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South Burlington, VT, United States | Member Since 2014

  • 8 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 305 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • Polar Star

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Martin Cruz Smith
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ex-Chief Investigator Arkady Renko is in deep on the “slime line” - the fish-gutting station - in the Polar Star, a Soviet fish factory ship of some 250 souls, almost as many secrets, and a dangerous shipboard sub-culture that cares little for the Party, and less for human life.

    Richard Delman says: "Probably the greatest audiobook ever. Really."
    What would have made Polar Star better?

    The chief problem, so far as I was concerned, is that the murder victim is a complete cypher; the reader has no relationship with her whatsoever. What this leads to is a sense where I truly lost interest in the "whodunit" aspect ... I essentially didn't care who killed her.

    What was most disappointing about Martin Cruz Smith’s story?

    It was boring. The main character wanders around trying to solve the mystery that none of the other characters care about, and don't want to investigate. For most of the book, the protagonist doesn't care who did it.By about a third of the story, I didn't care who did it.

    Which character – as performed by Frank Muller – was your favorite?

    None of them. But Muller's performance was still the best part of a bad effort.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The setting was interesting, and the bleakness of the arctic circle complemented the Soviet state and the desperation of the characters. Except for Muller, that's it.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Red Star Rogue

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Kenneth Sewell, Clint Richmond
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson

    Early in 1968, a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine sank in the waters off Hawaii, hundreds of miles closer to American shores than it should have been. Compelling evidence strongly suggests that the sub sank while attempting to fire a nuclear missile.

    Bryan says: "Good but too long"
    "Twaddle. Just twaddle..."

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
    - Carl Sagan

    The chief problem here is that the author starts with *only* four facts; K-129 had 15 more crewmen on board than normal, K-129 failed to send out two routine radio reports, K-129 was closer to Hawaii than assigned when it went down, and K-129 was apparently on the surface when it suffered an explosion that sank it...

    ...and his conclusion is that this adds up to a plot by shadowy forces in the Kremlin to start a nuclear war between China and the USA by using K-129 as a stand-in for a Chinese missile submarine and nuking Pearl Harbor.

    Add to this the old-time snake oil salesman's dodge of claiming, "my sources are secret and cannot come forward!" and you get the picture. A cop I know once observed, "in any criminal case, there are things the police believe, things the police know, and things the police can prove."

    None of this silly book is remotely *proven*. It's all just conjecture. If you want to waste your time, stick with that TV show where they hunt for Bigfoot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Walter M. Miller
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner

    Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of 20th-century literature—a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

    Joel D Offenberg says: "A Classic"
    "A classic ... revisited."
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Canticle for Leibowitz to be better than the print version?

    Not "better," but just a different experience. The narrator, Tom Weiner, does a simply beautiful job. I read A Canticle for Leibowitz originally when I was a teenager, and was delighted to see it pop up in my Audible queue.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The effortless way Miller compresses 1,500 years of future history into three linked volumes - not a bad trick in a book you can listen to in 10 hours.

    What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

    Everything. Weiner performs the book perfectly, down to the different southwestern and midwestern accents.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Funny, but when I read the book originally 30 years ago, I believe it did just read it cover-to-cover.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Christopher Hadnagy, Paul Wilson (foreword)
    • Narrated By A. T. Chandler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    From elicitation, pretexting, influence and manipulation all aspects of social engineering are picked apart, discussed and explained by using real world examples, personal experience and the Science & Technology behind them to unraveled the mystery in social engineering. Kevin Mitnick - one of the most famous social engineers in the world - popularized the term social engineering. He explained that it is much easier to trick someone into revealing a password than to exert the effort of hacking.

    Doug says: "Social Engineering Savvy"
    "Plodding, pedantic ... dull"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I could have been listening to a different book, by some other author, being read by another narrator.

    Has Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. Just this author.

    What didn’t you like about A. T. Chandler’s performance?

    The book was boring enough as-is. The narrator's relentless monotone was not helping.

    Any additional comments?

