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Rollback | [Robert J. Sawyer]

Rollback

Thirty-eight years ago, Dr. Sarah Halifax earned worldwide fame by deciphering a radio transmission from an unknown intelligence reaching out from deep space. Now 87, Sarah receives news that, at long last, a new signal has been received, and her services are desperately needed once again.
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Publisher's Summary

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer writes imaginative SF novels that have earned him an enthusiastic following. Set in the near future, Rollback is "a novel to be savored by science fiction and mainstream readers alike" (Globe and Mail).

Thirty-eight years ago, Dr. Sarah Halifax earned worldwide fame by deciphering a radio transmission from an unknown intelligence reaching out from deep space. Now 87, Sarah receives news that, at long last, a new signal has been received, and her services are desperately needed once again.

But Sarah needs to stay alive long enough to decode the message. With the aid of corporate backers, she and her husband undertake an incredibly costly medical process called a Rollback, in which decades may be added to their lives - but only if it's successful.

©2007 Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (161 )
5 star
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4.1 (69 )
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4.4 (70 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Crystal TEMPE, AZ, United States 04-11-10
    Crystal TEMPE, AZ, United States 04-11-10 Member Since 2008

    Listener of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Intrigue (not romance), Historical Fiction and very eclectic in her literary wanderings.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    "He's Been Better- Characters Good"

    I liked where the story was going, the characters and the plot...and then he rushed the ending. What I really was interested in was only a few pages in the prologue rather than what I expected to be the thrust of the novel.

    And way too easy to plot guess.

    Wanna no brainer for a long car trip, this is it.

    Want to read good Robert J. Sawyer? Don't read this.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Old Hippy PA 04-29-11
    Old Hippy PA 04-29-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Main plot - Tiresome; Subplot - Cool!"

    I haven't been up to doing any reviews for awhile, but this one warrants some comment. I know it's name "Rollback", and the medical process that refers to accounts for 85% of the story. The 'rollback" is an super-expensive, complicated treatment to reverse the aging process back to 25 years old. I'm not giving away anything by explaining that the reason the "rollback" drives the story is because there's a really intriguiing subplot about alien contact from far away and - because of the elapsed time between messages and replies - they decide they need to keep one of the five main characters alive long enough to be able to continue deciphering and replying. The really great story line (well, up to the disappointing ending) comes from the alien contact narrative and the intriguiing and insightful conversations driven by the wife, who works for SETI and is a delightful character. The husband is a turd who, once regressed, can't keep it in his pants and cheats on his wife. Excruciating and unbelievably boring chapters are wasted as we are, basically, intended to believe that, well, of course anyone "rolled back" from 84 to 25 just couldn't help but need sex really, really bad and about how much he has fallen for another 25 year old girl at the university where the wife was once a household name. I think you can see where this is going. The fourth main character is the moneybags who pays for the procedures, a rather Trump-like and unappealing person. And the fifth is "Gunter", an absolutely delightful robot bought by moneybags to care for the wife. The conversations about alien life, intentions, evolution and such are the only thing that kept me listening. From those insights I feel like I learned some things - the rest was just awful.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee Princeton, NJ, United States 07-22-09
    Renee Princeton, NJ, United States 07-22-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Canadian heroine"

    Refreshing that main character is a smart women scientist and that the setting is Canada. Some clever ideas, especially that Coke and Pepsi merge in the future.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Orlando, FL, United States 02-27-11
    Scott Orlando, FL, United States 02-27-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "It was ok"

    This was ok for me. Not great, not bad, right in the middle. I'd say it was worth a listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 07-28-09
    David Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 07-28-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Sawyer's best"

    I've enjoyed other Robert Sawyer books in the past ... but this one was annoyingly predictable and unrealistic.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-28-14
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-28-14 Member Since 2009

    My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A good story"

    It's good sci-fi. Seems to go back to that old Twilight Zone episode about getting a younger body and the wife doesn't get one. But this story revolves around health being the deciding factor. This story continues where the TZ story left off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 08-07-14
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 08-07-14 Member Since 2006

    I'm just a big kid.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Returned before finished"

    I have almost three hundred books in my Audible library. This is the second book that I have returned.

    This is the second book by Sawyer I've read, the first was that one about the spider creatures who come to earth looking for a paleontologist. That was pretty good, even though the ending was sad.

    This book was down right depressing to listen to, despite having an excellent narrator. The Alien message seems like nothing more than a excuse to put a married couple in a horrible situation.

    This was a decent short story crammed into a full length novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tracycali 08-02-14
    tracycali 08-02-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not up to Sawyer's typical standards"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The story was too artificial and forced. I was a little skeptical based on the synopsis, but I am a Sawyer fan so gave it a try. Only made it 1/3 of the way through before he lost me. In my opinion the premise probably doesn't lend itself to a 4 star experience.


    What could Robert J. Sawyer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The premise just didn't work for me. The underlying message that youth and physical appearance is to be valued above almost all else left me cold.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The quavering voices of the protagonists and the narrators attempt to portray them as noble yet somehow pitiable was a distraction.


    What character would you cut from Rollback?

    Couldn't really relate to any of the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Struck me as an uninspired attempt to fulfill a contract.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results
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  • BP1
    Leicestershire, UK
    9/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little variable but overall very good"
    What did you like most about Rollback?

    The female characters and the wonderful ideas.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Rollback?

    Anytime Sarah and Don would talk


    What about George Wilson’s performance did you like?

    Although he wasn't perfect he really conveyed the characters well, the voices were very appropriate and I thought he added to the book


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was furious with Don initially how he did what he did and didn't seem to care though it was explained fully in the end and made sense


    Any additional comments?

    Yes. I enjoyed this book and the ideas were fabulous. In comparison to the sublime ideas, I guess some of the characters weren't as well drawn as they could have been but the narrator did a great job with what he had. I would recommend to anyone interested in soft sci-fi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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