I would recommend the book only to someone who either is absolutely fascinated with the concept of alien intelligence or who simply devours outer-space-related science fiction. I am truly confident this book is the definitive "retail" description of the state-of-the-art search for such intelligence. I can't imagine any more informed author than Paul Davies. It is a virtually encylopedic enumeration of what we've discovered thus far (i.e., nothing much) and of the many possible ways we humans could discover alien beings going forward, whether they are intelligent or not. However, such an enumeration--in my opinion--got to be tedious after the first few chapters. On the positive side, the reader will encounter some interesting new scientific developments and increase his understanding of the gargantuan hurdles scientists face in the detection of alien intelligence.
Make it a little less speculative about all possible technologies that aliens might employ to find us or that we might use to find them. It got to be a catalog of scientific frontier knowledge that conceivably could be exploited like creating monopole magnets, or using nanotechnology to create tiny data-encoded vonNeumann computers which could be distributed around the universe in millions and powered by dark energy, etc. etc.
The narrator was OK. I'm satisfied.
Yes, I would make it faster paced.
Yes, she is a very good writer.
Not at 13 hours.
Yes, absolutely! The many characters, each with distinct qualities, came alive in this audio version, thanks to Dickson's brilliant narration.
There were several: the coming of Esther to Bleak House, her subsequent illness, the chance meeting in the woods between Lady D. and Esther, the capture and release of Trooper George, the moment when the relationship between Alan W. and Esther crystallized.
He is the most fabulous narrator I have yet heard on any audible book. His English accent was perfectly suited to this story, as was his ability constantly to change voices between characters and to maintain consistency in those characters over time, especially so given te length of this book.
The length of this book, the vast array of characters, and the many interwoven threads of story are the main challenges to overcome. You have to listen to it in multiple sittings, but in so doing it is easy to forget what just happened in the prior sitting or who a certain character is who suddenly reappears after an absence of sometimes many chapters. I recommend that the listener have a print version of the book handy simply to use as a backup reference. I found it invaluable.
Genteel, meandering, suspenseful
No, but I doubt the author intended it that way. I think he wanted to build a story that was bigger than a suspenseful plot by creating in the reader an in-depth appreciation for the characters, their flaws and philosophies, their interactions, and their natural surroundings. It is more about the characters than the plot. The plot was indeed clever, but not "edge-of-your seat" stuff like Greg Hurwitz or Harlan Coben.
His delightful southern accent and his expert ability to vary characters' voices when they are in conversation mode.
No. But it made me want to visit New Orleans again.
I'd HAVE to listen to it again if I want to understand some of the many highly abstract intellectual concepts introduced by Deutsch. I think this is a compelling read anyway. I will listen again.
No. I wouldn't say they were too technical, just above my intellectual and cognitive "pay grade" in some areas. I suspect most listeners will feel the same way. Though I personally have a PhD in an admittedly unrelated-to-physics but nonetheless a very analytical and technical field, I simply could not follow certain discussions, such as the one relating to Quantum Mechanics.
He was competent and a clear enunciator. However, I think actually READING a physical book would be better in this case: It would enable one to go back to prior sentences or pages to reread them. The nature of his book is such that if you didn't understand the initial paragraphs of a topic he introduces, the odds are good that you won't understand the rest of the discussion. His arguments are like building blocks.
Yes, "Infinity Hotel" was one. Another was a discussion of his views, which I share, on how mankind should deal with the prospects of global warming.
Deutsch is absolutely a genius. I am not convinced he is necessarily right when he tries to extend his scientific reasoning to completely unrelated fields, but he definitely makes you think in a completely new light. I'd say "Bravo". This is a very important book.
Not sure. If there were photos in the print version, I would probably have preferred it to the audible version.
Hyacinth's survival. She was a real hero, surviving because she quietly and unwaveringly kept her own counsel.
This was an enlightening and compelling listen whose lessons should stay with all of us permanently. It raised uncomfortable, but essential, questions about the inherent nature of humanity and what it takes to survive adversity. I strongly recommend it. The narration was very clear and effective.
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