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Kukhri

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Exhalation audiobook cover art

Another fine collection from Ted Chiang

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-31-19

While I didn't find this collection quite as thought provoking as Chiang's first one--some of the concepts like sentient robotics are well trod--I found it to be an enjoyable collection. The author continues to demonstrate a fascination with language, terrestrial and extraterrestrial alike. And the title story, "Exhalation" dealing with the anatomy of a steampunk race of mechanized aliens sparks interest. Altogether recommended.

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories audiobook cover art

Spectacular

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-06-19

This collection was widely varied and every written. What an outstanding series of stories this was, from historical pieces to forward looking tech oriented deliberations. And all of it was well read. Highly recommended.

Ball Lightning audiobook cover art

A different approach to SF

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-24-19

For starters, I would absolutely recommend beginning with Three Body Problem if you haven't read it. This book is basically unrelated, and for my money not quite the revelation of Three Body. The dialogue of Ball Lightening is at times overwrought and melodramatic, possibly owing to translation or Chinese writing conventions to which I am ignorant. There are one or two story threads that are not followed through on, but over all it is a thought provoking and interesting book.

On the reading, one character voice came out as unintentionally comical to me, but it wasn't a major problem.

Infinity's End audiobook cover art

A few greats in this collection

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-07-19

For myself, the most memorable of these stories were those focusing on hard science fiction elements of time and physics. Those Hannu Rajaniemi, Stephen Baxter, Seanan McGuire, and Peter Watts were especially compelling. And the readers often elevated the material.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World audiobook cover art

Exceptionally Well Researched

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-27-19

I expected a book chronicling the military exploits of Genghis Khan. I did not expect such a detailed view of the Khan's social reforms, the Mongols' innovative administration of the empire, criminal reform in China, the use of paper currency, and more. I am now convinced that Genghis was one of the most capable and interesting human beings to walk the planet. I would highly recommend this book to even a casually interested reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

SPQR audiobook cover art

Odd Commentary on Generalship

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

Reviewed: 03-03-19

I found this to be an an interesting, if somewhat wandering viewpoint on ancient Rome. However, there were a couple of brief statements on war leadership which essentially said commanding forces was a simple logistical task, and that the winning tactics at the Battle of Cannae were an uninspired flanking maneuver. Well of course tactics are easy to think up, it is employing them, command and control, complex logistics and much else that makes Cannae and other battles wonders to study. If this matter was as poorly considered as I think it to be, it makes me wonder about other aspects of the book. That said, it was otherwise enjoyable and informative.

The Dictator's Handbook audiobook cover art

Widely Applicable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-31-18

I expected to hear about the principles that guide political dictators, but the appearance of dictatorial practice among business CEOs and major sports committees was eye opening. Much of the book revolves around a few central points, political coalition building for example, and the book circumnavigates the world in searching for real examples. Well demonstrated

The Selfish Gene audiobook cover art

Informative and engaging

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-20-18

The Selfish Gene resolved many questions about biology I had never thought to question. The evolutionary stability of the 50/50 male female split versus the always shifting ratio of philanderers vs monogamous pairs are considered using math and computer models. There's a lot to think about.

The Quantum Magician audiobook cover art

Hard SF at it's best

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-09-18

This was packed with so many interesting ideas, I thought it would run out of steam after the premise was laid out. But the heist story continues to deliver details about the biological imperatives of engineered humans leaving always you wanting to hear more. Combined with the perfect reading, this was a wholly enjoyable book, on par with The Three Body Problem and other recent notables in the category.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

1493 audiobook cover art

A fine successor to 1491

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-15-18

Although the story wanders from the Americas into Southeast Asia during long diversions, this is an interesting, deep plunge into the results, consequences, and benefits of The Columbian Exchange.