There's way too much tedious technical and operational minutiae early on. I ordinarily like this kind of nerdy si-fi infrastructure and gadgetry, but not this time. When the writer is so very specific and detailed about his own invented technology it raises issues of -- Is it consistent? Does it seem real? It begs to be analyzed and judged past the degree of becoming an annoying distraction from the story.
There's also the issue of the two main protagonists: two female characters who are in an unending spiteful, hateful spat that is just too silly for soap opera. It goes on for -- as we learn -- (spoiler), yes, millions of years! That's another thing, the millions of years that elapse back on earth (as the ship enjoys the time dilation of special relativity) is an unnecessary plot device. Millions of years hence? When all humans not on the ship have ceased to exist? Who cares about this motley crew and what becomes of them -- I dint.
The plot becomes correspondingly more and more convoluted as new races of aliens appear, with their randomly goofy values and behavior. After 19 hours (audible time) it ends with an epilog that was incomprehensible to me, even more so than the the previous last half of the story.
It was too long and the psychology of the main characters was Not Ready For the Comics. That and too much invented "science" that is just fiction.
The book has a lot of characters, but none of them seem to be more than 2-dimensional. There were some agregious and almost offensive stereotypes of some Earth cultures. The science was strange and didn't ever seem 'real'. The plot seemed to just ramble on without good pacing nor a satisfactory ending. Good Science Fiction can show you what is possible, or can use the technology to explore issues in our own society, or can develop characters in interesting ways. None of that happens here. The only really cool technology is all treated like magic, with no basis in reality.
Although I am only 1 hour into this book, I wanted to point out that it is strange to me that a book featuring primarily female characters (at least so far) has a male reader/narrator.
I may have no idea what the question actually is but I'm still positive the answer is "42"
I wouldn't say it was a complete waste of time, but I would say that if I hadn't been commuting that this book would have taken me longer to get threw. As horrified as I am to say it I think this one (for me) would be better abridged. If that is, you cut out most of the Drama Between the main character and her best friend then you can get down to some good Science Fiction. If you are looking for a more action science basted book like I was this is not the one for you. If you are looking to have some of that as well as lots of conflict between crew members on a long journey than this book is for you. For me that is just not what I was looking for.
I did enjoy the end overall. It was a good twist. Not all of it was unpredictable but it finding out the big picture was one of the best parts of the book for me.
I have listen to three other John Lee books, and this is a point for me that I'm a little conflicted on. Though I do enjoy his style of reading and his voice for the narration, his voices for the characters have the tendency to run together with little distinction be tween them making long conversation sometimes hard to fallow.
Yes. I think the action would be there in the movie that you really don't get as much of tin the book. and the character based story would have to be cut down to get it all in.
I think the performance might actually have made me like the book better than if I'd actually read the book. It's very rare that you get a narrator who can do so many distinct character voices and accents.
I definitely listened in long stretches, but at 20 hour recording is way too long for one sitting for most people. I mostly listen in the car for about an hour or two a day.
I only review my more favorites here.
I didn't want to take the ear plugs out, as (again) I was enthralled by Reynolds' images and style. They bicker and scheme and yet grow onward in the fantasy of youth-in-deep-time. If this is space opera then I am a patron. E.T.'s and future technology that is sharp and imprisoning. I can't wait for his Doctor Who book/audio. Still makes you want to hear some of A. Reynolds' other stories - even though this is my 3rd of his.
I would probably only recommend this to existing Alistair Reynolds fans, as it is not his best story (in my opinion), and although it introduces some existing ideas it concentrates too much on a rather unbelieveable rivalry between 2 women. The tension between the 2 women is labourer for most of the book and only drives an interesting development in the last 3rd of the novel.
John Lee is always good, and he can make even stilted conversation between blandly drawn characters seem worth a listen
No, but I was glad I persevered. The last 3rd is interesting and much more the Alistair reynolds style that I enjoy.
I enjoyed listening to this book. Good story with the ability to make you think of the human race as a tiny little speck hurtling into an unknown future. I would recommend it for lovers of sci-fi!
Wow! That was one Looooong story!seriously, I didn't think it would ever end. I think it is a must for "Science" Science Fiction lovers. Reynolds sure seems to know his physics & what he doesn't know he invents in a rather plausible manner. But the story is way too long & too much. the beginning is somewhat engaging & i wanted to continue but several hours into the listening i really didn't care who lived or died...i kept thinking he was coming to a climax & it would fizzle & go on.The narration was well done, if a bit "British"...characters seemed to have their own "voices" but I wished i had it in text so i could have skipped along faster.I would reccomend this story for some very long rides.
Survival Success Mystery
The ending and how futile it felt but with the sense of a grand accomplishment and achievement that you never really got to see.
A wonderful depth of character and personality. The lead characters are female and i was really impressed that John was able to make them sound feminine and not like high pitched pressies. He did a wonderful job of relaying the mood of the story through his tone and giving a level of reverence to the story that just made it a really amazing listen.
This is a story that covers a very rarely talked about idea that readers i have read try and stay away from. It really hit home for me because i was so entrenched in the story by the end that i was crying while listening. The hopelessness and futility was incredible, but that knowing of the accomplishment and what was started was a wonderful counterpoint.