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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife | [Mary Roach]

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences.
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Publisher's Summary

"What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that's that - the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop?"

In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves' heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of "ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive.

©2005 Mary Roach; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (468 )
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3.5 (306 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M. Manning Tacoma, WA United States 02-20-10
    M. Manning Tacoma, WA United States 02-20-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    22
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    "Ugh. OK book, but WORST. NARRATOR. EVER."

    Like other reviewers, I have never written a review until this one, feeling compelled to warn others away from the audiobook presentation here.

    The narrator reads in a ridiculous, campy, over-dramatic style, as if reading to pre-teens about Ramona Quimby or Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

    When ending a paragraph where the author is dubious, I was almost expecting some sort of "wah wah waaaaaaaaah" sound effect to accompany my mental 'quick tight-zoom facial expression' akin to something seen on Laugh-In.

    The narrator hams it up with teeth-gnashingly atrocious Indian accents (when speaking for Indians the author encounters along her journey) and completely TERRIBLE interpretation of the book and subject matter, I wish I could have my credit back.

    I would much rather have read this in print. STAY AWAY from this audiobook presentation. TRUST ME. It is really REALLY bad.

    If you want to hear someone tell an amazing story and do accents the right way, try David Sedaris.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren E. Dillon Baltimore MD 07-18-13
    Lauren E. Dillon Baltimore MD 07-18-13 Member Since 2015

    Pretend Farmer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    15
    4
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    "Narrator Ruins Book"
    Would you try another book from Mary Roach and/or Bernadette Quigley?

    I love Mary Roach. I hate this snarky, superior, judgmental narrator. She absolutely ruined this book for me.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Bernadette Quigley’s performances?

    NO!


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lloyd Ithaca, NY, USA 07-19-08
    Lloyd Ithaca, NY, USA 07-19-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "so bad even the Grim Reaper wouldn't take it"

    This might have been the worst purchase I have made yet from Audible. I'd give it negative stars if that were possible. I still like the idea of the book and maybe it would have been a better "read" in print - perhaps it just didn't translate well into the spoken format. The horrendous narrator didn't help either (is there anything more annoying that an American trying to fake an India accent?). I'd love to ask for my credit back, but it died like everything else associated with this horrendioma. Save your credit, save your ears, save yourself and don't buy this audiobook.

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 05-10-10
    brenty United States 05-10-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    147
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    REVIEWS
    510
    66
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    2
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    ""Meh," indeed."

    This book was mildly interesting. The narrator seemed to be making a great effort to sound "ironic" or something. That was grating at times, but for the most part this wasn't a bad book at all. Not bad, but not good either.

    Also, it seemed as though the first half was devoted almost exclusively to reincarnation, which wasn't quite what I expected. Oddly enough, that was probably the best part.

    I really enjoyed Bonk, though, so I'll likely give Stiff a chance still.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mallory Strong 07-31-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    6
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    "Annoying"

    I'm not sure if it was the narrator, the author, or both, but this book just came across as rude and pretentious. I regret my decision to purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 07-31-15
    Alex 07-31-15

    alex_799

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Awfull narration!"

    The reader read this book as if she were reading "Little Red Riding Hood" to a kindergarten class! It ruined Mary Roach's prose, making it seem condescending and snarky, rather than smart. I am very glad that this was the LAST Mary Roach book I listened to from Audible, rather than the first!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FranC 07-24-15
    FranC 07-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    3
    3
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    "The narrator was annoying"

    The narrator was awful. Her voices were unbearable to listen to. The book itself was just ok. I would not recommend buying this,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saul 07-23-15
    Saul 07-23-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    7
    6
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    "Colour me entertained!"

    Wonderfully written and read, this skeptic's approach to the afterlife and science's efforts to unmask it was nothing short of amazing. I laughed out loud at times, got sad at others, and finished with a sense of complete satisfaction, despite the inherent uncertainty of the subject matter. Recommend!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sara 07-20-15
    sara 07-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Worst narration ever. EVER!"
    What would have made Spook better?

    This would have been much better without the snarky snide tone from the horribly exaggerated reading by the narrator, and none of her terribly bad accents. Also it might have benefitted from less equally nasty snark from the author. I looked forward to a reasonable inquiry into the subject, but found the author often seemed to thumb her nose at the belief systems and approaches from history to the subject, which was made exponentially worse by the overly dramatic and at times poorly spoken narrator.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not anything with this narrator.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She broke sentences with uncomfortable and poorly placed pauses in some cases, casting confusion as to the sentences' meaning at times. She should not do accents if she cannot do them well - indeed her accents overtly ridiculed the people she portrayed, which may or may not have been the author's objective. And her delivery was so exaggerated, it was akin - no, it was worse - than the hyper-dramatic style affected by a mother reading a bedtime story to a three year old. It turned what could have been the author's somewhat witty personal comments on things into a delivery rife with snobbish disdain.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Actually haven't finished it yet, but am so turned off by the narration, I'm finding it hard to get through. Only my interest in the subject itself will steel me to finish it so as to learn the end result.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope to God the author did not suggest the narration style used. 'Twas and 'tis awful. Save that for something like "Snow White" or "See Spot Run".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb Bellevue, WA United States 07-20-15
    Deb Bellevue, WA United States 07-20-15 Member Since 2015
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    14
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    "not my cup of tea"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is more comical than anything. I didn't appreciate the humor nor the fake accents that she portrayed. I thought it was insulting. I thought this book was more factual and scientific, but its not. I couldn't even finish this book, first time I quit a book.


    What didn’t you like about Bernadette Quigley’s performance?

    I was looking for a scientific factual book. She made this a joke. Her fake accents were insulting and not needed.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Don't bother.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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