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Niko Jaakkola

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The Rule Of Four
The Rule Of Four
by Ian Caldwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.87

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tartt or Eco it ain't, 8 July 2005
This review is from: The Rule Of Four (Paperback)
Snobbish as I am and having been slightly wary of a mass success such as 'The Da Vinci code', I was somewhat intrigued by the back cover review quotes on 'The Rule of Four'.
'The Da Vinci Code for people with brains! Cross of Dan Brown and Umberto Eco / Donna Tartt!'
Yeah, right. 'TROF' is basically a straightforward, simplistic occult thriller. Not having read 'The Da Vinci Code', I can't make comparisons. Having read some Eco and Tartt, I can safely say Caldwell & Thomason are not even close to the beautiful writing, elaborate plots, or magical atmosphere either of those authors are able to create.
'TROF' reads like a Hollywood action thriller. The book DOES HAVE a few better moments, where the prose becomes reasonable and the story captures you for a chapter or two. However, these moments are quickly thrashed by tedious, meaningless sections on Ivy League traditions, by the paper-thin cliches of characters and their occasionally embarrasing philosophical metaphors, or -- simply -- by bad writing.
It's a quick read. But it doesn't hold a candle to 'The secret history', or 'The name of the rose'.


Our Final Century?: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century?
Our Final Century?: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century?
by Martin Rees
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A scientist's look at the end of the world, 7 May 2003
Interesting book, which would have been great with a slightly tighter focus. Sir Martin Rees tries to warn us that with ever-faster technological progress, the odds of a truly catastrophic mishap - either by accident or design - are going to be significant over the next century. He outlines 'familiar' dangers such as nuclear weapons, genetically engineered viruses, environmental hazards and includes more futuristic ideas about nanotechnology running amok and artificial hyperintelligences taking over.
Truly an interesting subject, and a good book, but unfortunately the ending maybe rambles off into a fairly generic speculation of humanity's potential future, should we succeed in not wiping ourselves out. The book takes a reasonably apolitical slant, which I think is a shame but maybe justified as the author is, after all, a scientist.
There are interesting thoughts on whether we should seek to ban certain lines of research on the grounds that the research itself is too dangerous, compared to the benefits, or that it might lead to potentially dangerous uses. There's a very interesting chapter on the philosophical, probabilistic Doomsday theories.
All in all, a good and quick read on an interesting, and unfortunately quite timely, subject.


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