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David E. Ballard


South Bend, IN USA | Member Since 2013

  • 4 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 693 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2015

  • Memory and Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Charles de Lint
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    As the young student of the cruel, brilliant artist Vincent Rushkin, Isabelle Copley discovered that she could paint images so vividly real they brought her wildest fantasies to life. Now, 20 years later, Isabelle must come to terms with the shattering memories she has long denied and unlock the slumbering power of her brush. And, in a dark reckoning with her old master, she must find the courage to live out her dreams and bring the magic back to life.

    David E. Ballard says: "If this is your first de Lint"
    "If this is your first de Lint"

    Although I had heard of Charles de Lint for years and had read some of his short stories, this is my first book, so I write this to those of you who might come in cold and consider this book.

    First, the book takes a LOOOONNGGG time to get started -- I had to start over a few times because I lost track of what was going on (and it's a long book). It also takes a long while before any fantasy element emerges, but the writing is so fresh and the characters so compelling, that eventually this book met my test of a wonderful audio book -- when you sit in your garage listening to it in the car because you can't wait to get back to it.

    The long beginning is worth it, as this becomes my introduction into what I see now is a rich world that gets revisited in several of his books (all set in the artist community of Newford).

    I rarely write reviews and, as a die-hard Stephen King fan, find few books that are as compelling, but this one sings after awhile, and is well worth the wait.

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Flashback

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Richard Davidson, Bryan Kennedy, Joe Barrett

    The United States is near total collapse. But 87% of the population doesn't care: they're addicted to flashback, a drug that allows its users to re-experience the best moments of their lives. After ex-detective Nick Bottom's wife died in a car accident, he went under the flash to be with her; he's lost his job, his teenage son, and his livelihood as a result. Nick may be a lost soul, but he's still a good cop, so he is hired to investigate the murder of a top governmental advisor's son.

    Jeffrey says: "Outstanding, haunting work from a master of sci fi"
    "Don't let rant keep you from enjoying this story!"

    I read the reviews, and being fairly liberal myself I kept an open mind about it, and I wasn't all that bothered by the right wing agenda of the characters. Most of what everyone is complaining about occurs in static scenes where two characters talk (playing chess, in the cab of a truck, at a desk) and blame the bleak future on Obama (specifically) and American policy in this decade, and because these are isolated incidents, it just sounds like a cranky old author bitching because he can. But the story itself is fascinating -- it is BLEAK as hell, but incredibly compelling -- bleak in a different way than 2030 by Albert Brooks was bleak (I still can't believe that ALBERT BROOKS the comedian wrote that? He had to have had some help). In Flashback, the Japanese are a superpower, whereas in 2030 it is the Chinese. All extrapolating plausible outcomes based upon current trends (remember when the sci fi books of the 80s blamed the bleak future on the Reagan administration?).

    However, if you are a Dan Simmons fan, you will enjoy this book tremendously despite the occasional political griping. He is still one of the most interesting writers working today, and this story is layered and rich, and it will throw you many surprises along the way. Just try not to get too depressed. It is worth it all the way to the end.

    7 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • No Country for Old Men

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Cormac McCarthy, best-selling author of National Book Award winner All the Pretty Horses, delivers his first new novel in seven years. Written in muscular prose, No Country for Old Men is a powerful tale of the West that moves at a blistering pace.

    Alan says: "Great story!"
    "Maybe that's just Cormac -- annoying"

    My first Cormac McCarthy audiobook was THE ROAD -- although beautifully written, it really had no plot and was somewhat repetitive. So then I picked up this story, which at least had a plot the first 2/3 of the story. I literally had to re-listen to see if part of my audiobook had been cut out, becuase (and you'll see this in other reviews) after Moss has a tender scene with the teen runaway, the next scene is the police investigation and clean-up of their murder, just like that. Whatthehell? So maybe Cormac McCarthy is just a difficult author to get around. Perhaps I'm conditioned to more conventional stories, and this will grow on me later, but for now I find it terribly annoying.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Scanner Darkly

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Paul Giamatti
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Bob Arctor is a dealer of the lethally addictive drug Substance D. Fred is the police agent assigned to tail and eventually bust him. To do so, Fred takes on the identity of a drug dealer named Bob Arctor. And since Substance D, which Arctor takes in massive doses, gradually splits the user's brain into two distinct, combative entities, Fred doesn't realize he is narcing on himself.

    Lew says: "Brillant Novel, Read to Perfection!"
    "Not worth two credits"

    I am a PKD fan, but I find many of his later works challenging. This book just rambled on and on (I've not seen the movie, but in answer to the previous reviewer, they probably changed a great deal of it to dramatize it, like with all of the other PKD adaptations), to the point where I endured to finish it because I used two credits on it.

    The story has a kind of "1984" feel to it, in the sense that the protagonist is basically trapped, with little or nothing he can do to survive the manipulation that has created his situation (the protagonist is rather pathetic by the end, too). The author's note at the end was moving, but all in all, the story itself felt drug-induced and disjointed, making it a struggle to keep track of what was going on.

    Giamatti as the narrator was excellent. For the most part, the book just draaaaaaaged.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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