Las Vegas, NV, United States | Member Since 2006
Have you ever seen your chosen profession, hobby, or other general area of knowledge represented in popular media in a way that is just so off-base that you just couldn't take it? I am a video game designer and have been professionally since 1985. I know about video games, MMOs (massively multi-player online games) and the like. I play them and I've made a few. The setup that Stephenson describes for the game T’Rain bugged me so badly in how it was created, how its economy works, how it handles offline play, how players view it and interact with it and and and... I had to stop. Maybe if I had gotten over the hurdle of his chapters on the background, creation and running of the game I would have liked the actual story. I did like "Ready Player One" and that had some technical issues to, but I easily overlooked them in the course of the story. Reamde however spent way too much time going over and over these technical issues in a way that just left me with a really bad feeling and completely pulled me out of the story.
If you are a Stephenson fan, this feels like a solid Stephenson book. If you don't know what really goes into the sausage of a making an MMO you probably won't have the same reaction I did. So please take my review with a grain of salt.
It's a quick story at under 15 minutes and when I listened to it, twice, I just thought it was pretty good and got on with what I was doing. I don't know what made me think about it more later, but thoughts of it swung around in my head.
Then at about 2:30 AM I got up out of bed to use the bathroom. I turned on the light in the bathroom so when I climbed back into bed I was still blinded by the light's after affects and couldn't really see. ...and I started thinking about the story again managed to really get myself creeped out. I had no idea my house made so many strange noises in the night. Then when a leaf fell off a dollar plant I have by the window, I have to admit I kind of lost it. No, I didn't scream or jump or anything. I knew it was a leaf falling off, it happens all the time and I know what it sounds like. But I did get up and turn on the TV to light up the room and mask the sounds the house was making so I could go back to sleep.
You will enjoy it too granted you are into sci-fi TV shows somewhat. Well, if you have at least watched some sci-fi TV shows, especially if they were somewhat poorly written but you still kind of liked it. You kinda glossed over the fact that if another planet suddenly appeared next to the earth, the tides going nuts would be the LEAST of our problems, not to mention if the world were to be teleported to the Medusa Cascade and put into some complex orbit with 25 other celestial bodies. Seriously, didn't these writers ever watch Thundar the Barbarian when they were a kid? In that show a comet passed between the earth and the moon and turned the planet into a post-apocalyptic world with monsters and magic! Seriously though, you can't just screw with the gravitational forces like that.
Okay, sorry about all that above, was writing this while catching up on Doctor Who on Netflix. Back to Red Shirts, think Star Trek as the TV show and then add in all that stuff about the wacky, poor science and other things you just accept because it's a TV show. Now that you have that in your head, think about what is really going on. Now enjoy the ride.
Don't worry if you had the 'twist' spoiled for you, because it is the story, the journey, not the 'twist' that makes it a good story. The 'twist' bit comes out pretty quickly so don't worry. I figured it out from the other reviews and I still enjoyed the story.
The book does get a bit more serious in the two pro-logs, or "Codas" as Scalzi calls them. Though after you've read the book you'll understand why he feels the needs to put his toys away nicely.
Now somebody send this book to the people writing Doctor Who and make sure they read the first Coda.
If you've listened to the other two books in this series you might be wondering how it all ties up, especially given the pacing of the story. I'll tell you that the story does come to an end, though that isn't "the end." A lot of the set-up that the story has been pacing out does finally play out with pretty much all the cards on the table. Then it goes on for a bit in a sort of epilogue which lays out anything you might have missed, no more secrets about who is behind what.
But although this is definitely the ending to this story, there is more. The end is obviously putting some of the characters into place for what I guess will be the Second Law series.
In the end I liked it overall and would recommend it to others. I will also probably read a second series if indeed I am right about that.
I said in my review of the first book int his series is that it felt like just a story about these character who are just going about their lives without an overall plot. You only barely get hints of something bigger going on, but it is all played very close to the chest. Now however there are some more things going on. Things are happening and the characters are reacting. There are also hints about the bigger picture so you can get a feel about what is going on overall in the world.
All that being said it is good and I'm well into the third book now.
It took me a while to figure out the one bit that was hampering my enjoyment of this book. It is well written with a host of interesting characters. It is just that they aren't really trying to do something. Sure there are minor goals, Nine fingers is trying to go here, Luthor is trying to win the sword fighting competition, and so on, but over all there doesn't seem to be a point. For the most part it feels like it is just a story about these character who are just going about their lives without an overall plot. You only barely get hints of something bigger going on, but it is all played very close to the chest.
I think it would have been better served if there was something stronger tying it all together, even if it didn't work out or turned out to be a ruse.
It isn't until halfway through the second book in the series that you start getting hints at the bigger picture and what some people are up to.
All that being said it is good and I'm well into the third book now.
I almost missed the Fables comic/graphic novel series, because I wasn't that impressed with the very first story. In retrospect I blame the artist, feeling he didn't quite capture the detail necessary for the "who dunnit" story. After that though I was hooked hard. Peter & Max is a good story on its own even if you aren't familiar with the Fables series. The bit where it explains the Fables backstory does feel slightly out of place. Actually, it feels like exactly what it is, an aside to explain the back story.
The story itself is solid and well told and I highly recommend it. It has a pretty solid pace all the way through and was a great listen. Wil Wheaton's narration is solid.
If you are a Douglas Adams fan, this is a must for your collection. It has samples of interviews and things Douglas wrote from across his career. Stop reading this review and get this book.
I am a professional game designer and have been so since high school in the mid-80's. That being said just to show you what angle I am reading the book from. There were a few points in the book that annoyed me. Putting up a magic wall or force field would be a PvP action and wouldn't be allowed in a non-PvP zone. You wouldn't build 1000's of schools, you would instance them. Things like that. But, if those things mean nothing to you or you are able to get over those types of things; this is a pretty enjoyable book. I liked it a lot, especially all the 80's nostalgia.
Wil Wheaton's narration is pretty solid and fits the main character well.
If you like video games, 80's geekdom, and may happen to have the AD&D module "S1: Tomb of Horrors" on your shelf (as I do), you should read (listen) to this book.
This is my favorite book of all time. It wasn't the first time I listened to it because it was a little confusing with a lot of odd plot threads. The second time I listened to the book it was like looking at a silhouette of two heads looking at each other and seeing a white candlestick. I think I might have stolen that analogy from something else Douglas wrote. I will admit that I was listening to a different version that was abridged and that I didn't know that Samuel Taylor Coleridge never finished his poem Kubla Khan. That may be considered a slight spoiler, but I think he wrote the book thinking the reader should already know that.
But it all comes together, so so well. Re-listening to it I found all sorts of little clues in the details that I had glossed over and not paid attention to the first time.
Now on top of all that, the writing is so clever, well done and absolutely hilarious.
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