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Gillette

Lawrence, KS, United States | Member Since 2004

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 108 ratings
  • 385 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Darwin's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Greg Bear
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (255)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (81)

    Eleven years have passed since SHEVA was discovered in human DNA, a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence...and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths are also ticking time bombs that could exterminate the "old" human race...

    Jim says: "Serious Science Fiction"
    "a good sequel"
    Overall

    I wasn't really expecting a sequel to Darwin's Radio, but this one does a pretty good job. The plot is almost as good as the first book, but some of the speculative aspect is better.

    The characters are as believeable as ever, though Kay's character has lost a little bit of her past I think.

    All in all, the ending really makes the book. I doubt it's a popular ending with most people, but it really fits the book well. In this regard, Bear has done phenomenal work. It's absolutely an appropriate addition to the Darwin series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3883)
    Performance
    (3413)
    Story
    (3413)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Very Well Done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Besides being a good 2 for 1 value, this book is quite enjoyable.

    I am undecided as to which book ought to be listened to first, the original Piper story "Little Fuzzy" (part 2 of the download) or the reboot "Fuzzy Nation" (part 1 of the download).

    Little Fuzzy is Sci-Fi classic, and tackles interesting intellectual issues through discourses insterted into its plot, much like Starship Troopers (for example). It has not aged well in many respects, but is still a good book and worth having and listening to. Incidentally, the coolest part for me was the book having a character named "Gustavus Adolphus", as I went to Gustavus Adolphus College.

    The highlight of this download, however, is Scalzi's work. It contains deep and well-developed characters, an entertaining and engaging plot, and is very funny. Scalzi manages to harness the a-hole protagonist perfectly, and along the way contributes a subtle but substantive message concerning personal character and virtue.

    My only wish is that Scalzi had predominantly used the term 'sapience' (as the original book does and as is strictly correct) to describe intelligent species rather than 'sentience'.

    Wheaton as the narrator is brilliant. He was awesome reading "The Android's Dream" and he is awesome reading this book. Have whatever opinions you like of his acting career, I hope he reads more audiobooks, because he is really, really good at it. I own hundreds of audio books and would easily put Wheaton into my top ten readers list even with the small sample size.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • His Excellency: George Washington

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Joseph J. Ellis
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (409)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (106)

    Acclaimed author Joseph J. Ellis penned the National Book Award-winning American Sphinx and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Founding Brothers, a fixture on The New York Times best seller list for an entire year, and one of the most popular history books of all time. Now this master historian turns his attention to the most exalted American hero, Founding Father and first President George Washington.

    Gerard says: "Distracted By Narrator"
    "Easy to see why Ellis won a pulitzer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Though Ellis' Pulitzer was not for this book, the qualities that earned him that prestigious award shine through. I don't know how many hundreds of books about GW and the era have been written, but this one is a gem that stands out from the rest. It is firmly grounded in fact, and filled with compellingly argued analysis where fact fails us. It is well organized and presents an insight not only into the doings of one of the very most important persons in American history, but into the personal character of GW.

    Not normally a fan of biographies, but this one I listened to twice. The reader does an outstanding job not getting in the way of the prose. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment to the reader, I assure you it is not backhanded. It takes top talent in this field to turn the text into a living thing without distracting the reader into noticing that they are being read to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moby-Dick

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1194)
    Performance
    (920)
    Story
    (924)

    Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

    Alice says: "I felt totally swept up in this world"
    "Depends on your literary tastes"
    Overall

    Frank Muller, may he rest in peace, could make the phone book entertaining if he read it aloud. This book is no different in that it's outstandingly read. However, the plot is very very slow. The language is artful and the themes are interestingly explored. The world of the 18th/19th century shipping culture is vividly presented, but if you're not a fan of a literary genre that prizes style of presentation over brisk plot movement and character development, you may not enjoy this book very much.

    For example, at one point Melville goes on for over an hour about the color white. The prose of this section is arful, and that can be enjoyable if you like that sort of thing, but not otherwise. It took me a while of starts and stops to finish this one, but I'm glad to have Muller's work, even if the writing was not my cup of tea.

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1673)
    Performance
    (924)
    Story
    (918)

    Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

    Roy says: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know - and More"
    "amazingly well done"
    Overall

    I am very interested in all things space-related, but I hesitated to purchase this item because I've seen and read the exact same information about America's space program SO many times that I was afraid of more of the same. I think I've seen every minute of original footage with and without commentary, I've been on every space center tour more than once, went to space camp as a kid, and have read probably 50 books and autobiographies relating to America's space program. To my delight, almost every anecdote in this book is entirely new to me. It is wonderfully original and thorough and delightfully odd-ball at the same time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 1 min)
    • By James J. O'Donnell
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Sweeping and accessible, The Ruin of the Roman Empire captures the richness of late antique life and the colorful characters of the age, while offering insight into today's debates about barbarism, religion, empires, and their threatened borders.

