Earth is no longer the center of the universe. After the invention of the faster-than-light jump drive, humanity is rapidly establishing new colonies....
Captain Joe Farley and the crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress Fata Morgana are in the middle of a harrowing bombing mission over East Germany when everything goes sideways....
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around - and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly....
Cosmos is one of the best-selling science books of all time....
LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well, not since a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode....
With clear explanations of some of the most complex scientific endeavors in history, Mahaffey's book looks back at the atom's wild, secretive past and then toward its potentially bright future....
Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire....
The story of the orphan Oliver Twist is one of the most well-known stories ever told. But it is his friend, the Artful Dodger, who has the far more intriguing tale....
Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him....
Best-selling author Michael Connelly delivers his first legal thriller, an incendiary tale about a cynical defense attorney whose one remaining spark of integrity may cost him his life....
R. William Bennett rewinds A Christmas Carol and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge’s miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley....
Ella Broden is living a double life. By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city's most grueling cases....
One of the most significant books ever written by a head of State, the Meditations are a collection of philosophical thoughts by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius....
It is an obsession that has haunted Nick Malick for seven years - to avenge the murder of his young son. In his gut Malick knows who did it. But the psychopath is in prison for another crime....
Patton Oswalt shares his entertaining memoir about coming of age as a performer and writer in the late '90s while obsessively watching classic films....
How does the brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious?....
Is there a secret to happiness? Beloved comedian Paula Poundstone conducts a series of "thoroughly unscientific" experiments to find out....
Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet....
When Earth is rocked by evidence that extraterrestrials may have seeded human DNA throughout the universe, a one-way expedition into deep space is mounted to uncover the truth. What linguist Meg Dupris and her crewmates aboard the Earth ship Damocles discover on Didet - a planet bathed in the near-eternal daylight of seven suns - is a humanoid race with a different language, a different look, and a surprisingly similar society. But here, it’s the "Earthers" who are the extraterrestrial invaders, and it’s up to Meg - a woman haunted by tragedy and obsessed with the power of communication - to find the key to establishing trust between the natives and the newcomers. In Loul Pell, a young Dideto male thrust into the forefront of the historic event, Meg finds an unexpected kindred spirit, and undertakes an extraordinary journey of discovery, friendship, and life-altering knowledge.Told from both sides of a monumental encounter, Damocles is a compelling novel about man’s first contact with an extraterrestrial race.
This is a very slow paced novel and though I did give it a 5 star review, it could have been so much better had author Redling given us a better verbal picture of what the Didodes (I have no idea how it is spelled) or the aliens that are visited really looked like. I finally ended up picturing a neanderthal-ish person in my mind. I'd have preferred know what the author envisioned when writing.
The similarities between Earthers and Didodes are many as are the differences and Redling with excellent narration from Angela Dawe does a lot to show these...but it all brought up several questions in my mind, akin to the physical description issue that I won't go into as it would be very much a spoiler.
I think this novel is appropriate for a younger teen interested in space exploration that focuses on interpersonal skills more than plasma ray guns and hyper drives...not lots of tech in this book, just lots of talking.
I basically listened to this in 2 days and even dreamed about it the night between..did this story have an effect on me? Apparently so!.
I recommend it for people who don't need blood and guts stories.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Damocles the most enjoyable?
I've never listened to a book narrated by Angela Dawe before, but I think her performance on Damocles is one of the best I've experienced from a female narrator. The hang-up in most cases are the character voices and that can make or break the audio performance. I think Angela did an awesome job with all the voices (even the males) and it added to the enjoyment of the story. I've listened to some narrations where it totally ruined it. Kudos to Angela Dawe!!
What was one of the most memorable moments of Damocles?
The first-contact scene playing out. The headline of this review is a nod to that scene. That's all I'll say about it.
What does Angela Dawe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Again, the character voices. If a narrator does a good job, it totally adds another dimension to the book - and she did! I read some of the book on my own (thank you Whispersync for Voice) and it can be a little hard to read when working through the parts where they are trying to understand each other's language. It was much more enjoyable listening to it (for me) than reading it to myself.
Any additional comments?
I like first contact stories and this was enjoyable. Enjoyable enough that I finished it in two days which is rare for me (maybe a first.) There were some parts of the story where I rolled my eyes (a bit too silly) and some parts I would have liked explored more. Some of it was too un-realistic in my opinion. But hey, it's not my book. What I LOVED the most was the telling of the story from both viewpoints, the local Dideto and the alien Earthers, AKA "Urfers." Sometimes this viewpoint would just flip flop as the story continued, but most of the time it would rewind and re-tell the same scene from the other viewpoint. This was cool! Very cool actually!! All-in-all it was a fun story, had enjoyable characters, it flowed well, and I really liked it. That's what matters most, right? I highly recommend!
62 of 66 people found this review helpful
I thought I loved science fiction and first contact stories, so I figured I would really like this book, especially with all the glowing great reviews. Not so.
It just did not grab me at all. There was none of the mystery and spine-tingling excitement you would expect at first contact with an alien species. We are told they evolved from burrowing animals, yet they are SO human-like. How did that happen? So we land on their planet and go about trying to find a way of mutually communicating. My dog understands more words than the Didetos learned during their brief encounter with us as the aliens. The great majority of this story involved very simplistic talking and sharing of very simplistic ideas. Almost nothing happens except a few misunderstandings that evolve into almost nothing. We hear endlessly about their very sensitive finger pads and their thrumming. It is mentioned over and over again. Then, it is time for us to leave. Minor crisis in finding minerals which is quickly remedied and we take off.
Why did we land? What did we learn about this species? I am sorry but I want-need more than this to entertain me. I need a bit more action and certainly alot more mystery! I would not read any further science fiction by this author. The narrator did not add to the listening experience--she too was just unimpressive.
So bite me! I told you I was swimming against the current.
134 of 145 people found this review helpful
Damocles is not an action-packed novel. Most of the book is talking, describing the laborious task of humans and aliens trying to establish communications when they share no culture or language in common. The linguistics are not described in detail, but the process of constructing a bridge to translation is realistic.
This is also a "humans are the aliens" novel, in which it's the Earthers who come from outer space, to the shock and awe and terror of a less advanced civilization.
The setting the Earthers come from is barely fleshed out — humans have expanded to other colonies, but the message from an older alien race giving Earthers the secret of FTL travel and telling them that there are other races seeded from the same DNA as humanity is never described in more detail than that. It's a MacGuffin to send the crew of the Damocles out into space.
Damocles is told in alternating chapters from the viewpoints of Meg Dupris, the linguist aboard the Damocles, and Loul Pell, a socially awkward nerd in a dead-end government job when the Earthers arrive.
Besides the realistic communications problems, the best part of Damocles is the realistic aliens, the Didetos. They are close enough to human that their psychology and physiology is understandable, but different enough that they're clearly not human. Their culture constantly throws the Earthers off-balance with its similarities and differences - Didetos don't sleep, and although they have an industrial society that has begun launching satellites, they have never in their history undertaken to explore their oceans. Yet, they have press conferences, a military-industrial complex, and comic book nerds.
Loul Pell is one of the latter. A disgraced scientist, now working as a cubicle drone because he once presented a paper speculating about alien contact, he suddenly finds himself whisked away by Dideto Men In Black when aliens actually appear, pretty much where and how he said they would. And so he accidentally takes the role of speaker-to-aliens, and befriends a strange, willowy, extraterrestrial named "Meg."
Although there are some misunderstandings and tension over miscommunications, and questions about whether the Earthers will be able to return home, there is no dramatic action in this book. It's a novel about inter-cultural communications, and if aliens ever do visit Earth, I can see Men In Black whisking S.G. Redling off to advise our first contact team on how to communicate with them.
A thoughtful, intelligent sci-fi novel that explores linguistics and alien cultures in a realistic way. Damocles is not a particularly exciting book, but it's a fine work of genuine speculative fiction.
