It gave an interesting perspective about how and why the modern day computer was invented, including some amusing insights to some of the brightest minds of the 20th century.
That it was real :)
I thought it was well executed, as the book doesn't really feature any dialog or characters the "neutral" delivery was appreciated.
Nothing in particular, but there were a lot of little chuckles when it came to some of these people's behaviour. In no small part because it makes these mythical people human.
I wish there would have been a bit more attention being paid to other pioneers in the computing field, but having said that, their legacy really lives on by the technology I use right now to write these words so: *raises glass*
I think his description of the "State of the World" is quite good. It fails in it's conclusions though.
The "present day assessment" rang mostly true.
I like how he captures the voice of the author. It adds a nice familiarity to it.
How someone I highly respect can still turn out to be deeply flawed. See next section.
More of a negative note here: Over the previous books I developed a huge respecte for Taleb. I found myself also nodding along quite a lot with what he described as the state of the world, but where he lost me was in his conclusions and interpretations.
Just two reasons.
He rightfully admires "the ancients" (Romans, Greek) for their philosophical accomplishment. Having read Lucrecius "The Nature of things" I was in similar awe and surprise. Having said that, to extend their philosophical accomplishments into that of modern science strikes me as ludicrous.
The second thing is one specific example: He writes about how can't we know that eating three solid meals doesn't have any benefits (in comparison to the recent recommendation to "graze" instead of stuffing yourself three times a day). The problem with this argument is that the three meals a day are falling back onto the industrial age, when life and time started to be dominated by the clock, not human nature. This flies straight into the face of his own assertion that he doesn't eat anything that isn't at least 2000 years old (I could now ask why 2000 years? But that's just nitpicking) because everything since then is "tainted".
I admit, it makes me a bit sad to have gotten the impression that Taleb is a bit of a Neo-Luddite.
New to the series? No. As a continuation, yes, but with a few caveats. He lost the plot here a bit. Instead of continuing the question between Aliens and Humans, we now spend a whole lot of time on a contrived internal human conflict that really only makes sense if you somehow belief in American Exceptionalism.
Not from the genre, but I am questioning if I want to read the next book in the series.
I think he adds a bit more character to the individuals he portraits. Douglas isn't really all that good in creating characters, they all are pretty two-dimensional.
Still split on it. It was more of what was expected, but at the same time also more disappointing.
I wish Douglas would concentrate on the human vs.alien dynamic instead of trying to project human global politics 500 years into the future. The problem for me, as a non-american, is simply that I don't buy American Exceptionalism and his repeated retreat to it is annoying. It was, I admit, always there, but in the past books it was more a bit of a faint echo in the back, with this book though he has gone full tilt.
So yes, he's America and served in the military and that he concentrates on ships that could be considered American is understandable and forgivable. But his portrail of the rest of humanity is less than flattering. If they aren't scheming people who try to destroy the "United States" (thinly veiled as USNA), they are shown as completely militarily incompetent. Funnily enough, it seems, they also all seem to be French. Guess Douglas likes his cheese eating surrender monkeys.
The large scope, the use of actual physics and a universe that hints at so much more.
I didn't really have a favourite character, they all had their charms and they all played an important role in the book.
His character representation. I already had listened to him in previous books and I think he does a splendid job.
No, not really. There were moments of confusions though where I thought the audiobook was defective as it suddenly jumped forward in time. Maybe this could have been a bit better marked in the audiobook, though as I haven't seen the written text I am not sure how it went there. It felt rather abrupt at times.
The story, and also Yatzee's performance (generally) was entertaining.
The main protagonist, the dry humour / self-awareness is quite fun.
Not the narrator actually, but the audio editing is a bit screwed. Long pauses at times, bad transition between takes and some unevenness in the audio. A decent audio engineer could have probably fixed all of that. Shame.
It's a comedy, I laughed a lot, but nothing specific really.
Yes, please get Yathzee together with a real audio engineer and it would be perfect.
I think what I can say is that Bova sees to lack some imagination. This was already evident in Powersat (a book he wrote more than a decade later). The idea of a watch sized wrist computer is very.... 1980s?
This was my second book (see Powersat) and I pretty much have the same complaint, that at the end of the day Bova doesn't seem to be very imaginative. A lot of the technology in the books comes across as horribly antiquated.
I think he captured the personalities of the characters well, it definitely helped me create the images in my mind.
I could see it as a SyFy movie of the week.
Yeah, I had planned to read / listen to all of the "Grand Tour", the concept sounded interesting. After two books though I have decided not to continue, the lack of technological "dreaming" is just way too distracting for me.
Yes, excellent performance and the story is a notch up, in my opinion, from the previous book. We now also seem to have a clean slate, which will make it interesting to see where Sandman Slim goes next.
I think the overall idea on what Lucifer actually does in Hell.
None in particular. The book is pretty fast moving and as such many things become a bit of a blur.
Yes, great fun if you don't mind very graphic description of violence.
Excellent performance and a great idea.
As it was meant to set the stage for the rest of the series it ended pretty much as expected. This is probably the biggest fault of the book, it's not very original in it's execution.
Terrrrrrror in Space
As much as I admire the idea the book hasn't really aged all that well. One example is that one of the characters feels the need to explain the term "wind farm" to another (side) character.
Overall, as said above, the idea of the Powersat etc. is interesting, the science appears to me solid too. Where it falls down is just how cliched the characters and their actions are. There was no surprise in it for me.
So I give it an A for the idea, but only a D for the execution.
Yes, drop the stupid epilogue. It's pure speculation, no references etc. I have the feeling that's something the publisher just WANTED so the author obliged. It really left a very bad after taste in my mouth despite the rest of the book being quite good.
No, not really.
The insight into the Oxcart program, I knew basics of it but there were some nuggets in there I hadn't been aware of.
Well, apparently they do turn it into a TV series. I COULD see this being exciting if they stay away from the stupidity that was / is the epilogue.
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