Walnut Creek, CA, United States | Member Since 2002
Hidden Reality looks, relatively even handedly, at many theories of alternate universes. Doing this is quite tricky as some of the theories are quite ???out there??? while others are tightly coupled to what we actually know about the universe. Using such an even hand tends to lump the almost wacky with the truly thought provoking. I prefer books that deeply analyze one or two theories to a survey of many at a high level, but if this book encourages readers to find out more, it will have been successful. Yet I worry that non-scientific readers will be overwhelmed with the myriad of conflicting theories. I really enjoyed Brian Greene???s narration. If you are really bothered by hearing anything close to a lisp, maybe you should listen to this book over and over until you get over it. The "lisp'' is so minor it did not bother me an iota. I found his speech charming and expressive of the joy and tantalizing mysteries of physics.
Really, way too cute. I expected a dark adult urban fantasy. Instead this was beyond Disneyesque.
There are cute ponies, cute puppies, cute talking animals, lots of cookies & peppermint tea, shopping & catalogs, and making friends, as well as an unbelievable amount of mail sorting. Yes, there were some potentially dark themes of cutting, vampires, and were-creatures, but everything was so darn cute and simplistic there was little tension.
Even the antagonist is too cute to stomach.
The universe did not seem internally consistent to me. The internet exists, but humans are woefully uniformed about vamps and werepacks. The protagonist was raised without emotional sensations except those stimulated by ritual cutting, yet is just as cute as a button and peppy as can be. There are also direct inconsistencies like the protagonist sometimes knowing about wolves and sometimes not. I am also dubious that associating self-mutilation with psychic-powers for impressionable young females readers is the best of ideas.
The prose were weak, perhaps just ok for young readers, but too childlike for me. The universe is like 1990s US with the names changed to protect the cuteness. LA is “Sparkletown”, Wednesday is “Windsday”, and so on. Everyone and everything has a cute name. The masculine characters are all amazingly weak and PC considering they are mostly werecreatures and police.
The writing was also totally predicable. After the second chapter if you pause and ask yourself “How will this book turn out?” You will likely guess correctly on every aspect. There was literally not a single thing that surprised me.
The environment is not urban, instead it is like a friendly small college town where prey and predator learn mutual respect, how to understand each other and work together.
The narration is quite annoying with exaggerated cutesy-pie or gruff, but I find it hard to blame the narrator for this, as it seems that is how the characters were written.
My daughter really liked this series and recommended it to me. She loved the cuteness juxtaposed with darkness, and the characters and story, for her, made up for any inconsistencies. Nevertheless I would not even recommend this for young readers.
I generally dislike virtual reality SF.
I am not a teen, so teen fiction usually has to be transcendent to interest me.
I saw 10,000 ratings with an average of 4.7…and thought “how bad could it be for light summer reading?”
Ready Player One is virtual reality SF teen fiction, is not transcendent, but it majorly did not suck.
Now, I must admit, I am a geek. I owned and programmed the TRS-80, Amiga, Commodore 64, and had first-hand experience with much of the tech and geek-pop of this novel. My main annoyance with this book was the failure to give the Heathkit EC-1 it’s due (admittedly not the 80’s). Ok, Ok, I am an uber-geek. If you are an uber-geek and lived through the 80’s, you will likely appreciate this book, even if you don’t love it.
I did not love this book. It made a few geek-annoying mistakes, and was firmly in the first-kiss-goal-teen-fiction genre. The romantic tension is a first kiss, not, well, you know. This is only great fiction if you have spent WAY too much time playing video games. Yet, it is a pleasant little story with a Geekgasm of references that made it well worth the listen. I might even listen to this one again.
The narration by STNG’s Will Wheaton was spot on throughout.
A few of the reviews say a bit too much.
No spoilers below – just the minimum readers should know.
This book is really worth reading to the end, which was not clear early on.
The book contains strong adult language, very adult themes, and deviant behavior.
Kirby Heyborne is a just a bit weak as Nick, Julia Whelan is terrific as Amy, overall the narration is quite good.
This is not great art, but it is well written and near the top of this genre.
This is an early Dickens’ historical novel about the anti-Catholic Gordon riots of 1780 and the doings and loves of a host of country characters. There are some great Dickens characters and moments in this novel; the raven, the villains, Hugh and his dog and, of course, Barnaby. Yet this is not Dickens best work. The novel lacks focus; it is a historical chronical, a mystery, a romance, an adventure and a parable. In each aspect it foreshadows later and better Dickens novels. The novel winds up too predictably and too cleanly. In his later works there is more focus and nuance.
The narration is quite good throughout, but the voice of Miggs was too annoying even for Miggs (an annoying housemaid). Although this is not Great Dickens, it is still Dickens, which is still quite good.
This collection contains three stories, two of which appear in different versions in other collections. The stories are Bitter End, Frame-Up for Murder (a later version of Murder is No Joke found in And Four to Go), and Assault on a Brownstone (an early version of Counterfeit for Murder found in Homicide Trinity). These were good stories, but two were repeats for me. Counterfeit for Murder is one of my favorite Wolfe stories and is better than Assault on a Brownstone. Frame-Up for Murder is a bit better than Murder is No Joke. Bitter End was quite enjoyable. I generally prefer the novels to short stories, but these are among the better Stout shorts.
