The first thing to say about this book is that it is great. John Ringo, as usual, does a terrific job in creating a story that has a good plot, reasonable and likable characters, a sense of humor and reasonable closure. There is some hard science and the terminology may be too much for some, but I found it reasonable in light of the things that were being done at the time. The narration is very, very good and I found no technical flaws with the production. All in all a great and enjoyable read. If the second book in the series was also by John Ringo I would have already bought it.
But that is the problem. Subsequent books in the series are listed as being by John Ringo and Travis Taylor. I assume this means that John Ringo has created the characters and, perhaps, the plot and given it to someone else (in this case Travis Taylor) to do the writing. I have not heard this book so perhaps I am not being fair, but I assume this is the reason for the drop in ratings for the second book. John Ringo's style is distinctive and he writes in a way I find enormously entertaining, but having someone else write subsequent books means that I generally plan to only read the first book in such a series.
I read this book in paper format more than 30 years ago, but I had forgotten how good it really is. When I saw it available in audible format I jumped at the chance to listen to a previous good read.
Some of the reviews I have read are very hard on the book, but I believe that the are looking in the wrong place. What makes this book so interesting and unique, at least to me, was the idea that humans could encounter aliens so different that all of our assumptions would be wrong. How do two species interact when one is general and adaptive in nature and the other is differiented. That is at the core of this story; at least for me.
The process of meeting, all of the mistaken assumptions and the final realization as to just how different the species are is, I believe, a very interesting story with, for new readers, an unknown conclusion.
But listeners should know that this story is from 1974 and hence some of the story line is 35 years out of date. I believe that to be the cause of some of the bad reviews. Perhaps those listeners did not know the copyright date and might have been more charitable to the male-centered character of the story.
All in all I think this is a nearly great book with more than adequate reading.
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