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This is a story that spans millennia and incorporates exploration, AI and cloning among other interesting, if not new concepts, but unfortunately is hampered by an immature writing style. When I say the writing is immature, what I mean is that there was potential in the ideas. Unfortunately the dialogue was clunky and lacked nuance. We learn about characters' feelings and motivations because they baldly state them rather than living them out. I stuck around to the end of the book because I was hoping all of the disjointed elements were going to come together a la' Neal Stephenson and was ultimately disappointed because the story didn't really go anywhere new or very interesting.
I want to be fair in this review, so let me say there may be a few factors that effected my enjoyment of "Noumenon". The first is that I purchased the Audible version of this book because the description touted it as having elements of Neal Stephenson's "SevenEves" and Hugh Howie's "Wool". Having enjoyed these books very much I was expecting a certain level of inventiveness, sensible scientific elements, interesting descriptions of daily life in the world of the novel, and likable characters. I think "Noumenon" suffers greatly by this comparison. There is little inventiveness, how the "science" or "speculation" in this fiction is expressed comes no where near Stephenson or Howie, and most characters were shallow and annoying. There is little depth in what descriptions there were of life during the mission or back on Earth. The second factor that likely impacted my impression of this audiobook was the narrator. She made half the characters sound like they were on the old Speed Racer Cartoon (think Spritle). Too many characters sounded too similar while the narrator also didn't keep accents or voices consistent within characters. Voice inflections were awful and often did not even match the emotion written clearly in the text. So if you do give this book a go I suggest reading it yourself and avoiding the audio version.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Noumenon is ambitious in scope, the kind of science fiction that favors big ideas over action (although there's some of that too). It's an engaging "generation ship" tale that explores questions about humanity, morality and artificial intelligence. I really enjoyed it.
The story is told in a series of connected vignettes and, consequently, the point of view shifts from character to character. I thought Celese Ciulla fared better reading some characters than others but overall, she does a solid job with the narration.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful