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The Good: Simon Wright does his usual, highly professional and unique job of bringing this book to life. He employs unique, sometimes highly passionate voices and emotions to the story.
The Challenge: Not quite sure where the author wanted to take this story. There were several plot arcs, and they all didn't align as well as the listener would have hoped. Still, some of the concepts were unique and thoughtful.
The Truth: I received my copy in exchange for this independent review. I can recommend this offering, with the caveats offered here.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
My two cents are similar to several other reviews here. When I read the summary blurb, I had the impression that the ship would be the focus of the story. I really enjoy science fiction, so I was looking forward to reading about societal issues on board a generational spaceship as well as some hard science fiction about launching and operating a generational ship. Well, it turns out that the ship plays a supporting role in the story but the main activity is happening back on Earth. So, this isn't specifically a science fiction story; the author could have used a number of substitutes interchangeably (e.g., a cruise ship, an isolated research station such as Antarctica, a oil drilling rig, etc.) and left the other elements of the plot relatively intact.
I agree with other reviewers who were challenged by the complexity of the plot. There was a really big 'deus ex machina' moment at the end of the story, which turned out to be a wee bit of a letdown. There were other characters in the story that (in my opinion) could have been written differently so that the significant coincidence could have been avoided. I don't want to clutter this review with spoilers, but I'm thinking, for example, that the author could have beefed up the role of Paul's executive assistant and created a plotline with her that would have helped bring the story full circle rather than semi-surprising us with the big coincidence reveal at the end. I'm also thoughtful of some of the behaviours of the characters, which seemed to me to be illogical but were necessary to move the plot forward in certain directions. (Mild spoilers: Terence couldn't plant the equivalent of a 'poison pill' - or two, or three - somewhere on the ship or among the crew?? Terence turned his back on the entire project after the ship had launched, even though the ship was still in contact with folks on Earth? The shadowy organization was an enormously huge threat for a few of the characters, but then this source of menace essentially disappeared?)
So, this story was a bit challenging for me to listen to. I was intrigued by some of the ideas as well as the description of the dystopian world that Earth had become. (I also appreciated the irony of the 'free for all's, taking place both on Earth and - in a slightly different format - on the ship.). I guess I wish the author had written the book differently, however. I agree with some comments here, that there were some very slow parts during the first part of the book. And then we'd suddenly get bursts of exposition where the author described some pretty intense and potentially quite interesting activities, written almost as an aside (I'm thinking about the description of what ultimately happened to Dolph and the people on the ship, for example, or ways in which society was devolving, or the absence of government order and the rise of corporate supremacy). In other words, the things that would have had me hanging off the edge of my seat weren't given much air time. Mildly frustrating, because this could have been a really, really compelling thriller for me if the plot lines had been simplified a bit and other aspects of the story were given more air-time. Still, I'm glad I listened to the audiobook because the author gave me some kernels of ideas that I can think about, mentally permute the storyline a bit when daydreaming, come up with alternative endings or plot twists...
As for the narration, I really enjoyed this narrator. In other audiobook reviews, I can be pretty tough about narration because the storyteller plays such an important role - in transporting listeners like me to fictional worlds, and helping me construct mental images of scenes, actions, and characters. The narrator is instrumental in engaging me with the story, the narrator is the author's partner-in-crime. Mediocre narration can wreck an otherwise great story. In the case of this audiobook, I enjoyed the narration. I increased the playback speed a wee, wee bit (perhaps to speed up the slower parts of the story). I liked the narrator's voice because it was gritty. This story has gritty tones and it's set in a grey and gritty world. There wasn't much dialogue involving female characters, but the author didn't create fake falsettos for those characters and I'm glad about that. The only reason why I didn't give this narrator 5 stars is because he voiced a character (who had significant PTSD) with an understandably panicky/anxious tone, but it was a bit too panicky for me and was hard to listen to for extended passages in the story. I'd most definitely listen to this narrator again.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
This book was an interesting mix of a Noah's ark kind of generation-ship scifi story and an earthbound conspiracy, that former part of the book focused on a period after the ship Conservation had been underway for some time and the state the crew were in, this part of the book was an interesting take on this kind of voyage.
The earthbound portion of the book focused on a number of characters including David Kingston, a zoologist who had donated most of the animals onboard the ship along with a number of people connected with the Universal Mining Agency who were responsible for launching the ship in response to the decrepit state of the planet's environment. The conspiracy side of things of the book is best learned about organically as you read the book, so I will not go into details about that part of it other than to say that some of it could have progressed a bit more logically, but it did work in general.
The narrator gave a good performance overall, the main cast all had sufficiently distinctive tones to them that nicely enhanced the overall book.
Overall, this was an enjoyable listen, both for the basic story and the performance in a book that could be part of a larger universe if the author so chose, but was perfectly self-contained as written.
[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]
I really enjoyed this. The premise laid out in the synopsis had me interested and I jumped in and loved it. It's thought provoking in many ways all around the human condition, are we really deep down good people or are we just the best predators around who are obsessed with our own goals and eager to pursue power over others.
I love the way it's written. The book feels fresh and different and I think it's the way the author has written the book. I felt really invested in the story and the characters.
Will we ever reach for the starts - this book takes you down the path of what might happen and in ways we take our evils with us.
I don't think you have to a sci-fi fan to love this book its really good!
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.