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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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text 2017-07-18 15:11
The Andromeda Strain: 107/288 pg
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Zing! I didn't see that one coming about the person who gets the key to the nuclear bomb.

 

And I'm curious about how Crichton set up this fictional study of which type of person is most likely to make the "right decision" with the key - the subjects are categorized by gender and marital status. I'd think that having a child/being a parent would have a greater impact on this kind of decision than simply having a spouse. But perhaps, in 1969, it would have just been an assumption that the parenting would be associated with marital status. Married = family & Single = no family. I suppose it just wouldn't be part of the assumption, at that time, that parenthood could be completely independent of marital status. 

 

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review 2017-07-17 13:31
The Red Pyramid ★☆☆☆☆
The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan,Kevin R. Free,Katherine Kellgren

Boring with incredibly simplistic writing. Yes, I know it's middle grade fiction with children as the target audience, but so was the first Harry Potter and The Hobbit, which both offered immediately engaging characters, fascinating new-but-familiar worlds, and a sly humor that sucked me in immediately. This... didn't.

 

Audiobook via Audible. I gave it a full 30 minutes before I DNF'd.

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text 2017-07-14 16:25
The Andromeda Strain: 40/288 pg
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

In some ways, this is hilariously dated, but as the story is supposedly a 1968 recounting of true recent events, it doesn't detract from the story at all. It's fun reading, so far. 

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review 2017-07-11 14:07
The Time Machine and Other Stories ★★★☆☆
The Time Machine and Other Stories: Library Edition - H.G. Wells,Ralph Cosham

I haven’t read HG Wells since I received a collection of his stories for my 16th birthday. Of course, what I mostly remembered was The Time Machine, and being fascinated by the Eloi and Morlocks but bored by the rest of it. This particular edition is an audio collection of 10 stories of various quality, including The Time Machine. I expected that my experience with TTM would be entirely different as an adult, but was surprised to find that once again, the section following the encounter with the Eloi and Morlocks was a snoozefest, this time with a little eyeroll over the giant crab things. The difference is that I felt a little sorry for the Morlocks this time around, rather than sharing the narrator’s visceral disgust. I was much more interested in the author’s theories regarding the evolutionary outcome of the current (late 1800s Britain) political, social, and economic climate. I wonder why it never occurred to him that the oppressed industrial workers would revolt and take over as the balance of power shifted with the ruling class becoming increasingly weak and ineffectual with indolence and soft living?

 

The remainder of the short stories were mostly entertaining. Standouts were The Country of the Blind, The Man Who Could Work Miracles, and The Flowering of the Strange Orchid. The Cone was satisfactorily gory.

 

Stories in this collection:

  1. The Time Machine
  2. The Country of the Blind
  3. The Diamond Maker
  4. The Man Who Could Work Miracles
  5. Aepyornis Island
  6. The Flowering of the Strange Orchid
  7. The Cone
  8. The Purple Pileus
  9. The Truth About Pyecraft
  10. The Door in the Wall

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. This is the first time I’ve borrowed a book in the playaway format, and I didn’t like it. For one thing, I had to supply my own battery. For another, the rudimentary playing controls made navigating through the short stories somewhat difficult. And lastly, I’m just plain old spoiled by reading apps on my phone, and appalled by how quickly technology becomes obsolete. It wasn’t that long ago that we would have been delighted by an audio coming already loaded in a (sort of) portable digital format, rather than having to keep inserting the CDs into our heavy Sony Walkman/Discman.

 

Ralph Cosham provides a very good performance. His somehow old-fashioned stylings really fit the stories.

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