I was pleased to make the acquaintance of this series. The audiobook made both the drama and the visual setting come to life.
Instead of focussing on the groups of humans and cultures who might have worked together to figure out why they were there and establish a safe society, this book mostly focusses on the very worst parts of humanity. I found it highly disturbing that the author took this fascinating idea of the afterlife and turned it into a world where rape and murder were the norm on such a huge scale. Earth has a very bloody history and the author explores human nature in this light, however I suppose I expected a little more development from people who woke up to find they had all been resurrected in the midst of all the cultures who had ever lived.
This book needed better character development all around. Billions of people all wake up at once to find that they have been resurrected from the dead and can now interact with everyone who ever lived, and there is surprisingly little internal development from most characters going through this.
Character of any kind is especially lacking with the book's female characters. I very strongly disliked how the women in this book only existed to have sex with the men, either consensual or (more often) as rape. For example, most if not all of the main female characters in this book join the group by becoming sex partners with one of the male characters as a form of protection, and do not really contribute in any other way except when they are fighting for their lives (to avoid being raped).
The narrator needs to distinguish between characters a little better. He was inconsistent with accents and I frequently got Burton and Frigate confused when there was dialog between them because the narrator would speak the same way with both.
My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine; (fortunately) everybody drinks water. - Mark Twain
If I had borrowed this book I would not have finished it. I paid for it, so I saw it through to the end. It was long winded, over detailed, and lacking in good character building. If condensed, I think it would make a good short story, given more work be applied to building the characters.
I loved this book at 15 and it is still great. Farmer's sociological and historical background gives a level of detail that I just love. To tell the truth I remember book #2 is the best of the lot, an opinion seconded in a recent conversation with an old friend with whom I discussed the book with 40 years ago. Neither of us is satisfied with Farmer's series ending, but the journey itself is so great that I don't really care about the ending all that much.
I read this as a teenager but had no recollection other than I remember enjoying it and several of the sequels. Just goes to show kids don't know much about literature.
The concept is interesting but character development is poor. If you're a feminist- I am not- this read will repulse you. This book reminds me of Robert Heinlein's general pontification and interest in free love with women with no brains. Moreover, Mr. Farmer is likely a socialist considering his apparent opinions about human motivation.
Interestingly, Hermann Goering plays a prominent role in this book. He is important in the book I'm listening to now, THE WINDS OF WAR, of course.
I might have ventured another credit on the sequels but several reader's reviews disuaded me.
There are thousands of books, including scifi and fantasy, beter worth your time.
Older sci-fi has a certain tone. I find that most sci-fi written before about 1950 reads like an adventure story that occurs in a strange setting. If you've read Lewis' "That Hideous Strength," Burroughs' mars series, or Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," you probably know what I'm talking about. This book falls right in line with that particular tone, despite being written in the 70's.
I have come across this book (and the series as a whole) several times on lists of important sci-fi works. I frankly don't understand why it merits mentioning.
The story just isn't that compelling. The main character is Sir Richard Francis Burton, who is an actual historical figure. If you're a big fan of his, maybe you'll like this book more than I did. Since I had barely heard of him, and basically couldn't care less about him, this just seems like a weird story about a guy who acts like kind of a jerk.
Perhaps someone doing an academic exploration of this novel would call it a "Fish-out-of-water story exploring the limits and eventual breakdown of Victorian manners." I just thought it was dull.
I remember this as the first in a series I read a long time ago and loved. However on rehearing it now it seems written a bit.....old?