Tamim Ansary placed me well in the mind-frame of today's Muslim, looking back at nearly 1400 years of proud cultural heritage, and wondering what happened to such a promising place in global development. From the onset, this book challenged my preconceptions of a culture struggling against modernity and an ideology that western civilization is the goal toward which "developing" nations should strive. It defined for me what is Islam and what it means to have one's ancestry in this religion, ideology, and culture.
I was very excited to start this listen. I am a huge fan of steam punk and the notion of a clockwork world made me tick.The first half proved true to my expectation, but the second half seemed to be more about the main character's steadfast adherence to god's will more than anything. It rang hollow to me. Certainly, a clockwork earth implies a designer, but I just didn't really appreciate how much He took over the story. Talk about dues ex machina.Combine that with a villain who only seems to me to appear when the author needs the plot advanced and, well, I was simply underwhelmed.
I had trouble finishing this one, but I did. I had purchased this book with no research, so I didn't notice its age. It was only after I got into it, when I realized how weighty the text was, that I went back and researched it to discover when Harold Lamb wrote it--1927. In that perspective, the style makes sense, but anyone like me, used to modern "entertain with science" writing might find it thick.
Still, I'm glad I bought it, as I know have a much better knowledge of an exciting time.
I'm not a big philosophy buff, but I am interested in the subject, particularly how it impacted theology in this period. I'm also a history nerd, so this tied in well with at least two of my major interests.
That said, I found myself wanting the book to be over. I'm glad I finished it--academically--but I wasn't as entertained as I am with many audio non-fiction works.
Still, I enjoyed it. Worth a credit if your interests so lean.
The hook of the first chapter is one of the best ever. The rest of thte book doesn't live up to the first chapter, but only just slightly, providing a first rate adventure through a fairly typical cyberpunk universe.
Some of the history built into the premise is suspect, but this *is* fiction. If you can suspend your disbelief for a minute, it really is fun.
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