Natick, MA United States | Listener Since 2009
No for the author and yes for the reader
Bianculli is a TV critic, so this is his core knowledge base. The bulk of this book is basically a play-by-play for every show. It can be very informative, but also very tedious, but that I can forgive because it seems to me that it's how a TV critic would think.
The big issue is that he tries to over-sell the product.
He uses extreme exaggeration. The easiest way to describe this without spoiling anything is in the final chapter when he tried to proclaim the shows influence on today's television/comedy scenes, linking it to every possible show he can. He says they influenced Flight of the Conchords, who are from New Zealand, were born a number of years after the show was cancelled and most importantly and have never made such claims. Just because there are two of them and they sing, doesn't mean that they were ever influenced by Dick and Tom. And would Stephen Colbert have ever attempted to get on the ballot in South Carolina without Pat Paulsen having done so in 68? Of course he would have. He contradicts this claim by listing other people who had run as part of a humor bit. He uses this method elsewhere in the book too, but that begins to border on spoilers.
He also plays the conspiracy card by trying to incriminate Nixon in their being fired. Despite owning up to the fact that he could find no proof, he then spends a lot of time using logical fallacies to tie a man who had been in office for barely 3 months to their being fired.
And he makes too many unsubstantiated claims. I imagine that some of them are true and some of them are not, but because he does it so often, I come away wary of all his claims
He's a critic and not a historian and that shows. Opinion is not stronger than fact and he seems blissfully unaware of that.
More like who would I add. Is it possible that Dick Smothers was so inconsequential to the show that after the book shifts into the history of it, he deserves only a few passing mentions? I doubt it.
At the end of the day, Dick and Tom have cultural relevance. But what is the value of that cultural relevance? After reading the book, I am still unsure. I am quite sure its nowhere near the level that the author states.
I went into this thinking it was a sci-fi book. But it's more erotica than anything. And if you're not prepared for that, it will kill the story. I would tune out way too often because of the weird sex scenes and would then have lost some key moments that were plot related by the time I remembered to actively listen again. I was just too uncommitted (or disturbed) to rewind. I think they meant for "space opera" to be a clue as to the erotic nature....but I missed the point.
Underneath all the Rule 34/Japanese Manga bizarro-ness is a sci-fi story with a few good things. For example the idea of humans leaving robots that are still tied to human rules programmed into them. And a very realistic take on space travel. However, as I said, it's not always easy to follow.
So if you are looking to read this, I don't want to discourage you. Just know that it's 50 shades of gray for robots. That way you don't get lost in a barrage of "what the heck am I listening to moments" that make it difficult to get engaged with the plot. You may end up liking it way more with that in mind.
I've seen people talk about his predictions, but don't get caught up in that.
He uses his knowledge to take a stab at predicting the next 100 years. How accurate will it be? Probably not a lot. But he called the crisis in the Ukraine six years ago. So he is starting out strong.
All of his forecasting is just fun and interesting.
The underlying logic is what's important. Geopolitics and US grand strategy. How the short-term need to apply this strategy leads to new enemies/allies. I think he does a fairly good job of interpreting the grand strategies of Russia, Japan and Germany too. I'm a bit less certain on Turkey, Mexico and Poland. And the subject of immigration is mind-boggling good.
Give it a shot. It's well worth it if you don't get bogged down on the details.
A sexy sexy science fiction story. And by sexy sexy, I mean boring and quite useless. Everybody will tell you this is some great story. It is not. It's sometimes porn, sometimes a diatribe about the stupid, animistic nature of males and on the rare occasion females. There is no point and a great idea is wasted on a series of sexcapades and rather forced pregnancy episode.
So think 50 Shades of Gray but uppity about it and with less-kinky sex.
I like Jonathan Davis and will listen to more books with him as narrator. But I don't know what he was doing here. This book is about Catalonia. And it specifically about a Catalan society that suffered under the oppression of Franco. Catalans do not, to a very distinct point, refer to Barcelona with a "th" sound. It is Bar-sa-lona, not Bar-tha-lona. That is the Castilian pronunciation and while it's use isn't as as extreme as it once was (although you could still get pummeled for using it in some places), back when this book was happening, it would have been up there with some of the most offensive racial epithets we refuse to use today. It is seriously that bad. And he does it 100's of times.
In fact, he will mention FC Barcelona, who quite literally abbreviate their name as Barça, with the French cedilla, to emphasize how much they detest the "th" sound when referring to them.
And it's important, because the Catalan language was brutally oppressed during the Franco regime and the Camp Nou, where Barça play, was the only place where people could speak it in a large group.
So how he could take a book about Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War, it's far-reaching effects on all of Spain, but specifically Catalonia in this book and not figure out this is beyond me. I'm not Catalan and have never been (although it's on my bucket list) and yet I know enough about these things to cringe every time he said it.
Despite his ignorance (or the production teams), he does a good job with the book outside of this. And I still thought it was quite enjoyable as a story.
Seriously, this woman is not worth your time if you're an atheist with any amount of critical thinking. She exists for that segment of us that just is looking for a reason to hate. I hate those people as much as I hate fundies in other philosophical enclaves.
You can find an atheist with a love of knowledge, a sense of humor, a sense of propriety and a need for truth.
Oh wait. You can find thousands of them. You can find many of them that write books.
She's not of them.
And comparing herself to the like of Dawkins and the Hitch just makes me loathe her.
So if you aren't an atheist......she's not a good sampling
If you are......you should know better.
