First let me say that I haven't listened to more than a few hours of this book. Maybe I'll write a review about the story when I'm done listening, but it looks like it'll be kindof a trial. To me, it sounds like what happened is that a highly directional mic was used to record this -probably standard M.O. for recording audiobooks- but it seems that Mr. Lee couldn't stay within the mic's optimal pickup range! It's like he was speaking directly into the mic for a second or two, and then turning away for five or six seconds. The result? It goes from sounding almost clipped to almost inaudible (this site's called Audible, not INaudible). I found it nearly impossible to listen to this while driving, since I couldn't hear the quiet parts atall well over the sound of my car's engine. I can't believe that whoever was supposed to be engineering this didn't catch it or was too lazy to fix it. And if Mr. Lee is a professional narrator, shouldn't he know how to use a microphone? I'll try a lower quality format like another reviewer suggested, hopefully that will help. But seriously, these books are professional products, and they shouldn't be released until problems like this are resolved.
This is a really great series, & unlike some other series, I think each successive installment gets better. My only gripe is the snails' pace at which they've been released. Heaven's Reach is the last one to go. Dear Audible, please start blowing up some publishers' answering machines and inboxes for more Brin novels because I, for one, WILL buy them.
It's so strange to find the first installment of this series (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency) so incredibly good and this one so Incredibly Bad. But whoever rewrote the book for THIS dramatization seemed to forget what should be completely plain from the title of the first book- i.e.- this is a DETECTIVE story, like the Hitchiker's Guide Books are road stories (kind of). And the point of a detective story, even one with such an odd detective, is to not give the game away Until The Very End. Among other things, there is a scene in here of a meeting which basically explains (gives away) the whole book-in the first five minutes of chapter 1! So the plot is shot, the suspense is gone, and what's left? One dimensional, tired, forced slapstick. In the original book, there's a buildup of strange events intruding into a familiar world that lends a depth to the story, but this version's just irritating. Maybe this is just a case of cashing in on a sequel. Just don't blame Douglas Adams, someone mauled a good story. On the bright side, this one made me realize that the good Mr. Adams was more than just a comedy writer (although he was VERY funny), he could really WRITE.
This is a good Greg Bear story, although it takes most of the book before getting into the more mindbending hard SF elements that I like most in his work. I found the narrator's voice a touch shrill, and the recording wasn't the best, but I acclimated to it after a bit, allowing me to enjoy the story. My main gripe with Greg Bear audiobooks is that my favorites aren't available, namely the EON series and the Queen of Angels series. THESE were the books that really blew me away. Oh, and also Forge of God and Anvil of Stars were excellent as well. So, as the title says, it's just good Bear, but not the best, in this listeners' humble opinion.
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