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Factoring Humanity Audiobook

Factoring Humanity

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Publisher's Summary

In the near future, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis, a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.

When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle's discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration - or the end of the human race - appears close at hand.Sawyer has created a gripping thriller, a pulse-pounding tour of the farthest reaches of technology. Factoring Humanity is a 1999 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.

©2003 Robert J. Sawyer (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[T]his is exciting, readable science fiction that will take you where no one has gone before - and you'll never forget the ending." (Amazon.com review)
"An intelligent and absorbing double-stranded narrative." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (355 )
5 star
 (122)
4 star
 (128)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (316 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (312 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (16)
1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    JACOB 03-05-14
    JACOB 03-05-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "APPALING!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Not sure this book is for anyone. Horrible hodgepodge of science, mathematics and psychology held together by incest/sexual child abuse.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert J. Sawyer again?

    never


    What three words best describe Katherine Kellgren’s performance?

    decent enough


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

    no. it was absurd


    Any additional comments?

    'nuff said!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 07-08-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2015

    I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Being Self-aware and being Selfish go Hand in Hand"

    THE THIRD EYE
    Sawyer has the third eye when it comes to science fiction, controversial subjects, aliens or first encounters. He has several books out on first encounters and they are all different and good. He also likes to step out and discuss controversial matters. Many Sci-Fi authors stay with the norm by putting down God and those who believe, jumping on the Global Warming band wagon or just whatever is the latest end of the world, man hating theme. In this book he does the politically incorrect thing and shows the side of the falsely accused man and how that will ruin his life, even if proven innocent.

    TONGUE AND GROOVE
    I knew exactly what RS was talking about when it comes to the third eye, in some things I have it and some I don't and wish I did. I liked the Over Mind and the way he described it. Mostly, I liked the controversial subject matter (Sexual Molestation, having false memories and planting false memories and the harm done by counselors).

    KNOWS JUST ENOUGH TO BE DANGEROUS
    I don't know much about counselors, therapists or psychiatrists, but I have family members who have been to counselors. It seems that counselors are the cheapest and less trained of the group. Most people who need this type of help are not well off financially, so end up going to counselors. They seem to know just enough to be dangerous and actually make matters worse. I honestly think there should be a law against them and people should be made aware of the damage they can cause. It is also weird that most of the people I know who want to go in this line of work are the people who are the most screwed up themselves.

    This was one of my least favorites by Sawyer, but I am comparing Sawyer to Sawyer. Some of the science was a little over my head (not a hard thing to accomplish) and I have a hard time picturing spatial, extra dimension type stuff and there was a lot more of that in the book then I cared for. He also attempted to be a John Scalzi and crack some jokes, but only Leonard, Wolowitz and Sheldon would have laughed at them, I think. This was not bad, Sawyer has never written a bad book, but Illegal Alien, Calculating God and Flash Forward are better.

    The narrator did a professional job.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 05-10-13
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 05-10-13 Member Since 2010

    SamanthaG

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    "He can do better"

    Have to say that Sawyer handles aliens better than he does humans. I loved his "Calculating God", but I found this one a bit difficult what with his trying to deal with a somewhat dysfunctional human family and the resolution of marital and familial discord.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JLM Oakland, CA, United States 04-13-13
    JLM Oakland, CA, United States 04-13-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting Premise....a LIttle Sugary"
    What made the experience of listening to Factoring Humanity the most enjoyable?

    So this seems to be typical for Sawyer, great idea, don't worry I won't spoil it here, but always ends up a little sugary sweet for me. The 'tension' in his books, and this one is typical of this, just doesn't quite 'wind up' enough for me. The resolution is somewhat 'easy'... Happy Happy joy joy... Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I wish for a little more conflict and difficulty in resolution.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N Oakleigh South, Australia 03-07-13
    N Oakleigh South, Australia 03-07-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Lacks internal logical consistency"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Robert J. Sawyer sets up the story using the scientific method and evidence that stands up to strong scrutiny, great, but,... then dumps this when it suits him to leave an illogical mess. ie a story that makes no sense. If you are going to set up a story using the scientific method and evidence that stands up to strong scrutiny you need to follow it up with a story that is plausible, even if only a little.

