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I purchased this book which is actually a 4 novel series 14 months ago. I have tried to listen to it several times. I give up! My major complaint is over performance by narrator Ray Chase. He is not a novice, but his emphasis is on the wrong words and phrases. He narrates like an excited two year old talks.
The plot? Being nice, I'll say I'm really not in the target audience.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
With the Post-Human Omnibus clocking in at just under 25 hours for 4 books you know that each book isn't very long or deep so don't expect a ton of character development. However, David Simpson does cram a dizzying array of science fiction topics into a small space including nano-technology, human augmentation, virtual reality, sentient artificial intelligence, assimilation, terraforming, and alternate universes, just to name a few. The story itself is a wild ride that goes from one mankind threatening scenario to another in rapid succession with hardly a breath in between.
Sub-Human starts with a political climate pitting two sides against each other over the controversy of strong AI. One side believes that if a true artificial intelligence is created it will quickly realize that humans need to go and mankind will face extinction. This faction will stop at nothing to prevent the other side from actually creating such an AI including a nuclear war. Basically, they are willing to destroy human civilization to prevent an AI from doing so.
Post-Human tackles the endless desire to better oneself through technology and the ramifications of doing so. Nano-technology allows Post-Humans to become almost immortal but it comes at a great cost. Post-Humans become dependent on technology for survival and we've all seen enough sci-fi movies to know how that works out.
Trans-Human finds mankind facing a threat from beyond the solar system as old enemies become allies in order to survive this new external threat.
And finally, Human Plus is a weird one and any attempt to explain it would be a potential spoiler so all I will say is that it was my least favorite book of the series.
Overall I found the series enjoyable but there are times where the fiction dominated the science a bit too much and some laughable explanations were given for why things work the way they do. I found that I was able to look beyond those times and I just went along for the ride. If you are looking for something deep and profound then you should look elsewhere, but if you just want to gorge yourself at a sci-fi buffet then you have come to the right place.
Ray Chase does a decent job at the voices of the various characters and while his performance wasn't perfect I had no issue with him like some of the other reviewers did.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful
I had hoped for a vision of advancement, an imagining of evolved humanity, a cleverly developed prognosis of direction and progress. None of this eventuated.
Yes there's a sophisticated AI, and virtual realities but in all 4 books in this omnibus edition there was a sense of limitation and echoes of other ideas (Matrix especially). I really don't think torturing the AI would be used to test it's altruism by so-called Post Humans. There's nothing in any of the books to suggest advancement of the species to justify the titles, except for "Subhuman" and even that doesn't ring true.
Concepts were not explored or developed to any extent. The Artificial Intelligence, while designed to be humanistic, had implausible reactions and there were experiences of pain in virtual realities which didn't come off as authentic.
The narrator was particularly irritating. His pronunciation of the name "Craig" was "Crig ", for example. His differentiation of various characters was very limited except for the villain, and the AI. The female voices were almost identical; breathy and low, the male were very similar! When a character shouted or screamed, was angry or romantic, it all sounded the same. A whispered scream is not convincing. I will actively avoid any other book narrated by Ray Chase.
I won't be seeking out any other books by David Simpson either. Other authors have broached similar themes much more intelligently and imaginatively. David Simpson is no Frank Herbert, Dan Simmons or Alistair Reynolds. Don't expect much if you decide to buy his books.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
I am less than half way through this very good value four parter but I am already at the point where I need to leave a review. Who knows, this could be a mid-term review that gets replaced by something much more glowing by the time I finish.
I love a good sci-fi but this seems to ramble and drift off course at times. However, this may not be the fault of the author. There is one thing I really cannot abide and that is breathy and dreamy narration. If the performer wishes to whisp on then for heavens sake go and read Lady Chatterley.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful