There is nothing really wrong with this book. It's an interesting idea. Humans are placed in an underground city to live for a couple of centuries to avoid some un-named disaster. A culture emerges in that city, where the people lose the instructions their "builders" have left on how and when to leave the city. A couple of precocious kids figure out how to leave the city and eventually lead the people to the surface. The reader is adequate and the production quality is good.
Except there is no soul to the story. We don't care about any of the people, their lives or their troubles. It all comes to a predictable conclusion with a resounding thud.
Sorry... wish I had something better to say...
If you read my other reviews, you know that I am a Heinlein fan. This is an excellent recording of a novel unique to the Heinlein cannon. Tom Weiner delivers a wonderful performance using a number of unique and engaging voices. When the story lags, the excellent narration carries things along nicely.
About half the book is the story of a family that survives a nuclear holocaust, and lives a survivalist life. The second half deals with their lives when they encounter a future culture. To go any further will spoil the plot.
But Heinlein always uses his novels to comment on culture, and this one addresses slavery and the slave mentality, marriage and fidelity, and prejudice and bigotry. Remember that this book was written in the early 1960s. What seems silly and obvious now would have been cutting edge and liberal then. The book has been criticized for its language and misogyny. No swearing - but lots of racial insensitivity.
This should not be your first Heinlein novel (Moon is a Harsh Mistress, or Starship Troopers are better choices). But if you are curious about the evolution of this sci-fi master, or if you want to hear a fair story with lots of social commentary from RAH, then this is for you!
This is what I buy sci-fi for: a great story with great characters that takes me places I would not normally know. This is what I buy Audible books for: incredible narrations with high production value.
This book has both. And if you've never listened to a Christopher Lane narration, this is a phenomenal introduction to a master voice actor.
I guarantee you won't see the premise coming - it's an extraordinary idea. I listened twice in one weekend.
It's a relatively short work - but the universe is built here and the story is amazing. Yep. I'm gushing. This is a great beginning to what I hope will be a longer book in a series.
This is Scalzi at his storytelling best. In many ways it reminds me of a Heinlein "juvenile", that is to say there is nothing childish about this book. You can comfortably share this with a bright young person who will enjoy it with you. It's a straightforward retelling of a somewhat familiar tale - but Scalzi has fun with it and that fun is contagious. The characters are vibrant and well drawn. While there is little "world building", the universe is familiar and well defined. Wil Wheaton was a brilliant choice for the narration and it is my sincere hope that other collaborations will follow.
Thank you Audible Frontiers for bringing us this stellar performance!
I am an admitted Heinlein fan. I own the entire canon in paper, everything available in e-book format, and everything Audible carries in audio. But this is not his best novel. He wrote it at a low point in his career. The story is still entertaining, but the characters are not his most compelling. So why purchase this book?
Heinlein, as always, provides interesting commentary on our culture. Many of his ideas are coming to pass today. There are creditable observations on how America is moving to a fractured society run by corporate interests and political thugs. Remember that his ideas about the relation of medicine to law were written over 30 years ago. His vision is impressive and thought provoking.
The performance and recording are superb. I was unfamiliar with Anthony Heald until this work. I will seek out his other performances - he's outstanding.
And it's a fun listen. Look, the sex scenes will seem silly. The metaphysical ideas are really out there. But it's still an enjoyable way to spend hours. You won't be bored.
Thank you Blackstone Audio and Audible for adding this masterwork to your collection.
Sarah Vowell will eventually be listed among this generations finest historians. Because she is a fine historian. This book is deeply researched. Ms. Vowell understands the times and places she writes about so well that she is able to weave a compelling tale making the historical characters fully realized. I consumed this book over a weekend.
Ms. Vowell's voice is an acquired taste. I've been listening to Sarah Vowell since her days on NPR and This American Life. If your politics are right of center, or if you believe that the US is always right in all it does, you will not enjoy this book. But you cannot fault the accuracy of the research Ms. Vowell has done to create this masterful story.
I so enjoyed "Old Man's War", "The Sagan Diary" and "Lost Colony", which were written in this universe. I had kind of hoped that, even though this was written from the perspective of an adolescent female, it wouldn't be a juvenile book. But it is. And since any juvenile who wanted to really enjoy this would need to understand the universe created in the adult books that he or she likely never read, there is a tiresome amount of explanatory narrative. Kids will be bored and adults will be annoyed.
But sure wants to be. If you want a wonderful book about the southern coast and southern culture, listen to anything by Pat Conroy. (In this book the main character says, "I'm not Pat Conroy, you know") This is a common novel with empty people and a plot that tried too hard. Very disappointing.
This is the book that started the "true crime" novel genre, and it is still the best example. The writing is crisp and current. The insight into the minds of the killers, as well as the victims and the townfolk is nothing short of astonishing.
Scott Brick was the perfect choice for narrating this work. The performance is understated, just like the prose. Listen twice, because you'll miss stuff and because it's worth it.
This is not an "Ender" universe, (and I loved Ender's universe!). But this is a much different kind of story.
Card is a master storyteller and in this book is he at the top of his game. I do not normally purchase titles in the "fantasy" genre, but I will take whatever this author offers. The story takes many twists and turns. The pace is languid, so be patient. The depth of the characters and the wonderful conclusion will make it worthwhile.
Whoever paired Card with this narrator is a genius. Stephan Rudnicki often performs Card's work, and he breathes real magic into Card's beautiful prose
I haven't enjoyed a listen this much since "Middlesex", and it is every bit it's equal for both content and performance. A compelling story with memorable characters.
The book is a touching remembrance of growing up with a schizophrenic sister, whom he loves very much. It conveys the many ways the human psyche can cope with unbelievable and confusing events. You will love this character and root for him every mile of his incredible journey across the country and through his life.
And the writer is unique. Another reviewer is correct that this book is written to be read aloud. That is because the author is an accomplished performer of audio books. He knows what makes a wonderful listen, and he gives it to us perfectly.
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