    Also I just did not care about the characters, as I do in a Peter F Hamilton book, for example.


    Has Factoring Humanity turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No but I will try to return this book, and may be try another of his but if that fails to then it will put me off Robert J. Sawyer, which is a shame as I think he has potential.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Having a man reading it, as a man is the main character would have made more sense.

    And the woman's voice grated on me, and she over acted, and it was not a pleasant voice to listen to, it put me of my toast!

    Maybe I have just been spoiled by listening to John Lee.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Factoring Humanity?

    The premise of the whole story. He talks about I think people who can supposedly talk to the dead as evidence for the existence of a 4th dimension where the memories of the dead and the living are stored and anyone can access them, via a machine the aliens tell us how to build. But this makes no sense as there is no evidence that stands up to strong scrutiny for anyone being able to talk to the dead or for any supernatural phenomenon, including god, and the tooth fairy. Also fyi all the feelings you have are created by the brain including any so called religious or spiritual feelings, for example feeling that a powerful supernal entity has special plans just for you, or that you are part of a greater whole etc... They are not real, so don't become deluded.


    Any additional comments?

    If Robert J. Sawyer could get his act together he could be a half way decent writer.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug in syd Sydney, Australia 02-28-13
    Doug in syd Sydney, Australia 02-28-13
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    "soap ie science"

    If you have read other sawyer titles and enjoyed them its a safe bet you'll enjoy this one it is one of his best. if you have not read sawyer before then consider his works feel a bit like a science lesson, with a story of moral humanity woven through it.

    This style is suprisingly easy to listen to even if you don't feel your a science geek. I find his characters both enjoyable and believable. and feel like they live on after the story is complete.

    This particular story deals with people recieving a message from outer space and basically not giving a toss about it

    then your hit with the sub plot which i found hits hard due to the excellent narration and subject matter. and so the dance begins, unable to put it down you soon find yourself taking sides and trying to second guess what will happen next. totally enjoyable give it a try

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Attleboro, MA United States 02-22-13
    Lisa Attleboro, MA United States 02-22-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Probably my favorite Robert Sawyer books"

    I always worry when a book is "only" around 10 hours, that I am not getting my moneys worth. But just about all of Robert Sawyer's books grab you right away and never let you go - I mean you just can't stop listening, and there are no dull parts. Factoring Humanity is just awesome! He always has really wonderful female characters and this is no exception. But in particular, the story just feels good all around and has just enough sci-fi techno to keep it modern!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 09-27-14
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 09-27-14 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Artist Can Use Old Tools"

    The twin entwining plots of this tale are as classic as the names Asimov, Clarke, and Bradbury. But look, plots are to writers as brushes are to painters. I don't know a composer who fails to diddle with key, or photographers who avoid negative space because others have used it. Nope… they're all tools.

    And so in "Factoring" Sawyer churns at least two mature hunks of red meat through his grinder, mixes them with clever spices, then cooks and presents the dish deliciously. If there's a problem it's that he's got a tendency here to get pretentious and a tad corny. But hey… corn sells with me, especially when it's popped, hot, buttered and salty.

    Katherine Kellgren's very good and perhaps, given the echoes from romance literature, we'll the book fits better into the mind and mouth of an excellent woman. Kellgren's made it her own.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anssi 11-11-15
    Anssi 11-11-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent until it collapses to hideous naivety"

    Really the first half of the book was excellent and enjoyed it tremendously. Nicely setup characters and intriguing plot that could turn any way. Unfortunately, it all just collapsed so suddenly that I was shouting out loud in agony. Still hopeful I returned to listen some more. Maybe it could all be mended. It couldn't be. This was my first and probably my last book from Sawyer, and the experience was so disappointing that I had to post my first review after about a hundred books.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kasey 10-02-15
    Kasey 10-02-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sawyer earned his awards!"

    as a non-quantum mechanics oriented person I was delighted to have my mind set alight by the content of the book. I too can enjoy science and a good story line! well done. Sawyer gained an admirer and fan.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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