The book did some really interesting things, I think the individual parts were sooo much better then the collection of these parts that I am unsure hoThe book did some really interesting things, I think the individual parts were sooo much better then the collection of these parts that I am unsure how to rate the book. (view spoiler)[ The development of the ship as an AI was interesting, its use as a narrator was fun, however at what point the ship begins narrating and finishes narrating is not very well delineated. The narrator is the same person no matter who is doing the narrating. I would assume that we would sense some difference between two characters, especially ones so different as a quantum computer and...well I don't know who was actually narrating the parts where it wasn't the AI. Not that big of a deal though, I'm used to reading narration that I am not sure who is narrating. The real question I have about this is what point this AI elements inclusion serves? Did the author feel he bashes Sci-fi nerds dreams so much in this book that he had to throw them a bone to keep them on his team for the future?
Character development could hardly have been more lacking, perhaps with exception of the AI. Badam was the only human character in the book that was sufficiently given voice, Devi was close. Freya and the rest of the characters simply did or didn't do things; emptiness. The pitched battles developed with what felt like no lead up or development of antagonism.... things just kept happening.
Although I wont penalize the book for this as it is personal opinion which makes me dislike this element; but I was disappointed that the author choose to portray colonization and interstellar travel as hopeless and wasteful circle jerking by bunch of "white men with beards". I'm glad he had the gall to take such a controversial stance as a sci-fi writer. And I will give him credit that if this is still the case in 2900 when this part of the book takes place, then he is probably right. I have a hard time believing humans will still be around as a species in 2900 if our race relations have not changed. (and white males historical position as oppressors is the ONLY reason why this group of dreamers would only include white males, exploration is not a white thing. Currently though, I tend to agree with the author and Gil Scott Heron on the subject of whitey on the moon)
The end is a few pages too long, I feel the never ending gravity braking was over-wrote as well as the post splash down. Perhaps the underdevelopment of Freya in the story was done in order to show her only really "living" for the very end of the book, but if that was not the intention of the author then I think alot of this would have been better spent on character development and plot holes (5 ghosts, ferals, one particular element would have been the growing up of the wanna be feral kids into functioning members of the crew)
I did like some of the biology stuff, as reviewer Jason Kosnoski noted this book does a good bit of work with biological limitations rather then straight technological limitations of interstellar travel. This was a fun new aspect to this type of ark story. The book answers its own questions when it imply that earth is a big spaceship itself. Would not the problems of zoo-devolution be solved by a bigger spaceship? (hide spoiler)] In sum, tightness D- Characters C- Hard Science expository A Naration B- ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A tremendous story; and a great reminder of how small we really are in the vastness of the cosmos....
Most popular sci-fi from Dune to Star-trek putsA tremendous story; and a great reminder of how small we really are in the vastness of the cosmos....
Most popular sci-fi from Dune to Star-trek puts humans in critical positions in the galaxy. Many have complained about this sometimes too obvious phenom; yet it is understandably hard to break out of. Humans obviously relate with humans on some level. In film and TV it is has historically been cheaper to cast humans then to give roles to aliens who must go through make up or heavy CGI work.
This work accomplishes this relate-ability and gives humans the main characters in the book while demonstrating how small and insignificant they are. This book tells the story of a alien presence entering our solar system. We study the object thoroughly, coming to all kinds of wild assumptions as to its presence, the book forces the readers to attempt to figure out the mystery of WHY, and in the end makes mockery of our assumptions.
I was highly surprised a couple times in the book; by actions of individual humans; by groups of humans, and by the alien object. I will be reading the next book in this series very soon!...more
***Vonnegut predicted Budweiser sell off in 1991...
This book is a cynical version of "slaughterhouse 5" mixed with "thank you mr. Rosewater"; complete***Vonnegut predicted Budweiser sell off in 1991...
This book is a cynical version of "slaughterhouse 5" mixed with "thank you mr. Rosewater"; complete with an unstuck in time type narrative. Despite a level of cynicism being present in all Vonnegut's works, there is also quite a bit of hope for the future scattered in most of them. I didn't feel that way here. "And so it goes" was replaced by "And I had to laugh like hell"...yet only in a 'I might as well laugh like hell, because ain't nothing I do got a chance in hell to mean anything' type of way. In slaughterhouse 5 Vonnegut utilizes the AA serenity prayer in order to give a little hope while still remaining cynical; nothing like that here. The book is all about what people deserve to have written on their tombstones....
The book touches many subjects which Vonnegut usually treats in separate books. All of them do revolve around capital and capitalism, but are usually treated as separate issues; class, race, religion, war, environment. He does a great job of weaving these threads together into a coherent whole and makes some interesting predictions along the way. He uses a Vietnam war vet's life to weave all these subjects together.
Writing this in 1991 he did a good job of predicting the major sell-off of American assets by our ruling class. One in particular that stood out to me was Budweiser. Poor Americans kept drinking the stuff despite the fact that it had been sold to an Italian company and they all went to the bar and asked for "wops". In real life a Belgian company bought Budweiser's parent company.
