Sci-Fi genre is full of stories about self-aware artificial intelligence and their place in the human world. This book is off the beaten 'But I'm a real boy (girl)' path. Don't expect dwelling on AI vs Humans ethical questions, they are there but not as a centerpiece of the story, it never moralizes and makes you feel like you just sat through a Sunday school lesson about humanity.
vN is about evolution of artificial 'life', designed as help and entertainment, constrained by Asimov's Laws of Robotics and programmed limits to morality. They reproduce by iteration, which is as much of self-replicating as human children are replicas of their parents. Ultimately, that’s the moral of the story – we are more than we’re made to be and that restrictions, limitations and expectations will not in the end hold us back. The same goes for robots.
The writing is tight, the characters likable, and the story is compelling. The book is is fairly low on technobabble, and it’s character-driven as well as idea-driven.
This book is both a celebration of man's ingenuity and our desire to survive no matter what the odds. And pure geekery.
I don't know how scientifically accurate the book is, but to a layman like myself, the problems encountered seem believable, and the solutions very clever.
Mark Watney (the protagonist) is the kind of hero i enjoy the most - not a superman with unrealistic capabilities, but a very approachable science geek, innovative, funny, brave, resourceful and very, very human.
As a middle-age designer with back problems, my chances for astronaut career are pretty slim, but this book should be a required reading for middle-school children to inspire next generation of scientists, dreamers and space explorers.
Loved the humor, the storytelling style and the overall storyline. This is a book I'll be recommending to friends and family.
Seth Mnookin presents a thoroughly researched and truly balanced look at the so-called "vaccine controversy". He's obviously pro-science, but he doesn't shy away from pointing out mistakes made in the past by vaccine manufacturers and government while promoting vaccination.
The book places the current anti-vaccine/ anti-science plague spreading across America in a historical context - success and shortfalls of earlier vaccination attempts ( like variolation of Continental Army in 1777 and flawed polio trials of mid 20th century ) and how fear of vaccinations has been with us though centuries.
It analyzes cognitive bias (mercury is poison>vaccines have mercury>vaccines are poison), media-fueled fear-mongering, self-interest and willful misrepresentation.
I recommend it.
The formula for this novel is rather simple - take an average,somewhat neurotic but very likable guy, throw him into a boiling world of mythical underworld creatures, ad a dash of spirituality, half of cup of sex jokes and pour humor generously and when almost done sprinkle with some Armageddon -- and you have yourself a delicious and hilarious book
Dirty Job is for people who love Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy, Good Omens, Agent to the Stars and Discworld series.
The narration was great and added color and dimensions to the novel. His tone and inflection were spot-on for these characters.
There's an old Ukranian proverb - 'a pig will find the filth' - that perfectly describes the protagonist of this novel. No matter what is in store for Miriam Black, she will not fail to make the worst possible choice and will go out of the way to alienate very few people that actually care for her and her well-being.
This self-destructing behavior, usually followed by wails of self-pity, is mildly amusing to make one want to finish first book, but having same theme going for the second one is a little lazy, imho.
Characters are rather bland and, in best traditions of B-movies and soap operas, have the need to explain their motives in long sentences. I'm no prude, but it felt that Mr. Wending used some profanity generator that inserted them into text almost at random.
Also, for those for forgot the theme of the first book - "fate is a bitch." It is repeated over and over again, just in case someone didn't get it yet.
The most interesting part about the first book - Observers, or Fate enforcers, or whatever they were called in the first book are completely absent form the second.
overall rating: meh
I'm a big fan of Scalzi's writing style and i know enough Star Trek Mythos to appreciate sharp ironic humor of the story. But some of the joke were little too 'on the nose' and no low-hanging fruit was left uncollected. Still, the story was very entertaining, narration by Wil Wheaton was great, like always, and i would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light beach read. If they read other novels by Jon Scalzi, that is. Not the best novel by him but better than most other Star Trek fanfic.
Matuculous and extensive in his writing style, King does a great job illustrating protagonist's progression from somewhat naive and uncomplicated teenager to cynical and bitter young man, his slow departure into madness, and completely believable re-evaluation of self, the walk and his friends.
I wish there were more details on the 'universe' this book is set in. What caused this tradition? What kind of world they live in? I prefer well-developed backdrops in fiction, but lack of commentary did not take away from the book. All you see as a reader is a road, seemingly endless, bleak and full of ache.
I have read some criticisms of the ending, but the ending was intelligent. It is ambiguous, and seemingly purposefully so. If you want to settle into a happy ending where the knots are fitfully tied, perhaps romance novels would be more suiting.
Who the hell decided that this whiny, emasculated Woody Allen wannabe is a good choice for a Sci-Fi book?? What a turn-off!!
Should have listened to a sample before purchasing... :-/
still really interested in the novel itself, going to read it instead.
As always, Scalzi is very good at wry, cynical dialogue and his space-battle scenes are both exciting and horrific, but he seems to have concentrated more on the novelty of the episodic format here than on a coherent story. I get the feeling (or at least hope) that this book is mostly a transportation step towards an even better story to come.
To my taste, the book has too much politics and conspiracy and too little technobabble. I like my space opera technobabble-heavy.
Still, as usual, a great gallery of well-defined and convincing characters are given extra depth and plausibility by William Dufris great narration.
Worth the listen if you don't expect much from it.
Subjects of business and economics normally bore me to death but i couldn't put this book down-
Well supported points.
A lot of examples among different industries.
Interesting and useful ideas, easy to understand.
I learnt a lot from it.
Overall gripping and enjoyable, it moved pretty well despite being on the long side. There are many threads to the story and Simmons does a pretty good job tying them up, although there are some loose ends that don't get totally resolved - maybe that's what the next novel is for?
While some parts of the book dragged a bit but overall there was enough of a compelling plot to keep the reader very interested.
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