I did not love the narrator, who particularly when listening at higher speeds (I usually listen to audiobooks on my Audible app) has a very high-pitched and sometimes annoying voice, though she was clear and did a good job switching between Meg and Loul's voices.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I love Sci-Fi and the premise of this book seemed and could have been great. When choosing this title I ignored some bad reviews and l listened to some of the positive ones. All I can say is what were they thinking. It started out good, though the reader is horrible ( Ive heard her before on one book and never want to hear her again). Its just gets plain boring, repetitive and drags on. Thumbs down for me.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I almost didn't listen to this book after the first 10 minutes because the narrator seemed so out of character with the characters…a sweet female voice using profanity…I didn't mind the profanity, it just grated because it was incongruous. The attempts to lower her voice to male timbres didn't work for me either. I had forgotten to download another book, so it's all I had and I slogged through. The story dragged, it seemed like there was a chapter missing in the end when we skipped from one character to another without any link. Wouldn't recommend it.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
High Schoolish, 85% to 90% of the story was great, I enjoyed it and was enthralled, and then out of the blue it would turn in to a silly high schoollish event. Rolling around in the mud, throwing temper tantrum. At one minute they are highly trained professionals, handpicked for the mission then they are on. The next minute they are silly children acting out.
Overall the story was interesting and i enjoyed, but it could have been so much more.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
This book is about humanity "Earthers" going into some kind of a vage mission, which doesn't make that much sense with the reason giving by the author to discover other life forms. They stumble into a planet with many suns and with another race of human called the "Didetos" who don't look human but they are being called humans, but thats fine.
What made me buy this book was the idea of us humans being the technologically advanced aliens discovering a planet with human life who are advanced in technology but not as much as us. We always think that aliens will discover us not the other way around which was a cool idea.
The problem was that there was many vage points here and there, for example: the Didetos were not giving a detailed description in my opinion and i had a hard time imagining how the hek they look like, kept on thinking of monkeys the whole time i think. Also the whole mission doesn't make much sense, they thought on how to go forward, but nothing in the book shows that they planned how to go back at all. Another issue is the number of people going through this mission, they show in the book that it was a major mission and with high risks, if so why sending only 6 members, shouldn't it been more? And sadly you might say in the end "what then!!" "Did we finish" "whats going on?", the ending could have been bette. I do hope that there will be a next bok after this one.
You will find these small issues here and there, which are a bit disappointing. But still story wise it was a good read. I have enjoyed reading this bok, and i did like it from the beginning.
The narrator was good, and did a good job with this book
If you like reading anything about space and discovery, not war, you will like this book.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful
This book starts out really promisingly, with vivid characters that are well fleshed out - even the tangental ones. I also like that an Asian man is a sexy love interest. The crew of the Damocles is forced to make premature First Contact with the occupants of the planet Didet when something goes wrong with their ship. They make the most of it, developing relationships and sharing technologies while the setup enables the author to explore a culture strikingly similar to our own. The setup then becomes using aliens as a device to explore intercultural relations and the fragile balance inherent in such.
Then the last two chapters come, and they clash stunningly with the chapters before. Not really the main characters, but the side characters who are suddenly used to maneuver the book into a sequel. Basically, the end has an unnecessary confession of a personal tragedy (as stated in the blurb, this isn't a spoiler) to pull at our emotions, then a manufactured crisis whose ending makes no sense and is inconsistent with the facts as presented, but does serve to launch the crew into another book and another adventure. As a listener, I was insulted. It's hard to give details without spoiling it, but you know how some sci fi conveniently forgets inherent human logic and even its own back story when it wants to advance some drama? That's what happens. Brought the story down from four to three stars in my opinion. I'm still sort of mad, and it's been days since I listened.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Damocles again? Why?
No, once is enough
What did you like best about this story?
I thought the alien interaction was believable. Seemed to be written more from a linguist point of view though, not from a technologists. The "aliens" could have been more alien with respect to tech. That aside, it was a great listen.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
No, there is nothing new in this book. It is predictable, and a bit boring.
How could the performance have been better?
Personally I found her voice high pitched, and irritating. It was unpleasant to listen to. The character acting was bad. Strange choice for an audio book.
Any additional comments?
I love sci-fi, I read and listen to a lot of it. This is not worth your time.
tempted to say hell no, avoid, terrible audio, apparently it's a good book. 2 words remaining
Wasn't sure what to expect with this novel - but wow, what a great surprise!!!
This book is well worth getting, and re-reading two or three times, just to giggle with glee all the bits you didn't "notice" the first time (not that you have to do this, but I did just for fun)