The brilliant idea behind science fiction is that the author can create his own worlds, technology, and societies in order to subtly address his cultural or religious viewpoints. The key word in this sentence is 'subtly.' In 'Stranger in a Strange Land,' I felt like I was in a religious service, a very long religious service. The only difference was that the preaching was disguised as dialogue between some very boring characters, with very little plot or suspense to make an interesting story. I forced myself to listen to the end, thinking there must be some reason this work is regarded as a classic. All I can say is that, 'I don't groc.'
Rush hour has never been more enjoyable. I am not a history buff, but I found myself very enthusiastic about this book. The book flowed well and was dynamically written. My interest was piqued throughout the book, which is something that does not happen that often with history books. I cannot wait for the second one.
Niven tried to write a story around a fascinating technical concept. Normally, this approach fails miserably, for it is the story that keeps me involved in a book. In this case, however, Niven developed a plot that was as interesting as the technology.
Although the characters were somewhat shallow, they were drawn from a diverse background and a bit of humor, which kept my interest throughout the book. The trials and episodes that the characters encountered were not earth-shattering, but they kept the story moving at an agreeable pace. In addition, the technology was interesting and was introduced in such a way as not to bog down the story in technological mumbo-jumbo.
Bottom line: Ringworld was not the best book I have ever read, but I feel that it was wealth worth the time and money.
This book really boosted my interest in the scriptures. Since I have finished it, I have read and reread the gospels of Paul to learn more. I am not a biblical expert, but the book seems to be accurate with no apparent flaws.
The narration is difficult to get used to at first. But after an hour or two, I became accustomed to it, and I think it even enhanced the book.
The only significant criticism that I can offer is that the book is a little slow at times.
Snow Crash had many interesting ideas - the metaverse, a glimpse of a creative but gloomy future, and a virus that bridged the biological and technological disciplines. From the first few chapters, the characters instantly drew my interest because of their unique situations (i.e. a pizza delivery man who carries swords and works for the mafia). I had high expectations in the first 2-3 hours of listening.
But the plot never really came together. It felt like a group of isolated incidents with a weak, if not nonexistent, string to cohesively tie it all together. The characters did not grow as they overcame the challenges throughout the book, making them seem shallow and superfluous. Also, I had a difficult time becoming comfortable with the writing style, for it was written as an average seventh-grade teenager would tell a story to his buddies. I am assuming the author purposely wrote this way to match the gloomy tone of the book, but it was difficult to get used to, especially when you are used to reading well-written novels.
Overall, if you are in a jam and cannot find anything else to read, you could certainly give Snow Crash a shot. But there are many better sci-fi novels out there.
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