If you are looking for exciting space opera, a la the Vorkosigan saga, take a pass. This is more like Tom Clancy in space,detailing of fighter-carrier operations and weapons technology. The focus is largely on the wonderful technology and the expertise of the characters rather than ideas and emotions.
In short, I bought it on a whim and discovered it's not my cup of tea.
This is a time travel story used as a device to retell selected stories from the New Testament. The time travel technology, never explained, serves merely to put modern characters in contact with Jesus.
It's quite clear that the author has no doubts about Jesus's miraculous powers. The only character in the book that doubts Jesus is the token skeptic--even the authorial voice simply states Jesus's acts as facts. If the author really wanted to take us through the experience of a conversion from nonbeliever to believer, he might have set up the story so that the reader actually has reason to suspect that the skeptic might be right. He could contrast the apparent wisdom of Jesus with the possibility that he is a fraud. Then, in the end, create a situation where the skeptic verifies that Jesus is in fact dead and then experiences the resurrection in a situation that leaves no doubt.
As it is, the story presents the skeptic as a straw man who is ignorant of even the most basic elements of the Jesus story, which seems highly improbable. He is an Israeli, who was married to a devout Christian woman, and who lived in the United States for more than 10 years. He has an advanced degree. How is it that he doesn't know who Judas is? Or the Pharisees? This is appalling writing--the author is either ignorant himself, or chooses to set up a straw man.
If you are Christian and want to enjoy seeing a paper-thin skeptic proven wrong, you may enjoy this.
If you are a Christian and you want to recommend a book to a nonbeliever that you think might change their mind -- don't. This book provides no new perspectives and takes a stance that will alienate your non-believing friend. Try C. S. Lewis instead.
(The reader, however, is spectacular. I first encountered R. C. Bray in The Martian. I enjoy his tone and ability to vary voices and present different accents. )
V-S day was a fascinating speculation on what might have happened if the US had invested in creating intercontinental attack rockets instead of the nuclear bomb. The historical research is admirable and the story telling is smooth. What I missed was a focus on a personal story -- I think I would have found V-S day more engaging and meaningful if the story included a counterpoint that explored the effects of doing the work on one or more of the characters. For example, there is a brief subplot about the effect of secrecy on one researcher's relationship with his girlfriend. This could have been expanded through the story to look at different effects of war, excitement of discovery, and secrecy on this man's life. Without that sort of focus, V-S Day feels like an interesting History Channel documentary rather than an exciting story.
I listened to the audio edition narrated by Ray Chase. I enjoy the richness and clarity of Mr. Chase's voice, but I find his delivery always left me expecting a disdainful remark at the end of every paragraph.
In the middle of WWII, the navy gathered a bunch of science fiction writers together in a Philadelphia research center. This included Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and L. Sprague de Camp. Paul Malmont uses this fact as a launching point for a fictional mystery adventure where the great lights of 40s SF track down the lost secrets of Tesla's Wardencliffe experiment. It's great fun.
I have read a great deal about Heinlein, Asimov, and actually met Sprague and Catherine de Camp back in '88. My impression is that that Paul Malmont did his research and does a fine job of recreating the character's of these historical figures. Any fans of these authors will enjoy this book. If you are a writer, you can catch the enthusiasm all these great authors had for their work. It will also satisfy fans of pulp style mystery adventure who have never heard of these authors.
Christopher Lane, the narrator of this book, also did his research on accents--Heinlein's Missouri, Asimov's Bronks, de Camp upper class New York, and others are a delight.
I found Mr. Plunkett's choice to pronounce ancient words and names in American dialect disappointing. In particular this mean that Gordianus' name came out with an unfortunate emphasis on the last four letter.
Steven Saylor gives us the formative adventure of Gordianus the Finder, as the 18 year old sets out with his tutor to visit the seven wonders. As with all Saylor's works, the attention to historical reconstruction of the Roman era intrigues me and keeps me reading. I felt like a tourist accompanying the main character on his visits to the great sights. Narrated in first person by young Gordianus, it presents a series of episodes that prompt his inquisitive problem solving skills and lead to the solution of several mysteries. It is only at the end of the book when we (and Gordianus) learn that there was more to his episodic adventure than was apparent. The final puzzle sets the young Finder onto the path to become the skeptical investigator we know in later books. I found The Seven Wonders interesting throughout and rewarding at the end. Recommended.
While there are several interesting characters in the story, I don't feel I got enough to really care about any of them or their aspirations.
Yes. This is only the first of her works I've tried. I'll give another one a try.
Ottorino Vespucci, black sheep of a rich family with romantic notions about the Martian frontier based on Spaghetti Westerns.
This book reads like a collection of tales, published as individual short stories, which it may well be.
The premise about the colonization of a large landmass mid-Atlantic intrigued me and the alternate history was fascinating.
I needed more involvement with a central character -- or a succession of them, as Steven Saylor provides in Roma. Especially in the first third, I would have been much more engaged if I had a main character to focus on with some personal concerns I could identify with. As it was, it was merely a man in his time with little thematic juice.
The narrator was excellent: great tone, pace, and rhythm.
Brene Brown's latest book on vulnerability, leadership, and living covers science, anecdotes, and insight in easy to understand and entertaining text.
This audio book suffers only from the narrator, who reads at good speed and emphasis, but has a high rasp in her voice that I found irritating. Not a fatal flaw because the content is so good. I recommend this audiobook.
The story is straightforward, stepping through the process of a town's survival in a new environment. No surprises and little to prompt wonder or philosophical speculation.
Yes. I like authors from the classic era of SF.
He read much too fast.
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