Let me preface this by saying that, as a whole, the Probability Trilogy is worth reading. However, I was wholly unimpressed with this - the last installment of the series.
Probability Space seems sloppy and poorly put together compared to the two previous novels. A trend that Nancy Kress started in Probability Sun, regurgitating full text from the previous book as a way to cover the material for readers that have yet to read the previous story, is done her to distracting excess. Also, her attempt to create a completely secular society with little comprehension of human religion becomes annoying with her use of "My God", "Jesus Christ", etc.. as expletives.
Characters are introduced in this story that are made to seem integral to the plot but become nothing more than generic devices to move along a narrative far too quickly. There is a sub-plot involving something like a "rediscovering" of human religion that goes absolutely nowhere.
This story feels rushed and lifeless. I am not disappointed with the series as a whole but am disappointed that its conclusion was so poorly executed and the cliché Deus Ex Machina was so painfully obvious.
Brave New World is an almost prophetic glimpse into what is now our present and what will likely be our future. I am still awe-struck by how accurate Huxley's interpretation of a possible future has become.
1984 by George Orwell is almost the cliche story to compare with Brave New World. With BNW - you have the story of a possible future that was written before the start of WWII. Huxley's vision of the world had not been tainted by the rise of fascism in Europe while Orwell wrote 1984 after the war's conclusion. In comparison, I believe them to be startling examples of what COULD happen to our society given the right set of circumstances. It's also fair to throw in We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. His book feels less polished than the others but as this is the earliest of the three novels there are themes and ideas that both Orwell and Huxley too to very different conclusions.I would call these three books the Unholy Trinity of dystopian fiction.
I enjoyed this story and Wil Wheaton's narration. I don't know how sustainable this type of post-modern pop-culture narrative is but I would certainly be interested in something else from Cline.
Wil Wheaton's love (and familiarity) with the subject matter really comes through in his reading. Wheaton's own status in pop-culture and science fiction adds a meta-textual quality to the audio book that you couldn't get from print and that "meta" element is is what the story is at its core.
For as much as I enjoyed the book I will say that someone not well versed in science fiction and video game pop-culture from the 1980s may struggle with this story. It's not a difficult read by any means but it is saturated with references to obscure games, films, and characters that speak directly to a particular audience. For a person intimately familiar with the nerd/geek culture of the 1970s and 80s there is a nostalgia and texture to the story that I suspect to be completely absent for readers who didn't grow up with that background and experience.
First, I want to correct my rating to give it 3.5 stars. While I did not enjoy this story as much as Oryx and Crake it was not horrible. The first half is a bit slow going and seems unevenly paced but into the second half the pace picks up considerably and you begin to see more of how this narrative connects to Oryx and Crake.
My biggest issue with (and this could simply be my being too pedantic) is the narrators pronunciation of "CorpSeCorps". Unlike the narration of Oryx and Crake (where the narration uses the correct pronunciation) all three narrators here say Corp-See-Corpse and not Corp-See-CORE as would be appropriate for the description of a Corporate Security Force.
For me, I find a mispronunciation in an audiobook very distracting AND annoying. The music and songs used for the Gardener's Hymnals is definitely cheesy but it feels appropriate in the context of the story and character which does add some depth to Adam One and the Gardeners.
The Year of the Flood is not Atwood's best work (That would be The Handmaid's Tale) and not quite on par with Oryx and Crake but it isn't abysmal by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I do not think it's worth $31.50 at regular price and I'd hesitate to pay the $22.05 member price but the 1 credit spent seems a good compromise for your 14 hour investment.
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