The plot is contrived, and the twists and turns are predictable. Not a great contribution to the "super computer takes over the world" genre.
It took a while for me to get into this novel, but I got hooked and am happy I did so. It is a prequel to the uplift series, something I didn't realize. Brin has some interestingly unusual ideas about AI and its proliferation. Recommended.
This was the first Murakami I ever listened to. Since then, I have bought all of his novels. This was a mixture of American music, Philip K. Dick, Japanese mythology, Orwell, a bit of Lovecraft, and far more than I can expound upon. A superb novel for those whose taste runs into the bizarre.
OK, Scalzi writes readable (listenable) science fiction, stuff that is happily attended to while walking or sitting. And you, know, most series get really old. "Zoe's Tale" is not destined to be a classic, but it holds up well in his future history. I will always listen to another Scalzi. Not because it is great, but because it is fun.
Good science fiction does not bend the laws of the universe to make stories work (except of course for that pesky light speed barrier, which does not bear on the book). This is a solid work of fiction that dealt with the ethical dilemma facing the main character in regard to a newly discovered species. Interplanetary travel, aliens, nano-tech - who could ask for more? Recommended.
The end of the world, according to this novel, is not a whimper, but a long series of whimpers punctuated with occasional hope and a final resigned leap. As the ordinary expectations of life slowly drain away into drawn-out misery, revolutionary geniuses construct a scenario that may not be much better. Highly recommended.
If you want a post-apocalyptic YA novel, this may be one to try. The science is wrong (an asteroid pushes the moon into a close orbit) and the social science is wrong (the fact that an asteroid was going to hit the moon was greeted with a rather muted response, no doomsayers or predictions of disaster), but much of the narrative is a fairly realistic depiction of adjusting to a world that is not the same.
The overall scenario was intriguing - an EMP blast took out U.S. power, communication, and transportation, and a man has to hike from Texas to Montana to get to his wife and kids. But the occasional preaching and political bias made me want to scream at times.
I was surprised. At the beginning, the brutality made me ready to quit. But the poetic description of trout fishing, the continual reflection, the slow progression of the protagonit's thoughts - all kept me listening.
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