This is an excellent and entertaining book. The author gives a reasonably unbiased review of the various economic theories, as well as the underlying politics that drives these theories. It was a great review and I found myself constantly wanting to listen to more.
That said, it was also very disappointing (frightening even) to learn just how poorly developed and "academically inbred" the field of economics really is (particularly given our current economic crisis). To be fair, there were some economists who made real and significant contributions. There are also some concepts and thought experiments that are quite useful. But I was surprised at just how little most of the "big names" in economics had actually contributed.
I don't know that I learned any new revelations about the current dismal global economy that common sense didn't already dictate. But the book was a gold mine in terms of understanding the relationship between various political movements and their corresponding economic schools of thought.
I was initially intrigued by the author's approach of combining a survivalist manual with a fictional story. But it did not work for me in practice. The detail weaved into the book was just too much, and way too often the author would drone on and on about a subject which really detracted from the story. I ultimately had enough and turned it off after just a few hours of listening.
A few other nagging issues.....The characters and their behaviors were just too cheesy for my tastes. The way they interacted was just too contrived and I never could relate. I also really became annoyed with the accent and cadence of the narrator, particularly when trying to portray certain voices. Many times during the book I kept thinking he was going to shout out "Da Bears" in a manner similar to the old SNL skits.
I liked the story concept in general, and was really hoping it would pick up and get interesting. But it didn't happen (at least within the first 3 hrs) and that was all I could stand.
If you are a fan of traditional hard science fiction and space opera by the likes of Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds and Iain Banks, then you probably won't like this book. It is basically a love story that happens to be set in a futuristic setting. Not a bad story (if you like this genre), but few if any new ideas were presented and this book could have just as easily be set in modern times.
I have read all of AR's work and he is, without a doubt, my favorite author. But this book was a bit disappointing relative to his other novels. It is still a good story (and worth a listen), but just not up to the standard that I have come to expect from Reynolds.
My biggest complaint.....the book starts off very slowly and I was almost tempted to pull the plug. Fortunately it got better and ended up being a decent story overall.
Reynolds has also left the story open for a sequel and it still has the potential to be a great series, even if it got off to a shaky start. And yes....despite my negative comments, I am still looking forward to reading the sequel.
If you haven't read MacLeod's books before, be warned that he has strong political views that permeate most of his storylines (somewhere between Trotskyist and anarcho-capitalist). I don't normally mind this (and have thoroughly enjoyed some of the author's other books), but the Star Fraction takes this to an extreme and was simply unbearable. The book amounted to 10+ hrs of dialogue about every twisted/extremist political view imaginable. Some of this was humorous, but most was just plain boring. Ultimately... I gave up about 6 hours into the book. It is a shame as the basic plot had alot of potential.
I decided to listen to Reamde after being blown away by Snow Crash. Boy was that a mistake! I only got about 10 hrs into the book before having to abandon it all together. The book is too long for the subject matter, moves way too slowly, and really does not constitute "science fiction" (at least based on what I struggled through ).
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not normally a fan of cyberpunk novels and tend to prefer hard sci-fi. Snow Crash was amazing because it crossed both genres and did an excellent job with each. Not true with Reamde. I probably won't listen to any more NS novels after this experience....
I normally am not that interested in military scifi, but this book is an exception. Of the 20 or so scifi books that I have listened to from Audible so far, this has been the most entertaining (the second book in the series "Fearless", was also at the top of the list). It combines hard science fiction, with military strategy and characters that are very intriguing. I was amazed at just how much naval battle strategy changes when accounting for relativistic speeds. Probably the best narrated book I have listened to so far.
I've listened to 20+ scifi books on Audible and this is only the second that I could not finish. I'm a big fan of Rusch's other works (particularly the Retrieval Artist series), but this book has been a disappointment . The main character is VERY irritating which is only made worse by the fact that most of the story is written in first person. The narrator actually does a good job of portraying the quirky antisocial characteristics of the protagonist (which in some ways is unfortunate).
I do like the premise of "archaeology in space" and there is considerable potential for this to be a great series (assuming the protagonist is replaced). If you like this genre, check out Jack McDevitt's books as the concept is similar but the characters are more relatable.
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