Mississauga, ON, Canada | Member Since 2001
Letting Go Of God covers all the bases: the journey from childhood religious indoctrination to freethinking adulthood, the contradictions in the Bible, the silliness of New Age thinking as a substitute for reason, the prejudice against atheists, and, most of all, shows that you can be a good, kind, loving person without God (indeed, it's hard not to be totally in love with Sweeney by the end). It never sneers, never uses condescension, and never once tells anyone else what to think -- it trust that the members of the audience can find their own way. A tour de force; I recommend it highly and wholeheartedly.
Just as fascinating and clever at the title suggests. Unlike so many "The Science of ..." books that stray far and wide from their putative subject matter, this one really does stay entirely focused on what must be going on, in terms of neuroscience, in the undead as portrayed in classic zombie movies and TV shows. Of course, the whole subject suggests a tongue in cheek treatment, and that's a breath of fresh air after several pedantic "The Science of ..." or "... and Philosophy" titles that have come out lately. I loved it. Scott Aiello does a masterful reading -- this is a rollicking, fun book, and he's pitch-perfect delivering every bit of humor, sarcasm, and irony that the authors have crafted. I'd say run, don't walk, to get a copy -- but even if all you can do shamble, this is well worth listening to.
THE MALTESE FALCON is a fabulous book, and the Humphrey Bogart movie version is, of course, a classic. Here, William Dufris does an amazing job bringing each character to life. He wisely doesn't imitate Bogart for his Sam Spade, but there's a lot of Peter Lorre in his Joel Cairo and more than a dollop of Sydney Greenstreet in his Kasper Gutman. He brings all the overwrought duplicitousness to his Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and the other female characters -- especially Effie Perrine -- are handled well. Hammett was a master of dialogue, and the lines crackle in this terrific reading by Dufris. An absolutely first-rate production of one of the greatest noir novels of all time. Five stars across the board.
On the premise of WAKE and the science behind it:
(1) see the article in the May 2, 2009, New Scientist entitled "Could the net become self-aware?" (also online at their website), which quotes among others Ben Goertzel, who is in the acknowledgments of WAKE;
(2) one might also find edifying the nonfiction book "The Web's Awake: An Introduction to the Field of Web Science and the Concept of Web Life" by Philip D. Tetlow, from IEEE Press;
(3) check out the acknowledgments in the printed version of WAKE for the list of experts who consulted on and/or reviewed my manuscript, including top people from Google, Sun Microsystems, and IBM (acknowledgments also online on my website);
(4) check out the June 2009 issue of the "Communications of the ACM" (publication of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society), in which I have a commissioned piece on the science behind WAKE;
(5) visit my website soon for the podcast of the invited talk entitled "Webmind: When the Web Wakes Up" I gave about the science behind WAKE on May 6, 2009, at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania;
(6) have a look at my editorial on robotics/AI in the November 16, 2007, issue of SCIENCE, the world's leading science journal; and
(7) be cognizant of the fact that prior to book publication, WAKE was serialized in ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT, the top-selling English-language SF magazine, and the world's leading hard-SF publication, a place where stories not firmly grounded in accurate science simply don't get published. -- Robert J. Sawyer
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