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Summary

The number one best-selling author of the Bobiverse trilogy returns with a space thriller that poses a provocative question: Does our true destiny lie in ourselves - or in the stars?

If it were up to one man and one man alone to protect the entire human race - would you want it to be a down-on-his luck asteroid miner? 

When Ivan Pritchard signs on as a newbie aboard the Mad Astra, it's his final, desperate stab at giving his wife and children the life they deserve. He can survive the hazing of his crewmates, and how many times, really, can near-zero g make you vomit? But there's another challenge looming out there, in the farthest reaches of human exploration, that will test every man, woman and AI on the ship - and will force Ivan to confront the very essence of what makes him human.

©2018 Dennis E. Taylor (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC. Cover illustration by Stephan Martiniere.

Critic reviews

“Dennis Taylor serves up a top-notch outer-space adventure…. Ray Porter’s narration is simply brilliant…. In addition to suspense, action, futuristic detail, and moments of comedy, the book brings a light, investigative touch to the question of what exactly human identity is.” (The Washington Post

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Classic Sci-fi with a Modern Style

Dennis E Taylor has done it again it seems as this is another high quality production from him very ably voiced by Ray Porter. The storyline has a lot of the hallmarks of classic sci-fi. In fact I'd say it's perhaps "harder" sci-fi than his popular Bobiverse series. A development of his style rather than a flat continuation.

It is still however imbued with Taylor's subtle humour at times and his patient and careful characterisation. It is also once again a fairly ordinary guy trying to deal with a situation beyond comprehension and while there are many tropes traditional to the genre there is plenty of invention too.

Ray Porter does a great job with the narration with many characters voiced in distinctive ways. There are also some nice touches on the audio with radio voices when appropriate which give it additional depth.

If you liked the Bobiverse series this is closer to what I would term hard sci-fi but there's still lots to love here and I think most people would get a similar level of enjoyment out of this one too. I think Taylor has another hit on his hands and he's clearly an author that is going to be fun to follow in the future.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Average Follow Up to Bobiverse series

This might have benefited from a new narrator. Ray Porter narrated the Bobiverse series superbly and unfortunately there was similar vocal characterisation. The story sort of petered out, with similar themes from Taylor's previous series which weren't expanded upon enough. Sadly I'm afraid I can only give this book 3 stars as it doesn't get beyond average, which is a pity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very strong and enjoyable

As others have said this is a more serious SciFi novel than the Bobiverse series, and slightly darker, but if you enjoyed the Bobiverse, you will enjoy this one :-). Characters are well and strongly developed, and the premise is interesting. The storyline kept its options open until the very end and could have gone a number of different ways. Nice not to be predictable :-)

Ray Porter once again gives a very strong and enjoyable narration of the book, bring all the characters to life..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love this...

Dennis E Taylor has delivered again. As has Ray Porter. And Audible.

The Bobiverse series may or may not have run its course, but evidently Dennis had plenty of life left in his old notes to come up with this great story. This comment is not meant to be negative in the slightest - this story is not a broth made of stale leftovers, but it has almost certainly arisen from ideas that didn't make it into the Bobiverse.

Ray Porter does an excellent job of narration, as before, and it doesn't at all come across as odd that Bob and Ivan sound alike. It's like having dinner with your old friend's pleasingly urbane younger brother.

The humour is still there, if maybe a little dryer (no Simpsons references that I recognised, for one). The characters are as rounded, and the protagonists as agreeable, as one would expect from Taylor. Perhaps, as another reviewer noted, the sci-fi is a little 'harder' than in the Bobiverse, but we're talking nanobots and LaGrange points vs Von Neumann probes and .. err LaGrange points. There's honestly not much in it IMO. And the arch-antagonists (the Others) in the Bobiverse used nanites, anyway.

I think Audible made a great decision in recognising the combined talents of Taylor as an author and Porter as a performer, and I hope this won't be the last we see from this dream team.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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expected more

This is an enjoyable story but seems a little lazy in its storyline. A poor man's Bobiverse!

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Mature geeks dream

There are a lot of sci-fi space stories corner what makes this book, like the bobby first series, unique is a balanced approach of emotional intelligence and sound science.

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Excellent

Earth is on the cusp of disaster, the Eco system is failing, there is the threat of all-out war between competing political blocs and the possibility of reaching the singularity is very real. Then a new threat arrives...

Very well written and superbly told, this is a must-read novel.

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Great Sci-fy Story

After listening to approx 16 audiobooks I have to say that Ray Porter is so far the best narrator.

The story and characters are great and it is a satisfying listen.

Highly recommend

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Just Awesome!

Another fantastic start to what i can only hope will be another amazing trilogy!

