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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
This is a science-fiction/alternate-history/fantasy mash-up with a largish side of infodump.
The story is post-nuclear-armageddon told from the perspective of Colonel Vance Peterson, USAF (United States Air Force), who is a complete tool. The story revolves around Peterson and we switch between "now" and flashbacks that explain how things came to be. It's hard to say more without getting into spoiler territory.
I didn't like Peterson, you're not meant to, but I don't see how he could ever have possibly gotten into the positions he was put in based on his behaviour. Because of this, large chunks of the narrative just don't gel and the final twist continues that trend most admirably. This is part one of a four part series and I was ever so vaguely curious as to what might happen next, but when I read the synopsis of "The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself" it obviously was related in theme (the Apollo program) but there's not connection between the stories themselves.
I listened to the audio version of the book and I think that was a mistake. The infodump is the main problem with the audio version of this story. I understand that approximately a quarter of the text-based book is made up of glossary and timeline. The audio version attempts to work around this by including the expanded version of each acronym the first time it appears. Seems reasonable until you discover that every fifth word is an acronym. OK, that's an exaggeration, but not that much of one, the first paragraph alone chalks up USAF, PLSS and A7LB; OK, that last one's not an acronym, but it still gets an explanation. I was constantly jarred out of the story to process and memorise the expansion of the current acronym.
In conclusion: The story wasn't terrible, but I didn't love it. It was a little like an old Twilight Zone episode (most of which I feel the same way about, semi-plausible with a really annoying end). I would definitely NOT recommend the audio version of this if you want to read it, there's no problem with the narrator, it's just not something made for listening to - stick with eyeballs for this one.
The idea is interesting and the narration is great, but I wasn't satisfied with the execution of the concept. I felt no connection with the characters, but hopefully that changes with the other books. More details about the earth event, characters, & the evolutions would have been nice to hook me in more. The worst thing, which may be better in print format, was the seemingly endless list of acronyms. It was irritating where it felt like every other sentence had a new acronym. I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series, but for a short story it was a decent effort!