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Bartlett, TN, United States | Member Since 2010

  • 5 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 118 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015

  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee

    2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it. The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.

    Jesse says: "Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy"
    "Trying too hard and not quite hitting the mark"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Pushing Ice was a long and, in the end, disappointing slog. Reynolds must have had something like Clarke's Rama series in mind when he wrote this book, but in the end his book felt more like a soap opera in space than a story that left you wanting more at the end, and experiencing the sense of wonder that characterizes speculative fiction that has its feet based firmly in hard science.
    Reynolds does a good job with his science, and in this book he gives a good deal of ink to the problems and timescales of interstellar travel where C remains an absolute limit.
    His characters are well developed, his prose is at times exquisite, but the story left me cold and unsatisfied. Instead of wanting more at the end, I felt more like saying "Glad that's over," and "What was the point of all that?"

    Would you recommend Pushing Ice to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend this book to friends as it does too little in too many words to be worthwhile.

    What aspect of John Lee’s performance would you have changed?

    John Lee has a magnificent voice, but I"m not sure it's well suited to audiobook narration. His voice characterizations are limited to accents (which he does rather well) but he seems more like an announcer than a storyteller. His voicing, enunciation and elocution are all above reproach, but comes off stilted and stiff.

    Was Pushing Ice worth the listening time?

    I finished listening to the book because it was interesting enough to want to finish, but when it was done I knew that those hours could have been better spent elsewhere. This will not be a book I'll listen to again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment: Frontlines, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "Great military science fiction!"

    Terms of enlistment starts out as one might expect as recruit Grayson joins the armed forces of Earth. Marco Kloos builds compelling characters and is an excellent storyteller. This book made me eagerly want more. I look forward to subsequent volumes in this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author's preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.

    Michael says: "New to Neil"
    "America through the lens of metaphor"
    What did you like best about American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)? What did you like least?

    Neil Gaiman's whimsical plot, rich narrative, and exquisite character development make what would otherwise be a pedestrian tale into a keeper. Gaiman says that readers tend to like the book or hate it, and I can see why. I really disliked the premise and the story to be quite honest, but I really liked Gaiman's writing style.
    Philosophically the story is interesting - American culture contains a wonderful, bewildering patois of colliding cultural traditions, and at the same time the leading creator of culture in the world. Gaiman's story elucidates this cultural dialectic through a metaphor of a supernatural struggle between the many old gods brought to America in the consciousness of its immigrants and the new gods who had their beginning here.

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I'm not sure I would want to change this story. Gaiman says in his author's foreword that the genre of the story is hard to place, and I agree. I'd say it belongs somewhere between fantasy and horror, neither of which genres are my ordinary cup of tea, but I enjoyed the richness and rhythm of his prose and the development of the characters.

    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrators are cast beautifully - their voice characterizations help to flesh out the already well developed characters.

    Do you think American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    This book stands on its own - a follow up isn't needed, nor do I think it would be even possible. That said, I could easily envision a podcasted panel discussion of the philosophical and cultural metaphors in American Gods and how they relate to actual cultural dynamics.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Cassandra Project

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jack McDevitt, Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business...until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future—a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.

    Marie says: "Jack McDevitt is one of my favorites."
    "A Disappointing Shaggy Dog Story"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Both McDevitt and Resnick are capable of really good writing, and this book contains some good examples of their craft. The characters are well developed and convincing. The plot however is contrived and gimmicky and makes mistakes that some would overlook and others would call fatal as they weave some genuine historical events in with the fictional events of the story. The narrative was interesting enough to keep one going, but the climax of the story ends up being a disappointing, timeworn cliche. They could have ended with a bang, but instead ended with a fizzle.

    Would you ever listen to anything by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick again?

    Both authors are capable of better work. Perhaps their next collaboration will be more successful.

    What about Brian Holsopple’s performance did you like?

    Brian Holsopple's narration was quite good, better than the book he was reading.

    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I wouldn't go see this as a movie, but I might watch it on television if nothing else were on.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ray Kurzweil
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine.

    Sean Gately says: "Great Idea, terribly slow and painful listen"
    "Vast future vision, narration like a WWII newsreel"

    In a period of ever accelerating technological and cultural change, Ray Kurzweil provides a schematic structure that articulates the ideas that so many have intuitively sensed about the epochal impact of technology on the development of human knowledge and humanity itself. With almost mystical fervor, Kurzweil sets forth a vision of the future in which technology and humanity merge and the bounds of human knowledge explode as humanity is unbound from the limits of very slow biological information processing. The result will be a rise of intelligent machines which retain elements of humanity, and of humans who have enhanced and extended their abilities by taking advantage of technological augmentation of their minds.

    The scope of Kurzweil's vision is breathtaking - be sure to go to Tantor's publisher site to download and view the figures and illustrations mentioned in the text.

    The content of the book is breathtaking, and looks into an infinite future.

    The narration is the polar opposite of the content. George K. Wilson's stilted style is almost ironically ill-suited to such a forward looking book. Imagine the work of a futurist as it might have been heard on a World War II-era radio. Wilson seems to be trying for the authoritative pronouncment of a Cronkite or a Murrow. Wilson's style of narration is wholly unsuited to the audiobook format generally and does particular violence to this book. Tantor Audio, what were you thinking?

    The book content gets five stars, but the narration is so bad that this audiobook is almost unendurable.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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