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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of Pierre Tradivel, a scientist, and his complex battle against deadly illness, and ex-Nazi war criminal still hiding in the U.S., a crooked insurance company, and a plot to make Pierre and his wife the victims of a bizarre genetic experiment. Frameshift is hard science fiction at its best, full of complications and neat surprises.

©1998 Robert J. Sawyer (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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Storyshift

The great thing about Sawyer is that he never writes a bad book. This is my 11th and some are better then others, but none are boring and none of them do not fail to engage your brain. This book published in 1979, one year after Terminal Experiment, seems a little on the amateurish side when it comes to writing style. The beginning of the book, after the murder attempt, starts out in a Nazi concentration camp. It is interesting stuff and Sawyer does tie it into the rest of the story, but it does seem to be written for sensationalism. It gives the story kind of a jerky motion. There are some moments that seem a little beyond believe in the eyes of the listener. There is one big moment that is crucial to the rest of the story, where my inner voice said, "That's stupid, they would not do that." the reason given is money. It is a poor excuse and the plot lies heavily on it.

The story has lots of genetics, Nazi's and opinions. The kind of stuff that Sawyer always has in his books and the kind of stuff I love. Sawyer is never afraid to let his opinion known and often takes lots of grief over it. In this book he gets pretty preachy. I like an author who takes a stand, even when I don't agree and sometimes he takes the less politically correct stand, which has probably hurt his book sales.

My favorite Sawyer is Illegal Alien, followed by The Terminal Experiment and then by Flash Forward. You may want to skip Red Planet Blues and W.W.W. Wake.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Great story, but very emotionally taxing

I love pretty much all of Robert J. Sawyer's books. I like this optimistic take on the future of humanity, and the way his books usually have a lot of fascinating ideas combined with characters that I really care about. I've read most of his books at least three or four times.

This book was also really good, but I don't think I've ever re-read it after one physical book read and one listen to this audiobook version. It's just too draining to read. The suffering the main character (Pierre Tardivel) goes through is very gripping. It's like what the main character suffers in FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON, but even worse in several ways -- Pierre has a wife and child, his affliction is something that real people go through, he will eventually die from his disorder, etc, I just can't deal with it. Eventually, though, I hope to be able to read this one again, not least because I now do bioinformatics and so a lot of the subject matter will probably be even more interesting to me now.

And I'm glad that I read it through in the first place, too. I highly recommend it to everybody interested in genetics, telepathy, insurance conspiracies, Neanderthals, Nazi hunting, and science fiction in general.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great Story / TERRIBLE narration!

In my opinion, Robert Sawyer is terrific. Every book is a hit every time.

This time however, I have a lot to complain about – but it’s not directed at Sawyer, it’s regarding the narration. Absolutely the WORST interpretation of a French Canadian accent I have ever heard. Hands down.

I live in Montreal, I do speak French, I am surrounded on a daily basis with French Canadians speaking English. This guy obviously never set foot in Quebec! His accent is so comically bad that it’s doing this otherwise compelling story a huge disservice. Really, it’s distractingly bad. (At the risk of being perceived as a lunatic, I even wrote to Robert Sawyer about it in case he has some sort of creative control over these things for future books).

French Canadians ‘tok da en-glish like diss’. I promise you ‘Zay do not zound lika zizz’ ... (if you will allow me a tangent, they don’t speak English, they talk English. They don’t make decisions, they take decisions. They don’t turn off the light, they close the light. But those details are not related to their accent, and I can understand how Sawyer would not want to include a lot of phraseology that only a small percentage of readers would understand)

If you aren’t Canadian or if you just don’t know what a Quebecois accent sounds like then you probably weren’t distracted. If like me, you are Quebecois – then you were annoyed and irritated the entire way through.

When a French Canadian speaks English, The = da. This = Diss. They drop Hs when they should be there, and add them where they shouldn’t be, for example:

I am happy to see you = “I am appy to see you”
How are you = “Ow are you”
It’s so hot outside = “It’s so ott hhoutside”
Happy Birthday = “Appy Birdday”
Can I ask you a question = “Can I hhask you a question”
That guy always thinks he’s right = “Dat guy hhalways tinks ee is right”
Is that her book over there = “is dat err book hhoe-verr derr”

I won’t even get into examples of how they put the emphasis on the wrong syllable, more towards the end of the word – naturally where it would be in French.

All this to say, the story was excellent but the narration disappointed me immensely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Montreal NOT Paris

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Please. Please ! PLEASE redo the narrative with a Quebec French accent instead of the Parisian French accent !The narrator's portrayal of Montrealer, Pierre Tardivel, with a European French accent was distracting to the point of irritation.

Any additional comments?

Otherwise, the story and its telling were both reasonably well done.<br/>This punch at hard sci-fi probably won't ring anyone's bell, but it feels like R.J. Sawyer is at least trying to go beyond the comfort zone he established with the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not my favorite Sawyer~

Frameshift seems to diverge from Robert Sawyers other novels. It is a good book, but my least favorite of his novels. Parts of it were exceptional but it seemed to skip around a lot and took too long to tie the story lines together. I almost gave up about 2 1/2 hrs into it...but because it was Sawyer I stuck with it. The the last 3rd is pretty good and deals with similar subject matter as many of his other novels. Probably will not listen more than once. Good but not Great!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Speculative fiction with a bit of sci-fi

Robert J Sawyer's Frameshift is temporally fixed in its present day, the late 90's around the ongoing science of sequencing the human genome as well as the inevitable passing of left-over WWII Nazi war criminals. The plot centers around a young scientist with a terminal genetic disease pushing back the frontiers of science while also in the middle of Nazi war criminal hunt, a corrupt health insurance misusing client genetic data, and an amoral boss who foists an unethical genetic experiment on the man. The potential impacts, both good and bad of the emerging science of personalized genetic information is on display, but as with any emerging technology, when seen from the perspective of time, conceptual naivete seems somewhat quaint a couple decades onwards.

The actual sci-fi elements are rather sparse, limited mainly to an unusual frameshift mutation that allows for telepathic powers in a single individual which ends up being crucial for much of the plot. DNA based paternity / fraternity assessment was well established by this time and so was not even speculative at the time of its release. The recreation of a Neanderthal is a bit unrealistic as a full complement of intact chromosomes would be impossible. Even Jurassic Park fudged this detail with chimeras. Finally, the notion that a government would award custody of a child produced by an unethical, unauthorized science experiment to an institution because of DNA origin is a bit far fetched. More likely, the Tardevilles would have received one hefty settlement in exchange for silence. Lastly, security guards at an insurance company would not be shooting at the police or department of justice officials (why would they even be armed?). All that said, the plot is engaging, complex, and richly crafted to maintain suspense with a reasonable smattering of red herrings along the way to qualify as a respectable mystery thriller.

The narration is well done, especially given the necessity for a French accent by the main character.

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  • Nathaniel
  • NEWBURYPORT, MA, United States
  • 05-11-16

Engaging and Thought Provoking

A fascinating, if highly coincidental, look into theoretical genetics from both the past and the future.

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Enjoyable, but a bit slow at times

Several great parts of the plot carried the story. Really enjoyed the narration. More could have been done with the main character's daughter (I won't give away a plot spoiler).

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Shift gears

What did you love best about Frameshift?

As in more books of sawyer there is the critical note of a Canadian towards the USA. As European I do understand where he comes from. As part of the story, the US private health insurance system is under fire. Additionally there are some more story lines to make this listen really juicy

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The point where the parents figure out the origin of their daughter Amanda.

Any additional comments?

If this does not make you think you have missed the point

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna
  • 10-06-12

A good read with excellent naration

When I started reading this book I thought it wasn't going to be up to Robert J Sawyer's usual standards as it seemed a bit slow to get going. In retrospect, however, the start of the book was absolutely on target as the characters needed to be established and understood before the story plot was developed. This book deals with genetics amongst other issues and as is usual with Robert Sawyer, it had me thinking a lot about genetics and the role they play in society. It is a well-written book and the naration was absolutely outstanding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 04-13-13

This is a cool author

Having read www trilogy a year ago I was looking for something else to hear from Sawyer. This was worth the listen! I do like the slightly socialist Canadian slant on things. The French Canadian leading man was likeable and seemed to be quite real. I liked his tie shift technique and the science was sufficient to be interesting without being tedious. So all in all I think this is an intelligent, thoughtful and worth while listen.