Dennis does an awesome job on build and creating a story line that leaves you with wanting more. Its not another BOB its a band new style. He has created a story that pulls you in to a story where you feel you can predict the outcome and every time you think you have it sussed a new spanner is throw in to the works. The use of technology and terminology is great and does not leave you feeling like you have no idea whats going on.

Ray as per the BOB books does an awesome job in really bring each and every person to life.

5 out of 5 from me!

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Loved it

Bought this since I had really liked the Bob books. Carefully built up story builds up tension very nicely. Looked forward to my commute. I recommend it highly.

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  • A Texan 2
  • 19-06-18

Too many problems. Too many poor choices

I really wanted to like this book. After all, it had everything going for it. Written by Dennis E. Taylor, who has recently finished what has become one of my all-time favorites series with his “Bobiverse” trilogy. As I almost always consume my books by audio anymore, Ray Porter returning to narrate was also another element strongly in favor of this new book.
Let’s get some positives out of the way, for there are several. As stated, Ray Porter once again brings an A game to the narration with distinct voices for the major characters…though, having finished the Bobiverse not too long ago and also having listened to him narrate the works of Peter Cline, it is getting a little harder to not notice some similarities in voices across the different books. Still, there’s only so many voices one person can produce. At this point, I liken it more to recognizing actors who tend to pop up in different roles on the various syfy shows being filmed up in Canada. As I say, for these books, the character voices are distinct and easy to tell who is who at any given time.
The characters themselves are well written and engaging. I can tend to forgive a lot of story writing sins if the characters are at least interesting enough to make me care about what they are going through. Once again, Mr. Taylor delivers on that front.
Finally, the concept itself showed a lot of promise. A first contact situation for humanity is a common science fiction premise, so it’s getting harder to come up with something original. Weaving in the Fermi Paradox and Game Theory as integral elements of the story gave this a different spin. So, while I give credit to Mr. Taylor for this take on first contact, it’s the execution that ultimately soured me.
Especially getting through the meat of the story in the middle, one name kept popping up in my head – Prometheus. The movie set in the universe of the Alien movies. If you’ve seen it, one of it’s biggest problems is how much of the plot is driven by supposedly highly educated scientists making a string of amazing dumb decisions. At every turn in the middle of the book, I kept finding myself questioning out loud things like “Why would they do that?” “Who’s been watching this guy?” “Why is nobody talking to this guy every day?” So much of the conflict arises from an unbelievable lack of communication by a group of people who are all together in the same facility. I can appreciate some level of mistrust on the part of the central protagonist as he moves through this middle part of the story. But with that, he shouldn’t have been able to get away with doing much of what he did without being noticed. What compounds all this, and in many ways makes it worse that what happened in Prometheus, it just how dumb the alien intelligence is as well.
I’ve danced around any major spoilers up until now. I’m going to get into a few more detailed examples to illustrate some of my issues. I’ll try to keep spoilers limited, but I am going to reveal some more details. The book starts off with an alien probe arriving in our system, identifying Earth as a place with a good potential for sentient life to emerge, and leaves behind a small part of it’s payload to….sit inert until someone is dumb enough to make a grab for it. After Ivan is “infected” and has gone through his transformation, he begins communicating with the machine that has essentially replaced his body. Ivan is asked why the aliens just left a small package to be discovered. He replies with something along the lines of it allowed the aliens to make due with a minimum amount of material. The implication is that the main probe wandering the galaxy has a limited payload, so it leaves a small, inert batch in each system it identifies that waits for the local species to become advanced enough at space travel to come out and find it. The problem is that this whole premise quickly falls apart. Mr. Taylor shows that the alien artifact has considerable manufacturing capability in the form of nanites. It uses them to very quickly conduct major planet changing transformations – building mega structures on Mercury, Venus, and Mars in a matter of a few hours or days. The technology makes the 3D printing capabilities of the Bobiverse look like a quilting bee by comparison. It’s hard to reconcile a collection of alien intelligence that advanced leaving a package to sit dormant, doing absolutely nothing until it gets discovered. You would think it would have built itself up enough in the ensuing millions of years to establish contact and make regular transmissions back to the “space address” for lack of a better term, that is had hard coded within itself. Reporting back on the progress of human development on Earth and getting updates on the state of the galactic war over the ongoing millions of years – even at 142 years a round trip, would have made far more sense than leaving the whole thing to chance.
The book suffers from a number of other structural issues particularly with regard to how time flows through the narrative and how quickly things are able to move and, as mentioned above, be built, relative to other moving parts of the narrative.
Finally, I just found the world building itself implausible and lacking in internal consistency. As most science fiction readers know, we have to engage in a certain level of suspension of disbelief to accept the world that we’re asked to visit through piece of media like this. Warp drives, laser swords, space folding – various concepts that we buy into. But, we expect some level of internal consistency; some set of rules that are either explicitly spelled out by the author, or implicitly communicated by the events of the narrative. Certainly some properties handle this better than others. A system with strong space faring capability, multi-planet settlements, and the ability to exploit the resources of the system via mining is hard to reconcile with an Earth that is still suffering from rising oceans and global warming. This same system suffers from what seems to be near poverty and desperation for most of the population, yet the system has an abundance of exploitable resources and the “big rock” strike turns a crew of mining prospectors into billionaires with monetary resources to impact the behavior of governments. If this book had been written 40 years ago, I could forgive some of this. But, a lot of science fiction has been written, read, and critiqued in that time. Even though the author makes explicit references to some of our commonly know science fiction, in many ways, it tries to operate as though none of that literature and the thoughts behind it are part of our common understanding.
The book feels like the author really wanted to offer lessons in Game Theory and the Fermi Paradox and wrote a story backwards to build toward them. However, at least for me, the whole premise that he starts from just doesn’t make enough sense to be able to believably follow this ride. I think if this were posted on Bobnet, the Bobs would take Mr. Taylor to task for this piece of writing. He’s demonstrated that he is capable of far far better than this.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Jerry
  • 06-06-18