Sidenote: Despite his Budweiser prediction and a small snipit of the book dealing with a Kilgore trout sci-fi, no one would mistake this work for sci-fi....more
This book was supposedly Heinlein's libertarian masterpiece. He does very little to hide this fact. He uses tool of educated Professor basically talkiThis book was supposedly Heinlein's libertarian masterpiece. He does very little to hide this fact. He uses tool of educated Professor basically talking down to a whole world full of uneducated non-political forced-to-be-revolutionaries. Libertarianism with an anarchist tinge was the professors prefered mode of organizing society. Although, in the end the professor 'gave in' to the reality and need for a government, not only in the plot, but in his description of necessity of giving up these dreams for 'realities'. So perhaps libertarian might not be the best way to describe this book.
Libertarianism and lawlessness certainly had an air of romantic idealism that could never be, but should be incorporated into society wherever possible. I consider myself to be a socialist-libertarian, this romance for freedom is attractive to me, as someone who has felt power affect me harshly in the form of both government and individual. This book does a job to show that the most important parts of our USA constitution are libertarian in nature; the bill of rights.
I enjoyed the speech pattern writing of most of the loonies(moon people obviously :) ) . I enjoy an intellectual who doesn't have to dress up their language with fancy.
The HAL-like computer that was just waking up to its sentience in the first chapter and trying to discover and grow as a being was definitely something that started me off on a good foot in this book. I was sad that his growth did not continue, it basically went from little boy to master of knowledge and humanity over night.
Lots of strategizing and revolutionary tactics involved in this book, helped kick it up a notch for me, but could have done with a little less at the end when these tactics were now not revolutionary but war tactics basically. (although the idea of unarmed moon people hurling giant rocks at earth down the massive gravity well was pretty damn cool!)
Heinlein has some interesting views on human sexuality and how we express sexuality in the form of relationships. Although I hear some of his other books he has a problematic relationship with homophobia, I did not get that very strongly here. He had some passages I saw as racist, but also some very very anti-racist passages. I think he attempted to be a forward thinking almost feminist author in this book. He failed miserably, but the attempt made it readable for me. I attribute his failures to being a part of the society of his era. You can't be visionary in everything, in fact phones were still wired here in 2075. ...more
We read this book in the "Flint Revolutionary LEFT reading and discussion group". The book is short and not very dense, but made an excellent book forWe read this book in the "Flint Revolutionary LEFT reading and discussion group". The book is short and not very dense, but made an excellent book for a reading and discussion group.
THe book consists of Chomskys speeches at occupy mixed with some interviews he gave to some occupy media people. The Howard Zinn memorial speech was pretty inspirational.
I also enjoyed Chomsky's perspective on how change happens. As an occupier I felt that he did a good job talking to the movement about its tactics and strategy. ...more
This is a great one for those interested in social movement history, anti-war in Vietnam, or 60's counter-culture.
Jerry wrote this while he was lockeThis is a great one for those interested in social movement history, anti-war in Vietnam, or 60's counter-culture.
Jerry wrote this while he was locked up during the Chicago 7 trial. He supposedly had his lawyer sneak out a page a day. It is therefore written in short bursts of insight, not really divided into any form other then quick potent bursts of writing. I rather enjoyed this style though as every page packed some punch.
He goes into the trial extensively, but also talks about the yippie movement including strategy and technique; organization and disorganization. I really enjoyed the passages where Rubin talks about how the different factions of the 60's movement interacted with each other.
It is great listening to the thoughts of this young Jerry, later in life he became a stockbroker and toured debating Abbie Hoffman on a yippie vs yuppie tour...(if anyone has video of this please reply to this post with a link!) ...more
Brilliant Essay. Although parts were so easy and straight forward, others were SOOOO dense!
I felt like I was reading a primer for occupy movement asBrilliant Essay. Although parts were so easy and straight forward, others were SOOOO dense!
I felt like I was reading a primer for occupy movement as I read the final chapter.
The book gave me a ton of rhetorical ammo for use in criticizing USA Democrat and Union supporters for their being counter revolutionary :) and in doing so illustrated how bourgeoisie democratic capitalism is the most resilient form of oppression ever to have existed!
I very much enjoyed reading a neo-marxist/socialist theorist who was pro-cuban, anti-soviet, anti-bourgeoisie democracy, and pro personal liberty.
One reviewer found the constant references to the May 1968 Student Rebellion in France to be dated, I thought that most of these references were interesting when applied/compared to/with the occupy movement. There were many parallels between the course that needed to be navigated in order to bring about authentic liberation/revolution and the base tenants of the occupy movement (anti authoritarian, consensus, autonomy based.
I did find his talk of the astetic to be somewhat cumbersome and based in the very language that he spoke of detaching from. I am compelled to re-read this section as I can not see him making this obvious slip considering what he was speaking about. ...more
Funny book, great commentary on religion, great commentary on science, decent commentary on capitalism. Not my favorite vonnegut, but I like almost evFunny book, great commentary on religion, great commentary on science, decent commentary on capitalism. Not my favorite vonnegut, but I like almost everything I read of his....more
Trash....picked it up at goodwill cuz i had previously read "waiting for barbarians" which was awesome.
