Kailua Kona, HI, United States | Member Since 2002
Don't miss out on this book. It should start out with "Y'all ain't gonna believe this s _ _ _!"
What a wild and jaw-dropping read! Ray Kurzwell is a real visionary, and the array of subject matter contained in this book is awesome. I can hardly believe his ideas about the future of mankind and artifical intelligence. Though my back aches and my arthritis is killing me, Kurzwell makes me want to live another seventy-one years just to see if what he says turns out to be true. i can only hope that his vision of the future becomes reality so that my great-grandchildren can witness and benefit from the fantastic future outlined in his book.
Kurzwell's views on robotics and artificial intelligence, cloning, reverse-engineering the human brain (?), nanotechnology, world hunger, immortality, conquest of the Universe, treating diabetes successfully (to mention just a few topics) are logically presented, and carefully explained in layman's terms. I have listened to this book several (like seven or eight) times and it has not lost my interest yet. I love the book. I agree with the reviewer who states that it is a great introduction to the 21st century and the vast changes that are iminently possible for mankind. Wow.
The narrator is exactly as he should be. He speaks slowly enough for me to digest the material. His tone is pleasant, and he speaks as if he knows the material well. I am a stickler for narration. it's something that I often comment on, and frankly I was surprised that so many other reviewers panned his performance.
I had seen this book in a Showtime mini-series portrayal back in 1984. It's offered now on Netflix, and I revisited it again after purchasing the audible book. It is a great story, either way, and I can't say that one was better than the other.
As it is in many book-to-movie transitions, some key elements are left out and the timeline is altered. The book was lovely, just lovely until the rescue of Anjuli from the suttee ritual. The storyline is so much more fleshed out, and I was just swept away to 1860s India. The narrator had much to do with this. His wonderful Indian accent was seamless and so real. He even spoke the women's parts so believably. Charming all the way through.
However, I did find the book rather tedious after the rescue. It seemed to drag on. I think that the mini-series did a better job incorporating all the Afghanistan fighting before the rescue. I have to admit I played it at 2x speed a couple of times, because I really wanted to know what happened, I just didn't want to experience every bloody blow in real time. I will read it again in the future, because the narration was so good, the forbidden romance was so good, and Ash's back story, which was quite skimmed over in the mini-series, was very interesting.
I just purchased this collection of stories, and I am so thrilled, I can't stand it. Listening to Orson Welle's radio programs is astonishing. I had forgotten what listening to radio was like. In the 1940s and early 50s, I used to listen to the radio all the time as a kid. We didn't have TV until 1953, and then it was mostly test patterns with about 4 hours of programming.
But listening to the radio--that was the THING! As I listened to it today, I am amazed at all the special effects that went into the program: the music, the sound effects, the crowd in the background, how wonderful is that? My imagination came to life again. So far I have listened to about ten of the episodes -- the first one, the Christmas Carol is a little gritty, so I moved on. I can go back an listen to it later, Algiers was a great listen, with Paulette Goddard in the lead role. What a young voice she had.
I listen on my iPod late at night after I get in bed. The stories are short enough that I can listen to an entire episode before falling asleep. The actors and actresses are great, too. I'll admit, it's a little hard to hear with the static and all, but that's not in all the programs. And if I remember right, listening over the radio in the 1940s was the same. Reception wasn't that good then, either. So, it's like going back in time for me. I'm delighted.
I have found a new genre now which I hope to mine and get more of the stories that I used to listen to as a kid. Do you remember "Let's Pretend"? It was a Saturday morning series of fairy tales. Ooh, I hope I can find it.
As for the story listings, I googled the book name and found a site that had all the episodes listed in order. So now, I can pick and choose, and I'll be able to go back and listen to my favorites again and again.
I bought this audiobook eleven years ago, and listened to it in the manner that was available -- I think I had the Otis (remember that l'il gadget?). At the time, I wasn't very impressed. The first chapter dealt with his younger days and the effect that television had on him. I may have put the book down at that time, because I don't remember it being very hilarious, as I'd hoped it would be.
But recently I've been listening to the "Peter and the Starcatchers" series and I couldn't believe that Barry co-wrote that with Ridley Pearson. Sure enough, checking out Dave Barry's webpage listed "Dave Barry Does Japan" also among his credits, so I decided to give it another go. I downloaded it to my iTouch. (Big change from the Otis...)
