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D. Urquhart

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Some bright points

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-13

First, my reservations: My personal bias is in quantitative research and I do not share the author’s conclusion that faith (even in the open-ended sense described) is necessary for a good, while hearted life. As such, there were times I definitely balked at the content.
But all the bright points: I value the work that has gone in to this book. The author’s overall message, style of delivery, and leading by vulnerable example are refreshing. The outcome is that I am personally affected to want to live as more genuine version of myself; this has helped support those regular feelings of staying true to my own interests and idiosyncrasies in the face of ‘the norm’. It helped me embrace the many facets of my life as equally important to nurture and maintain in many small ways. So, in the end, this book has done what it was written to do. It is worth a read.

Enjoyable read

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

Reviewed: 2019-07-04

Love the characters, arcs, and flow. The audio read is amazing as always. 95% wonderful!

My only (minor) issue:the science of parallel universes is so far from anything I know that I feel no ability to comment, but.... it always seems excessively anthrocentric (eg. The points of divergence are significant relative to people, rather than any given other amount of matter on any other given scale from subatomic to galactic).

Timeless politics

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-17

As much or more of a political commentary than science fiction. Timeless, though. So many of the ‘classics’ from this era have cringeworthy passages, melodrama, and a writing style that takes serious getting used to. Not with Foundation, which has remained relevant, clever, and carries social messages that are decades ahead of its time. A good read for those who value intellect over ignorance, and nuance over force.

Worthwhile

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

Reviewed: 2019-06-09

Worthwhile read. This book does indeed have good food for thought, and illustrates concepts clearly. I will adjust my approach.
The narrative style used may have been complemented with some of the current positive psychology research around mindset shift. For those of us trained in the sciences first, narrative alone is less convincing when not backed by actual research. But, overall, worth your time.

Conflicted on this one: enough redeeming qualities for me

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-17

This is seriously difficult to rate for so many reasons. The story contains elements that I really love, and others I wish had been left out. The humour was all over: about 1/3 of the humour attempts made me laugh out loud, 1/3 were neutral, and 1/3 made me felt like I was reading a book for toddlers. The violence was gratuitous, and I’m generally ok with that, but with the humour mismatch it’s hard to balance: toddlers definitely should not read this book. While I liked many of the characters, and enjoyed a protagonist who remains capable of deep-cutting insults under pressure, she did feel a little to stereotypical ‘weak link’; that being said, in the same hypothetical situations I can’t honestly imagine myself being more useful. I found myself actually caring whether characters lived or died, which is more than many ‘action’ novels can summon. Overall, I, almost stopped listening after the first half hour (toddler humour), but am still glad I finished this one.
The voice acting was generally good, but I seriously hope that our primary antagonist was never meant to sound like he was a constantly stoned hipster-millennial-surfer... however, now that I’ve made it through I can’t imagine what else he’d sound like.

Great hard sci-fi

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-16

The near-present science is amazing. As with all hard sci-fi, there is some trade off between character depth and science/plot, but totally worth the listen if you’re hoping to avoid ‘fantasy in space’/‘magic in space’ style soft sci-fi. Regardless the the trade off, the characters and plot were highly enjoyable and I found myself eating this book up.

Great story, caveats for science

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

Reviewed: 2019-02-23

Great story, with caveats for the science. The author clearly writes well. The characters and narrative flow are great. I genuinely ate this book up, even as a novice non-runner (I prefer obstacle course racing but had to learn to trail run). As a read, would 5 star recommend.
The science is less clear. While I don’t doubt there’s a lot of overselling going on in the running shoe industry, present studies do not show a clear benefit of running barefoot or minimalist vs not (different harms from each, as the author does note, but the slant is clearly in favour); the inherent appeal of minimalism makes sense, but I’d like to see good science before deciding.
All in all, this book was great. I just would advise caution in following some of the relative hyperbole word for word.

Solid science fiction with a biological bent

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

Reviewed: 2018-08-03

With strong, positive central themes that could be of use in today’s sociopolitical climate, this biology-heavy (as opposed to physics and engineering common in other sci-fi) epic is worth the read; it manages to feel personal while spanning many generations, and has enough intimacy and action to foster strong investment by the end. To be honest, the non-human part of the parallel histories is the reason I enjoyed this book. Hard to say much more without spoilers- enjoy :)

Creative and wonderful with a few slow stretches

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

Reviewed: 2018-07-10

Excellent concepts and creativity for a classic, strong science fiction book. Strong narration as well. Only a few slow sections in the middle of the story (eg. Social ‘scenes’ typical for 1950’s sci-fi at the time that have a similar tone) hold it back from being a truly 5/5 star story. I would recommend this book strongly, though.