This science fiction novel describes the epic voyage of the spacecraft Leonora Christine, which will take a 40-strong crew to a planet some 30 light years distant.
From practically the very first minute, Tau Zero sets scientific realities in dramatic tension with the very real emotional and psychological states of the travelers, exploring the effect of time contraction due to traveling at near-light speed on the human psyche. This tension is a dynamic that Anderson explores with great success over the course of the novel, as 50 crewmembers settle in for the long journey together. While they are a highly trained team of scientists and researchers and therefore professionals, they are also a community of individuals, each of them trying to create for him or herself a life in a whole new space - or, literally, in space.
It isn't long, however, before the voyage takes a turn for the worse. The ship passes through a small, uncharted nebula that makes it impossible to decelerate the ship. Their only hope is to do the opposite and speed up. But acceleration towards and within the speed of light means that time outside the spaceship passes even more rapidly, sending the crew deeper into space and further into an unknown future.
©2016 Poul Anderson (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Narration poor. over emphasis of each sentence made me lose interest easily.
The story hangs on a single concept, which is interesting but not enough for a novel. a short story at best.
This is a great story from a master with study of the human condition combined with some hard science (of 40 years ago I admit but relativity has not changed that much).
The narrator however alternated from good, when relating actual conversation, to annoying when narrating storyline. His word inflexion focused on a breathy uplift at the end of each sentence which seemed to be trying to achieve "awesome SF suspense" at all times. It trivialised the true suspense moments and made it hard to appreciate some of the human experience parts of the book. It almost made me stop listening but as the Tau wound down I got engrossed enough in the story to manage to ignore it.
At least there were very few edit errors in this which we find in many of the audible books with lower production values.
So - enjoyed the story, narration could have been better.
My favorite character was Charles Reymont. He's tough as nails and by the book; but can still show compassion and tact in the most dire of circumstances.
The inflection in Mr. Hellegers' voice really brought the character of Charles Reymont to life and made me feel engaged with the character in every scene he was in.
I listened to half the book in one sitting while on a trip, and listened to the rest in chapter increments during my work day. It was a nice escape to the far reaches of the galaxy on my lunch breaks.
I would categorize this book as Hard Sci-Fi. There were many time when there would be long explanations of the math/science that while essential to the people in the story, it isn't really needed for the reader. Mr. Hellegers' performance was outstanding! The ease in which he switches between different character voices, especially in fast paced arguments, makes you forget that it's only one man reading the book.
"Not What I Hoped For"
I had to take some time and let my mind digest this audiobook, I felt kinda blah about it in general and wanted to hone in on exactly why because it’s a well-written story. I really enjoy science fiction and especially the space opera genre, but for me there just wasn’t enough action to keep me engaged and it’s disappointing to me because the synopsis gave me high hopes.
This book is really a study in relationships among the crew of spaceship Leonora Christine, which is fine, but not what I’m looking for in my SciFi, I kept thinking, okay let’s get to the action and the more I listened the more I realized it wasn’t going to happen at least not to the degree I wanted or expected.
The audiobook is narrated by Neil Hellegers, and I thought he did a great job narrating! He fully voiced a wide variety characters in this book, no small feat and how can you not love a narrator who can carry a tune? The sound quality of this audiobook was average, there’s something clarity wise in the production that’s just a tad off, and makes the narrator sound winded. I listened to other samples of the narrator's work and this was not an issue. It’s specific to this audiobook and I look forward to hearing more from this narrator.
This audiobook was gifted to me exchange for an unbiased review!
"Enjoyed book but not narrator"
The narrator speaks in an odd tone, jumpy, and too fast to catch story details. While I somewhat became used to it, I found myself concentrating on understanding the narrators words instead of the underlying story.
"Great story idea, but could have been much better"
The narration ruined it for me. Neil sound like he was out of breath after every sentence. it was painful to listen through, but the premise of the story made me listen to the end. Way to much interpersonal crap that added nothing to what was going on. it was like a bunch of Swedish high school kids traveling through time and the Universe while bickering and getting high.
Poul Anderson is no Robert Heinlein. I was hoping for more. Hoping a new John Ringo book comes out soon.
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