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Not as depressing as "Flood", but then neither is actually being depressed.
I'm a big fan of Stephen Baxter's, but my over-riding memory of this experience is the terrible narration. It is possible to narrate a novel without acting the parts. In this case, it would be preferable. The accents were dire, and really spoiled my enjoyment of this pair of books.
As for the actual story, I enjoyed it. The exploration of the social problems of small groups stuck together was interesting. Loved the physics, and the realistic attempt at warp travel.
If you're american, buy it and enjoy it. From the UK? Buyer beware.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
I can't recommend the book for the story itself. Or for the narration. But it's not a total disaster.
PLOT: A small group of people preparing to flee a dying Earth(part 1) and fleeing a dying Earth (part 2). This includes the miserable fate of those left behind, riots, panic, the still advancing sea, and such stuff. Oh, and there was a speck of nazi-style gasing of unsuspecting elderly people by the military, on purpose and in a very systematic way, but for the life of me I couldn't understand what the point was with that. The gasing was not an emotional response done by confused and scared people, it was methodical, ordered, "our heavy duty but necessary last measure" kind of thing. So I don't get it.
OPINION: Unrealistic plotline when it comes to the Ark ship and project. The disaster on earth from the flood was on the other hand quite realistic. Inventing FTL drives in just a decade or two was also completely unbelievable. All characters were flat and uninteresting, at least to me. I listened mostly because I wanted to see how greatly the Ark would fail once it gets to the new planet and everybody dies from an alien virus or something. Which didn't happen.
NARRATION: Yeah, not so good. There's some supposedly Scottish accents, they all sound horrible. E.g. Holle Groundwater's accent makes her sound like she's deranged, not Scottish. And that becomes increasingly annoying the more you listen to it. Otherwise it's ok.
9 of 15 people found this review helpful
Combing a kind of epic disaster movie scope and real-life fringe science, Ark is a compulsive listen. Stephen Baxter is obviously a real science nerd, extrapolating obscure abandoned space flight programmes and russian atomic dreams into a worryingly realistic sci-fi thriller.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Where do I start with this book? It is well written, gripping and well read. I loved the development of the plot, it is such a detailed book. Ark lends itself well to audio as it contains complex technical language, a lot of which you get the gist of but don't understand, and i think reading it would be hard work.
The basic plot, (without spoiling it!) the earth is filling up with water, land is disappering, and a crew of scientists and astronauts build an Ark to fly to a planet they hope to colonize, Earth 2. Only 80 people will be aboard the ark so the first part of the book focuses on the training and selection of this crew. Of course nothing goes to plan, not the selection and not the mission! Highly recommended book, makes you think...
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
it kept me interested till the end. a sequel to 'flood' and a well done sequence, tying the two books together. great narrator with accents. it was a bit clinical.....lots of fictional science and technology but not so detailed description of human emotions. maybe that's what you call hard science fiction. the author tried to make a realistic prediction of human nature and world politics reacting to an apocalypse
I've read reviews complain about flaws in the science and others which complain that there is too much science, but for me Baxter hits a nice balance. I enjoyed Ark more than Flood and by the end I was disappointed there isn't a third book. The narration isn't great, but I generally just tuned out the overacting and tried to focus on the language. Accents are cringeworthy.