I was introduced to Daniel Suarez with Daemon but it was Freedom 2.0 that really sold me as an author to really take note of. Kill Decision feels reserved compared to the wild fantasies of Daemon, but not entirely bad. Without giving away anything, Kill Decision feels a little too plausible, diving into the idea of automated warfare in the very near future. Again, Saurez's shows his adeptness for creativity. The only short comings are the slightly predictable nature of a few characters, and an ending that leaves you waiting for the sequel.
Also smartly, Jeff Gurner narrates Suarez, in his well dramatized style (including bursting into song when reading lyrics to a song). Jeff Gurner earns his rent check and then some, making his performance enough reason to listen.
Suarez markets himself as the heir to Michael Creighton, although he's selling himself a bit short. He's the king of techno-geek-thrillers, packed with plenty of thought provoking material, I'm pretty sure Saurez is true talent, and not just a one hit wonder with the Daemon/Freedom 2.0 series. Here's to Kill Decision's inevitable sequel!
I'm not the most picky about the audio quality but Snow Crash has a few issues:
* There's a bit of glitches, the audio cuts to distortion. I tried redownloading and it occurred in the same spots. Only happened four or five times, and only for a second.
* The audio quality sounds lower bit rate than the usual audio books on Audible.
* There's an omni-present hiss, its pretty low but pronounced if listening over the iPhone speaker.
*At the end of one chapter, there's a clear bizarre edit that lasts about 30 seconds. It sounds as if another reader reads the section of the book. Its disorienting and strange.
And lastly, purely atheistic but each chapter has a goofy soundfont, it varies slightly but the faux gibbering often jarring, and worse, completely cheesy. I'm glad newer audiobooks have stayed away from this trend.
The book itself holds up fairly well, written over two decades ago, the who metaverse pre-conception the internet really holds up surprisingly well. The premise of the main story is a hokey at times, but I've heard some call this book parodying the world of Cyber-Punk. Perhaps so, the future is portrayed in classic cyber punk terms except the volume has been cranked to 11. Corporations don't just control the world, they've become nations themselves. Violence isn't just rampant, its the way of life. Hackers aren't simply the technocracy, they're the center of society. Inflation didn't just get out of control, trillion dollar bills are normal. There's a heavy dose of post-modernistic relativity that makes the chaos bitingly sarcastic while at the same time trying to covey a serious story. Its a disconnect that asks the reader to carry a bit the cognitive dissonance, likely purposely.
The book at first seems a bit chaotic, and attention-deficit but as you get the groove, it flows better.
As you listen, you'll probably find yourself thinking at times... "Is that where..." insert pop culture movie/tv show "Got there idea from?". Rightly so. Worth a listen. Johnathan Davis does a good enough job to carry the story, technical glitches and a few bad production calls aside. Certainly not for everyone, this book is something special and enjoyable.
The The Expanse series probably is my most eagerly awaited book series. Based in a newtonian universe (people aren't zipping across the galaxy yet), the Expanse explores recognizable and well-thought out universe, every bit as political volatile as the one we currently live in. There's a healthy genre blending of sci-fi, action, detective, horror and suspense, where Earth, Mars and the outer planets each have their own distinct cultures, but it never feels overly saturated with the details. Even though its environmentally rich, its a character driven novel, never too bogged down with its sci-finess or does the pace meander.
John Scalzi caught me with his Old Man's War series with a very post-modern style, in-jokes to other sci-fi, a healthy dose of biting sarcastic (often funny) dialogue, and well executed, imaginative plot lines, where the sci-fi elements are less emphasized than the story.
I held off reading Fuzzy Nation because the plot didn't seem all that interesting... my own ignorance almost had me pass this up. Its an unusual mxi of court-room thriller and sci-fi, unique and too much fun not to recommend. While Will Wheaton isn't my favorite narrator, for this book, he's A++, cast perfectly.
A few listeners haven't been too thrilled with audio book version but Minnie Goode is pretty solid, a few of her voices are a little awkward but fortunately are very sparse (her child voice is soppy and forced laughter is occasionally awkward). Despite a misstep or two, she breathes a lot of life into the book, giving characters unique voices and narrates with emotion.
A lot of the harsh criticisms reviewers tinge with "No girls allowed, this is sci-fi" sediment which is sad, considering the bulk of the book is from female main characters. I'm a little surprised. Would I listen to Minnie Goode again? Sure, possibly not my first choice she's solid, and probably will mature with each book. As near as I can she's a rookie, but clearly talented.
As far as the book, its a clever Sci-fi locked into a confined setting. The reader is clearly beyond the characters, as immediately the reader is able to piece together a semblance of the truth instantly. The comprehension of the situation is leveraged as the main plot point and surprisingly, its still electric when the truth is discovered.
I wonder if Hugh Howery is a fan of the video game series, Fallout? As the Silo seems much like the "Vault" premise. In any case, in our post modernistic society, the only way to make something new is to take something old and put your own unique twist on it. Hugh certainly has.
Santanic Versea likely will be remembered as the most controversial book of the later half of 20th century for the shear amount of political controversy it illicited globally, worthy or not. But what happens when you write one of the the most controversial books of the century?
