LISTENER

Ben

traralgon, Australia
  • 1
  • review
  • 20
  • helpful votes
  • 1
  • rating
  • Diaspora

  • By: Greg Egan
  • Narrated by: Adam Epstein
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 207
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 191
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 191

Behold the orphan. Born into a world that is not a world. A digital being grown from a mind seed, a genderless cybernetic citizen in a vast network of probes, satellites, and servers knitting the Solar System into one scape, from the outer planets to the fiery surface of the Sun. Since the Introdus in the 21st century, humanity has reconfigured itself drastically. Most chose immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous Story, Disappointing Performance

  • By Ben on 12-08-13

Fabulous Story, Disappointing Performance

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-08-13

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend the story to a friend if they were up to the conceptual challenges the plot contains. Egan's intricacy of detail is extremely worth persevering with, but it's dense and some passages require close scrutiny. I would not, however, recommend this recording to a friend (see later answers).

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is hard Sci-Fi. It's characters are not its strong feature. As such it's heavily concept driven, and you read it for those, not for character-development. In the constraints of the genre however, I thought they were all suited to their roles, but I don't have a favourite.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I originally read this as an e-book. I was fascinated to know how a professional narrator would move through this story, dealing with its esoterica: from the subject-specific jargon to the neutral personal pronouns. This would be a challenging read for any narrator; we are immersed in a world and assume the viewpoints of its inhabitants, who don't think it's strange at all. Egan creates this effect beautifully. So far I've skipped through the audiobook only, but so far I've been appalled. The pace is slow and is sufficiently lacking in phrasing as to make it an uncomfortable listening experience, to the point where it is difficult to know what words belong with what. It also makes what was quite a surreal read positively dreary and painful. The books own conventions were clearly poorly understood, leading to uneven emphasis, and a general plodding relentlessness to the delivery. A book with Diaspora's object and Diaspora's target audience, requires much more pre reading, linguistic and typographical care, and general attention to detail than has been demonstrated by this performance.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I think that this book would be totally ruined by a movie adaptation. It's so in-the-mind that to have the details dished up for you would completely miss the point.

Any additional comments?

One of the best Hard Science Fiction stories I've read in years. One of the most mediocre audio-performances as well. Had I known I would have saved my credit for another title. May it be a lesson to me to preview things before checking out.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful