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Matthew willey

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The podcast, cubed.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-11-2020

I bought this imagining an extended version of the podcast, which I enjoy. Nothing wrong with that. What I got for my money was a different vision of the SGU team; the book was genuinely surprising in its depth and novelty. Listening to the weekly show, the format is light and entertaining. The book reveals their understanding and deep research into skepticism, and the result was absorbing in a way that the podcast just cant be. Great work.

A terrible, relentless love story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-05-2019

At the mercy of their place in America, and their place in history, two characters we learn to feel deep attachment for eke out difficult lives, hiding a brilliant and consuming love for each other. The best love story I have ever read.

1 person found this helpful

Cardboard cutouts in space

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-05-2019

I enjoyed the Bob series, which launched Taylor’s SF writing career. It was a great idea and the humour seemed to work well. This is closer to earth and for some reason that brings out the author’s libertarianism, his small minded view of the world. He pictures a solar system where the Cold War continues and America is still winning. The world is run by men, mainly Americans. The science is good with only a few “gimmes” to help things along. But the dialog, ouch. Still i kept going through to the end so it must have interested me to some extent, but it’s narrow cultural scope made me wince.

6 people found this helpful

A great overview.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-12-2018

I really enjoyed my first run through. The overview of current thinking is accessible and informative. It also left me with a sense of progress that the field of quantum cosmology is making. We are at an exciting point and Smolin conveys this excitement very well. I will listen to this a few times, I imagine, and glean more from it on each occasion. Highly recommended!

A geat span

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-2018

This is a brilliant series with real breadth, depth and accessibility. I loved the parts of science that I love (astronomy, particle physics, but also enjoyed and got fresh insights into aspects of science I don't pay much attention to (cell biology). The supplementary materials really helped. The lectures have been performed before a live audience, so some of it is directed at visual illustrations such as the mechanics of rolling balls across a table. But for the most part, you can work out what he is doing without having to see it. Most of the science is still relevant and important knowledge, but as other reviewers have pointed out, the course is outdated in many areas. It just goes to show that twenty years is a long time in science, such is the rate of progress. I'd love to hear this lecturer's reaction to the discovery of the Higgs boson, the population of exoplanets, the ubiquity of human genome sequencing and the immediacy of climate change.

Great first audible title for Simon Ings

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-2018

This is a great book to have in your audible library. The story is captivating, and the narration is perfect for the characters and the place. I have read this author’s works for years; he strikes off in unexpected directions which keeps his output fresh and surprising. This book is no exception. He has created a vision of humanity with a loss of control over itself and a speciation that seems a parable for our own fragmented times. The sense of hurtling towards a terrible outcome pervades the book, as it does our newspapers. It’s difficult to park this in any particular genre, steampunk perhaps? Science fiction? Romance? It is a novel that parallels Brexit and Trump, though different calamities have occurred in the world Ings has created. The division of humanity into three species, each incomprehensible to each other, is at once alien and too close for comfort. That partition is set in a well-acquainted world of a fractured England and it highlights the foreboding. We even visit, briefly and in an alternate reality, my old neighbourhood park in Huddersfield. Vast forces are at work, the direction of history is revealed to be chaotic, yet love is central to how we define ourselves and Greenhead Park still stands. The worth of people, what it means to be human, the universal need for love and our ever-present hubris are all themes. The narration is spot on. An earthy Yorkshire lilt telling tales of calamitous events on the other side of the world, and far away from the world. It is largely told in the second person and after a while the question arises about who is narrating, who is telling us what we did? It eventually becomes clear that this is not just a literary conceit but integral to the plot. Loose ends tie together neatly in a surprising conclusion. So, add this to your library, and let Audible know that we look forward to seeing other Simon Ings titles. There are other great books by this author.

Fantastic series.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-12-2017

A wonderful nontechnical introduction to relativity and to quantum physics. Each lecture is about half an hour and deals with a simple topic. They are short enough to revisit if you want to go back and check on your understanding.
I have long been interested in these ideas and the course succeeded in dispelling erroneous ideas and adding new ones to my already good background knowledge. The course is about twenty years old and is in need of updating with the new discoveries in physics, notably gravitational waves and the Higgs boson.
He also uses some quaint analogies that would be lost on millennials, who can't tune their digital TVs into static to observe the hiss of radiation from the cosmic microwave background. Ah well.
One bad note is the professor's pronunciation of the word "atom", which in his American accent becomes "adam". Since this word is used repeatedly this small niggle became quite large by the end of the course, like a piano with a dud key. Ah well. We can't all have perfect enunciation.
Apart form that, I intend to go back to this course many times. Now that I have listened to the whole thing I can dip in and out of it. I know that this will become one of my treasured possessions.

Fantastic addition to the Iain M. Banks Audiobook

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-11-2017

Thank goodness audible returned to this book and decided to re-record an unabridged version of it. Having had the abridged for many years I now realise what I have been missing.
There are many intersecting storylines and only together do you get as good impression of the novel as a whole. There is one scene in particular, where a couple stand looking at an evening sky, and begin to see bright points of light appear. It's a sign of terrible things but it is months away still, and their calm evening continues. Touches like that are brought back to life in this new version.
The narration is good and well paced, the range of voices is wide but not over emphatic. I will forever know the system as "Ooloobis" rather than his pronunciation "Ullabis" but I can live with that.
Without having prior knowledge of the book, the abridged version would be almost incomprehensible. This is a lovely reintroduction to a vast, sprawling classic.
Thanks guys!

3 people found this helpful

Overly fond of the marines

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-09-2017

It's a great but not very original idea for a science fiction book, the Earth finds itself in between two vastly superior foes. But this book relies really heavily on gun-totin' redneck marine corps fatigues and rations and ammo fetishism to be readily accessible to anyone who has subtler sensibilities.
Think Independence Day and the US of A saving the world. Interesting to start with, but then tedious because it is one noe played over and over. Maybe it's because I'm not american.

1 person found this helpful