Robert Sawyer has won many awards for his science fiction, which is praised for its blend of high-tech mystery and suspenseful pacing.
©1995 Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2003 Recorded Books
Absolutely perfect. This was quite simply one of the best books -- sci-fi or otherwise -- I've read in a long time. Yes, there's a fascinating sci-fi plot involving the creation of digital simulations of the protagonist's brain, and they stir up a fascinating mess that will delight any lover of intelligent science fiction. But it's the complex, fully fleshed-out characters, lightning fast pacing and genuinely compelling writing that got to me the most, which is why I strongly recommend this book to lovers of great novels as well as to lovers of great sci-fi. While not a deeply devoted sci-fi fan myself, I do enjoy science fiction novels, and I think the few dozen best books in the genre are as good as the best books of ANY genre. But sci-fi gets a bit of a bad rap among mainstream readers, because it does seem like far too often the "sci" gets in the way of the "fi," particularly in the hands of less skilled practitioners, making some of them feel more like interesting textbooks than thrilling novels. But The Terminal Experiment manages to do both, and I find that to be very rare. When it all DOES come together in one book, like it does here, it more than repays your time spent reading it, re-reading it, and writing long recommendations to fellow readers in hopes that they, too have been looking for just such an ideal book. Very highly recommended.
Part (not inconceivably far in the future) sci-fi, part murder mystery.. with a sprinkling of morality (and what ifs...)
Most summaries you will come across talk about the character's striving to "capture/reproduce" a soul - and the choices (or rather inevitable paths) that distinguishes life and the afterlife.
I see this as a study of morals... what would you do if you were "you" but immortal or incorporeal. How would this change your relationship with others.. the world.. your morals and self beliefs?
Peter Hobson (main character) wants to study life after death so creates copies of his own personality (captured with advanced sensor and stored on a computer):
- one is a control,
- one simulates immortality and
- one simulates incorporeality
Unfortunately, they "escape" and one of these "souls" starts to murder people in Peter's life. All clues start to point to Peter..
We follow Peter's quest to track down the killer and are introduced to what we may wish to do, but are bound by our imposed morals, ties to our corporeal self and fear of mortality .
Would you actually kill someone if you could not be caught.. if you were immortal.. had no physical body..
I have to recommend this - it was one the books that brought me back to sci-fi and I originally bought to read. I could not put it down and finished it in a weekend - am excited that it is back as an audible book.
It is one of the few books I am happy to come back to again and again - and the other is Ends Game (by Orson Scott Card)
NOTE: this was originally a serial in ANALOG magazine under the title "Hobson's Choice".
Please see review from David, from Glenview, IL; he's said it very well. Only thing to add: I hesitated about this listen because, judging from some of the publisher's comments, etc, I feared the religious overtones might be strong, obnoxious, and pro "intelligent design." I was very wrong! This book is full of ideas, debates about ideas, and great fun. If you like great sci-fi (as opposed to fantasy -- when will they stop being lumped together on the shelves!) I believe you'll enjoy this read.
Like much of what this author does, it is well written and thoughtful, original and often very interesting. That said, if you aren't a religious person, particularly those who are atheist, will find the endless examination of religion, God, the after life, etc to be a bit dull - like examining the scientific roots of a fairy tale. This really isn't meant as a criticism, but much of his work seems increasingly preoccupied with religion, and tries to put a scientific spin on it. I found it distracting in the last of the neanderthal series, and it is the whole basis of this one.
However, if you are the religious sort, and interested in that, and you like sci-fi and a well written story with lots of thoughtful, unique concepts to ponder, this is a great book.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Although this book had a couple of interesting ideas, it was really not worth it. The characterization was weak, the story predictable, the philosophy sophomoric, the situations contrived, and the clich?s countless. This was a murder mystery without any mystery (and without a compelling sleuth). The pre-telling of later events give the whole plot away early in the book (for the clever reader), making plodding on to the predictable conclusion quite tedious.
If you have extra credits, it is worth the listen. The technology (which is the centerpiece of the story) is on such weak foundations that to me much of the story lacked credibility and kept me from engaging. The characters were well written and the overall premise interesting, but there are so many GREAT books out there leave this one for a long summer vacation when you leave your critical thinking hat at home.
A lover of contemporary, character driven sci-fi.
Good characters and a high-tension plot, very cohesive story. The end, however, was a bit anticlimactic, much like other Sawyer works. Still, it's not like I want that part of my life back or anything. Meh.
Another compelling page-turner by RJS. With the right director, this book has all the components for a very good movie IMO.
If I had to describe the book in a word, it would be "unoriginal."
The major concepts have been been tired for years, having been thoroughly explored in B grade television sci-fi anthologies (i.e. Outer Limits) and present nothing new. The characters have some minor depth, but are never developed enough for me to care about them, an essential feature in a book where the universe and vision of the future are hackneyed ideas. I don't recommend this book at all, unless you are specifically looking for something that feels like a made-for-TV SyFy channel movie extended into many hours of audio.
Really interesting concept. A little out there, but still easy to listen to and hold my attention.
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