I listen to Audible at night before dropping off to sleep, and last night I almost dropped out of bed I was laughing so hard. The Auidble app is great! I set it to quit after 30 minutes first then 60 minutes the second time, I was enjoying it that much. Oh, the difference a decade can make -- I've now been to Japan several times, I've got this great listening device, the book is still in my library, and I have mellowed.
Among all of his ribaldry, Dave does make some sober comments on our two very different cultures. I totally agree with him about what is happening in America -- nobody wants to do real work, like actually barnstorming an actual barn in a single day or sweeping streets -- everybody wants to be management, whereas the Japanese find dignity in every job, no matter how menial. Barry says they actually WORK. This accounts for their meteoric rise to a major world power and also contributes to America's shortfall in status.
But he is totally hilarious (and absolutely true) when it comes down to meeting the average Japanese person on the street, asking directions or trying to get directions on the phone. I've been there. I know he speaks the truth. The Japanese people are CRAZY and charming, and I personally can't wait for another chance to "do" Japan. I'll be taking good ol' Dave along with me. I'm glad I read it again.
What a waste of time. How people get this stuff published is beyond me. I have listened to over two hours of nonsense while trying to cope with a bad cold. This drivel has made my stomach ache as well. Thanks but no thanks, Audible. I love you guys, but wish I had passed this one up.
Listening to this absolutely fantastic biography of Nikola Tesla just makes me want to shake my head in sadness and disbelief. His great genius was literally raped by all the money moguls of Wall Street, and Edison? Shame on him! Of course Tesla was at times his own greatest enemy -- not patenting crucial inventions because he wanted to "save the world". Altruism is great in theory, but money talks. If Tesla had had business savvy, he might not have died penniless and alone.
Seifer's book brings to life the clutching, grabbing and clawing for fame and recognition that went on in the early part of the last century that has, unbelievably, finally put mankind in the position that it is now. Cell phones, the worldwide internet -- name just about every electronic device we use today -- and Tesla's inventive genius was the fuel that guided it.
I checked out Wikipedia after I read this book, and Seifer's in-depth portrayal of Tesla is spot on, and rounds out this amazing personality/wizard in such a way that I feel cheated that this man did not have a better and more charitable response to his genius.
Simon Prebble's narration was just fine, although since there was very little dialogue, per se, I wondered why he felt he had to use accents. They weren't really necessary.
I saw the movie last year and have had a while to appreciate the underlying moral of this tale. Listening to the story was startling in some ways. For instance, as an old lady, I was a little shocked at Scottie's precociousness, while at the same time found it totally believable. The young people that I am around today behave much the same as this ten-year-old. Her father, Matthew King, is as shocked as I was, and constantly berates himself for being an absent father. Alex, his older daughter, is world-wise and smart-mouthed as many young teen aged girls are, and it is interesting to watch her develop into a role model for her younger sister as the story evolves.
The mother is lying comatose in Queen's Hospital and the timeline is when the doctor tells Matt that they are going to pull the plug. He has to deal with this, and with other small details, like finding out his wife was cheating on him, and his children are potty-mouthed and spoiled -- you know, the everyday stuff we all go through. But there is another story! I haven't noticed that any other reviewer mentioned this.
The most interesting aspect of the story for me was hearing Matt's turmoil regarding his family's history. We who live in Hawaii are always blaming the missionaries and land-grabbers of long ago, and even today tend to look upon their descendants as entitled S.O.B.s who don't belong here and don't deserve what they "lucked in to". As a descendant of royalty, Matt lives with some notoriety in the community, even though he is of Hawaiian blood. Although he lives only on his own earnings as a lawyer, people behave as though he has bags of cash laying around the house. His own father-in-law berates him because of this. But the truth is -- although he is the trustee of multi-million dollar real estate, he is more or less cash-poor. Now the family has offers to sell the land to out-of-state developers, and money hungry cousins are positioning themselves to receive their portion of the landfall expected by the sale. It's all in Matt's hands. He is the largest shareholder of the trust and he alone determines the disposition of the trust. Does he pave paradise or "malama the `aina" (take care of the land)?
Matt struggles with this decision, one that will surely change the face and fate of the island state. I would like to think that all the descendants of Hawaiian royalty who control lands here in the islands have the heart and soul of Matthew King - Hawaiian man.
Oh yes, and the narrator was not that bad. In fact, I only laughed once when he said, "High-low" for Hilo. It should be HEE-low". The rest of the time he was pretty good. He did his homework.
