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dunc

los angeles, california, US | Member Since 2008

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 245 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Footfall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (990)
    Performance
    (608)
    Story
    (604)

    They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star. The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.

    Flatlander says: "Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle at Their Best"
    "not really "hard SF""
    Overall

    Not bad really, but the concept of the world being saved by amongst others, a think tank of science fiction writers, is too implausible for hard SF. (Not to mention conceited.). I think Niven is overrated on this account.

    There were plenty of gaps in the physics, and the aliens were so stupid, it beggars belief that they'd be able to make the journey, but i did love seeing Project Orion brought back to life.

    Much has been made of the irritating alien voices, but I think it's fair to blame Niven for this, in fact, I found this part of the story to be confusing and too ridiculous to be enjoyable.

    I think SF has really moved on from this era, and I personally enjoy a better written novel. Try Iain M Banks if you like guns and overwhelmingly powerful starships, or Stephen Baxter, if you know anything about physics.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ark

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Chris Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (65)

    With the discovery of another life-sustaining planet light years away, there is hope for a chosen few to leave the soon-to-be submerged Earth. Holle Groundwater is one of the candidates, having been trained for this purpose since childhood, when the ships Ark One and Ark Three were being built. But as Holle prepares to endure life aboard the Ark, she comes to realize that her attempt at escape may be more dangerous than trying to stay afloat on a drowning planet.

    dunc says: "OK"
    "OK"
    Overall

    Not as depressing as "Flood", but then neither is actually being depressed.

    I'm a big fan of Stephen Baxter's, but my over-riding memory of this experience is the terrible narration. It is possible to narrate a novel without acting the parts. In this case, it would be preferable. The accents were dire, and really spoiled my enjoyment of this pair of books.

    As for the actual story, I enjoyed it. The exploration of the social problems of small groups stuck together was interesting. Loved the physics, and the realistic attempt at warp travel.

    If you're american, buy it and enjoy it. From the UK? Buyer beware.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (1968)
    Performance
    (1637)
    Story
    (1652)

    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"
    "brilliant"
    Overall

    Just the kind of SF I love.

    Totally plausible characters, believable storyline, and genuine, edge of the seat action.

    No rule breaking either. No warp engines or FTL communication. It's all done the slow way. Sub-luminal.

    I love this man's work.
    (Apart from House of Suns)

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Flood

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Chris Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (71)

    Four hostages are rescued from a group of religious extremists in Barcelona. After five years of being held captive together, they make a vow to always watch out for one another. But they never expected this... The world they have returned to has been transformed by water - and the water is rising. As it continues to flow from the earth's mantle, entire countries disappear. High ground becomes a precious commodity. And before 50 years have passed, there will be nowhere left to run....

    Q says: "A great "what-if" apolcalyptic exploration"
    "tough"
    Overall

    I've been a fan of Baxter's for years now, and this does revisit an apocalyptic theme he's touched on before with "Moonseed".

    One of the few writers who recognises the human capacity to fail to appreciate the long game, whilst struggling for day to day survival.

    I did enjoy the story, it's well written and thorough, if a little depressing.

    My only criticism is of the narration.
    Chis Patton has clearly tried very hard to portray regional British accents, but his failure to properly capture the nuance of our understated culture and use of language, made the characters seem whiney and miserable, rather than stoic and businesslike.

    Buy it if you're not from the old country.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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