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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 (539 )
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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
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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
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    15
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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
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    510
    66
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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
  •  
    UTAustin 08-29-15
    UTAustin 08-29-15
    ratings
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    5
    5
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    "Boring and rambling."
    Would you try another book from Mary Roach and/or Bernadette Quigley?

    No. Unfortunately I already have. This rambled on with totally unimportant research. I just wanted it to be over.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 08-24-15
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 08-24-15 Member Since 2015

    Grandma bibliophile! Audible books make reading with an active life possible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another winner..."

    from Mary Roach. I have listened to 3 books by this author and intend to get more. I'm impressed by the amount of information she researches and thoroughly enjoy her humorous way of looking at things. I think I'm in the same zone as far as skepticism and curiosity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brittany D Helgren 08-14-15 Member Since 2015
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    "So fun"

    Didn't really know a thing about the book when I bought it, just thought the title sounded fun and it was! Very funny but very interesting. I enjoyed this audiobook a LOT!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pam 08-10-15
    Pam 08-10-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
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    "Gave Up"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    More narrative on actual studies, less on descriptions of people, places, blah, blah, blah. The interesting science was about 20 minutes worth of the book. Remainder, thoughts of the author regarding people, places, herself, and a junior high attempt at humor.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    This makes my second Mary Roach audible book. Bought were both at same time. If I had bought separately, I would not have purchased the second book.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bernadette Quigley?

    I'm not sure. I believe the narrator tried to portray humor as the author intended. It just came off as junior high snarky snipping. And, way too much of it. Scientific test information was way drawn out with all the "aside" observations and commentary. The interesting stuff could have been condensed to two hours listening.


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

    Yes, it gave some interesting medical science history related to the subject.


    Any additional comments?

    If you bemoan people who attempt to tell a story/get endlessly sidetracked on non-relevant detail and you want to scream "get to the point".......this book is not for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kayla 08-05-15
    Kayla 08-05-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Narrator crosses the line into offensive accents."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    As many others have said, the narrator of this book was pretty awful, so I would change her. Normally I'm able to get accustomed to cheesey narration after a chapter or two, but the intermittent introduction of offensive imitations of Indian, British, and Southern accents was an insurmountable obstacle to enjoying this book. And as a scientist, I had to take a step back and assess whether or not I spend all my time whispering to people, but then I realized that it was just the narrator's (producer's?) perception of how we talk--not sure where this notion came from.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The story itself was entertaining. I did not enjoy as much as some of the other Mary Roach works I'm familiar with, but it definitely gets you thinking about the progression of science and the after life.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    See what I would change.


    Could you see Spook being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mallory Strong 07-31-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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

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