I experienced both and the audio rendition was faithful to the novel. I would be hard-pressed to choose the better.
It would be the same as my Headline for this review: Utopia is NEVER an option... on Earth.
It couldn't happen on Earth... a society where the only spendable commodity and measure of wealth is your reputation of doing your work well.... a society that is technologically advanced and independent... a society where all major conflicts have NOT been banned, but do not happen.... a society where the inability to think rationally and reasonably is considered to be a mental illness... a society where no one has any need or desire to rule over anyone else nor to be ruled over... in other words, a viable and working Utopia.
The narrator did an wonderful job of giving each character a distinct voice and keeping them separate, even when the lines came machine gun style.
As we approach the end of our lives, we all wish to live it with our greatest loves close to us. But honestly, the ending becomes almost ridiculous.
I really like wonderfully technical science fiction, BUT I LOVE science fiction that uses the science and human nature to point out the joys of being human, AND the natural flaws in human societies (and worst of all, the bureaucratic mentality).
This story exhibits a human bureaucracy that has built up over centuries of "physio-time" with its high-minded and honorable purpose intact, at least as a facade they hold up for the benefit of other "Eternals" and the "All-when Counsel." It is said that "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" well, the establishment and the government of "Eternity" was intended to adjust mankind away from war, poverty, and danger so that mankind would be at peace, happy, and healthy.
But, the story slowly reveals the inherent flaws in bureaucratic nature and governmental intention. It does so, up to and including the ultimate flaw: that the pursuit of Safety always leads to stagnation and corruption; and always deprives mankind of the accomplishment of great things.
Alternate title for the book: Everything you ever wanted to know about God's Grace but never knew to ask.
Grace tasks us to be "gracious" to everyone including sinners, enemies, and "different people". But the world and even some churches have taught us to give them "un-grace" instead.
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