Pastwatch is an eclectic mix of science fiction and historical fiction. Set in the future and the past, this novel isn't for everyone. If you read and enjoyed Speaker for the Dead (or Xenocide, or Children of the Mind), this is your kind of book. The redemption of Ender is a bit like the redemption of Christopher Columbus, and this book presents some interesting philosophical arguments like SfD. If you hated those books, pass on this one.
I really enjoyed Pastwatch. There is history to be learned (the author did his research), and a lot of "what if's" to be asked as you listen along. The narration is very solid. I do agree with other reviewers that 85% of the book is about setup, but enjoyed the voyage nevertheless.
What an self indulgent book. There were only two possible endings for this book and these were obvious from the early on in the book. The book is one of the few that drag on and on.If this was written by a first time author the plot with not enough detail and colour could have be excused.
Both are equal - although at this point in my life audiobooks are all I have time for so I'm very grateful they are available.
I love the mix of science and a reimagined history
This audiobook is read by a number of different voice actors, each of them talented and with a voice quality that is pleasant to listen to. There are times when the audio quality jumps from high quality to lesser as transitions are made between chapters. It is not enough to lessen the quality of the story by any means, it is just enough to cause me to notice it for a moment.
The same as the title of the book, I'm sure.
I am a sometimes fan of Orson Scott Card. It seems I either love or really dislike his work from book to book. This is one of my all time favorites (Enchantment being the another.) I had read it years ago and just finished listening to it for the first time. The story is engaging and very thought provoking, the voicings pleasant to listen to.
It is just barely not G rated - Card can't seem to write without at least mentioning penises at some point. In this book at least it is not in a sexual way and I would feel comfortable with my children aged 13 and up reading or listening to the book, especially as a very thought provoking conversation catalyst.
The idea behind this alternate history book was very interesting and all the performances of the narrators are fine.. However, Card's writing just is not that gripping. I never felt the urge to continue listening for long periods in order to find out what was next.
I have read or listened to most of Orson Scott Card's body of work and am a big fan. I will continue giving future books a chance. This book was unfortunate. I am Latina but not a Christian. This book is somewhat insulting and reminds me of growing up in the South with Holy Roller classmates. It's theme is that the natives of Central and South America were uncivilized barbarian victims of the Spanish conquistadors. I don't disagree that the European colonization of Latin America was awful and that the natives were truly victims without, as Jared Diamond explains, "Guns, Germs, and Steel." However, Card imagines that the only way that they could become technologically advanced and, worse, ethical, is by being converting to Christianity. Christianity is lauded and attributed with creating a Utopia. I have read the Bible and have a passion for history, and the descriptions of non-violence and other ethical practices Card pretends are inherent in Christianity are hypocritical. If Card didn't spend so much time praising the religion, though, the novel would still have been boring. It lacks Card's usual imagination and the plot is bland without any surprising twists or deeper philosophical explorations.
Even though I'm not a sci-fi reader, I decided to check this book on recommendation from a family member after I told her I'd enjoyed OSC's Enchantment. There are plenty of readers critical of the book, but I thought it was unique and engrossing. Yes, there is a ton of discussion amongst characters. But I didn't find the discussion circular as one reviewer says. It serves to make you feel like you're sitting right there in Pastwatch trying to think through the situation with the characters.
The historical research that went into this book is phenomenal and I think any fan of historical novels would find this intriguing even though it's a story that mixes history and a hypothetical alternate history. OSC delves into one of the major questions that a good historian asks: why? Why did people do what they did? And also: who were they as people, rather than judging them in a black-and-white way. The way he handles religion is also fascinating--both Christians and atheists alike will be disturbed in a good way and challenged in their own assumptions. OSC also delves into the question that any human being should ask when looking at history: how did the actions and choices of the past affect the present, and thus, how do our actions and choices of the present affect the future? As someone who has long struggled with this portion of history and how it affected us--both directly for indigenous people and indirectly for the rest of the world, I found the story refreshing and the ending so satisfying--even if it's so far from our true history. It at least made me think a lot about the world and life in a big-picture way, and that is a wonderful thing to get from a book.
The variety of narrators kept things fresh, even if some of the accents were funky (one narrator narrates Colon's Italian accent similarly to how he narrated the Ukranian-American father in Enchantment). They definitely keep you connected even in the middle of a scene with long, complicated dialog.
Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates a thoughtful, well-written story with unique characters and an intelligent plot.
I like the point about slavery being better than human sacrifice. However, a population of hard working immigrants who valued freedom is what made America an innovative bastion of capitalism. Slavery couldn't have ended without capitalism to take its place. I doubt the immigrants would have come to America if they knew the land was occupied. Therefore Capitalism would have stalled and slavery would have returned.
Listening to this book was a memorable experience, and ranks in my top-15. Not the absolute best, but definately up there.
It provides believeable insight into our past, and personalizes events that shifted society as we know it. The concept sets a stage to deliver interesting concepts, wrapped up with an empotional story.
Gabrielle de Cuir
Makes back to the future seem amature
There are very few books I have read that I'll read a second time. This is one of them. When I recommend audiobooks for people, I recommend this book as the first to listen to. Now only if my second favorite book was available in audiobook form (The Proteus Operation by James P. Hogan).
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.