Joseph Anton has the answer. Salmon Rushdie, in 3rd person, meanders through his entire life. Taking moments to ponder, life, love, religion and family from pre-fatwa to post. His journey takes him from his life as Salmon and his alias, Joseph, used under police protection.
The story is one of preserveance, despite some of his own short comings... A story that has him bumping shoulders (or more accurately rubbed) by Margaret Thacter, chats with Bill Clinton, dinners with Tony Blair, friendships with Christopher Hitchens, and even Bono. Despite what might have been mistook as glamour and ego was a caged man, who was barely able to leave his own house and difficulties performing basic father tasks with his son.
While Salmon, drops names frequently, to the point of blurring into the ether, what remains is story with personal victory with plenty off tragedy. Only knowing Salmon from appearances in the media, I finally was motivated to read one of his works and settled for the one that interested me the most. Having been narrowly old enough to claim to lived through the entire 80s, many of the books earlier events served as a portrait of the confusion of multiculturalism and a global society in a time I lived through but was not old enough to have meaningful comprehension. The extent of Iran's treachery even given today's misgivings is shocking, the British lack of desire to defend its own citizens is surprising and the global Islamophobia pandemic is current.
Salmon is a harsh judge of himself but also holds himself with regard, likely the same dignity that kept him sane. I enjoyed this book immensely, as Rushdie is passionate, insightful, and charasmatic.
I saw Old Man's War on a list of the top 100 sci-fi books. I had listened to John Scalzi's Red Shirts which I only had lukewarm feelings about. However, I decided to give John Scalzi a second chance, especially with William Dufris reading.
Old Man's War is surprisingly funny, a bit nihilistic, and clever. Scalzi dances the fine line between being serious and silly, creating a universe that's every bit as hostile as bizarre. Highly recommended.
Rook opens on a rather cliché note, amnesiac hero, who's tabla-rasa for any personal memories but retains her instincts. From the Bourne Identity beginning to an X-men like world, Daniel O' Malley dances along being trite to actually clever. Its a mish-mash of supernatural beings, shadowy government organizations and a world unseen by the public, and schools for the unique of talent. While not a book about super heros and super villains , The Rook certainly takes cues from X-Men.
Susan Duerden is one hell of a voice actor, but she fails at the narrative. Her voice switches into a repetitive cadence, strangely melodic and robotic, that sounds strangely like a high level text to speech algorithm. The words are there but the inflection is the same, regardless of content. Its strange and annoying. Early in the book, when narrative parts extend minutes, I found myself annoyed, which is unusual for me as I'm not the most demanding of listeners. Fortunately, as more characters are introduced, Susan Duerden spends less time in her repetitive robo-speak.
That said, for a rookie writer, Daniel O' Malley proves himself a worthy read. About the only complaint I had is it seemed that every character of substance was described as being "Beautiful"... how many beautiful people can occupy a single novel? ;)
John Alllen Paulos delivers a pretty straightforward look at disbelief using hard logic. Since the book uses logic problems (although little math), I found myself reaching for the rewind button to make sure I grasped the example or lost if I let my mind wander. I think as a book, would allow one to digest any of the exercises a little more easily. Irreligion isn't a damnation of religion as much as other works by Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, nor would I expect devoutly religious to change their opinion having read it as it pertains strictly to the realm of logic. However, it is meant to provide a solid ground for logical arguments for atheism.
Much of the book is derived from basic if A+B = X then X must be... Its not the sort of topic that makes for excitement/entertainment so just be forewarned. I bought this having read some of the reviews.
Was the book bad? No, but some things aren't well suited for certain mediums. I think Irreligion is an example as an audiobook vs book. Its certainly listenable, but just not inviting and likely why this book has only received a 3 star average.
The premise is silly, an aging retrofitted outdated US Destroyer amid the Second Battle of the Java Sea is enters a titanic storm after being locked in a battle (painfully out gunned by the Japanese) in the south pacific and comes out on the other side... to a new world it seems. It sounds much like the start of a B movie, except it isn't. Strange new life inhabits this new, dangerous world, that's answered by a very interesting Darwinian "What if?". Large dinosaur like lizards, man eating fish, and plenty of creatures both friend and foe inhabit this strange new world.
Taylor Anderson commands an expert knowledge of technology from yesteryear, south pacific geography and uses fun evolutionary dissections to explain how this world works, without burdening the listener. The focus isn't the why or how, but rather what happens after such an event. The Lieutenant Commander USS Walker 163, commanded Matthew Reddy, leads a great swashbuckling series, that's part War/Military fiction, part sci-fi and part history, in a strange yet very entertaining series. Its well thought out, imaginative and takes premise that could have been rote with poor plot points, bad dialogue and silly archetypal characters and makes it smart enough to keep the science minded contented, and adventure seeker thrilled. Having bought and all 6 books (and am on 5th), I eagerly await the 7th in the series. In the end, this series has been... fun.
The only downside is you'll be hooked, eagerly awaiting each next book. William Dufris gets special merit, creating voices for individual accents for creatures human to non-human, American to Japanese to Australian, oaf to educated, young to old, female to male. It adds an extra dimension to story he brings life to Anderson's world. Drufis alone is reason to buy this book.
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