I grew up on Bob Newhart, mainly his two sitcoms with a few stand-up routines thrown in. Thus, I felt I unnderstood his comic style and looked forward to this book. Alas, it went down like cheap Chinese food and left me still hungry. Even granting allowances for Bob's dead-pan delivery, the narrative doesn't seem to take the reader/listener much anywhere. I found myself wanting to know more about Bob's network years and the people he knew.
I did rate this book 3 stars because Bob Newhart has been one of the more pleasant icons in our times. Perhaps the weakneess of this offering lies with its editing. I don't know, it just left me lukewarm.
Amazing. Simply amazing. Silva has done it again. Fine writing weaving the famed fictional Israeli agent, Gabriel Allon, into current events. I love this series.
David Drake touts this series as an analog of Patrick O'Brian's Aubry/Maturin series, and it is that. Drake is, however, not as good a writer as O'Brian was. The former's style is simpler and less refined. Perhaps Drake is aiming at a younger audience, who knows. I am on the fourth in the series now, and I find myself growing tired of repetitive exchanges between the two principles. I also wonder if Drake has any real military experience, because the behavior of his "RCN" is inconsistent with both O'Brian's Royal Navy and John G. Hemry's much more realistic science fiction military series'.
Still, the stories are serviceable enough.
The diversity of reviews for this entry is stunning. Are we listening to different books? Yes, the narrative is very rich, and no, I didn't have trouble with the foreign words and names. Reading (or listening to) SF does require a certain degree of mental agility as you are inherently dealing with the unfamiliar. Fair enough.
No, the problem I have with this work is that, to paraphrase one reviewer, Bacigalupi doesn't seem to have looked at a science book dated after 1970. He blithely ignores existing non-oil-based energy sources in his determination to create his energy-starved dystopia. Ok, other authors have made larger leaps, but Bacigalupi even ignores basic physics laws in describing the stuttering motion programmed into his bio-engineered title character. Any Bio-engineer would immediately spot that such stutter-stop movements would automatically waste far more energy.
Sorry, but this book takes the audience on a long, slow ride into a nonsensical world that literally does not compute. (With all that broiling sunshine, why isn't Thailand lousy with electricity?)
I vote to mulch Bacigalupi.
Imagine a cross of Phillip Marlowe and Harry Potter. Not quite, but close. Harry operates in Chicago, not England, and the use of msgic is not in the conciousness of John Q. Otherwise, Harry could be Phillip's brother, right down to the sardonic humor.
James Marsters is excellent as the reader, capturing Harry Dresden's wit and personality. He does a decent job with "Bob" too.
All in all, a fun "read." Not War and Peace, but a fine way to clear the mental palette.
By my nature, I am not big on fantasy. Yet, having devoured the original Pern series in my youth, I admit to a certain tolerance for things to do with dragons. That's why I picked up this tome.
Indeed, "tome" seems an apt description of this book. The audio version weighs in at a hefty 39 hours, enough to cause me to wonder if Mr. Martin's publisher evaluated his work by its weight! To be sure, Mr. Martin has no shortage of depth to his work. Other reviewers have noted the abundance of story threads that intertwine like wisps of smoke from a growing fire. In fact, a "growing fire" is a fair description of this first book of the series, because it is really set up for subsequent books. But, the set-up stories are as meaty and compelling as the roasted haunches served at the feasts. You end up caring about even the most annoying of the protagonists.
This book must be called an "adult fantasy" in that it makes no effort to sugar-coat how life would be on such a world. One of the story threads deals with how one of the young female protagonists must face the destruction of her fantasies. This unnamed world is not gentle, and I think that's why I finished the book. It's fantasy, but not a child's fantasy.
Long live the dire wolves!
I haven't written a book review since my school days so the rust is thick. Still, I must beg to differ with Richard Snow's Afterword. Yes, 21 does give us a taste of some of the characters we love, but only just. We get no sense of closure on one of the most faithful characters, dear Surprise. We hear that she has shlepped home, but to what end? Aubrey and Maturin may be eternally sailing toward a unknown horizon, but their loyal friend more likely faces a sad end.
Then too, I approach the series on a different tact than did Snow. I consumed the series in about 18 months so I doubt I shared his hunger for another appetitizer of O'brian's writing. Indeed, I have sometimes found the style verging on obtuse. Luckily, the previous tales have been compelling enough to draw me along. It is regrettable that 21 doesn't get that far. Still, I shall miss Jack, Stephen, and their entourage. Fare thee well.
It is true that the plot of a novel sometimes cannot avoid driving from points A to B over well-worn stones, but the plot of this one my dog could sniff out in her sleep. The fate of the main protagonist was apparent within two hours. Not good.
I think the main flaw in this novel is Rusch's stunning lack of understanding of human nature. Our history is an ever-quickening march toward individualism. The individual is, for better or worse, gaining power faster than he is losing it. To propose that government could get away with placing interstellar treaties above the lives of children is unrealistic in the extreme. A totalitarian regime might be able to make that stick, but not the society Rusch draws for us. One scandal would lead to interstellar war.
As another reviewer observed, perhaps this was intended to be a juvenile series. Adults should steer clear.
I'm 51 so I grew up in the golden era of the Hugo and Nebula awards. Ringworld was always on my list of books I wanted to read but never quite got to. When it was recommended on a recent TWIT podcast, I snapped up the audio book to fill that old omission. Now I wish I hadn't.
Yes, I am older now with a more critical mind, but Ringworld suffers from a couple of flaws of its own making. First, it hasn't aged well. Characters refer to technology that was very much an artifact of the 1960's and 70's. "Tapes" are a good example. Even if the listener mentally updates the technology used, parts of the story fall flat because we already have better solutions. I've written just enough scifi to appreciate how hard it is to predict future tech, but Ringworld feels "phoned in."
The greater difficulty I have with Ringworld is that Niven ends up turning Luck into a controling deity with free will being an illusion. Ok, that is a hypothesis to be made, but Niven never does. His climatic resolution drives the reader right up to the cliff's edge and then strands him there. Quite annoying.
I realize Audible has Ringworld Children, but I'm not sure I could stomach Teela's "luck" another microsecond!
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