Orson Scott Card is incapable of writing a bad book, and Stefan Rudnicki is incapable of rendering a bad naaration. Pastwatch is a masterpiece even by their lofty standards.
The historical research alone which went into the writing of the book is breathtaking.
Card has crafted one of the most compelling and brilliant plots I have ever read.
Don't start listening at night if you expect to get to work the next day.
Spoiler alert! Since one problem is with the plot, I may be giving twists away.
I don't usually like alternate history, since the past is immutable. But I'm an ardent fan of the Ender and Bean novels about the future. Orson Scott Card thinks deeply about all he writes, and I was interested in his take on the Europeans' arrival in the Americas.
Problem is, we get multiple alternate histories in Pastwatch. The brilliant scientists in the story have evidently never heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
I willingly suspend disbelief for most novels. This one contains too many improbabilities for me and perhaps for the like-minded.
The narration is also inconsistent. I'd listen to Stefan Rudnicki read anything, but some of the other narrators are not very expressive.
But I'd have held on if not for the improbabilities.
Always like this author but the blend of history, socialogy, anthropology, and sci-fi was great! What the world might have been like if only a few little things had gone differently.
This book comes very close to being as great a story as his best book Ender's Game; however, it is totally not related to the Ender's series. It happens in our far distant future with people having equipment that allows them to watch the past. With the invention of the next generation of equipment, stronger and more sensitive to viewing the past - someone in the past in a drug induced dream becomes aware that the future is watching them. This really starts the storyline moving.
Excellent book as I come to expect from Orson. His ideas and storytelling ability make for a very enjoyable read. He merges history and science fiction to give us some thought provoking views on how our world might be, both in the future of the book and in our own reality.
If you think the world would have been better off if Western civilization had been stopped in its tracks in 1492, then you will probably like this book. If you think Western civilization is a scourge upon the Earth and everyone (else) needs to live in a mud hut or the planet is doomed, then you will absolutely LOVE this book. I can't believe that not one of the reviews of Pastwatch I read on Audible even mentioned the looney ideological premise upon which it is based, which I believe I have accurately characterized above.
Do people really believe such things? I suppose they do. Or at least it's very fashionable to say you do as you drive around in your car talking on your cell phone. Perhaps I am just not "open minded" enough to swallow this sort of guff, even in a science fiction story. Maybe the world would have been better off without Shakespeare, Newton, and Locke, without science, reason, democracy and other such Western novelties. Maybe it would have been a kinder, gentler, cleaner, and saner world if instead the glorious Aztec civilization had dominated the world. Eat your heart out, European dogs! No, somehow I don't think so, but if you do, or like to feel good about yourself because you do, then this book is definitely for you. Enjoy. For those who don't, be warned, it's gonna be a trying thirteen hours.
I loved all the other books I read for OSC, however, this one was a disappointment for me! The reason is that is crosses a fine line between fiction and distorting historic facts and at times, trivializing certain beliefs and religious symbols and facts. I'm all for fictional history with good twists, but to use actual historic figures (like Noha), and distorting the historical facts in all religious books is another matter! After going to almost quarter of the book I couldn't go any further and I was very uncomfortable with the connotation and the clear distortions and intentional misinterpretations of the past!
For example, to say that the Muslims were enslaving people in Africa is a clear example of Olsen’s own prejudge towards Islam! One of the main messages of Islam is that everyone is equal in the eyes of God and it put a lot of rules to reduce slavery that existed long before Islam came.
I have been an Orson Scott Card fan for years, and I never thought he could top Ender's Game, but he has. What a unique, creative, and gripping story.
I LOVE Orson Scott Card - but this book was the most boring book I have ever listened to. It was background noise at most.