All the characters are underdeveloped despiteTrash....picked it up at goodwill cuz i had previously read "waiting for barbarians" which was awesome.
All the characters are underdeveloped despite the whole book being about character development. The addition of the author lady in the middle of the book took this book down to one star for me....she was useless and distracting addition, not to mention clumsily introduced and downright unbelievable.
Inspiring book about what a farm can mean to an urban community. The author writes about his decades of experience on this Californian farm which wasInspiring book about what a farm can mean to an urban community. The author writes about his decades of experience on this Californian farm which was totally surrounded by urban sprawl during his time on the land.
Among topics covered are: Organic growth and the value of holistic environment in growth of food. Issues of urban v rural including loud roosters, stinky compost, destruction of environment caused by paving. Educational uses of farms in urban communities where children grow up separated from the food that they eat. Traditional farming stuff like when to plant, how to trim, bugs, weeds etc...
I loved the narrative provided, hearing about some disasters, some miracles, community tension, community support, and how the organization o f the farm changed during the authors tenor (turned into a land grant farm in 1998!)
Although this book is not one of the post-industrial farms that are springing up in the 2000's but rather a last remainder of the traditional farm in a community trying to grow it out of existence, I think the book still holds alot of value for those working on urban gardens in post-industrial cities. ...more
Can not believe I did not write a review of this when I read it! This is possibly my favorite utopia/dystopia I have ever read, genius combination ofCan not believe I did not write a review of this when I read it! This is possibly my favorite utopia/dystopia I have ever read, genius combination of mysticism with social commentary! Gonna have to read again and write a good review!...more
Genius! Bradbury was writing this as the TV was just coming into being, but as I read I felt that he had just traveled back in time from 2050.
SensatiGenius! Bradbury was writing this as the TV was just coming into being, but as I read I felt that he had just traveled back in time from 2050.
Sensationalism has become a way of life. Thew newspapers and books are becoming obsolete, yet not being replaced with anything of substance. Under facebook-ization, whole viewpoints are based on a funny picture framed by a sentence on top and bottom. Even simple paragraphs require too much concentration for too long a time, while the sensational thought numbing world of instant gratification ushers even the less-instant forms of instant gratification off the screen and into the dustbins of history.
As of recent I have felt daily as if our worlds self-imposed stupidity is becoming enshrined in law. Protesters are beaten and jailed for crimes such as "unlawful assembly" and disturbing the peace....simply for reading the first amendment. Cops whose motto it is to protect and serve see no contradiction and feel no tinge of conscience while brutalizing unarmed non-violent protesters. For the first time in America's history there was actually something called a "free speech zone" set up.
Efficiency is the word of the era, any other more subtle idea's are easily swept aside. All entertainment and even news becomes little more then fluff that during Bradbury's time would have been relegated to sitcoms and tabloids. The great works of our era, lost beneath mounds of advertising and people wanting to fit in by drowning 'themselves' and 'their selfs' in these mounds, becoming the mound as the logo becomes a symbol of identification; we are little more then walking talking bill-boards.
Ray Bradbury was close, but even he could not imagine the depths to which humanity would fall if nudged by those seeking profit off the splatter.
Decent book which combines elements of mysticism with the standard sci-fi of the mid 20th century. A suped-up weegie board, a mystical library of impoDecent book which combines elements of mysticism with the standard sci-fi of the mid 20th century. A suped-up weegie board, a mystical library of importance, and the great Satan himself make appearances in this book. The best feature of this book is Clarke's ability to keep the reader guessing through extremely subtle but powerful misleads; he uses the reader's own cognition as a tool of deception!
Book is full of big idea's for big thinkers. Although not quite a Utopia/Dystopia type book, many of the themes are similar, the utopia is just not the main thrust of the book, just a major feature.
Clarke proves again his genius lies not only in literature, but also in science. His predictions of the near future all were relatively close to reality. Although it was somewhat funny that he did not seem to think man would reach space on conventional fuel, as we have, but rather with a kind of nuclear propulsion, which we have yet to begin to contain. The opening of this book, written in 1953, accurately predicts the Russian's closely beating the USA to space.
Many scientific concepts which Clarke expounds upon in his more known "space odyssey" series are touched upon in this book. His idea of a propulsion that acts upon all atom's contained within a space which makes the massive elevators in "3001: Final Odyssey" possible is first touched on in this book.
Side note: That I finish a book called Childhood's end on my 30th birthday is nothing more then a strange coincidence, unless my subconscious is more powerful then I know!...more
Vonnegut's intro's are always worth the read. I don't remember much of the book as I read it quite a while before writing this review. The intro howevVonnegut's intro's are always worth the read. I don't remember much of the book as I read it quite a while before writing this review. The intro however sticks with me to this day as I first learned of a man I deeply identify with; Powers Hapgood. The intro is auto-biographical and historical in nature. Amazing story of the Christmas Day massacre.
Hapgood was a rich man who gave up his birth-rite wealth to become a coal miner and be a union organizer. The most memorable paragraph to me, Hapgood was on the witness stand and was asked by the judge why someone with his family background had chose the life he has lived. He replied; "Well it is because of the Sermon on the Mount, Sir."
Read this book if for the introduction only....more