This is a set-up for a long series, so yes.
With Benford's Galactic Center series you are getting big, really big, ideas and not much character development, particularly in a shorter story like this. This is more of a sample to see if you really want universe spanning ideas that can seem cold, bleak and distant. Ultimately the series gets down to the fate of the universe and there is nothing warm and fuzzy about that but some intellectual speculation and mind-blowing ideas.
This is a paranormal steampunk set in London with a clever premise and much wit. A fun listen.
Alexia has no soul, a rare condition which enables her to negate the powers of other supernaturals. She also has little prospects being a spinster with a dead Italian father which makes her nose a bit too big and her skin a bit too swarthy . She is also a bit too curvy and much too independent and smart. This is a romance, although this mixes in a lot of genres, that starts when a vampire oddly loses his manners and tries to make a meal of her in the drawing room at a party. She is soon drawn into the mystery of why vampires and werewolves have been disappearing around London and into contact with an annoying Alpha werewolf leader in charge of the investigation and Lord Akeldama, who as a vampire knows more than just the latest styles. The different societies, werewolf, vampire and upper crust Victorian human, are well depicted.
Settle in for some comfortable fun listening and learn why a lady is never without her parasol.
I can only give David Brin's latest a 3.5 - It models itself on John Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar as a near future exploration of vital topics but the very long mixed together narratives with no character as a central focus for long ended up often putting me to sleep.
Love the ideas, the near-future forecasts, the characters individually, but it doesn't quite become the epic it should be. Most of the threads are amazing, the ideas are amazing, the whole not so much. Disentangling this book might have helped, I would like to hear "Pandora's Cornucopia" and "Aliens, Choose Why You are Silent" and some of the characters stories all in one block. The last third of the book, once people go out into the belt, could also be a great stand alone.
If you like your SF on the intellectual and hard side and are curious about Fermi's Paradox you should really get this book. Not for casual readers or listeners.
Fuzzy Nation and Little Fuzzy are one of my best audio experiences this year. I like both stories and the narration was excellent.
In this audio book you get to compare Scalzi's telling of the story with Piper's original story. Although I like Scalzi his story is more light weight and almost a cliche compared to the original. Story is 4 for Scalzi and 5 for Piper. My ratings are reversed for the naration.
Wil Wheaton is an excellent narrator but I think little was added to the story or intro by having excellent narration. Perhaps the emotional impact is improved by the narration, that is the one thing Scalzi heightened and improved upon the original and Wil really brought it out.
Toward the end of both stories ??? yes.
I like Scalzi but Piper's Little Fuzzy is better and a 5 star classic. Your mileage may vary.
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