This is the first time that a David Brin story has left me bored for practically the entire journey. Mr. Brin decided to try his hand at Science Fiction set in a strictly Einstein conforming Universe.
In itself that isn't such a bad idea, but the story simply plods along too many plot threads few of which hold any really interesting developments. It also feels bizarrely as if Mr. Brin was trying to leave an opening to tie this universe into his Uplift series, but as interesting as some of the backfilled story could be, there are occasional references to uplift activities which have only a peripheral relationship to the central plot and have no challenges to overcome within the story line making it unclear why they are there at all.
Toward the end of the book it feels as if Mr. Brin got bored with what he was writing. The timeline moves painfully slowly through the first two thirds of the book, then fast forwards years at a time toward the end as we get a quick summary of the results of events set in motion earlier. This too is disappointing.
Instead of telling stories of endless conniving by aristrocratically entitled idiots (among other plotlines), why not tell us about the debates that allowed humans to actually decide their future. Instead of telling us the story of how we managed to find a path out of the difficulties we were facing, the eventual success of human civilization is entirely gobbled up as fait accompli by the summary chapters that form the conclusion.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
Big-idea grand space opera follows in the final quarter of this novel, the majority of which is set in a closer future, juggling problems and wonders that are nearly at hand. Both segments are brimming with more concepts than can be absorbed in one reading, and I spent a lot of moments pausing my reading to trace a modern trend to the logical extrapolation Brin had. The world he paints is connected to ours in quite believable ways, and experiencing it in this story feels like a "Cliff's Notes" summary of all the latest science and tech developments spun forward several years. One can't help but feel that Brin spends a lot of time reading science journals, then thickly gathering all the most promising and fascinating discoveries into his stories.
The characters and plot events, while interesting, are not so memorable as the ideas being introduced. They feel like transparent vehicles for delivering grand theories on life in the cosmos, and how it will eventually look when encountered, given the dual challenges of vast distances and epochs separating civilizations. Two things that are done well in this novel are: reminding us of the truly insignificant scale of our place and moment in the universe, and illustrating many of the pitfalls surrounding us. Species extinction and civilization passing are taken as nearly unavoidable eventualities, and yet the tone here is not at all cynical, rather a celebration of diversity in the unfolding renaissance Brin sees us entering into.
Too much philosophical perspectives and no gripping story line that keeps you wanting to hear more.
More story line and less philosophical rambling.
They were ok. I didn't much care for the female narrator portraying a Jamaican man.
I would cut out lots of the philosophical perspectives and develop a more intriguing story line to keep my audience wanting to hear more.
Each to there own, as the saying goes. This just had too much philosophical ramblings for me...
Main characters disappear or are remanded to small roles. This is also several books smushed down to one. Things are moving along and then suddenly you are 26 years in the future.
There are some good parts but you are left hanging several times and the story line gets twisted.
I enjoyed this book because of the many cool ideas. David Brin excels at projecting current trends into the future, and his science is solid. I didn't identify with any of the characters, but I enjoyed their stories. I liked the near-future parts a lot, but then the last several chapters got less personal and thus less interesting. Or it might just be that the later parts focused on characters I didn't like. But we were supposed to dislike them, so I can't fault the book for that. All in all, I am glad I read this. I am still mulling over some of the new ideas.
Listening is not the same as reading, but it is still fun
I really wanted to like this book. I have not had a decent book to listen to for a month so I took it hoping it was good.
The story is as slow as molasses in winter. The narrator makes an real effort to convey emotions but there is just nothing here. I am going to try again but I don't know if I can bear it.
I am tempted to say avoid this book
This was my first and last Brin book. He writes to impress, but doesn't impress with his writing. I eventually gave up 12 hours in, losing the will to live. I rarely give up on any book I start.
The story line rambled all over the place. His editor probably gave up trying to make sense of it and took a vacation.
It could have been good but it was such a trial to maintain concentration on it. I listen to books on my daily commute and often eagerly look forward to my drive. For compelling books I'll listen in the evening ... maybe even late into the night. Not with this one. I was just so reluctant to start listening when I got into the car.
After 4 hours I took a look at the reviews to see if there was any hope it would get going. Opinions were mixed but several urged patience, so I persisted. But no more, I give in. And that makes me angry. That's 12 hours of my life I won't get back.
To David Brin, if you ever read this, remember that you're a story-teller first and foremost.Don't be self indulgent. Use discipline and weed out the unnecessary and distracting waffle.
I was excited when I started listening to the book. It was a fun story. Some reviewers have complained about the jumping around, but I thought that it was easy to follow. Alas, the individual stories never completely come together. In part, the plot is far too ambitious. In the last third of the book, a large number of new unnecessary concepts (humanoid AIs, multiple virtual copies of humans, etc.) start being hurtled at the reader but are never fully explored. On the other hand, many of the characters in the first part of the book are more or less totally abandoned. An entire plot line (Hacker Sander) dissolves into nothing just as it gets interesting. We see a lot of "character development" that never really goes anywhere at all. It's really a shame. With some tightening up, this could have been fantastic!
The narration was just okay - many of the characters had identical voices and strange accents.
Very frustrating, there is no real story just going around placing characters without meaning. I am 34 years old, I think I read about thirty sci-fi books in my life and this is the worst. Hard to describe my experience with this book: frustration, confusion and disappointment.
Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton
I think this book has a good idea and probably somebody can write a good book. But David Brin has a horrible style of writing. I would delete the entire book.
It has a very interesting premise, good writing style, and like-able characters.
The autistic characters were really hard to understand in audio form. Also, I really didn't like the way the story would jump 30 years into the future without warning and I spend 20 minutes trying to figure out who was who again.
No, I think it explored all it could.