, because a friend gve me all the books by this author, knowing I like science fiction, and couldn't make it through - so I thought perhaps I'd be more entertained by the audio version... But a bad story is just a bad story, no matter what the format.
I know many will disagree, but honestly I just don't see how this is interesting, and no other reviewer here has justified it in my opinion. I am sorry I bothered with it. It truly is very over-rated in my opinion.
Computer professional working in the software development industry since 1989.
I could not seem to get into this story line. I gave up after 2 hours.
I thought that bullcrap, macho, no women in space, Mad Men attitude went out in the 60's, but apparently it is alive and well and here today, ladies and gents. Unfortunately, these dudes are no Heinlein, and there is nothing of value to stick it out through the misogyny. I want my credit back.
It took an effort to listen to this highly rated book. The narrative is long and overly wordy and the first hour or so offers little in the way of character development. The story plods along steeped in technobabble and military jargon. I never found a character that I had more than a passing interest in and was glad when the story was over.
Like many others I bought this after hearing Jerry Pournelle on TWiT and Leo Laporte's constant gushy praise of it. Jerry and Leo are both nice guys, but this book never goes beyond mediocre at best. The story is slow and predictable, the characters are wooden and two-dimensional and the writing is just awful. The politics never get beyond primitive jingoistic militarism. I'm going to finish it, but I really wish I hadn't bothered.