What happens when something is sucked into a black hole? Does it disappear? Three decades ago, a young physicist named Stephen Hawking claimed that it did - and in doing so, put at risk everything we know about the fundamental laws of the universe. Leonard Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft realized the threat and responded with a counterattack that changed the course of physics.
That said, I have some specific problems with this book.
First, at times the author wanted to make sure that he spoke to an audience that is not at all familiar with science, but at times he assumed the reader knew things that they very likely were completely unfamiliar. E.g., he took the time to explain scientific notation, even if he later failed to consistently use it. Sometimes he was folksy, saying things like "this ain't that." At other times, however, he would reference neutrinos, quarks, etc. . . . with no mention of what those were or how they related (or did not relate) to the subject matter.
Second, I found the author's tone to be rather self-indulgent. I guess I should have been tipped off by the title - the author's motivation for writing the book was that he thinks he is smarter than Stephen Hawking. And I was troubled that, after a long discussion of quantum mechanics, he suggested that his reader was not going to understand it anyway. (Then why bother to have attempted it, or not to have tried harder to make it clear?) Sadly, the writing is such that even a usually great narrator like Ray Porter read the book with a condescending air.
Third, I find that some anecdotes about scientists and their lives are wonderful,. For example, Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" was wondeful in explaining the science and describing the scientists behind the science. However, the author's little stories about one-upping Richard Feynman at a deli, missing part of a lecture because he got caught up in listening to students talking in the cafeteria (after running 15 miles, wanting chicken soup that was hot but not very good, etc.) were tiresome.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Three years ago, an object 100 miles across was spotted on a trajectory for Earth's sun. Now, its journey is almost over. As it approaches, two competing manned vehicles race through almost half a million kilometers of space to reach it first. But when they both arrive on the entity, they learn that it has been sent toward Earth for a reason. An intelligent race is desperately attempting to communicate with our primitive species. And the message is: Help us.
I loved the premise. The story started out just fine . . . but then credibility was strained, and it became clear that the authors did not know where to go with the story they had crafted. That whole thing from the summary about "and they need our help" is just kind of thrown in there. It does not make sense, and it leads to nothing. When the book ended, I had to check to make sure that I had not accidentally hit fast forward or something, because the story just stops. It does not end, it just stops.
I listen to many books (5 per month on average). I only write reviews if the books are great or terrible (because, after all, most fall somewhere between).
This book started out well but unraveled so badly and so disappointingly that I would call it terrible.
If you like the genre, get something by Arthur C. Clark instead.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
When do you do when you gaze into the mirror - and find a stranger looking back? Liz Sansborough has no recollection of her past as a CIA agent; no idea what her future holds. For her, there is only the present...and the chilling knowledge that the world's most lethal assassin has set his sights on her. When your only link to your identity is a stranger who claim to be lover? Gordon is so gentle, so loving - and so secretive. If Liz dares to put her life into his powerful hands, will he guard it with his own - or snuff it out?
I enjoyed Lynds' other novel I downloaded from Audible, "The Last Spymaster." The characters seemed real and the plot did not strain one's ability to suspend disbelief.
I do not understand how the same author could have written both of these novels.
In marked contrast to "The Last Spymaster," the plot of "Masquerade" is silly. The coincidences are too convenient (no spoilers here, but you won't miss them), the conspiracy too incredible, and the bad guys are caricatures of themselves.
The narrator's tendency to perform male voices by speaking through drawn lips or by making them speak with a Brooklyn accent did not help.
Because I paid for it, I listened to the whole thing hoping it would get better. It never did.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Determined to sever his ties with the Office, Gabriel Allon has retreated to the windswept cliffs of Cornwall with his beautiful Venetian-born wife, Chiara. But once again his seclusion is interrupted by a visitor from his tangled past: the endearingly eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood. As usual, Isherwood has a problem. And it is one only Gabriel can solve.