Basically I bought too many books at some point. Some of them have turned out to be disappointments.
But not this one. I started this just to say I tried and give up on it. Ripped through the entire thing in days. Absolutely loved it.
Interested angle in the post-apocayptic genre and that's not easy to do
Makes the story, characters and finale interesting.
When Minnie laughs for a character. Seriously this is probably the only complaint I have about the entire book. Her performance otherwise.....is great.
No. Obviously he has his political stance and I don't share his values so I couldn't even finish this one.
Not angry. Basically this book has a view and an opinion but doesn't back it up with evidence. If I agreed with right wing laissez-faire economics, then I'm sure I would like this. But I don't. I see the world of economics in shades of gray. If you live in the world of gray rather than black and white, then this will probably not be worth your time.
Even if I didn't share the values of this economist, I was opened to learning something. But it's so obviously tinged with an agenda that I couldn't even do that. Big disappointment.
I really liked Vance. I would definitely enjoy another book by him.
I think I would be done with Larsson even if he hadn't passed away. He's exhausting and had no editor to keep him on point. Due to the fact that this was found and printed posthumously, there are way too many parts that have no bearing on his overall story.While I loved the insights in the Swedish society and history, I'm not sure I trust the sociopolitical commentary fully. I'm sure there is truth to all of it, but its an extremist view and he in fact thought that people such as himself without extremist views were victims in Sweden......so I can't appreciate the disconnect. That bothers me. Aside from that, the story itself is slow and resolves in such a way that its hard to suspend disbelief.
I always like Henrik the best, but for this one I would say I liked Anders Jonasson and Malin Erikson. While two minor characters, I thought they were strong layered characters and that Vance did an excellent job of breathing life into them.And while my overall feeling might not come out as positive, I do one of Larsson's strongest traits was his ability to create complex minor characters.
Oh God no. I don't care about the sister. I don't care about Salandar or Blomqvist at this point either. Perhaps I missed something nuanced because Kalle is definitely misogynistic in his own special kind way and maybe there was something Stig was trying to do by making such a character the protagonist in the universe, but it went over my head. So I just find him boring and I find Salandar too one-dimensional. While she gets lumped in with other great female protaganists, I think that she her personality is thinner than her oft-explained frame. She might be more kick-ass than Bella from Twilight, she no more layered than her and I wouldn't want my daughter thinking of either of them as more than weak literary avatars. He does a great job of explaining why she is the way she is, but he never makes a case for why I should do more than pity her. Perhaps I know too many people that have had just as bad lives and have become amazing people that I find the idea that she should be excused for not falling too far from the tree. She's rather loathsome and unless the next book included a part where Kalle, Holger and Dragan realize now that she's been exonerated that she's still a bad person, then I have no interest.
Why is this universe so black and white sexually. Either a person is hyper-sexual or sexually disturbed. There are three people in the three books that have some kind of sexual history that isn't extreme and Kalle does his best to ruin them. It's something weird that is lost in all of this and I'm note sure I want to think much more about it. But it began to bother me in the 2nd book and by the Erika history in this, I was loathing it.
The religious right. Conspiracy theorists. Anti-intellectuals. And anybody who HATES science.
The author has no clear understanding of his subject matter and has read just enough as someone who hates science to get away with talking about. It's like those people who are atheists and no way too much about the bible, because they say "know your enemy". Science is not your enemy. And religion is not your enemy (and yes I am an atheist). Stupid people are your enemy. And it's the stupid people that try and turn science or religion into something that serves their agenda, rather than accept what they have to offer.
Cold Fusion? The reason people don't believe in CF is because it has never been verifiable. Nobody can make it happen within the parameters described every time. That means something is wrong with the idea. People are still looking into. That's what science does.
Homeopathy? If you want to spend your hard earned money on water because you think it has memory, then you deserve to get ripped off. And don't complain about taxes, because homeopathy is a tax on stupidity and you pay it gladly.
Evolution? He has no idea what evolution is. It's not sexual selection as he describes it.
Pot shots at Carl Sagan? Author is a troll.
So if you love science avoid this book. Because the first two chapters aren't bad and will fool you.
A book that isn't written by a charlatan.
The reader did okay and doesn't deserve to be judged on the material
The first two chapters are decent. And they lull you into a false sense of security before he hits you with the crazy.
I probably wouldn't. I have recently come back to King after not reading his work for years. And some of his new stuff has been excellent, on par with the old works we hold in high regard. This isn't one of those new ones.
Not that it didn't hold the same story telling and character development that is typical of a King book. But this one lacks a story. And with a title and premise such as it has, that was the last thing I would have thought coming in. In many ways the assassination is just a weak framework for something else King wanted to do.
While he does get down to brass tacks and discuss time-travel and it's paradoxes, who shot JFK, and an alternate history, they are very small parts of this large book. When he is discussing these three topics, it's really good. That's the part I will remember.
But the section on what would have happened if JFK had lived was way too short. I've seen some really crappy alt-history pieces written in my time, and here was a guy who could have done it right (and he did) but he didn't spend enough time on it. That stunk.
Otherwise, you are getting a book about a guy getting used to living in the early 60's. It's not bad, but it's not what I expected.
Most Interesting: More than the King's alt-history, I believe his position on who shot JFK is very good.
Least Interesting: Everything between about Nov 1958 through 1961
There is are some very obvious Easter Egg for any "It" fans. They were great.
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