Pandora's Star & Judas Unchained are two parts of one book that is nearly 80 hours long. How can you fill 80 hours, well Peter Hamilton can with an amazing complex opera of intrigue, war, spy thriller, aliens across a huge array of planets. This is one of a few great books in Hard Sci-Fi second wave.
Peter F Hamilton defines space opera e.g. a long complex story with many full characters with multiple plot threads. The author spins a yarn where the characters are wedged between a bureaucratic government, a large corporation populated with clones (not just the typical figurative corporation where everybody tries to fashion themselves to a corporate image, too get a head but actual clones), a dysfunctional town full of violent criminals and a mythic alien. Into this complex social forces he creates a police procedural that is interesting and twists a with fascinating concepts. Though long 36 hours (it only felts that way in a few places), You a left with a full and complete story in the end.
Sydney Hurst is a complex character forced to navigate the complex social forces with in the story in an impossible task to find the killer.
The novel is very English in places with several specific items related to the local. The narrators English accent aided those northern specific traits.
I've read and re-read Dr Greene previous books several times because their dense and the concepts are difficult but the underlying ideas are fascinating. The idea of parallel universes is just plain strange but as pointed out in this book it just keeps popping up. Don't read this book unless you read his previous book because is more a compendium of newer ideas and the fringe.
I almost believe that Google has become a extension to my brain (I know that sounds crazy) but as information is key and google provides that better than anybody else. But understanding how they managed to provide such a incredible user experience is key to the companies success through its culture, and outside the box thinking. This book exposes the culture which is were Google seems to provide the winning algorithm. Like in the "Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy see the man behind the curtain, this book is Toto pulling the curtain aside exposing a lot of Google's secrets. A fascinating read.
What this book is not, 1) a text book or 2) detailed explanation of Astrophysics.
What this is a history of Astronomy for the last 40 years.
Richard Panek is a journalist and this book is a detailed account in the personalities in Astronomy for the last 40 years that lead to the ideas that we can see only 4% of the Universe and how we see inflation.
Given that i've been out of school for 30 years my math can't follow the detailed cosmology text book but this book provides a clear reasoning why we believe the universe is accelerating and the problems that provides for theatrical physicists. If you love Astrophysics/Cosmology books give this a read.
If you've read the other four books in the Commonwealth series then you can't stop without listening to this book. Because here it is all get parceled up into a completion of the myriad of plot lines in the pervious 120 hours of audio (Which he does very nicely). If you have not read the other books then STOP and start reading "Pandoras Star". It's been a long journey through many thousand pages/over a hundred hours of audio. It took me all summer but it was very enjoyable.
Entanglement has vexed some of the greatest minds of the 20th century and this is what I loved about this book. Books on physics (other than text books) tend to either be histories focused on an individual or books focus on a subject matter. I really enjoyed how the author unraveled the subject over time through the individuals making the discoveries creating a interesting timeline. It did start a little slow but got very intersting later.
My son loved the book but complained endlessly about the poor audio quality. It seemed to be sampled at a sub 64K making it overly compressed.
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