This is an intelligent but fun ride. The characters are interesting and the reader gives them distinct and credible voices. Other than "The Mark of the Assassin," which was just so-so, you cannot go wrong with Daniel Silva.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Six months after the blood-soaked conclusion of Moscow Rules, Allon is in Umbria, trying to resume his honeymoon with his new wife, Chiara, when a colleague pays him a shocking visit. The man who saved Allon's life in Moscow and was then resettled in England has vanished without a trace. British intelligence is sure he was a double agent all along, and they blame Allon for planting him.
Silva is a really great writer, and Phil Gigante does a nice job (better than John Lee, I think).
You do not have to have read the last novel, "The Moscow Rules," to enjoy this.
I wish there were more unabridged Silva novels - I've already gone through them all.
Gabe Singleton and Andrew Stoddard were roommates at the Naval Academy in Annapolis years ago. Today, Gabe is a country doctor and his friend Andrew has gone from war hero to governor to President of the United States. One day, Marine One lands on Gabe's Wyoming ranch, and President Stoddard delivers a disturbing revelation and a startling request.
Granted, maybe when you buy a book on sale for $5 you should not complain about what you get. But I cannot help it.
This is the dumbest book I have ever finished. I say "dumbest I have ever finished" because, usually, when a book is playing out badly, I stop wasting my time.
But this was like driving past a car wreck - I could not look away. I had to see if it was going to get worse . . . and it DID! At every turn.
The characters are not believable or likable. The plot is not credible enough to enable suspending disbelief The dialog was silly.
If you like the narrator, rent one of his readings of Daniel Silva - not this.
Save yourself - don't buy this book.
Myron hasn't heard from Terese Collins in years. Not since their affair ended with no explanation. There had been no contact since, so her call catches him off guard. She's in Paris, she says, in trouble, and only Myron can help. She tells him a sad story she's never before revealed: a good marriage, her struggles to get pregnant, the happiest moment of her life when her only child was born, the day everything she'd ever loved was taken from her.
This book was a lot of fun. Bolitar and Win are interesting characters. The story was surprising and fast-moving.
I was afraid I would not like Steven Weber's narration (I have not been able to look at the guy since he agreed to play Jack Nicholson's part in the bad, made-for-TV remake of "The Shining"), but he did a really good job.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The Republicans are coming to St. Paul for their convention. Throwing a big party is supposed to be fun, but crashing the party are a few hard cases the police would rather have stayed away. Chief among them is a crew of professional stick-up men who've spotted several lucrative opportunities, ranging from political moneymen with briefcases full of cash to that armored-car warehouse with the weakness in its security system.
I thought I'd try Sandford on the $9.95 offer Audible made. It is $9.95 I would like to have back.
The story is just BORING. I very, very rarely give up on a book on which I have spent money or a book credit, but I have never listened to a book that was so completely uninteresting. (The gravelly voice of the narrator certainly did not help.)
Do yourself a favor - instead of this book, try ANYTHING by Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, John Lescroat, or Harlan Coben.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
In Angel's Tip, Detective Ellie Hatcher enters the high-priced world of New York City nightlife when a pretty club goer is found brutally murdered.
This was a poor listen. The narration was cloying and melodramatic. The novel was poor. The characters were not believable. The plot was contrived. The ending was silly. "Angel's Tip" was a disappointment.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
The world's biggest supercollider is locked in an Arizona mountain. The Torus was built to unlock the secrets of the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself. Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus a Satanic attempt, as a powerful televangelist decries, to challenge God Almighty on the very throne of heaven?
Scott Sowers has ruined several books by some of my favorite authors. He repeatedly mispronounces the same words (if you're not sure, Scott, LOOK IT UP). And he always sounds a little nasal and sing songy.
I hope that one day I can forget the plot of the novel, then I will buy it print and read it - so that maybe I can enjoy it.
(The story was very good, but it was buried beneath the awful delivery.)
1 of 4 people found this review helpful