Friday, May 20, 2011

Time's Eye by Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

”Time’sTime’s Eye
by Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter
narrated by John Lee

Series: A Time Odyssey, book 1
Copyright: 2008 Blackstone Audio
Duration: 11 hours 37 minutes unabridged
Genres: science fiction, time travel
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
Click the image to visit the publisher’s website.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: For eons, Earth has been under observation by the Firstborn, beings almost as old as the universe itself. The Firstborn are unknown to humankind - until they act. In an instant, Earth is carved up and reassembled like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the planet and every living thing on it no longer exist in a single timeline. Instead, the world becomes a patchwork of eras, from prehistory to 2037, each with its own indigenous inhabitants.

Scattered across the planet are floating silver orbs impervious to all weapons and impossible to communicate with. Are these technologically advanced devices responsible for creating and sustaining the rifts in time? Are they cameras through which inscrutable alien eyes are watching? Or are they something stranger and more terrifying still?

The answer may lie in the ancient city of Babylon, where two groups of refugees from 2037 - three cosmonauts returning to Earth from the International Space Station, and three United Nations peacekeepers on a mission in Afghanistan - have detected radio signals: the only such signals on the planet, apart from their own. The peacekeepers find allies in nineteenth-century British troops and in the armies of Alexander the Great. The astronauts, crash-landed in the steppes of Asia, join forces with the Mongol horde led by Genghis Khan. The two sides set out for Babylon, each determined to win the race for knowledge...and the power that lies within.

Yet the real power is beyond human control, perhaps even human understanding. As two great armies face off before the gates of Babylon, it watches, waiting.

©2005 Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Sometimes it’s fun to play “what if?” games. What if the colonies had lost the revolutionary war, for instance, or what if Kennedy had not been assassinated, etcetera, etcetera. Time’s Eye is another example of a couple of writers playing the what if game. In this case, Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter are wondering what it might have been like if two of history’s greatest conqueror’s, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, had squared off against each other. And what better location for the grand battle than at the very gates of Babylon, one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. To make things even more interesting, Clarke and Baxter have thrown a handful of 21st century scientists into the mix, along with a squad of 19th century British riflemen. What historian wouldn’t jump at the chance to witness such a spectacle?

Imagine a planet Earth entirely made up of an amalgamation of mixed time periods, like a patchwork quilt. It’s a neat idea, if not entirely original. Clarke and Baxter have set up an alternate reality with a limitless potential for stories and adventures. It will be interesting to see where they go with this.

I have seen narrator John Lee’s name on quite a few audiobooks, and I’ve been anxious to hear one of them. Lee didn’t do a bad job, but he didn’t really impress me either. There were several characters of various European ethnicities and Lee did a pretty good job with their accents. However, two of the characters were American and Lee seemed to have trouble with them. One character in particular sounded like an impression of Jack Nicholson, and sometimes like George Bush. I think Lee was going for a southern American dialect here, but he didn’t quite pull it off. Other than that, his narration was okay.

Time’s Eye started out a bit slowly for me, but it eventually grabbed my interest. By the end of the audiobook, I was anxious to know what was going to happen. I already have book two on order and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Special thanks to Blackstone Audio for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.

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