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Jarno

Helsinki, Finland | Member Since 2012

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 287 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2015
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  • Rork!: Wildside Discovery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Avram Davidson
    • Narrated By Jim McCance
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In his science fiction novel Rork!, Ran Loman wants only to be left alone, to get away from it all. That's why he volunteers for duty on Pia 2, the most remote, isolated world in the Galaxy. The problem on Pia 2 is redwing, a plant used throughout the galaxy as a medical fixative. Redwing grows ony on Pia 2. And lately, less and less is being harvested. Lomar's assignment: find out why, and do something about it.

    David says: "Excellent Story Telling"
    "Great storytelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first exposure to the writings of Avram Davidson, and I think I might have to look into his writings more. A very entertaining and interesting story.

    It's a story set int the backdrop of humanity, far in the future, spread out in the galaxy but in decline, caught in the rut of routine, and almost dogmatic innovation-stiffling resistance to change. It's a story of predudice, and overcoming it, and of maybe seeing some redeeming light at the end of the tunnel. It was ultimately an uplifting story.

    The performace of the narrator was very good, though some of the voices he used made tough to decipher what the character was saying - this was for minor characters though, and for short lines, so it isn't a major complaint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moon Wreck: The Slaver Wars, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Raymond L. Weil
    • Narrated By Liam Owen
    Overall
    (159)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (147)

    Disaster has struck the first Moon landing to be attempted in years. Commander Jason Strong and his fellow lunar explorer Greg Johnson have become stranded with no way home. In desperation, they set off in their lunar rover to check out an anomaly they discovered on their descent. What they find will shake their beliefs and what they know of human history. It is the beginning of an adventure that will take them far out into the Solar System and to a discovery that is beyond belief.

    Frank says: "A book of cliches"
    "Good, but leaves open a nagging, huge question."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a very good story concept, and an interesting book. The narration is ok, and inoffensive to the ear, nothing outstanding though. The writing is decent, lacking somewhat in character development, and the book relies more on the strength of the story concept than any literary brilliance.

    However, there's a big, obvious, glaring question that is completely ignored in the story, that nagged me throughout, ever since the big discovery, and reveal as to it's specific nature, early on.

    It's hard to describe the problem without spoilers, but here goes: given what we know, and can prove of human origins, and it's intimate ties to terrestrial biology, there aren't many possible paths to the state of the universe the story imagines. I'll be seriously miffed if this question of origins of the situation in question will not get addressed at any point, in the future books either. I would be more annoyed though, if the author does illuminate this question, but does it by giving an implausible answer, that is not informed by what we already know, pretty much for certain, with our current science.

    In any case, it is implausible that any scientist worth their salt would not have had the curiosity to ask the relevant question already, in this first book of the series, and I'm left annoyed that it's been left unaddressed

    So I'm kinda waiting to see whether the author is sufficiently scientifically literate, and this is a very good, true SciFi story, that does not wantonly go against our scientific understanding that we already have, OR whether it is a good story, but with a bad science part to the fiction.

    I'm hoping for the former, and look forward to finding out... if we get to find out, and are not just left to head-cannon it ourselves.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dust World: Undying Mercenaries, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1927)
    Performance
    (1786)
    Story
    (1789)

    The Galactics arrived with their Battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined a vast Empire that spans the Milky Way. Our only worthwhile trade goods are our infamous mercenary legions, elite troops we sell to the highest alien bidder. In 2122 a lost colony expedition contacts Earth, surprising our government. Colonization is against Galactic Law, and Legion Varus is dispatched to the system to handle the situation. Earth gave them sealed orders, but Earth is 35 lightyears away.

    D says: "They’re back ready to die; again"
    "Good, but predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good, but predictable. That evaluation seems to me to be applicable to Larson's military sci-fi in general. I enjoy the stories, but I can't remember a single time of being surprised by a plot twist, in anything I've read from Larson.

    The same is true here - the central protagonist of the book is, like Larson's protagonists tend to be, tough, independent minded, physically brave, and resourceful.... while at the same time being quite.... slow-witted, when it comes to encountering new things, and figuring out what's happening.

    In essence, the reader figures out what is happening way, way before the central protagonist does. I don't know whether this is due to the predictability of the story, or whether Larson is trying to make the reader feel really smart. To me it just felt a bit implausible that characters in the story would take so long to figure out things that were obvious to the reader very quickly.

    What makes the story predictable and "safe" reading is that the author seems very reluctant to let anything really bad happen to the central characters. Central characters very, very rarely die permanently. The conflicts and suspense created tend to be quickly resolved - too quickly, I think.

    Still, the series is enjoyable reading, that keeps you engaged with the fast paced action, and I will be buying the next installment in the series. I guess that's the final test of whether an author has been successful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    Overall
    (3402)
    Performance
    (2178)
    Story
    (2205)

    In what is considered one of Heinlein's most hair-raising, thought-provoking, and outrageous adventures, the master of modern science fiction tells the strange story of an even stranger world. It is 21st-century Luna, a harsh penal colony where a revolt is plotted between a bashful computer and a ragtag collection of maverick humans, a revolt that goes beautifully until the inevitable happens. But that's the problem with the inevitable: it always happens.

    Gerald says: "Very Good Interpretation"
    "Engaging story, iffy politics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it was clearly written from a political point of view that I found a little unrealistic.

    ***Minor spoiler warning***

    The moon society described in the story was essentially liberalistic to the extreme, to the point of being anarchistic - for example, the populace policed itself.

    The story had this system working - if a person tried to take over, or acted in an outrageous manner, he'd quickly be disposed of, with nobody objecting. That's not really realistic. In any real life sizeable human community, the absense of a police force and a justice system would lead to long lasting vendetas between groups of people and families. Someone who acts outrageously, and 99% of the population would agree has to be gotten rid of, would still be likely to have family, which would not rest before they exacted punishment on the killers of their family member.

    This killing then would cause the new victim's family to want justice against the killers of their family member, and a vendetta would be born. Thus the need for a police force, and a common justice system is born, in any society of any respectable size.

    That's a rather minor quibble though; I was quite able to suspend my disbelief and pretend that such a society could work, for the purposes of the story, which was well written, engaging and enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Runner: Run Duology, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By William C. Dietz
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (58)

    In a crumbling futuristic society, Earth is only a myth, the technological advances of centuries have faded into distant memory, and space travel depends on a fleet of run-down, unreliable ships. Only the brave-or foolhardy-undertake such risky journeys. The brave, the foolhardy-and the runners… Jak Rebo is one such runner, whose current job is to deliver a future religious leader to his people, while avoiding assassins.

    Michael says: "High Praise For A Master Crafter Of Worlds!"
    "Scifi with a large infusion of woo woo"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The storyline is not bad, but the publishers summary led me to expect a sci-fi story, not a sci-fi-fantasy, heavily weighed towards fantasy. I prefer my sci-fi to have at least a semblance of plausibility, and to my annoyance, new age concepts like channeling dead spirits, clairvoyance, and psychics are central to the world the author has created.

    It's fine for a story to have those, but a story like that is just not my cup of tea, and I wish I'd known prior to buying the book.

    Apart from that, the writing is good, and it's not a bad story at all. Just not for me. I'm in a strange situation now - I'm by nature a completionist, and hate to drop a story mid way through, so I'm considering whether I have to get book 2 as well, even though I felt kinda conned into a story I would not have bought had I known beforehand about it revolving around supernatural elements, and the SCIENCE part of this fiction being quite peripheral.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (135)

    The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of No Man's Land gone? Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some said mad, others dangerous - scientist when she finds a curious gadget: a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a potato. It is the prototype of a life-changing invention....

    Amy W says: "World and not Character Building"
    "Interesting, but does it deliver?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book with an interesting concept, but ultimately I think that this collaboration was less successful than either author's individual works.

    The reason this left me wanting something more is difficult to pin down, but I'll try. Pratchett shines in not only comedy but his depiction of rich, and very human characters. In this story, the most interesting character that showed Pratchett's handiwork was sister Agnes, and she only made an appearance in the recollections and thoughts, and occasional conversation, of the main character. For a Pratchett book, there was a paucity of characters, I felt.

    Baxter brings in his works some far-reaching concepts, and the "long earth" certainly qualifies. Yet I find his forays into biology and evolution, while interesting, often stretching plausibility beyond a breaking point - here too it seems to be the case that some of the biological entities, especially the singular one revealed near the end, don't really have a plausible evolutionary path to get to where they are. As somewhat of a biology-geek, this tends to nag me.

    There is little in the way of Pratchett's usual humor - which is not automatically a negative, since this story is not in the same genre as Pratchett's other works. Yet what confuses the reader is that there clearly are hints that the story might go in a humorous direction, especially early on, and then that expectation is let down by nothing very funny happening.

    With all these negatives, you might think I didn't like the book, which isn't quite true. I think it is a flawed book, but it did maintain my interest enough for me to have just bought the sequel - I do want to learn how the story ends. Ultimately, that's why the four stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs, Michael Fenton Stevens
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (31)

    Roundworld is in trouble again, and this time it looks fatal. Having created it in the first place, the wizards of Unseen University feel vaguely responsible for its safety. They know the creatures who lived there escaped the impending Big Freeze by inventing the space elevator - they even intervened to rid the planet of a plague of elves, who attempted to divert humanity onto a different time track. But now it's all gone wrong - Victorian England has stagnated and the pace of progress would embarrass a limping snail.

    Jarno says: "A good popular science book, paired with fantasy"
    "A good popular science book, paired with fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is pretty difficult to classify - as a popular science book, it touches on subjects ranging from cosmology to evolution, with history of science and the history of societies that allowed science to blossom weaved in.

    Most of the science was already familiar to me, though it was a pleasure to listen to so well presented. The insight into how the society has to be ready for a development, to provide fertile ground for new things to "take off", was one that I hadn't given much thought to before.

    The book is perhaps 80% science, 20% ficition - with the story of the Wizards trying to make things right on roundworld being told in separate, shorter chapters, in between longer chapters on science and history. I quite liked this approach.

    The narrator was very good, with the exception of quite annoyingly misspronouncing a couple of words. The narrator clearly didn't pay attention in biology class, because one would think that most people would know how to pronounce "allele". And "meme" in the word "meme-plex" rhymes with "gene". The "me-me-plex" pronounciation really grated on my nerves. A tip for any narrators: if a word is new to you, and you haven't heard it spoken out loud before, look up the pronounciation, don't just guess.

    That's a rather minor complaint though, in a generally good reading of a very good book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (20355)
    Performance
    (18119)
    Story
    (18084)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Outstanding, all round"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stephen King can write. BOY can he write!

    I am neither a fan of the horror genre, nor do I really like stories which depend on supernatural elements, so I haven't read that much by King. I may have to remedy that after reading (or listening rather) to this one.

    "11-22-63: A Novel" was engaging, captivating, and memorable - the kind of book that you don't want to put down. More than once, I had to fight back tears (of sorrow or joy) and I really came to care about these fictional characters.

    The narrator Craig Wasson was truly outstanding. I've only listened to a handful of audiobooks thus far, and only two fiction books, but Wasson set the bar really high. He managed to make all the characters unique, and instantly recognizable, never over-the-top. At appropriate times, I could hear the emotion in his voice, and truly appreciated his skill. I hope to hear more of his work in the future.

    Stop hesitating, and spend that credit on this one - you'll be glad you did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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