I should have paid more attention to the book's description. I missed the part that named Scott McClellan as the narrator. His Texas accent and plodding delivery started getting on my nerves within moments of starting the book, and I never reached the point where I could ignore them. I now understand what the White House press corps had to suffer through during his tenure.
My greatest objection to the book is the reader's dreadful performance. In my opinion, his reading was entirely mechanical. What small changes there were in the reader's tone and inflection came at regular intervals, like expansion joints in a highway, regardless of the content or meaning of the text. It was like watching the same 15-second video clip over, and over, and over again. The reading obliterated the nuances of Chomsky's text and obscured Chomsky's subtle arguments. Moreover, the reader's voice was not pleasant to my ears.
Unless you are a news junkie and policy wonk, the issues Chomsky discusses are terribly dated. The middle years of the last decade and the 2008 American presidential elections seem as distant as the 1850s.
In a fawning foreword, the writer strangely chooses to portray Chomsky as a sort of intellectual track star, a man on fast forward who meets deadlines, churns out articles and gives speeches like a champion athlete setting a new world record. I'm less interested the Chomsky's gee-whiz quotient than I am in his ideas and arguments and, more importantly, the changes - if any - they've wrought in the real world.
The novel suffered from an excess of dialogue. I was dying to get to the action! I grew so bored with the talk, talk, talk, that I gave up on the book before anything happened.
No, the works of Marion Zimmer Bradley show that it is possible to write compelling fantasy set in the past.
I didn't even try to identify any of the chacters.
I couldn't tell you - were there scenes?
Not enough information to form an opinion.
In print, each page is memorable because of the many insights into the disease and the path to recovery.
Mr. McCoy's performance of the text was terrible. His mile-a-minute performance spoiled what is one of the most important books in modern times. A slower and more nuanced reading would have allowed me to reflect upon what was being said.
The pauses between the poems were too short. One had no time to reflect on the poem before the next began. In some cases, one poem followed the previous one so rapidly that it wasn't clear whether I was listening to the continuation of a poem or a new poem. This made the listening confusing.
So Great Poets would have been better if there had been more silence between one poem and the next.
I realize I might be able to use the
Teresa Gallagher is a skilled narrator and she has the perfect sweet voice and intonation for poetry by Emily Dickinson. The fault lies entirely with the producers and not with Teresa Gallagher.
An incomprehensible waste of time. Some imaginary worlds are best left in the author's head.
I abandoned this book after 20 minutes because of the stilted and deplorable narration. I would have quit sooner, but I was driving. Even with a better narrator, I am not sure I would have finished the book. The style was archaic - I felt as if I was listening to a poorly written book dating to the early 19th century.
The narrator spoiled the book.
"Starship Troopers" is an ill-conceived and poorly executed vehicle for promoting Heinlein's ideosyncratic philosophies about war, the nature of the state, the purpose and structure of the military, the maintenance of social order, and man's obligations to the state and military in a perfect society. In essence, the book is a long, boring essay on political philosophy masquerading as a science fiction novel.
(I use the term "man's obligations" deliberately, since women, though not absent from "Starship Troopers," are kept out of harms way on tall pedestals and don't figure significantly in what little action takes place in the novel.)
I understand some readers are still debating whether Heinlein reveals fascistic tendencies in "Starship Trooper," and whether Heinlein's smack-down of Marxism stands up to scrutiny. I won't take sides, since I believe none of the political and philosophical issues with which Heinlein plagues his readers in "Starship Trooper" have contemporary relevance.
As for me, I think Heinlein wrote "Starship Troopers" in a fit of pique after seeing "Rebel Without a Cause." Clearly a proponent of the adage "spare the rod and spoil the child," Heinlein feared that the young generation of hoodlums, exemplified by James Dean's character in "Rebel" and reared according to the permissive tenets of Dr. Spock, would engender universal lawlessness and lead to a breakdown of civilization.
Well, it didn't happen, did it?
The only parts of "Starship Trooper" I found interesting were the all-too-scarce scenes in which the protagonist was actually engaged in military action against aliens.
As for the rest of the book, it was as pompous and didactic as a late-night bull session among particularly nerdy freshmen guys seeking to display their erudition at, say, MIT or the University of Chicago circa 1960.
Like chipmunks, Stephenson's fiction comes with two speeds: bat out of hell or motionless. "Snow Crash" triggered sonic booms from start to finish. There were times I thought I'd need a seat belt to keep from being thrown out of my chair. Better yet, the story was absolutely fascinating.
"Anathem," in contrast, moves at a pace so glacial minutes go by like days. When I gave up after seven hours, only the barest outlines of the central plot (at least I hope it was the plot) had been revealed.
I suppose it's fortunate "Anathem" is set in the very distant future, because I would hate to think of anyone I care for having to learn and endure the hyper-ritualized, pseudo-monastic culture depicted in Stephenson's imaginary world.
The only thing worse than existing in the world of "Anathem" would be having to hear about it for thirty-plus hours. I could not muster the slightest interest in the story line, the thesis, the protagonist, or any of the other characters, most of whom are mere caricatures. "Anathem" is endless form - baroque, arcane and ultimately paralyzingly boring - with little or no apparent substance, though it appears Stephenson has an axe of some sort to grind about Information Technology.
I am sorry I bought the book, and I will be wary of anything else Stephenson churns out in the future.
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