Chase is a Koontz novella from 1972. I enjoyed the protagonist and a number of story elements, but Chase had less character development and interesting action than the many longer (and better) Koontz novels. The romantic interest (and the protagonist’s only friend) is introduced quite late in the book, with little time left for development. I enjoyed what there was, but it ended far too soon, feeling truncated, and like about one-half of a really good Koontz novel. The narration is very good, clear, clean, and with subtle emotionality that enhance the story. I won’t read this again, but enjoyed what it was.
This is an upbeat survey of a technical and very rapidly changing field. The field is changing so rapidly some of the technical information in this book was obsolete before it got published. For example there is a section on the Waze GPS mapping system. This was purchased by Google and integrated into Google Maps way back in 2013. As a survey, it provides mostly news stories (computer wins Jeopardy, etc.) and some related statistics, but very little deep thinking or analysis.
I much preferred The Singularity is Near (which is weird, but thought-provoking) and Race Against the Machine (which is very much like this book, but clearer).
The authors make a number of policy recommendations all of which seem amazingly short sighted, liberally biased, and basically ignore the authors' own primary hypothesis of an exponential inflection point in technology growth.
The authors refer to the world being at an exponential inflection point of technical change (that is, the near future is about to be significantly different than the recent past would predict) yet the authors repeatedly indicate while discussing their recommendation, we are not yet on the brink of significant change, pointing out that change in the recent past has not been all that fast. So which is it?
The authors seem largely to focus on mitigating "spread". Spread is the authors' code-word for income/wealth inequality. Interestingly, the book seems to me to have a strong liberal bias, yet it has been edited carefully so this bias is well cloaked from a casual reader.
The Authors' make a bunch of policy recommendations:
Use technology in education
MOOCs in particular
Higher teacher salaries
Increase teacher accountability
Increase hours spent in education
Encourage Entrepreneurship & Start-ups
Government support of new technologies with Programs & Prizes
Use technology to match workers to Start-ups, including foreign workers
Tax incentives for start-ups
Raise taxes on the rich and famous
Increase maximum tax rate
Increase non-worker tied corporate taxes including VAT
Increase Pigovian Taxes (taxes on pollution)
Traffic Congestion Pricing
Increase Social Support
Guaranteed Basic Income Cash or vouchers or Negative Income Tax
Government run mutual fund paying citizens
Encourage technologies which augment, rather than substitute for, human ability
Implement Made-By-Humans advertising
These policy recommendations seem largely unrelated to the technical revolution and include a lot of government control and wealth redistribution. I am somewhat dubious these are great ideas particularly if government uses the new technologies to enhance its already substantial power.
So many important questions are totally ignored by this book. Is the developed world approaching stuff saturation? If so, how will a new service and entertainment economy work? Will humans be enhanced by technology? Will there be an enhancement backlash? Will nano-technology (or AI, or some other technology) go dangerously wrong? Should we be addressing such risk now? Such questions are raised in other books like The Singularity is Near.
The narration was OK but not superb.
This is a good Koontz, but far from his best work. This seems targeted to young adults more than most Koontz books, thus it is a bit less intense, has less graphic action, has adult themes greatly muted, and even less intricate prose.
This was so sweet as to severely challenge my suspension of disbelieve (which is always necessary in this genre, yet generally less so with Koontz). I don’t meet many ten year old catholic black jazz prodigies that cross themselves every time they say “geeze”.
The narration was quite good and augmented the story well.
I did not at all regret reading this, but I will not read it again, and would not strongly recommend it, even to young readers.
This is really two novella, Not Quite Dead Enough and Booby Trap. Both are set during WWII and Archie is a Major in the US Army. These stories both have unique twists making them a must read for any follower of Archie and Nero. These are both quite unusual Nero Wolfe stories. The stories themselves are not the best, but the odd character situation and events make these stories very well worth reading. They should not be among the first read. The narration is excellent as usual.
This is quite an unusual science book, quaint and pleasant. The author’s love of relativity clearly comes through in the rich writing and narration. The book contains yet another history of modern physics, but is unusual in having General Relativity as the focal point of the historical developments. This is unusual because General Relativity wasn’t actually such a focal point, quantum physics and particle physics were at center stage and General Relativity was a side-player at best. Yet, this odd viewpoint is still enjoyable and interesting. This is also one of the least equation burdened book in this genre.
Unfortunately, General Relativity is not really a perfect theory. We know the theory must be wrong. The theory is non-quantum and stubbornly refuses to quantize. The book was not very thought provoking, as it praised General Relativity instead of delving into its weaknesses. Certainly it is exploring the weaknesses and assumptions of Relativity that will lead to unification.
Often books with lots of science and math don’t do well in audible format. This book is not about the science or math of the theory, but instead describes the personalities and stories surrounding General Relativity. This works very well in audible format and the narration is excellent, slow, clear and even passionate.
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