When Earth is rocked by evidence that extraterrestrials may have seeded human DNA throughout the universe, a one-way expedition into deep space is mounted to uncover the truth. What linguist Meg Dupris and her crewmates aboard the Earth ship Damocles discover on Didet - a planet bathed in the near-eternal daylight of seven suns - is a humanoid race with a different language, a different look, and a surprisingly similar society. But here, it's the "Earthers" who are the extraterrestrial invaders, and it's up to Meg - a woman haunted by tragedy and obsessed with the power of communication - to find the key to establishing trust between the natives and the newcomers. In Loul Pell, a young Dideto male thrust into the forefront of the historic event, Meg finds an unexpected kindred spirit, and undertakes an extraordinary journey of discovery, friendship, and life-altering knowledge.Told from both sides of a monumental encounter, Damocles is a compelling novel about man's first contact with an extraterrestrial race.
©2013 S. G. Redling (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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"What did I tell you about that pie!?"
I've never listened to a book narrated by Angela Dawe before, but I think her performance on Damocles is one of the best I've experienced from a female narrator. The hang-up in most cases are the character voices and that can make or break the audio performance. I think Angela did an awesome job with all the voices (even the males) and it added to the enjoyment of the story. I've listened to some narrations where it totally ruined it. Kudos to Angela Dawe!!
The first-contact scene playing out. The headline of this review is a nod to that scene. That's all I'll say about it.
Again, the character voices. If a narrator does a good job, it totally adds another dimension to the book - and she did! I read some of the book on my own (thank you Whispersync for Voice) and it can be a little hard to read when working through the parts where they are trying to understand each other's language. It was much more enjoyable listening to it (for me) than reading it to myself.
I like first contact stories and this was enjoyable. Enjoyable enough that I finished it in two days which is rare for me (maybe a first.) There were some parts of the story where I rolled my eyes (a bit too silly) and some parts I would have liked explored more. Some of it was too un-realistic in my opinion. But hey, it's not my book. What I LOVED the most was the telling of the story from both viewpoints, the local Dideto and the alien Earthers, AKA "Urfers." Sometimes this viewpoint would just flip flop as the story continued, but most of the time it would rewind and re-tell the same scene from the other viewpoint. This was cool! Very cool actually!! All-in-all it was a fun story, had enjoyable characters, it flowed well, and I really liked it. That's what matters most, right? I highly recommend!
"Swimming against the current!"
I thought I loved science fiction and first contact stories, so I figured I would really like this book, especially with all the glowing great reviews. Not so.
It just did not grab me at all. There was none of the mystery and spine-tingling excitement you would expect at first contact with an alien species. We are told they evolved from burrowing animals, yet they are SO human-like. How did that happen? So we land on their planet and go about trying to find a way of mutually communicating. My dog understands more words than the Didetos learned during their brief encounter with us as the aliens. The great majority of this story involved very simplistic talking and sharing of very simplistic ideas. Almost nothing happens except a few misunderstandings that evolve into almost nothing. We hear endlessly about their very sensitive finger pads and their thrumming. It is mentioned over and over again. Then, it is time for us to leave. Minor crisis in finding minerals which is quickly remedied and we take off.
Why did we land? What did we learn about this species? I am sorry but I want-need more than this to entertain me. I need a bit more action and certainly alot more mystery! I would not read any further science fiction by this author. The narrator did not add to the listening experience--she too was just unimpressive.
So bite me! I told you I was swimming against the current.
"An excellent "First Contact" novel-I loved it"
This is a very slow paced novel and though I did give it a 5 star review, it could have been so much better had author Redling given us a better verbal picture of what the Didodes (I have no idea how it is spelled) or the aliens that are visited really looked like. I finally ended up picturing a neanderthal-ish person in my mind. I'd have preferred know what the author envisioned when writing.
The similarities between Earthers and Didodes are many as are the differences and Redling with excellent narration from Angela Dawe does a lot to show these...but it all brought up several questions in my mind, akin to the physical description issue that I won't go into as it would be very much a spoiler.
I think this novel is appropriate for a younger teen interested in space exploration that focuses on interpersonal skills more than plasma ray guns and hyper drives...not lots of tech in this book, just lots of talking.
I basically listened to this in 2 days and even dreamed about it the night between..did this story have an effect on me? Apparently so!.
I recommend it for people who don't need blood and guts stories.
"Humans are the aliens, linguistics FTW"
Damocles is not an action-packed novel. Most of the book is talking, describing the laborious task of humans and aliens trying to establish communications when they share no culture or language in common. The linguistics are not described in detail, but the process of constructing a bridge to translation is realistic.
This is also a "humans are the aliens" novel, in which it's the Earthers who come from outer space, to the shock and awe and terror of a less advanced civilization.
