Pastwatch

  • by Orson Scott Card
  • Narrated by Scott Brick, Christopher Cazenove, Gabrielle de Cuir, Arte Johnson, Moira Quirk, Stefan Rudnicki, Orson Scott Card
  • 13 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In a not-too-distant future that is not quite ours, there has been a major scientific breakthrough. It is a way to open windows into the past, permitting historical researchers to view, but not participate, in the events of the past.In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing.

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What the Critics Say

"A bold and compassionate alternative history filled with believable historical and fictional characters." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good finish, but not worth the wait

This was my first Orson Scott Card book. After reading the other reviews, I thought this would be right up my alley since I love history, sci-fi, and time travel related stories. It took so long for anything significant to happen that I lost interest several times and had to rewind a bit after laying off up to a week in order to get back into it. In fact, I actually fell asleep on the book 3 or 4 times.

Having said that, the plot is based on an excellent concept. "What if" stories can be exciting and thought provoking if done well. The last 2 hours are quite good. Unfortunately, it takes the author too long to get to get to the point.

Main irritations:
1. Characters get into massively circular arguments that seem to take forever. Example:
Person 1. We need to go back in time to fix this.
Person 2. I agree, but it's impossible.
Person 1. But we have no choice, we must.
Person 2. If it were possible we might, but it's not. And would we have a right to if we could?
Person 1. Maybe not, but we have to. So we must.
Person 2. Ok, we have to. But we can't because it's not possible. So we won't.
Person 1. But we must, and I think we can, so we will. We just have to figure out how.
Person 2. I don't think we can, so I won't believe it if we do, but ok.
Imagine that conversation lasting 15 minutes but accomplishing no more. That will give you an idea why this book lasts over 13 hours. It's very long winded.

2. Author seemed to overtly reach far and wide to find all unique names I've never heard before. It may be boring if everyone is named Steve, but are there to be no westerners in the future?

3. Gives very detailed historical accounts with extremely long dialogs between characters that would fit well into a history book but are not really important to a novel. You can feel the author thinking, 'I'm mixing real history with fiction.' Comes across as forced and artificial integration of two different genres.
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- John

Thanks Uncle Orson

I read this book originally when I was in Afghanistan in 2003. I remember that I got a brand new copy out of a sack of books that some good citizen sent over as a care package. What a treat. I remember at the time that I was rereading old John Grisham novels; audiobooks were something that I was barely into at the time, In Germany I had bought some Left Behind audiobooks at the PX, that's probably what really got me hooked, but I had long since listened to those and this book was fresh material. Anywho, I couldn't put this book down once I got into it back then, and likewise I couldn't stop listening to this audiobook once I got into it recently. I had forgotten some things about the book in the past five years. It's amazing to go back and listen to books that you've read and pick up on things you'd missed.

The book is a really great concept and it kind of makes you think real hard about the influences that shape history, and how a handful of motivated people really push things in the world, and between my two readings it made me think of how my impressions have been influenced by recent history and how I have changed in the past five years. Only great books have that power.

Also I would like to thank Orson Scott Card for his new Sci-Fi review page on audible.com. I had wondered out loud in a previous review what Mr. Card thought of audible.com. I suppose that he has given his endorsement and this is good. For me audible is the most valuable service on the internet aside from iTunes. I would never have discovered a book like Star Born without his suggestion, and right now I have Star Born and Star Dance in my shopping cart. Time to head off to the stars. Thanks again.
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-31-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.