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Destination: Void

Narrated by: Scott Brick
Series: The Pandora Sequence, Book 0.5
Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Summary

The starship Earthling, filled with thousands of hibernating colonists en route to a new world at Tau Ceti, is stranded beyond the solar system when the ship's three organic mental cores - disembodied human brains that control the vessel's functions - go insane. The emergency skeleton crew sees only one chance for survival: build an artificial consciousness in the Earthling's primary computer that can guide them to their destination - and hope it doesn't destroy the human race.

Don't miss Frank Herbert's classic novel that begins the epic Pandora Sequence.

©1966 Frank Herbert (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars

bit trivial and predictable but consider..

when it was written !! would have been fairly groundbreaking at the time!! impressive really... lots of parallels to other works of same authors. well read.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for John Strange
  • John Strange
  • 25-07-15

For Devotees Mostly

The author explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and the consequences of creating an artificial intelligence that is self-aware.

Destination Void's a fairly difficult read and an even tougher "listen." Herbert's writing is dense with techno-babble and conceptual exposition. I had to, at many points, go back several paragraphs and re-read. Listening to the audiobook demanded extreme attention - and even then it was difficult to 'follow' the story in anything but a superficial way.

I cannot recommend the audiobook despite Scott Brick's excellent narration. This is a book that must be read to be understood. If then ...

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-05-18

Wait until the end

Just the last hour of the Audible make it worth the listening, not an easy listen, and this comes from a tech/engineering aficionado. Recommended, though.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 18-07-15

At turns intriguing and frustrating

I first heard of this book in a Modern Scholar audiobook on Science Fiction (also available on Audible). I later came across a paperback copy of this book for a long time, but flipping through it I could tell this would be a book I would have a hard time wading through. The audiobook version proved me right!

On the one hand, this book has intriguing concepts about artificial intelligence and the dangers in creating it. The characters are basically forced into a situation in which they have to create a functional AI under duress. The ways they are manipulated, and their efforts to produce a mechanical analog to the human brain using their ship did create many neat and thought-provoking moments.

On the other hand, the book is filled with technical details that went right over my head. Herbert seems to have done quite a bit of work to make this a piece of Hard SF, but the problem is that the kinds of machinery he bases his work on (huge computers with magnetic tape readers, tons of plugs and relays, and a fraction of the computing power of my laptop) make the book quite dated. I'm not a luddite, but I wonder if someone more steeped in the technology of the time would have an easier time following the logic of the character's building process.

Also, the characters at times seem more less like round characters and more like vehicles to have a discussion about AI. Much of the book is spent with them chucking scientific revelations at one another followed by philosophical introspection. It felt too contrived.

Scott Brick's superb narration made this audiobook readable (or listen-able, I guess). It's a difficult text to begin with, but his efforts brought out the drama and its nuances. If he wasn't the narrator on this one I am uncertain as to whether or not I would have downloaded it.

I knew this would be a difficult book going in, and since I plan on listening to the next book in the series, The Jesus Incident (which from the reviews I have read is much more readable for a contemporary audience), I am glad I picked up this one.

I would recommend this book to die-hard Herbert fans looking to branch out from Dune and Hard SF geeks interested in how AI was discussed before the digital revolution. Casual science fiction listeners will be put off by all of the technical discussions of dated technology.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jim Proctor
  • 04-02-20

Not Herbert's best work

The story required continuous suspension of disbelief. Very little of the story was credible. Many times I was tempted to stop, but I went on. Having finished it, I can say I wouldn't have missed anything by stopping.

1 person found this helpful

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  • tyrone
  • 26-02-17

A mental exercise

A very deep and complex book. I found too much of it to technical jargon to enjoy. The story itself is explained very simply in the first chapter of the second book.

Scott Brick's reading was what I found interesting in this book. The way he read chapter after chapter of electrical hook ups and definitions of consciousness.... I applaud his masterful skill.

I wouldn't recommend it to anyone as an introduction to Herbert's writing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • RetroReview
  • 24-09-20

Absolute drivel from an accomplished writer

I hate to give the writer of Dune such a low score for a book, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote this on a dare to see if he could get it published and how many people would just praise the work regardless of how terrible it is. Basically it’s as if he took a bunch of highly technical papers from the fields of biology, psychiatry, mathematics and a few others picked random complicated sounding words and mashed them together then tried to create some sort of cohesive story around it. I give Scott Brick 3 stars only because it was probably as painful for him to read this trash as it was for me to make it through the book. I’m glad I do my listening while driving or doing something productive so this wasn’t an utter waste of time - I’ve considered reading the next book in the trilogy if only to see if it’s as bad as this. Maybe I’m a sucker for punishment.Save yourself the pain and read my synopsis then skip to the next book, here’s the gist: Bunch of colonists clones sent from earth to another world on a 400 year mission only 4 crew awakened because ship brains (taken from humans as babies) have gone mad and died. Crews mission is to try and develop true AI to keep the ship alive and complete mission. They find out this has been done with their clones at least 6 other times all ending in disaster. The crew is programmed to self destruct the ship if they succeed but determine the AI is more dangerous alive to the human race than dead. Shocker! They succeed in creating an AI organic software hybrid. One crew member decides to destroy the ship but the AI stops him of course. AI completes the mission and takes them to the planet of destination then decides it is their god and required worship - end of first book

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  • Mat Brown
  • 18-09-20

More Dialogue than Events

There is tons of dialogue and rather few events. When the events do happen they are gripping and meaningful. Most of the dialogue is full of arguments about theoretical physics, theoretical psychology, metaphysics, and computer science. Cool topics but jeeze it's thick. I plan to read The Jesus Incident. Scott Brick performs better than he usually does. I liked his slower and more creepy cadence. Very ominous.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-05-20

one of my favorite books ever

A fantastic book that does not oversimplify complicated Concepts. a wonderful preview to the following books in the series.

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  • Daniel Cascaddan
  • 08-11-18

Love Herbert, but not this one...

I am really not enjoying this one. I have listened to about a third of it. It is very impressive for it's thoughts on artificial intelligence, especially for when it was written, but it is WAY too long. It could have been edited into a good short story. Maybe it started as a good short story? At least for now, I am done listening to it. Maybe someday I will finish it, but it is going back on the shelf with Gravity's Rainbow for an indefinite hiatus.

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  • Scramble!
  • 30-09-17

Excruciatingly boring!

Way too much verbal cogitating and psycho-gobbldygook. Unrealistic characters and situation. Hard to believe it ever sells.

1 person found this helpful