Great read, but I didn't like the way the reader kept switching between Dawkins and Ward. Sometimes it seemed like they almost switched mid-sentence. I wish Dawkins has just read the whole thing.
This book starts out with a great premise. Kind of an X-Files, or Twilight Zone vibe. Unfortunately the writing is not very good. People are continually saying and doing things that just ring false and contrived. Every time that happened, it took me out of the story, and it happens OFTEN. It's irritating. Several times I almost stopped listening.
The other complaint I have is that, once the big secret is revealed there are about 10 or so more chapters, and everything from that point on is utterly predictable. Basically, once you get to the big reveal, you can pretty much stop listening. Just imagine how the story would be resolved if it were a Disney movie, and you've got it.
Also, there are a LOT of loose ends. Many of the "oddities" that set up the premise of the story are never explained, at least not to my satisfaction.
The narrator does a good job. I liked that all the characters are given very distinct voices.
I love Jack McDevitt, so when I saw this I jumped after it. I'm a pretty big McDevitt fan, and have read almost everything else he's written. Unfortunately, this book is just awful. Poorly paced, and just poorly written. I hope it's the influence of Mike Resnick, whom I've never heard of, and not a new trend for McDevitt.
I loved this book at the start, and was sure I'd found a new series that would keep me interested for months. I'm now about 3/4th though the book, and I'm not sure I want to finish. This is a book that really tries to stretch a single interesting idea to the breaking point.
Basically, once the little sci-fi conceit is related at the start of the story, the book becomes more of an alternate history story, and long swaths of the book are devoted to talking about pretty dry historical politics and obscure battles between historical armies that have little or nothing to do with the affairs of the uprooted West Virginians.
I want to stay interested, but I'm having a hard time.
This is Gladwell's worst book, in my opinion. Of course, Gladwell is usually great, so it's like talking about Pixar's worst film, or Apple's least popular product. It's got some interesting parts, but there are lots of boring parts.
If you haven't read Gladwell's "Outliers" or "Blink", leave here now and get those. Those are great (esp. Outliers!). After you've read all Gladwell's other books, come back to this one last when you need another Gladwell fix (unless he's written something else by then!)
In my opinion, Gladwell's best book by far is "Outliers". Followed by "Blink". This book comes in third, but it's better than "What the Dog Saw", which is his worst.
If you haven't read Outliers or Blink, read them first.
This was a good book. There were two or three really mind-blowing concepts that I hadn't heard before. But I give it fewer stars because (1) it doesn't really spend very much time on the titular question -- specifically "free will". It's really a book about how the brain works, which is really interesting to me, but this book's not as good as David Eagleman's "Incognito", in my opinion. (2) It spends quite a bit of time on how current neuroscience impacts law and courtroom proceedings. Those parts seemed repetitive and dull to me.
As a software engineer professional, I found this techno-thriller to be the only one of it's kind that I've ever read that really seemed to be written by someone who knows how modern computers and networks function. At no point did I think "no, no! That's not how it would work!". I couldn't finish Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" because of that sort of thing. This was a great listen, and I'm looking forward to starting the sequel ASAP!
I loved Outliers. That was one of the best books I've read in recent years. I would not say Blink is THAT good, but it is very good. Thought-provoking, mind-expanding, all that. If you haven't read Outliers, I recommend that one first, but this is of the same caliber.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I would not put it up there with my all-time favorite sci-fi (Rendezvous With Rama, The Mote in God's Eye, others), but it gives them a run for their money.
For some reason, I was initially turned off by the idea of a "living planet" because it smacked too much of the "Gaia" concept, which I associate with a lot of bad, preachy-teachy sci-fi and fantasy. I'd assumed it had an environmentalist message (i.e. Solaris as a stand-in for earth - take care of the earth, it's a living thing, etc., etc.) and written it off.
Then for some reason (I suppose it was this "definitive edition" and the fact that the clip Audible provided caught my interest), I took a chance and downloaded this, and am very happy I did. I was totally wrong in my assumptions about this story. I enjoyed it a lot, and recommend it.
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