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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm a few chapters in. So far, I'm not enjoying it as much as Cosmic Engineers, but maybe it's just a slower build.

message 2: by Fred (new)

Fred | 33 comments I'll confess to beginning this book a week ago. Hey, I'm a slow reader so I need the edge. I was surprised at how quick a read it is so far; even when stopping to figure out the quasimagical functionings of Russ' invention. I'm about half way through and I'll tell you, John that it feels a lot different than Cosmic Engineers. The characters aren't off-the-chain bombastic and it's less of a vicarious ego trip for the author. All in all it's so far pretty interesting if not a bit quirky and silly. Okay. No spoilers.

message 3: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence | 11 comments I seem to recall it being a rewrite of something by John W. Campbell which Simak agreed to undertake (or something like that)- in terms of style it feels very unlike Simak, although I nevertheless enjoyed it. I seem to remember some pleasantly bizarre and unexpected scenes later on in the book.

message 4: by Fred (new)

Fred | 33 comments I don't want to get too geeky here, but as an audio engineer I feel a compulsion to say that, to the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as a "condenser speaker" (chapter 6); certainly nothing that was invented in the 1920s (which is weird for Simak to add in as this was written after that decade) that does anything close to what is seemingly being asserted in the text. He says it works, "just the opposite of a condenser microphone", but what is described definitely is not how a condenser microphone works. It is possible to make something that one could call a condenser speaker, but my guess as to why it hasn't been done (based on how a condenser microphone actually does work) would be because it would be very fragile. Also, the no sound traveling through the air thing has been / currently is being done in a sense. There are headphones that don't have speakers per se and don't go in the ear, but rather vibrate against the skull and transfer the acoustic energy to the ear that way. I've heard also of similar experimental things being done with a receiver in contact with one's teeth. I think that was more of a Bluetooth phone application, but I'm not sure. Anyway, end of nerd rant.

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