Friday, July 3, 2009

Children of the Mind

The feature in iPhone 3.0 that resulted in the biggest change in my life is the little "1X" button when playing podcasts (and audiobooks) that switches to "2X" when pressed, enabling the audio to play back at "double speed". (The pitch is adjusted so there is no "Alvin and the Chipmunks" effect.)

I've found I enjoy listening to most of the long list of podcasts I download in iTunes just as much at 2X. (I've heard Leo Laporte say that some study has shown that retention is higher when listening to audiobooks in this fast mode. Perhaps he was referring to this.) That has resulted in quite a bit more time to listen to audiobooks. So the conclusion of this long-winded introduction is that after only getting through about a quarter of Children of the Mind in five weeks, I got through the rest of it in less than a single week.

I blogged about finishing Xenocide and starting Children of the Mind in "Xenocide". I wrote then that my expectations for Children of the Mind were raised after enjoying Xenocide more than I expected. Unfortunately Children of the Mind continued the streak of Orson Scott Card novels "proving" my thesis in "The tyranny of high expectations".

Unlike Xenocide, there wasn't much interesting science in Children of the Mind (and that's probably what I look for the most in an SF novel). Again, there wasn't much action. [SPOILER WARNING] I was more interested than I might have predicted in the fate of Peter and Wang-Mu (and Jane and Ender), but I found the characters agonizing over each other's fate tiring. And the mystery of the nature of the creators of the Descolada virus is never revealed.

In an afterward to the audiobook written and narrated by Orson Scott Card himself—I believe each of the audiobooks in the Ender's Game series have such an afterward—states that he intends to someday write one more book in this series. Children of the Mind was not so disappointing that I won't want to read that when it comes out. But if the future me reads this blog post first, I advise me not to re-read Children of the Mind before that.

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