©1983 by Larry Niven; (P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.
I've read this book in paper form and I like it even more as an audiobook. Unfortunately it is spoiled by the worst narrator and audio production that I have ever herd. My computer with text-to-speech does a better job. (I know, I've tried it).
The narrator reads everything in a monotone; no character voices, no inflection, no effects, nothing. Worse, he reads straight through the natural pauses. It's very difficult to tell where one character's speech ends and the next begins. He does the same for paragraphs and chapter endings, so the book sounds like one bloated, incomprehensible paragraph.
Simply awful narration that wrecks a geat book.
but this audio was spoiled by the reading. This reader, whose voice I like sonically, unfortunately seems not to want to distinguish paragraphes, or changes of scene, etc, so the narration is confusing. I lost interest about a third of the way in, it just became too much of a chore.
I first read this book many years ago when it was first published. As is typical for Larry Niven, the world he created was both fascinating and scientifically plausible. I've been meaning to re-read "The Integral Trees" but never had the time. Thanks to Audible and a long commute, I finally got the chance. The book is still very interesting, perhaps even more so the second time around -- Niven includes so many subtle details, it usually takes several readings to fully appreciate them.
BUT it was an effort to get fully immersed in the book because the reader is absolutely terrible. MONOTONE with universally bad voice interpretations of the different characters. I forced myself to ignore the presentation and focus on the story, but it was an effort and I often had to rewind and re-listen to passages to make sense of them because of butchered inflections by the reader. However, if you like hard science fiction, I think the book is worth the effort. It's fascinating to see how a small group of stranded humans adapts to a unique free-fall environment.
If you haven't already become hooked on Larry Niven, I strongly recommend you start with one of the other Niven offering on Audible which have much better readers, except unfortunately for the sequel to "The Integral Trees", "The Smoke Ring".
in some aspects yes, I was able to visualize the story better.
being able to take it on a daily bike ride and have another choice than just music.
all the voice accents were great.
yes, but could not devote the time needed to listen in one setting.
did not know my Amazon account was able to link to Audible. and also connected through Apple store. ai in a great way to "hear" a book. well worth the price.
The novel describes an ecosystem that develops in a vast, zero gravity environment. The narrative seems to release you from the bonds of our fundamentally horizontal and comparatively miniscule world. Because it stretches your imagination in this way, I think that the novel is worth reading. However, the the environment that is described does notsufficiently follow the laws of physics. And story line, the things that happen in this remarkable world, is thin.
The main point of this book is a contemplation of life in a zero gravity environment - no ground, just sky. On that mark, the story has some wonderful descriptive parts. However, the story's environment is so different that it takes the listener longer to visualise the scene than the spoken narrative allows. As a result, the listener has to concentrate very closely to the tale, and may have to back up and re-hear parts to fully understand them. In Niven's other books, like the Ringworld series, this happens rarely. Here, though, it occurs often enough to interrupt the flow of the story.
On the spoken side, the narrator does a decent job with most of the story, but the characterizations don't have much distinction, so some dialog is hard to follow. Worse, the editing style allows no pauses at all. Scene changes are completely lost, leading to immense confusion when the narration shifts.
Overall, the story is a good one, but it doesn't lend itself well to the audio book format. You're better off reading this one.
This novel has so much description that it makes you lose interest. So much so that you forget there is a plot, let alone figure out if you like it. The constant description of the surroundings makes the story seem like it is from the point of view of a UN Peacekeeper, accurately told but does not enagage you in the story. This is the only audiobook that I have heard which should have been ABRIDGED. The abridged version probably would be 2 hours long. I love Larry Niven books, but I cannot believe he wrote this one! Part of the problem may be the reader voice. Wait for an abridged version, it should have been a short story.
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