    The whole affair just reeked of an undergraduate sociology paper where the author is primarily interested in "word count." I've written quite a few of these, I just didn't expect the reader to pay for them.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (49 hrs)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Dubbed the American Tolkien by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the number-one New York Times best-selling author delivers the fifth book in his spellbinding landmark series - as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.

    Dianne Houston says: "OH NO ROY!!!! NOT DENARIS!!!!!!!"
    "George R. R. Martin is back - with a vengeance!"
    Where does A Dance with Dragons rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    First-rate. Top-shelf. As bad as A FEAST FOR CROWS was, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS makes up for it. Readers disliking A FEAST FOR CROWS should *not* stop with that thumbsucker. Finish it on Wiki and move on to ADWD.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The new one. No spoilers from me, but someone so shocking and unexpected has appeared that it - literally - made my jaw drop. OMG.

    Have you listened to any of Roy Dotrice’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Roy Dotrice took a lot of (unwarranted, in my book) criticism for A FEAST FOR CROWS. I just don't see it. Dotrice is as good as the game, and easily one of the best readers out there Not as good as Frank Muller, certainly, but definitely up there - and doing a totally appropriate performance in this whole series.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Relief, mostly. I hated the heck out of a FEAST FOR CROWS, and from the very first *word* - literally - I loved A DANCE WITH DRAGONS.

    Any additional comments?

    Dragons are really, really extraordinarily dangerous. As characters and readers discover. Once they get big enough to eat bulls and horses, it's unwise to turn your back on them - or even get anywhere near them - unless your name is "Targaryen."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "What a waste of bandwidth..."
    What disappointed you about A Feast for Crows?

    Martin decidedly phoned this one in; it's almost as though another author snatched the typewriter at the outset. The main problem is that Martin is increasingly long-winded ... and long-winded about events and characters readers of the series could care less about.

    What was most disappointing about George R. R. Martin’s story?

    Nothing happens. Nothing. The four most interesting (arguably, at least) characters - Tyrion Lannister, Daenyres Targaryan, Jon Snow, and Stannis Baratheon - appear *not at all* in this tome. New plotlines appear, seemingly out of left field, and completely take over the story - and none of them are terribly interesting.

    I told a friend who's also reading the series that he could save himself $8.99 by listening to my five-minute summary of the events in the book. And it would be a dull five minutes, at that.

    I got into the series by watching the excellent GAME OF THRONES on HBO. Something tells me season 4 of the TV production is just going to skip right over this turkey. Nobody at HBO is dumb enough to lose there jobs by putting this book on my TV screen.

    What about Roy Dotrice’s performance did you like?

    Everything. Mr. Dotrice isn't the problem, and makes a top-shelf effort at making a dull book seem interesting.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom. If I had been reading FEAST FOR CROWS on paper, I'd have skimmed ahead over and over.

    Any additional comments?

    DANCES WITH DRAGONS had better be a barn-burner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By D. M. Giangreco
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    U.S. planning for the invasion and military occupation of Imperial Japan began two years before the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hell to Pay brings to light the political and military ramifications of the enormous casualties and loss of material projected by both sides in the climatic struggle to bring the Pacific War to a conclusion through a brutal series of battles on Japanese soil.

    Scott says: "Dull, dry, and utterly boring..."
    "Dull, dry, and utterly boring..."

    So far as I can see from the five or so hours I listened (IE, before deleting it...), this entire book is nothing more than a stupifyingly tedious recitation of US military casualty and replacement figures in incredibly elaborate - and totally pointless - detail. It was like listening to someone read down the balance sheet and income statement spreadsheets of a large corporation.

    Not merely boring, it was downright dangerous - threatening to put me to sleep in traffic during the afternoon commute.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Really Fast Paced Sci Fi!"
    "Started off OK, then got increasingly lame ..."

    The book was interesting at first, particularly since it seemed to get the tech angles exactly right. But at some point - right around 1/3 of the way through - it just jumped the shark, big time.

    When I got to the part where 200 robot cars attacked The Secret Government Base(tm) and the hero FBI agent was lying on the hood of The Evil Villain Hacker's robot car, prying off the uplink antennae with his knife ... well, let's just say it didn't seem all that plausible.

    I think I'll skip the sequel.

    14 of 21 people found this review helpful

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