This book has some great world building, interesting aliens, and interesting idea about different zones in the galaxy. But in the end I felt it was too long and too crowded. There are two main story lines in this book. The main story about the blight and the zones of the galaxy, and a side story about the dog-like group-mind creatures called Tines.
Both stories are interesting and would have made nice books. Together, they were just too much and nothing was gained, IMO, by having them together. The main story about the blight could have functioned just fine without the Tines sub-plot. As it is, I felt the Tines story was distracting.
Venor Vinge gets bonus points for the exploration of the idea that the galaxy has different zone where intelligence and physics differ. This was fascinating. He explores this in detail and does it well.
I'm sorry but I can't finish it. Looked forward to a big space opera and listening with a friend but neither of us can finish it. Bored. Poor writing. Slow moving when not actually stagnant. The description and reviews by others sound like a fun fast moving novel full of ideas etc., but I don't know where that book is; it's not here.
I don't even know what to say I'm so disappointed. There were a few interesting ideas presented in first 4 & 1/2 hours, but none of them were sufficiently followed up and showed no signs of being what the writer was interested in pursuing. After 4+ hours shouldn't there be something compelling or fascinating enough to warrant sticking it out for the 21 hour total?
There is a lot of poor description, non-description, clunky writing.
I am increasingly disgusted by what passes for writing and I will give one example of the type of thing that occurs far too often: "Johanna was out by one of the sound projectors when the ambush happened." Seems fine right? Wrong, and here's why: 1. the writer then backs up for a paragraph to tell you what occurs immediately prior to this ambush, so "temporally" speaking he has jumped the gun; 2. whatever "suspense" might have been building has just been completely diluted by telling us what is going to happen instead of 3. springing the action upon us unawares and surprising us and creating a suspenseful situation. It is a bit like someone sitting behind you in the movie and telling you what's coming next, I wouldn't tolerate it in the theater and I hate it in a novel. Very few authors have the skill to "pre-reveal" something important and then still make it work. For a plethora of examples of this type of bad writing read/listen to Stephen King who ruins almost all of his own novels of suspense.
That is in general a pet peeve and not specific to this novel I grant you, but I could go on with more examples specific to this one of various types of questionable writing already in the first 4+ hours. Not going to subject myself to any more of this one. Good luck; I need to listen/read someone skillful and clean this drudgery out. Does no one edit any thing anymore? This occurs in so many novels in the past few years.
The genius of the novel is self-evident in any format.
I really loved the scrode-riders.
His characters are filled with life. Peter Kenny and he have a lot in common in this respect.
Yes. It's too long to listen to in one sitting, obviously, but I finished it in a few days.
The story and premise are really good, but god that narration. The cartoonish voices have been frequently mentioned but what really got me was how congested the narrator sounded. It's like he had a really bad cold or flu and they decided to record anyway. I couldn't finish i'll have to get a hard copy of the book.
Interested in futurism and hard science fiction.
A fascinating story at the beginning of the book took a wrong turn and never recovered. The narrator didn't help either with oddly shrill, comic voice which didn't belong to any of the characters in the book. I've asked for a refund.
I'm the most boring person on the planet.
I enjoyed the space opera side of this story, but not the medieval side. I found myself dreading when the story would come back to the Tine world thread. Many novel thoughts within this story, but not enough to carry it for me. I give one more star to the ideas than I would otherwise to the story proper.
More space opera and less Tine story line. And to be honest, not a lot of excitement in the journey. I wanted to like this story more, but just couldn't. Still, the ideas and the narrator took me to the end, which is further than they would have without Peter Larkin.
I had never listened to Peter Larkin before, but will wholeheartedly do so again. He was great. Had this story been by a narrator I thought less of, I probably would have given up about halfway through...
Fantastic book filled with many new sci-fi ideas that add flavor and discovery to every page. Vinge's obvious interest and personal depth in science and math clearly come out in the book - and yet it is his character's complex and often endearing personas that make the book so engaging. The story must have been something crafted in Vinge's mind long before he ever wrote it - the way he pulled all the pieces together to a final climactic ending that was overwhelming, elating, and yet bittersweet.