I read this book about twenty years ago and remembered how much I enjoyed it. Thankfully for me my memory is a bit faded and I was able to enjoy Asimov's amazing prose once again as if it were brand new. A couple of things are different now. In the 21st century, with instant texting and cellphones everywhere I found it rather amusing that the citizens of Trantor had not gotten very far with their communication devices, or their travel options. In 1988 we were just getting our teeth sharpened on personal computers -- to have a "286" was top of the line, and only text pilots and geeks were on the world wide web. AOL was not even born yet and dial-up was the way to go and SO expensive. Who knew that technology would leap so far so fast!
So, tongue in cheek, I retread Hari Seldon's path as he postulated his theory of psychohistory, so much more enjoyable with Scott Brick's spot-on narration. As the story unfolded I had a germ of remembrance about the ending which I shoved to the back of my mind as I listened happily to Hari and Dors' travel experiences. In the end it was as I suspected and so utterly perfectly delivered I enjoyed it thoroughly again.
This was a perfect listen. I am ready now to re-experience the rest of the Foundation series. I hope that Scott Brick will be my storyteller.
Fro me, this book is a little hard-core science fiction. I can appreciate that the author is himself a scientist, but maybe that's what got in the way. It has been a few days since I finished this book, and to tell you the truth, I can't remember any of the characters. There is one, Sylveste(?) but I only remember the name because I used to live near Sylvester, GA. See, I couldn't stay on track with the story if nonsense like that kept bubbling up in my mind in the middle of the thing.
Just so you know I did slog through it, this is what I DID get, that Revelation Space is some kind of liquid planet where when you go swimming, it takes all your personality and knowledge and sometimes gives you back some of the knowledge it's been sucking out of other people. And sometimes it just spits you out, a mass of salmon-colored slime. Apparently some people think this is a great idea, because they are all looking for it.
1. There was no apparent pause or breath or whatever between the scene changes. I often had to back track to make sure I hadn't dozed off. Only now, by reading other reviews, did I learn that I am not crazy.
2. The narrator's fakey fakey accents were terribly distracting. Why, in the middle of space, millions of miles from earth, and several centuries forward, are people still talking with accents? I heard French mixed with German, Japanese that sounded like Charlie Chan (and that was fakey to begin with). I think the narrator got confused as to who was speaking with what accent, because at times it appeared like the entire dialogue was coming from a single character. Even when there was no dialogue, the narrator was sometimes reading with an accent...
3. Another thing, the characters had no character.
4. And, forget figuring out what gender a person is. The narrator didn't even TRY to sound female. We got all these Russian names, Spanish names, etc. and whatever. I could not figure out what sex these people were. After a while I didn't care.
I really wasted my time with this one. I have another of this author's books in my library and I am definitely not going to go there. The narrator is the same - oh, joy.
P.S. I looked this book up on Wikipedia and even after the "glowing" things it has to say about the Revelation Space Universe and Mr. Reynolds, I am not moved.
This is a wonderful, entertaining book - period! But first I have to talk about the narrator, Mr. Ray Porter. Who IS he? He sounds like he is one of those astrophysics/cosmology gurus himself! Every nuance, every inflection, just perfect. I gotta hear more from this guy. He has done an outstanding job of bringing Richard Panek's story to life!
And what a story it is! It reads like a mystery novel from start to finish. I know, a lot of science writers throw names around -- Einstein, Hubble, Hawking, blah, blah -- and I've always accepted this because it gives the material "authority". But this guy, Richard Panek, has taken all the many lesser known names in this field, and given them personalities! All the other scientists, the ones who haven't received a Nobel or other recognition -- all these guys work, think, postulate and network with each other daily to try and figure out what the hell is the universe all about. These people devote their lives, day and night, to put the puzzle pieces together. And Richard Panek put me right there in the room with them.
Along the way, observing these nerds (and I mean that in a most flattering way) massaging and manipulating their grey matter into wild and unimaginable theories about how it all fits together mathematically and elegantly, I have begun to understand what it is that they are talking about.
Panek's lively and informative book, coupled with Porter's engaging and heartfelt narration, make this a perfect Audible package. I want more, more, more of this!
I purchased this book based on the film version that I have seen - thinking of sharing it with my great grandchildren. It is a charmingly odd little story, and I wondered how it translated from the book. I had no idea that it would literally consume my brain. The story concept just blossomed up and out and turned into a real fantasy that the film does not even touch upon. It was a thoroughly enjoyable listen. I will watch the film again, then listen to the book again and I am sure I will have many more hours of fascination and enjoyment with this little gem. And then...well, there are my grandchildren to share this story with! How fun!
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