Excellent!

The Bobiverse trilogy quickly became a favorite for me. I was excited to see another book from Dennis Taylor come up as recommended. I burned through this in a day. Excellent book. The audio effects were top notch! When characters talked over the radio or phone there was a light change to the dialogue. It worked well and I hope other audiobooks take note of how well it works.

50 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Tavis
  • 06-06-18

12 hour book within 24 hours

I couldn't sleep last night. It wasn't insomnia. It was THIS DARN BOOK! I couldn't turn it off. I swear I set my sleep timer for 15 minutes at least 10 times. I've had my Bluetooth headphone in my ear since I woke up this morning. I don't know how Mr. Taylor does it, but thank you for being a fast writer! The Bob series and then this book. I might be in love. I think I will be going to look up his previous books now. Lord help my sleep patterns.

49 of 56 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike Pluta
  • 05-06-18

Five Stars Squared!

The team of Dennis E. Taylor and Ray Porter have again delivered audiobook good!

The Singularity Trap , penned by Taylor and voiced by Porter is a new hard sci-fi Audible exclusive release. The story incorperates first contact, nanotechnology, military conspiracies, interstellar conflict and more all wrapped in the warm quilt of Taylor-Porter fun and frivolity.

I've been patiently waiting for this release and have not been disappointed.

I wish I could give this five stars squared!

65 of 76 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy Snider
  • 13-06-18

Excellent.

After reading the Bobiverse books, I craved more from Taylor. The Singularity Trap exceeded my expectations. I just love Taylor’s writing style and story telling ability.

As for this production, Ray Porter did an excellent job, as he always does. Also, the addition of how voices were portrayed over a phone call, radio, etc was really neat. I hope to find more audiobooks produced like this.

If you enjoyed anything Ray Porter has narrated or Dennis E. Taylor’s Bobiverse books, you will thoroughly enjoy The Singularity Trap.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • ethan kilburn
  • 06-06-18

diddn't think Bob would ever have competition!

I was hesitant. but this thing had me hooked. cannot wait for more. God I hope there is more.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • LINCOLN
  • 06-06-18

Want more like the Bobiverse....YES!

You know when you finish a good series and long for more....well, this will satisfy Bobiverse fans and create many new one of its own. The story is well written with suspense, excellent character development and enough hard science to make it great entertaining Sci Fi. I love Ray Porter and Taylor and Porter are a dream team match. Enjoy!

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott F. Hilinski
  • 13-06-18

Awesome

Great big idea story wrapped up in a novel Or not. Love the production by introduction some limited sound effects. Excellently written thoughtful

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas M.
  • 12-06-18

Taylor and Porter team up for another hit

I hadn't heard if either Dennis E. Taylor it Ray Porter before I listened to the Bobiverse series, but I'm happy someone brought it to my attention. I finished The Singularity Trap even faster than I did any book from the other series, and that's really saying something.

Taylor gives realistic depth to all characters, and spins an intellectual but fun tale. Porter is simply an amazing voice actor, sometimes making it sound like you're listening to an actual conversation between 2 people. I will read anything this team puts out in the future!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Schumacher
  • 06-06-18

Fans of the Bob series will not be disappointed!

Dennis E Taylor does it again. A very different story from his previous trilogy but with the same level of detail and loving character development. I can't wait for more!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful