I really wanted to like this book better than I did. It's well written, great descriptions and interesting characters and situations.
However, the denseness of the main character sometimes drove me nuts. I understood where that denseness came from (you'll know what I mean if you've read the book) and intellectually, it made sense, but I just couldn't get over the damage that was done. I don't want a Mary Sue, but I do want a main character who can accomplish SOMETHING, for goodness' sake!
In a way, it was very realistically done (which is why, even though I got frustrated, I gave it 4 stars). I'd like to know what happens, but I don't know if I can do it.
As an aside, I found Boehmer's voice to be a little high-brow sounding for a narrator who, in the beginning of the book comes from humble origins, but I got used to it by the end.
One of the few books I wish I'd read via the text version. They did a great job of trying to match the voices of the main characters with those in the movies, but I could hear an echo in my head in the proper voices. Reading the text would have given me the experience of hearing it with the real (if imagined) voices.
Still, a fun book and well done. Loved the sound effects. :)
Simply put, an honest, funny, and interesting story, well performed. I loved it and will definitely have it on hand for rereads.
I am a writer, not a professional one, more of a student of the art.
I find Scalzi's writing to be funny, extremely accessible, and probably as a result, sometimes a little simplistic. It's the time worn argument of style over function. His plot, in this case, is a little simple, probably to allow the character study of the anti-hero to be center stage. As with many first contact stories, I found the accessibility of the alien creatures to be a little suspect, but if they weren't a little bit human, how would we relate, right?
As soon as I was done this nicely done bit of escapist sci-fi, I immediately wanted to read the original Little Fuzzy again. It's been at least 25 years since I'd read it. And presto! The lovely folks at Audible had appended that to the end of Fuzzy Nation.
The original is a similar level of fun and accessibility. Interestingly, I found it to be the inverse in some respects, of Fuzzy Nation. The plot was more complex but relied a tad too much on coincidence and the characters more flat, less nuanced (with one tragic exception).
Thank you, Audible, John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, H. Beam. Piper, and his narrator, for bringing this writer a fun experiment in comparing narratives. :)
I love the technical language and the likeable hero. Comfort reading of the highest order.
Simply put, I loved this book.
Firstly, I love when Neil Gaiman reads aloud. He is as skilled a performer as he is a writer, and that's saying something.
But even without the performance, this book is touching and has a macabre beauty that is unlike any other book I've ever read. I want to read it to my nephews, if they ever sit still long enough to listen. The little boy in the book grows up realistically and learns about love and loss and all the things you learn about when you're growing up. He just happens to live with people who are already dead. Their love for him transcends death, and that is simply beautiful.
In some respects, this book is very well written. I particularly liked that I could not predict the arc of the story. The characterizations were good, if a little ham-handed. Others have complained the protagonist is a Mary Sue, to which I riposte that she is a match to one of the greatest Gary Stus there are, Sherlock Holmes.
My reason for merely liking the book? Holmes by himself (and in this case, doubled) can be tedious. I have always enjoyed the camaraderie and "bromance" of the Holmes-Watson team. This has been intensified by the recent British series "Sherlock" where Watson's humanity leavens the impersonal severity of Holmes. If you like this too, you'll be disappointed in this book, where Watson is reduced to a fool-hardy relic of canine loyalty.
I really enjoyed this, most particularly, the 3 codas.
The pacing of the the main body of the book really works with the expected pacing for a ST episode or movie. It worked very well as a comedy.
The codas, on the other hand, really worked wonderfully, not only looking at the themes more seriously, but also as a writing exercise.
I listened to Coda 1 more than once, partly because I loved the part about authors who kill people off for no reason. A pet peeve of mine.
Wheaton's reading was well done too and having him in particular worked with the premise very well.
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