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Xopowo

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Long and disjointed, hard to finish

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

Reviewed: 2020-09-02

This is an old meandering story that has influenced several spiritual movements. Written in 1886 "from a channeled spirit", I agree with the statement in Wikipedia that says it's not good fiction. All 16 hours and 33 minutes use old English verb conjugations that sound forced, despite a good narrator. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was written even earlier and it doesn't have that forced lofty language (thou doest etc.). The story starts out fine but then goes all over the place. Maybe it really was a rambling spirit. About 2/3 of the way through I thought it was really bad and just wanted it to end. I finished it, but overall it was too long and disjointed for me to enjoy.

Kind of long & meandering

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

Reviewed: 2020-07-01

At times I was bored and at other times there were some really interesting and new ideas about the paranormal.

Needs updating or a sequel exploring more ideas

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

Reviewed: 2020-07-01

The POV or point of view changes a lot in this book. Is it a story or explanation of phenomena? Is it a documentary or an all-encompassing theory of the paranormal, religion, UFOs etc.? Needs updating or a sequel that explores more ideas and evidence since 1991. Similar to Whitley Strieber's ideas about the supernatural vs. space aliens, and relates to ideas like Skinwalkers & Bigfoot — that the supernatural is partially real, and partly comes from or is related to our minds.

Gets a big long towards the end

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

Reviewed: 2020-06-22

There's a lot of speculation and opinion here. Some good stories and ideas, but some of the theories have been investigated pretty thoroughly and alternative theories need to take into account all the facts people have uncovered while trying to seek the truth. Alternative theories need to be a lot more informed than they used to and need to take into new evidence, and point out some evidence now and then. But I did like that the author is the narrator. I came away from the listening liking this person. Towards the end there were some breath-work exercises that seemed out of place after listening to lots of interesting stories. the last hour was not as good as the first 10.

Well argued, interesting

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

Reviewed: 2020-06-22

This book emphasizes evidence, but even more importantly, not ignoring that evidence once it is found. But if we were made by aliens — panspermia is plausible — then who made the aliens? At some point life had to emerge without help, and we'll still want to know that story even if we find out we're lab rats. If we find evidence we were created, or were given a boost from a DNA manipulating intelligence, this would mean the creation myths of religion were on to something all along. The religious will gloat when evidence supports faith. The narration was OK, as in "just the facts", but seemed like an A.I. voice reading a subject for which its emotion remained completely neutral, as if incapable of really understanding what it was reading. A human voice will subtly shift when a passage or phrase merits emphasis.

Far better than I expected for a book from 1818

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

Reviewed: 2020-05-28

I wondered how a story published in 1818 would sound to modern ears and was impressed. It holds up well and is not quite what I expected, having been exposed to the movies and Halloween versions of the monster. The original story will remind you of course that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not his creation. The monster learns to speak (French) by spying on a family living in a forest. This kind of implausible detail might be handled differently in a modern story, but it moves things along. The actions and emotions of the doctor might be considered "over acting" today. We're constantly reminded of how tortured and determined he is to reverse his mistake and destroy his creation. I almost wonder if it inspired the more refined fixation of Ahab to destory the White Whale in Moby Dick (1851). Anything that doesn't quite work to modern ears instead comes across as "style". It's as if we're transported into a Victorian era to hear a tale in the language of the time. That means it was using modern language when it was published. If it's still so good in 2020, imagine how great it must have been to read in 1818.

Interesting story but I don't know if I believe it

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

Reviewed: 2020-04-18

The story tells of humans who visit an alien world that's very similar to Earth. The norms and values of the society are judged to be totalitarian because there is no individualism, creative expression or crime. There was war in the past, but no more. They have some technology that's far more advanced than ours (control of gravity/time, access to wormholes for traversing the universe), yet they don't know how to make an atomic bomb. It sort of reminds me of Rendezvous With Rama, a hard science-fiction story that presents an O'Neil Cylinder (a sort of enormous empty space ark) in a believable way. In this way, Secret Journey to Planet Serpo tries to be hard science too. But there are too many things that make me think it's fiction. I guess the aliens breathe oxygen? Gravity is also the same as on Earth? Some of the aliens speak broken English, as if having been exposed to Earth (American?) culture before. Maybe Ronald Reagan was convinced, but I'm far more skeptical. The world is just too similar and the environment too conducive to human life. The Moon and Mars are real. Maybe disappointing in comparison, but real. Serpo just sounds like fantasy.

A model of how science does not have to be dry

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

Reviewed: 2020-04-17

This book could have been so boring, but instead it's a model for how natural science can be interesting and compelling. The content is fascinating and made even better by the voice of Mike Grady. I'll see what else he reads just to hear him tell a story.

4 people found this helpful

We need more books like this

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

Reviewed: 2020-04-08

Too few people are aware of the problems with quantum mechanics. Every time I hear QM cited it's accompanied with words like "now that we know for certain that QM is undeniable" and "face it, we are living in a quantum world" and "it has to be so, because quauntum uncertainty" and "the most rigorously tested theory ever"… few people, including physicists, realize that it's not understood. Maybe because it took 100 years for science to finally accept it that we now see people invested so deeply that it's as if the case were closed and there were nothing left to explain. I used to enjoy the fact that Einstein was "wrong". It made him human. But more and more it seems like we have to see why Einstein was so skeptical. For sure, quantum mechanics isn't going to be "wrong". Just like how Relativity didn't make Newton wrong, it just made it more precise and explained the mechanism. The current interpretation of QM is just one of many that used to be equally debated. For example, some people are still looking for hidden variables or some other explanation to why QM has uncertainty at its heart. Let those people speak so that we may possibly learn more about gravity and how to reconcile QM and Relativity. Let people shed light on the problem of measurement and the observer. And please somebody look into The Randell Mills Unified Theory. I want to hear what great minds have to say. When QM theorists can only say "shut up and calculate", it's an admission that there's still work to do.

One interesting idea, not much else

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

Reviewed: 2020-04-08

The dots along the 37th parallel are interesting. But the book is pretty meandering before it gets to that one good revelation. A bit weak compared to other books on this subject. The author is not a UFO researcher and this seems to be his first foray into Skinwalkers and subjects that normally cite other cases and research. This is more of a story about the guy who buys an RV and travels around trying to get to the bottom of cattle mutilations. Not bad, but we never care about that guy. We want answers.