No. The stories are snippets from an ill defined poorly constructed distant future (except for soft skin which is not worth listening to). There are no clues as to how the world devolved to the current state. The best of the stories "Pump six" involves the obsolescence of essential equipment- waste management pumps which were no longer manufactured or maintained-with no one around with the knowledge or skill to repair them. All of the stories are unsatisfying.
The lack of information about how the dystopic societies evolved or where they were heading. They are all cut off in midsentence.
All of the narrators were excellent dealing with difficult pronunciations and thoughts
No. No educational or entertainment value. What you get are the fanciful dalliance of a creative mind thinking about snippets of a dystopic future.
All of the stories (except soft skin) were interesting musings about a future which has devolved so that the people are stupid and knowledge and energy sources have regressed. I don't think any of these stories have any chance of occurring.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
WHEN TIME'S ARE DRY
At the time of this writing this has received a 4.2 rating from us the readers. If you consider that this is a group of short stories that is a great rating. I like short story collections and I have found that most rate around 3.6 to 3.8 by the majority of listeners, so this 4.2 is a statement in itself and comparable to a 4.5 of a novel.
SHE'S ABOUT AS SHARP AS A MARBLE
I am usually happy with a group of short stories if their is one story I really like. This collection had two stories that I loved, Pocketful of Dharma and Pop Squad. There were two that were excellent, The People of Sand and Slag and Pump Six and one that was better then average, The Fluted Girl. Yellow Card Man and Softer were good and The Tamarisk Hunter was average. I did not like The Pasho or The Calorie Man. None of these stories are uplifting, they are mostly dark and all futures are a dystopia. PB's writing style flows easily, is easy to understand even though you are in a world you are not familiar with and his imagination is interesting to explore. I especially liked the living building and I liked the Dali Lama in the computer and ...
The People Of Sand And Slag, was included in Dozier's Year's Best # 22.
The Calorie Man, was included in Dozier's Year's Best # 23
The Yellow Card Man, was included Dozier's Year's Best # 24 and Jonathan Strahan's The Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume one, copyright 2007.
A NAIL THAT STANDS UP GETS KNOCKED DOWN
Opinions on narrators can differ widely, so this is just my irk, but I am not a fan of Jonathan Davis. Many reviewers have claimed they could listen to him all night. I did all right in one of the stories, but in the rest he irritated me. To me it sounds like he smokes a lot of pot before reading. Stevens and Chen were great. I especially like the Asian accents, since most of these stories take place in China or the Near East.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Considering that, for the most part, I don't like short stories, this was an exceptionally well-written, interesting and original collection. I have read some of Bacigalupi's works before (Wind Up Girl comes to mind), and I like the dark, depressing future bio-tech world the author has created. All these stories are set in the same world - or, if not the exact same, the same type of world - and they almost feel related, even though they all have separate plots and characters... it is the tone, pacing, and bio-tech I guess, that makes it feel like a single story.
I enjoyed some stories more than others, but as the ones I enjoyed the most are not the same ones that other reviewers enjoyed, I guess that is personal taste. Essentially, though, they are all clearly written by the same author and if you like the first story in the book, you should like all of them well enough. The stage is the same, just the actual characters change.
The stories have different narrators, and, while all of them are at least good, some of them are better narrators than others. I don't think you'll find any of them off-putting though. The stories are dark but not graphic or gory.
None of the stories in this collection were bad, and some I would rate 4 or even 4.5 stars individually, but nothing really impressed me like the The Windup Girl did. I think my greatest disappointment was the similarity of all the themes: Bacigalupi writes dystopian stories about humanity's greed and selfishness and environmental devastation, and that's all he writes about. Two of the stories in Pump Six are from the same world as "The Windup Girl," and most of the others easily could be. He's a good writer, but I'd really like to see him open up a bigger toolbox.
if you've read the wind up girl there is nothing more on offer here. I find this guys view of life too american. Everyone is either sad but virtuous victims or gritty power brokers. Maybe if you're fifteen you might find this titilating or confronting but if you've lived any kind of life you will just find it unrealistic and annoying.