The setting the Earthers come from is barely fleshed out — humans have expanded to other colonies, but the message from an older alien race giving Earthers the secret of FTL travel and telling them that there are other races seeded from the same DNA as humanity is never described in more detail than that. It's a MacGuffin to send the crew of the Damocles out into space.
Damocles is told in alternating chapters from the viewpoints of Meg Dupris, the linguist aboard the Damocles, and Loul Pell, a socially awkward nerd in a dead-end government job when the Earthers arrive.
Besides the realistic communications problems, the best part of Damocles is the realistic aliens, the Didetos. They are close enough to human that their psychology and physiology is understandable, but different enough that they're clearly not human. Their culture constantly throws the Earthers off-balance with its similarities and differences - Didetos don't sleep, and although they have an industrial society that has begun launching satellites, they have never in their history undertaken to explore their oceans. Yet, they have press conferences, a military-industrial complex, and comic book nerds.
Loul Pell is one of the latter. A disgraced scientist, now working as a cubicle drone because he once presented a paper speculating about alien contact, he suddenly finds himself whisked away by Dideto Men In Black when aliens actually appear, pretty much where and how he said they would. And so he accidentally takes the role of speaker-to-aliens, and befriends a strange, willowy, extraterrestrial named "Meg."
Although there are some misunderstandings and tension over miscommunications, and questions about whether the Earthers will be able to return home, there is no dramatic action in this book. It's a novel about inter-cultural communications, and if aliens ever do visit Earth, I can see Men In Black whisking S.G. Redling off to advise our first contact team on how to communicate with them.
A thoughtful, intelligent sci-fi novel that explores linguistics and alien cultures in a realistic way. Damocles is not a particularly exciting book, but it's a fine work of genuine speculative fiction.
I did not love the narrator, who particularly when listening at higher speeds (I usually listen to audiobooks on my Audible app) has a very high-pitched and sometimes annoying voice, though she was clear and did a good job switching between Meg and Loul's voices.
"Perfect for Linguists or Space Enthusiasts"
I happen to be both, which maybe isn't fair: ) But this book was a wonderful story about space travel and first contact and what that means for a civilization, but also about establishing communication and developing language. Damocles was a phenomenally fun book that I enjoyed every minute of. It doesn't delve too deep into the science -- astrophysics or linguistics -- needed for the book, but I'm actually glad because that would have bogged the story down. I recommend this book if you really wanted to like Ursula K. LeGuin books but could never make it past page 30, or if you took at least one physics, one philosophy, and one linguistics course in college.
"Loved learning the interpreters skills"
Science Fiction writiers CAN create well developed characters, not just toy action figures!
Hip Hip Hooray!
Especially loved how we are isolated at the army base for most of the book, and then as delighted as Meg to finally get to see where Lewal lives.
The different voices were terrific, and allowing Meg to hear the thrumming and interpret it was brilliant.
BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO!
"Listened Straight Through"
Both Editions are excellent
When both sides realize that common gestures (a shrug) are not natural but learned.
I usually listen to multiple books at once. I will get to slow part of the story and switch to another title. The beat praise I can give is I finished this in 2 days straight through. There are no slow parts. Part Sci-Fi; part social observations, I highly recommend.
"Its good, but could have been much better."
This book is about humanity "Earthers" going into some kind of a vage mission, which doesn't make that much sense with the reason giving by the author to discover other life forms. They stumble into a planet with many suns and with another race of human called the "Didetos" who don't look human but they are being called humans, but thats fine.
What made me buy this book was the idea of us humans being the technologically advanced aliens discovering a planet with human life who are advanced in technology but not as much as us. We always think that aliens will discover us not the other way around which was a cool idea.
The problem was that there was many vage points here and there, for example: the Didetos were not giving a detailed description in my opinion and i had a hard time imagining how the hek they look like, kept on thinking of monkeys the whole time i think. Also the whole mission doesn't make much sense, they thought on how to go forward, but nothing in the book shows that they planned how to go back at all. Another issue is the number of people going through this mission, they show in the book that it was a major mission and with high risks, if so why sending only 6 members, shouldn't it been more? And sadly you might say in the end "what then!!" "Did we finish" "whats going on?", the ending could have been bette. I do hope that there will be a next bok after this one.
You will find these small issues here and there, which are a bit disappointing. But still story wise it was a good read. I have enjoyed reading this bok, and i did like it from the beginning.
The narrator was good, and did a good job with this book
If you like reading anything about space and discovery, not war, you will like this book.
This is a very interesting story. Five research astronauts land on new planet and make contact. The author provides a unique perspective during the story of both human and alien experiences and perceptions. I give it about 3 1/2 stars. Characters and story line not always believable. The narrator had trouble with some of the male voices.
"I enjoyed it."
No, once is enough
I thought the alien interaction was believable. Seemed to be written more from a linguist point of view though, not from a technologists. The "aliens" could have been more alien with respect to tech. That aside, it was a great listen.
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