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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • (I've tried to keep this spoiler-free)

    I found the main character incredibly dense...faced with some obviously connected data points, that he even remarked upon ("Why, this is just like..."), he failed to make any connections or draw any conclusions. Several repeat occurances of this sort of thing stretched my suspension of disbelief.

    Likewise there were several science areas that I wasn't comfortable with. I'm not an expert in the field, but my understanding is that evolution is the result of environmental pressures (driving natural selection). In genetic programming, these pressures are artificially induced, but still present. He has several vast leaps of an evolutionary type with no explanation of what pressures were involved. This led to me spending much of the book thinking "X and Y don't make sense based on what the character has concluded, therefore there's got to be a surprise Z somewhere"....only it didn't work out that way.

    All of this reduced my enjoyment considerably. It was still a worthwhile read, and pretty classic Crichton, but made some leaps that seemed pretty unsupported with even hand-waving. Jurassic (sp) Park had more reasonable science, and some of his other books with less of a scientific basis had better hand-waving.

    I'd give it a 6/10: Worth reading, don't pay hardback price. Unless you're a Crichton collector, snag it from the library, you won't be rereading it.