A better story with a comprehensible conclusion.
The most disappointing thing about ASH was the story itself. The book's beginning is interesting, with characters one quickly decides are likeable and unlikeable. The book then cascades into a series of inexplicable, and wholly unbelievable, occurrences that are never connected to one another in any meaningful way despite the constant intimation that there is some common explanation. Ash, the titular parapsychologist, never explains (perhaps, never understands) what is happening. The book's casst of ridiculous characters includes Hitler's bastard daughter, all grown up and crazy as hell, and the transparent (as in one can literally see his internal organs) prematurely born son of Princess Diana who comes to take her son into her loving embrace at novel's end. Oh, and did I forget to mention Qaddafi. 'Nuff said.
Hitler's daughter and Louie, the son of Princess Diana
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I enjoyed WOOL. I always assumed, from the descriptions I'd read, that it wasn't my cup of tea. I don't know what prompted me to get the audiobook despite my misgivings, but I'm glad I did. WOOL does seem more like young adult fiction than a work written with an older audience in mind. The characters are interesting though not fully developed. The story leaves a great many unanswered questions, but the main plot points are satisfactorily resolved.
I sometimes have problems when the voice of the narrator does not match the gender of the character for which she or he is speaking. I found that to be true in the case of WOOL. Goode's narration of the female characters is good, but I didn't care for her narrations of the male characters. Often both male and female characters sound as though they are sneering. When she sneers, Goode's voice is quite annoying (even when it seems from the context that a sneer is appropriate).
Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors. Although he appears to have begun is writing in the horror genre, I discovered him as a science-fiction writer when I stumbled across HYPERION/THE FALL OF HYPERION. I read CARRION COMFORT in print many years ago, and the audio presentation is very good. This narration has multiple voices to portray the novel's many characters. The effect is very satisfying, though I did not care for the voices chosen for some characters.
Still, the narration was very, very good. Hearing the story again reminded me how much I loved this book. The audio books for HYPERION and FALL OF HYPERION are also excellent and I highly recommend them.
Sheriff Gentry - I just loved the southerness of the actor who voiced the character.
The death of Sheriff Gentry - I had forgotten this detail of the book, so it was a surprise to me. The Sheriff was a great character, and his death was very moving and unexpected.
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