Now, with Pandora's Star, he begins a new multi-volume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet. The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.
Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him. Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer.
Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship's mission for its own ends. Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated.
Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery, the unleashing of which will threaten to destroy t...
©2004 Peter F. Hamilton; (P)2008 Tantor
"The depth and clarity of the future Hamilton envisions is as complex and involving as they come." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
I thoroughly enjoyed Pandora's Star, but as a regular audio book consumer I was extremely disappointed with the quality of the production. There are no pauses in narration when the story changes from one point of view to another (which happens frequently) or even if there are ellipses. It took a long time to determine that "Far Away" is a proper noun, something that would be immediately obvious if you read the book in print.
But honestly, as poor of a production it was, it should not deter you from buying this book. It has been one of the most enjoyable science fiction novels I've read in recent years. The author has a broad technical knowledge and can paint a thoroughly wonderful picture of life in this future. He may not be the best writer out there, some chapters can pass almost painfully slow, but it makes up for it when you get to the end and the plot reaches an epic climax. I warn you, you will want to have the sequel downloaded and lined up by the time you reach the end of this book!
Loved the story, but it loses a point because of Mr.Lee's narration. Not the way he read it, but the pauses. I have listened to books he has narrated before and have loved them. However, in this book he really doesn't pause at all between parts. I found myself getting confused about which character he was speaking about. One moment Ozzy, the next breath Paula. That is my only criticism of his narration. Otherwise I'd recommend it.
Could have been so much better with a different narrator. There is no clue when narrator moves from one scene to another. I found myself asking where the heck did this guy come from? Why is he there? Then I realize we have jumped to a new scene.
His constant rhythmic tone made it hard to stay focused on the story as well. I found myself wishing for a monotone reading as opposed to the up and down up and down up and down of his tone.
Maybe I'm spoiled by Stefan Rudnicki productions.
Excellent story though. Epic in scale. It was very difficult to get through the first 2/3'rds of the book because of the narrator.
First, regarding the narrator. I've only listened to a few audio books, including Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Fountainhead. Narration for this book by John Lee is significantly worse than both of them, both in consistency and in voicing. Often, I couldn't tell characters apart, and often, the tone didn't match the character or the scene. So thumbs down for the narrator.
As for the story, I've listened to 8 hours so far, and while it has technically interesting passages, it's is not very engaging. It just doesn't grab your interest in the beginning (a very long beginning in this case), like a good story should. Also, it does tend to drag on, for the sake of length it seems. I think the writer is forgetting that he's writing fiction, so he goes into enough detail until it doesn't seem plausible or real anymore.
In summary, I've read many Science Fiction novels, and I am very disappointed with this one. I don't think I'll get through it. Frankly, I chose it because I wanted a long audio book, for value. I guess I was spoiled by The Fountainhead, which was amazing. I'd say you should pass on this one, especially if you're paying money for it, rather than 1 credit.
I'm afraid hard core science fiction like this is not my thing. There seemed to be zillions of charecters. I love John Lee, but he did horribly on this book, which might be the faiult of the editor. I could not tell when we changed places, charecters, or times. Making this more clear might have saved me from having to re-listen to the first 2 downloads twice. I found barely any of the charecters likeable and really didn't care what happened to them. Needless to say I never did finish the book. Some of the plots were a bit intriquing, but I couldn't find much to tie them together or figure out when or where they were occuring. I want my credit back!
I took this and a number of other stories with me as I visia Asia for three months. This is definitely a slow listening book. I give this a rating of 3 out of 5 due to the author's inability to capture and keep my attention. The main reason for this rating is due to the huge theme and shifting focus as different stories, with in a single story, are all told. Other books from this author have been much better.
I tried, I really really tried to get through this book. But it is astonishingly BORING. I am so sorry that I wasted a credit on it. As others have said, the narrator has an unusual way of dropping the last word in a sentence, to an inaudible mutter. A reader/listener shouldn't have to strain to understand what's being said let alone figure out what what is being said.
Be aware that if you're going to bother listening to this book, you might as well plan to get the second book Judas Unchained because this book does not stand on it's own as some other novels do. This is essentially just the first half of the story and does not tie up at the end of this novel.
The narrator is good and he generally does a good American dialect but some of his American characterizations come off as parodies... kind of like a bad John Wayne impression. I got used to it after a while...
Overall it's a fun story (complicated but fun) with well developed characters. The universe of the story has elements of many different other novels, tv shows and movies. Wormholes similar to Stargate, cloned bodies and the ability to back-up and reload your consciousness similar to the Altered Carbon books, etc. There are a LOT of characters and a lot of the time you have absolutely no idea how the characters are going to tie together until much later. It makes following some of the sub-plots tedious initially but it eventually does pull together.
There is profanity and sex throughout, neither of which are necessary in my humble opinion nor do they really add anything to the plot but they aren't as gratuitous as some reviews indicate or nearly as gratuitous as some other books I've read. The story would be better without them but they don't completely ruin it and they're usually relatively brief. Just be aware that it's in there.
I got this and tried to like it because of Steve Gibson's enthusiastic reviews. I tried, but I just couldn't and had to give up half way through the second section. It was simply too boring and tedious. I have nothing against books with lots of characters -- Charles Dickens manages this very well -- but they have to be characters you can identify and care about. The characters in this book are just cardboard cutout identikit figures with standard characteristics, emotions, ideas and texts. Add this to constant changes of scene and constant new story lines and I just lost interest. It simply wasn't worth the effort to focus on it hard enough to stay with it. There wasn't enough substance to provide the necessary motivation. There are a lot of interesting science ideas, but they are buried under so much tasteless dross that it just isn't worth the effort to get to them. Annoying waste of a credit.
I gave this book a few hours, but ended up giving up on it. The endless descriptions of spaceports and buildings and vehicles is very boring, because it doesn't seem relevant to the story. The sound quality is not very good, as if he is using a cheap microphone. In addition, his voice tends to get very quiet towards the end of the sentences, so if I'm somewhere with background noise, I keep missing the end of the sentences. But I can't just turn it up, because then it is too loud when he isn't being quiet.
But my biggest problem with this book is that I didn't care about anything going on even after a significant investment.
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