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Publisher's Summary

When 17-year-old Toby McGonigal finds himself lost in space, separated from his family, he expects his next drift into cold sleep to be his last. After all, the planet he' s orbiting is frozen and sunless, and the cities are dead. But when Toby wakes again, he' s surprised to discover a thriving planet, a strange and prosperous galaxy, and something stranger still - that he' s been asleep for 14,000 years.

Welcome to the Lockstep Empire, where civilization is kept alive by careful hibernation. Here cold sleeps can last decades and waking moments mere weeks. Its citizens survive for milennia, traveling asleep on long voyages between worlds. Not only is Lockstep the new center of the galaxy, but Toby is shocked to learn that the Empire is still ruled by its founding family: his own.

Toby's brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. Suspicious of the return of his long-lost brother, whose rightful inheritance also controls the lockstep hibernation cycles, Peter sees Toby as a threat to his regime. Now, with the help of a Lockstep girl named Corva, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization. Karl Schroeder's Lockstep is a grand innovation in hard SF space opera.

©2014 Karl Schroeder (P)2014 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Lockstep

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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Story
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Painful narration

The fact that I finished this audiobook is a testament to the quality of the story. Simplistic in some places but it’s targeted at a YA audience so I can look past that. I am a big fan of Schroeder and the Virga series so I knew I wanted to see what he was up to with this new concept. Very cool, very fun, had echoes of Neal Stephenson’s “Anathem” in the primary plot vehicle but on a interstellar scale.

Now, about that narrator. Karl, buddy, did you listen to this before allowing it to be published? The guy reads like he’s reciting a Berenstien bears story to a 6 year old. He’s reading about tragic events but in the voice of a fairy tale. He gets moderately better at about the halfway point, enough so you can get into the story but it never gets good. This performance is a testament to the fact that a pleasant voice does not a professional narrator make. If you’re trying to decide if this book is worth the credit I’d say the story very much is but if you have the time to read the print version do that instead. I honestly regret pushing through because I feel like I lost some of the power of the story in the god-awful recitation. I will likely get the kindle version and give it another pass.

Jonathon Todd Ross, stick to kids stories and maybe some self help books, but unless you can learn to read copy in the tone of the story I’d stay away from fiction of any stripe.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

very strong concept

The concept of lockstep is strong and thought provoking but the teenage drama around it wasn't captivating. I wish for a more interesting plot line in this universe.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting concepts, neatly rolled together

It reads easily, like a young adult novel. The performance was well done. Beware, though. The concepts expressed in Lockstep will ruin most sci-fi inter-solar system thrillers you'll see in the future, as they're very creative, and very well thought out.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great concepts, little weak story

The concepts introduced in this book is really unique and interesting. Entire planets and its populations goes into hibernation for decades, then to be awake for a few years and then goes back into hibernation. This is a universe without FTL, so by coordinating the hibernation times between solar systems, they mitigate the time dilation effects by slower than light travel. It is quite an ingenious concept and Schroeder explains it really well. Original and unique new concepts are a rare thing in modern sf, and this is one of the best ideas I have seen in sf for a while.

On the other hand, all this is just background and the actually story in this novel is really not that interesting. Basically the main character just wants to reunite with his familiy, but this is complicated because he has been gone for generation and he has in the meantime become sort of a god figure. I hope Schroeder will return to this universe with a better main story.

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Worth a listen.

I almost passed this book up because of another review.

I have heard poor narrators before that made me want to stop listening to an otherwise enjoyable story, but this is not the case with Lockstep.

Is the narrator one of my favorites, no, but he did a commendable job and I found myself enjoying the performance.

Give it a try if you love sci-fi, it will entertain you.

E. Matthews

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Great Idea, Poorly Served

What would have made Lockstep better?

I would need to read the text to get a better feel for it - the performance is sufficiently bad that I cannot even be sure if it is the reader or the prose I'm most disappointed with. That said, what I can say of a certainty is that someone was telling this story *at* me.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Lockstep?

The universe that Mr Schroeder has developed here is original and fascinating - sufficiently, in fact, for me to gut through the most disinterested and perfunctory "performance" I've encountered yet. It helps, of course, that this is a very short commitment.

How could the performance have been better?

I've not encountered Jonathan Todd Ross before, but the fact that he has been employed to read more than one audiobook can only suggest to me that this is by far his worst performance. Anyone who had only this credit to their name would never work in the industry again. I cannot for the life of me figure out how the producer allowed this recording to see the light of day, nor how the publisher had the gall to release it.

Any additional comments?

I will be returning this audiobook and purchasing the kindle version. The value and originality of the underlying 'lockstep' concept is fascinating - irregardless of whatever extent the author is responsible for poorly serving that concept with his prose. I can only recommend against the purchase of the Jonathan Todd Ross narrated audiobook.

2 people found this helpful