Admonition: I finished this series months ago but I just slammed a new SciFi compenduim so hard in a review that I felt bad, hence this review. :)
Some time ago I finished the last of the Vorkosigan series -- every reading was just outstanding. Lois McMaster Bujold is a strong writer with a good technical/science background. She is the perfect scientist, warrior, politician and all of the stories are woven like a cat's cradle of these elements.
Very much recommended.
This collection sounds like it was recorded in my neighbor's garage and narrated by my neighbors. Or maybe what my high school's electronics club and drama club could put together. Who did the quality control on this project?
Every so often, Audible.com peddles this level of material. Hopefully, potential buyers would read the reviews. I did not because I built up such confidence in other, greater scifi collections offered here. My mistake.
The audio is sub-par -- must be related to the acoustics in my neighbor's garage: sound reflecting off the lawn mower, sacks of fertilizer, and trash cans.
The performances give me the creeps. All of the readers are obviously focused on trying to get it right or just get through it, rather than immersion into the story. Listen to readings by Stefan Rudnicki or Gabrielle de Cuir as contrast.
I guess some of the stories are OK. Unfortunately, even if they were great works, the other distractions of sound and reading prevent a good analysis.
This is another case where the writer gets lost in her own ego, rather than delivering a science-based story. There are several other books in my library, such as "Why do Men Have Nipples" that discuss the politics of the scientists, nuances and discussion of who really holds the knowledge and not much about homo habilis or her friends.
Compare this book to, say, "Before the Dawn" which is more or less the same topic but goes to exquisite detail to explain the genetics, linguistics, and other sciences behind a great narrative of human evolution.
This release and the whole series is new, well produced, and provides an excellent medium for those who enjoy H.P. Lovecreaft. There are a total of six albums in the series, although Audible has five on sale.
If you are a follower of Lovecraft you know how difficult it is to get solid, well recorded audio books into the library. This is the path. Their principal reader, Wayne June is quite balanced: with clarity and no strong sense of being a goul, as some other readers are.
The recordings are priced about right for non-Audible-credits payers. I doubt that one 3-hour download is worth a full credit (which can be worth a full 20 hour download for other recordings). My suggestion: Since there are an even number of books available, have a two-for one sale.
I also found the writing of Into the Looking Glass to be mediocre: a pale shadow of the Aldenata series. John Ringo spent much more time in Aldenata working on the psyches of the characters, including the aliens. This was for me a great part of the Aldanata series. There is a passing effort to do the same in Looking Glass but the vigor is not there.
The physics and especially the discussion of muons and quarks bothered me to the point where I had to break from the story. I'm sure not many readers have experienced muons first hand but I have, at a linear accelerator. I'm not sure who Ringo got as a science advisor but he missed it, totally. Muons (or electrons or pions) are leptons. They all are ionizing radiation and can deliver lethal exposures to living things. They all impart radiation dose with equal ferver. The only difference between muons and beta radiation is that muons are much more penetrating. Also, muons do not decay into quarks.
Best to listen to Looking Glass and then review the physics on Wiki or elsewhere.
Yes, I agree with most of the other reviewers. The authors think much more of themselves than I do.
The main problem that I have is the lack of science. Like a bad term paper it is more filler than substance: at least the first hour. The speaker spent most of that time explaining how he and his physician friend fell in love and decided to write a book together.
As a person trained in science, I must admit that only one fourth of the book was listen to. So shoot me - it was necessary to bail. As penance for downloading this mistake, I will go download a Scientific American book.
Pattern Recognition has made me take action, both by dumping it off my computer and writing this short review. "There's nothing more inconvenient than an old queen with a head cold", but this story blows right by that. It critiques its cars, food, television, its shoes, your shoes, and makes fodder of the characters. It does everything but contrive a story in the two miserable hours that I listened to it. Listener beware!!
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