Robert Sawyer has won many awards for his science fiction, which is praised for its blend of high-tech mystery and suspenseful pacing.
©1995 Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2003 Recorded Books
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Absolutely perfect. This was quite simply one of the best books -- sci-fi or otherwise -- I've read in a long time. Yes, there's a fascinating sci-fi plot involving the creation of digital simulations of the protagonist's brain, and they stir up a fascinating mess that will delight any lover of intelligent science fiction. But it's the complex, fully fleshed-out characters, lightning fast pacing and genuinely compelling writing that got to me the most, which is why I strongly recommend this book to lovers of great novels as well as to lovers of great sci-fi. While not a deeply devoted sci-fi fan myself, I do enjoy science fiction novels, and I think the few dozen best books in the genre are as good as the best books of ANY genre. But sci-fi gets a bit of a bad rap among mainstream readers, because it does seem like far too often the "sci" gets in the way of the "fi," particularly in the hands of less skilled practitioners, making some of them feel more like interesting textbooks than thrilling novels. But The Terminal Experiment manages to do both, and I find that to be very rare. When it all DOES come together in one book, like it does here, it more than repays your time spent reading it, re-reading it, and writing long recommendations to fellow readers in hopes that they, too have been looking for just such an ideal book. Very highly recommended.
Please see review from David, from Glenview, IL; he's said it very well. Only thing to add: I hesitated about this listen because, judging from some of the publisher's comments, etc, I feared the religious overtones might be strong, obnoxious, and pro "intelligent design." I was very wrong! This book is full of ideas, debates about ideas, and great fun. If you like great sci-fi (as opposed to fantasy -- when will they stop being lumped together on the shelves!) I believe you'll enjoy this read.
"Are your moral choices bound?"
Part (not inconceivably far in the future) sci-fi, part murder mystery.. with a sprinkling of morality (and what ifs...)
Most summaries you will come across talk about the character's striving to "capture/reproduce" a soul - and the choices (or rather inevitable paths) that distinguishes life and the afterlife.
I see this as a study of morals... what would you do if you were "you" but immortal or incorporeal. How would this change your relationship with others.. the world.. your morals and self beliefs?
Peter Hobson (main character) wants to study life after death so creates copies of his own personality (captured with advanced sensor and stored on a computer):
- one is a control,
- one simulates immortality and
- one simulates incorporeality
Unfortunately, they "escape" and one of these "souls" starts to murder people in Peter's life. All clues start to point to Peter..
We follow Peter's quest to track down the killer and are introduced to what we may wish to do, but are bound by our imposed morals, ties to our corporeal self and fear of mortality .
Would you actually kill someone if you could not be caught.. if you were immortal.. had no physical body..
I have to recommend this - it was one the books that brought me back to sci-fi and I originally bought to read. I could not put it down and finished it in a weekend - am excited that it is back as an audible book.
It is one of the few books I am happy to come back to again and again - and the other is Ends Game (by Orson Scott Card)
NOTE: this was originally a serial in ANALOG magazine under the title "Hobson's Choice".
"preoccupied with his religious ponderings"
Like much of what this author does, it is well written and thoughtful, original and often very interesting. That said, if you aren't a religious person, particularly those who are atheist, will find the endless examination of religion, God, the after life, etc to be a bit dull - like examining the scientific roots of a fairy tale. This really isn't meant as a criticism, but much of his work seems increasingly preoccupied with religion, and tries to put a scientific spin on it. I found it distracting in the last of the neanderthal series, and it is the whole basis of this one.
However, if you are the religious sort, and interested in that, and you like sci-fi and a well written story with lots of thoughtful, unique concepts to ponder, this is a great book.
"Really not worth it..."
Although this book had a couple of interesting ideas, it was really not worth it. The characterization was weak, the story predictable, the philosophy sophomoric, the situations contrived, and the clich?s countless. This was a murder mystery without any mystery (and without a compelling sleuth). The pre-telling of later events give the whole plot away early in the book (for the clever reader), making plodding on to the predictable conclusion quite tedious.
"a good book, full of ideas, but bad narrator"
it ranks in the middle of my history of reads, may be in the future this will change, but in the 20+ books that i listened to on audible, this is in the bottom 10, because of the narrator more than the story,
the author has a lot of nice ideas, they were new to me, and dare i say enlightening, I keep reading about the religious point of view about the book, but I can barely see it. it's light and might be needed sometimes now when we are all questioning everything
this is the worse part, despite being a very good sound, and a pretty good actor, it was awful how the narrator kept gulping while reading, I actually heard the drink he was drinking, I'm not talking sipping, he was GULPING. i almost stopped listening to the book many times, almost 10 times because of that, and listening to him taking deep breathes reminds you of a sinking man who is trying to take his last breath. It was pretty disgusting. But the story kept pulling me back.
The book is good, if you don't mind the annoyance from the narrator, get it, other wise get the paper copy or the kindle version.
"Much more than SciFi"
This novel is so much more than a great science fiction tale. The author uses a very suspenseful and engaging mystery to discuss the nature of death, the question of life after death, the capacity of man to forgive adultery, and finally, where does murder really begin. Sawyer is very adept in examining these topics while keeping the reader completely engaged.
"Wonderful questions, facile answers"
Great exploration of what a mind is, but unlike most great sci-fi, he provides his own answers. Some of those answers, such as the existence of a soul, have no logic and close off discussion.
The worst reader/narrator in 50+ audiobooks I've listened to: monotone, no emotion, and lots of sounds provided by dry mouth sticking to itself.
"Fun story, bland writing."
Peter Hobson creates a scanner that can map the neural nets of the brain, and in the process discovers the soulwave. His wife reveals an affair she had. Hobson and his best friend Sarkar scan Peter's brain and develop three AIs to study immortality and life after death. Now, one of the AIs is behaving very badly. How can it be stopped?
Sawyer makes me think of John Scalzi. His writing isn't too good, but the story is entertaining.
Narrator Paul Hecht is OK but not great. He doesn't do women well and there is a general lack of excitement and suspense in his reading.
"Mind hormones & senses role explored in good story"
No. The narrator would drink water without unkeying the microphone. Minimally acceptable. Good story carried me through.
Exploration of technical angles of the components of the mind.
"Fast Paced, Interesting & Original"
I had expected “something different” when I purchased this book, based on the synopses that I had read on various websites. How “different”, I can’t really say – perhaps something with more hard science cross-referenced with known technological & theological facts. What Robert Sawyer delivers, though, is a very enjoyable story with warm, well-developed characters immersed in a fast-paced plot that aims to explore the concept of mortality. The author doesn’t allow the reader to get swamped with explanations as to how all the necessary new science comes into being and, in my opinion, the story is all the richer for this. Though published twenty years ago, the writing and ideas hold up very well. A great read that I recommend to everyone.
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