A very insightful read. There are times where I wish more evidence was given, but for a pop-science book I really found some insights into the brain and creativity.
All posts tagged “audiobook”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I recently finished this up as an audiobook. The end of the world has never been so funny and it is a great place to revisit. I read Good Omens about 8 years ago and truthfully it is in my top 100 books easy. Maybe higher.
The audiobook of it has pluses and minuses verses the print version. The upsides start with the characterizations. This is read by Stephen Briggs. He is Terry Pratchett’s collaborator and keeper of all things Discworld. He has also written and produced stage adaptations of the Discworld novels. He is rumored to be continuing the Discworld franchise if Terry is to slip further into Alsimer’s (I cannot find the link where I found that). His performance is very good and his very British-ness works well in this case. He does a great job with the characters.
The audiobook fails in two ways. And both are because the spoken word does not have footnotes or the use of homophones. Since footnotes are included through out the book they are seamlessly integrated into the narrative without it being stated as a footnote. It creates a weird rhythm and breaks up the story’s well constructed flow. Also, the lack of visual word jokes. Pratchett particularly likes to use the wrong version of a word to get a joke out of it. Obviously these do not work in an audio recording.
As far as the book itself. It is great. Funny and witty, dark and looming. It was written at a very interesting time in the careers of Pratchett and Gaiman. They always talk of doing another. Not sure if that will happen or not. Would be great but who knows.
I am have become a fan of later day King. Many find his lack of monsters (Cell aside) to be off putting. I like the more literary King and found this book to be very good.
Edgar Freemantle is an owner of a construction company who has suffered a massive injury which resulted in the loss of his right arm and months and months of rehabilitation. This loss, and his anger from it, results in he and his wife separating. Edgar takes his therapists advise and moves to Florida, Duma Key to be precise. On Duma Key he lives in a large house he names “Big Pink”. The whole of the key has six houses on it, all owned by one woman, Elizabeth Eastlake, and elderly woman who lives down the beach. Under the advice of his therapist he decides to try his hand at painting, something he had left behind in his youth. He begins to work and discovers that he is creating works far beyond his capability, he is “unbottling” and soon it is an obsession. This leads to a series of revelations about the past, and about his future.
The writing in this book reminds me of both Lisey’s Story and Bag of Bones. There is a tale of a person and love, be it lost or taken, and the after effects. The plot starts off almost slowly, but I would rather say folksy. We do not have any real action until a good half way through the book, but the emotional and character build to this point is very rich. The ending was full of action, though it was similar to Bag of Bones in my opinion.
John Slattery does the narration, and at first, I was not thrilled with his read. It felt meter-wise like Stephen King doing the reading. I am not a big fan of King reading his own books. He is nasally. But Slattery grew on me. Quite a bit. His everyman delivery really helped define the characters and his slight voice inflections were super consistent through out.
The fourth and final book of the Hyperion Cantos was more epic and more information latent than any of the first three books. It does bring many story lines to a close and the scale and scope of the story is huge.
The four books of this series are a thick, rich world and I find the beginning and ending volumes the most satisfying. I still think Hyperion stands head and shoulders above the others, but this is a very satisfying read. The story of Aenea and Raul comes to a full conclusion and begins to bring in some fantasy elements that enrich this literary science fiction tale.
The scope of this volume is huge but I think Dan Simmons does a better job in this work dealing with it than he did in Fall of Hyperion. I felt Fall of Hyperion became quality space opera but lost the uniqueness of Hyperion. I fell the opposite way about Rise of Endymion. The focus is really kept much tighter even though grand things are happening all around. I found that much more satisfying. Basically the characters caused the plot, the plot did not happen to the characters. I really feel like the plot is what overwhelmed books 2 and 3, but in books 1 and 4 the characters were the highlight. Their story was the plot.
There are a few times when there are massive “information dumps” that are done as dialogs that go on and on. Is the information all necessary or is it author-with-awesome-research powers showing off? Not sure I can answer that as thoroughly as I want. But I wish there were a few of these that were better integrated.
The performance by Victor Bevine was excellent – again. Really a treat to get the same actor to do the recording for all 4 volumes. I know they had to be good – I listened to all 4 of them in a row!
The story or Raul Endymion is one of a chase and a love story. He is a man whose background as a solider, bouncer and hunt guide, along with his nomadic heritage. The universe of the Hegemony has been reshaped by a revitalized Catholic Church and their organized military and government arm, The PAX. The technology of the first two books is gone, as have 200 plus years. The church offers resurrections and eternal life if you accept the cruciform form that Father Paul Duré and Father Lenar Hoyt carry in the original sets. The church has solved the resurrection problem of mutating toward sexlessness and stupidity.
The story of Raul’s tale intersects and mentions nearly all the original pilgrims. He knows all of them from the Cantos – Martin Silenus’s tale of the Hyperion Pilgrims – which has become folklore and is banned by the Catholic Church (what a better way to increase sales!!).
The scale of this book is tighter again and follows the formula developed in The Fall of Hyperion with a first person narrator who also tells third party segments. This much is made clear very early on as Raul recounts the tale. I find the use of this narrative structure nice and at times frustrating, but then that is the sign of good writing. The tale is well written.
Overall, I liked it. Was it as good as Hyperion or The Fall of Hyperion, well some will tell you that it never could be. I do not like to think of this as a direct conclusion to those tales. It is not. It is a second half of a greater tale, set in the same world and time. Hyperion is still a shining star in SF. If Dan Simmons never wrote another book, it would hold up. Endymion is exciting though. It has a tighter focus. We are truly invested in Raul and Aenea’s story. One of the parts that does take some sorting out is all the church hierarchy. The titles and positions are long and convoluted. And at times I have to stop and thing which person is being referred to. Ultimately this is a chase story and a thrilling one at that. (The split of multiples within a series is something that Orson Scott Card should have done with his Homecoming series)
Victor Bevine’s reading is again stellar. He is really a top notch reader and tapping him to do all four of the books was a very very good move.