Hard Scifi set in the near future. This fine piece of fiction chronicles the efforts of an astronaut stranded on Mars. Intelligent, compelling and funny. Easily in my top 25, probably top 10. An instant classic that I've already listened to twice.
This is a good book with a sold performance, but the constant comparison to Hitchhiker's Guide sets an unrealistic expectation. This is not as funny and doesn't try to be. It has moments and scenarios that are HGesque, but all in all it is a somewhat absurdist telling of a hard scifi story, not an absurd story that happens to be in a scifi setting.
Hodgman's narration has its ups and downs. The novelty and humor he brings to the beginning are great, but the story drags in the middle and so does his deadpan delivery. As the excitement picks up so does his performance and it ends very well.
Worth a listen, but not something that you're going to insist that your friends get. I look forward to Reid's next novel as he shows real promise.
I heard about this novel from Boing Boing's Gweek podcast. I was interested in the description and the thought provoking points the author was addressing. I confess to disappointment due to my own expectations and my review of the book is tainted by the fact that this story is simply not what I wanted it to be.
This is a story of the worst in humanity. Tragedy, cruelty and self destruction are the primary tenants of this novel and it seems to me that it pushes too far. My experience in life has not been one of villains at every corner and irreversible self destruction. These traits exist, and are not rare, but are not the norm. I have not read "The Road" because I heard enough about it to know I would not like it. It is a story about the failure of humanity, and so is this.
As I said, it is unfair for me to judge this book by comparing it to a story I wish I had heard, so I will attempt to review it for what it is. It is clever in its ability to be thought provoking and subtle in its ability to follow the cascade of seemingly unrelated problems to a potential correlation. The characters are far from flat, but most seem to be flawed in an un-compelling way, letting things happen to them.
The story is full of detail and thought, but the series of events is bleak and soul sucking. I feel it is a short sided product of the general "everything sucks" attitude of the moment. It is easy to look at the news for a day or a year or 10 and feel that we are doomed, but the majority of human history, while not all sunshine and daisies, trends upwards. I feel that stories like this err on the side of pessimism and nihilism.
The narration is fitting for the story, but that's not a good thing. What little brevity and hope there was in the story is squashed by the narrators depressed reading.
Enjoyment of this book is dependent, as with virtually anything, on your world view. If you want to like the protagonist in any story you are reading then you will most likely want to pass on The Post-Mortal. If you enjoy and good "life sucks and then you die" french film then this may be the book for you.
I may give another of the author's works a shot, it is not a bad book, I just didn't enjoy the story arc, the general outlook and the narration.
Touching. Funny. Lewd.
Follow Kevin though highs(wink) and lows in this reflection on his life and future. He is, as always, brutally honest and the constant purveyor of real world optimism. The entire book is filled with memorable moments, literally, that's what it is. Much like his talks, interviews, Q&As and podcasts this is a collection of Kevin doing what he does best, telling great stories.
Kevin's joy and satisfaction at having an idol, Tarantino, appreciate his work.
I love hearing Kevin talk about his relationships with people, particularly his wife. He has a fairly unique perspective and does an admirable job of guiding you into his way of looking at the world.
If you are offended by language, sexual descriptions, or drug use then you clearly don't know who Kevin Smith is, otherwise you wouldn't be looking at this book. Kevin does not only use everything listed above, he wallows in it. So don't say you were shocked, don't complain and don't preach. Give it a listen if you are curious or if you like Kevin Smith's work, otherwise you'd likely be happier spending your dough elsewhere.
Why are you still reading this?
Seriously, stop. Stop reading this right now and put this book in your cart and checkout already.
It's that good...
First...this is a great book and a good reading. Second... this is NOT a kids book and I can't imagine why it is under the audible kids title. I can't imagine this being appropriate for anyone under ~16... not only because of an abundance of swearing, racial slurs and questionable conduct on the part of the main characters, but also because of the complexity of the subject matter itself.
This goes into far more detail than the movie and does an excellent job of walking the listener through he intricacies of the situation. I loved the movie, but I think I like the book even more.
I listen to a lot of SciFi and I had high hopes for this one, but I can't get interested. I've made 2 attempts and find myself actively disliking the story, characters and narration and giving up after a few hours.
All the elements are there, and I can see how it could recover and even become compelling, but I just don't care.
I read several reviews and the book seemed a little controversial, but in a contradictory way... it is set in a Muslim culture, which is atypical and could be interesting... it is an uber gritty quasi cyber punk story that has some of the most unconventional views on sex and gender that I've ever seen, which is unusual but also potentially interesting... blending the two with no explanation just doesn't work.
I just can't piece together the logic behind a city that is based on strict cultural norms that also ignores the fact that seemingly EVERYONE has had a sex change operation, a wide collection of sexual partners and pretty much any other vice you can think of.
There were several reviews I saw that talked about the transsexual characters in the story being a problem, but I ignored most of this as personal bias, but it is really odd. It isn't just the fact that the overwhelming majority of the characters have had a casual sex change, but it appears to be the norm in the entire city, but... what??? Mind you, this is not a virtual reality or a simple body swap (Matrix or Altered Carbon) but actual surgery. And nobody seems to have any compelling reason for it. So the majority of people go through incredibly expensive, painful, and time consuming surgeries but do so casually and with no obvious rational... and it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the story, it's just a part of the background setting, but that'd be like adding systematic euthanasia, mandatory birth control or common plural marriages in a story and then not addressing them... I don't get it.
This is a wonderfully funny mash up of the Hollywood insider story and a first contact tale. Not only is this imaginative but well executed and oddly genuine.
Wil Wheaton is a phenomenal reader and I hope he does more.
John Scalzi's unique voice in SciFi reminds me of Spider Robinson's intro decades ago, just something totally different. He brings a lot to the table with this fairly short story, but with the intelligence and humor you'd expect from Scalzi. The concept he puts forward is crazy, but you gradually start to come around to the idea that it is not only a worthwhile story, but kind of a good idea that you can't believe you haven't thought of before... Aliens really could use representation.
Well crafted characters, undergoing significant development, interacting in a captivating world, moving towards a climax from several directions... Why don't I like this? I asked myself several times during the listen and eventually realized that I was not invested in the story, despite the elements listed above. This strikes me a novel that began as a chapter, designed as the setup for a good piece of scifi, that just got stretched into a story line that I didn't really connect with.
Different than Altered Carbon, the first book in this series, but good all the same. This is more of a SciFi thriller than a Futuristic Film Noir, think Aliens vs. Blade Runner.
Be forewarned though... this book is gritty. The language and imagery is not in the PG-13 category so common to the genre.
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