    J1Scarlett says: "Would not Recommend"
    "Everything you want a history to be."
    Overall

    This was a very good history. It mixes sketches of individual persons to provide an accessible perspective on a world with the larger movements and events in history. It has a good narrative quality, yet still manages to discuss the scholarly sources in a manner interesting to causal readers and essential for academics. It also challenges conventional views about the late Roman world, and quite successfully argues that this part of history needed the fresh look that this book provides. The narrator takes a bit of getting used to, but settles in nicely after about an hour or so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A History of Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. M. Roberts
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (24)

    How is it that the small continent of Europe, with its rich multiplicity of cultures and traditions, has managed to exert so profound an influence on the rest of the world? Roberts's sweeping and entertaining history notes the paradoxical effect, for good and ill, on everything touched by those Western values that originated in Europe.

    Gillette says: "An example of why so many find History boring."
    "An example of why so many find History boring."
    Overall

    As a lifelong academic and lover of history, I cringe inside when someone says that history is boring because all it is is names and dates and "this happened then that happened in this year and that year, test on Monday." History is about the uncovering of the past, and finding the truth and what it means for us. Real history is about interpreting and collecting evidence, and telling a compelling and useful story. Real history is so much more than names and dates, it is supposed to inform us of truths about the human condition by examining people in different times and places.

    This book, however, is "history" in the boring sense that so many think history is. No interpretive work is done, no attempt is made to form a more personal narrative, and if you payed attention in your high school World History course, this book is not likely to tell you anything new. My fear is that people more open-minded about history will be turned off by this book if it is the first one that they listen to. There are many great histories out there. This is not one of them.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Black House

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Stephen King, Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2177)
    Performance
    (688)
    Story
    (703)

    Stephen King and Peter Straub reintroduce you to Jack Sawyer of The Talisman, once a precocious boy traversing the Territories to save his mother and her "twinner," now a retired homicide detective drawn back to his past.

    Jennifer says: "Magnificent Sequel -- Riveting"
    "I wonder what Peter Straub did?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the second book written by both King and Straub, and is a companion, though not a direct sequel to The Talisman. The characterization and plot read just like every other King novel I've had experience with. The characters were interesting as usual for a King novel, and the story moved along well enough for a book with a rather pedestrian plotline, but I thought it was really unfair to this story and its characters that it was made into a footnote to the Dark Tower series in the end, as if King wasn't really paying attention to this story, but thinking of that other one he still hadn't finished by this point. What must Straub have thought of all this? Who knows?

    In any case, my chief pleasure in this book was to hear Frank Muller talk for 26 hours, which was grand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Galileo’s Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (52)

    With Galileo’s Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson crafts an instant masterpiece that blends epic adventure and thoughtful alternate history. Ganymede, a rebellious Jovian, attempts to bring famed scientific mind Galileo forward in time to alter the course of history with astonishing results.

    David says: "Historical Novel?"
    "One that sticks with you"
    Overall

    Robinson, already known for being able to construct detailed and realistic environments, makes the world of Galileo come alive with a vividness reminiscent of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. Galileo as a character is at once charming, frustrating, and human.

    The Jovian future scenes add an appropriately otherworldly flavor to the book, though these scenes cause the plot to drag at times, especially in the middle third of the book. But stick with it and you are rewarded with a story arc that is satisfying and thought provoking at the same time.

    The way that Robinson weaves the facts of Galileo's life and his actual writings into the fictional, time travel sections is wonderful enough to make one wonder if it isn't true after all.

    Guidall is without question the best in the business and this work is more of the excellence I've come to expect.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • City at the End of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Greg Bear
    • Narrated By Charles Leggett
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    In a time like the present, three young people dream of the fabulous ruins of a decaying city somewhere in the distant future: the Kalpa. The dreams of Ginny and Jack overtake them without warning, leaving their bodies behind while carrying their consciousnesses forward.

    Kenton says: "Not buying it."
    "The other reviewers nailed it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book so far has the distinction of being the only book in six years of Audible.com membership that I've been unable to finish. And the reader is great. I generally like Greg Bear's writing, Darwin's Radio stands as one of the top ten best SF books ever written on my list. This one just stank. Had even more nonsense metaphysical garbage in it than Card's "Children of the Mind" which I didn't think was possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revelation Space

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1540)
    Performance
    (1068)
    Story
    (1074)

    Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself. With no other resources at his disposal, Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the cyborg crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. But as he closes in on the secret, a killer closes in on him because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason.

    Eoin says: "Defeated"
    "Frustrations with narrator and editing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book so far is very good. However, the combination of the narrating and one particular editing decision has turned me off of the audio version. So far I have only been unable to finish one audiobook I've purchased from Audible.com (out of about 150) and I may now have to change that number to two.

    The Narrator: John Lee has never been my favorite, but I've had him read four other books in my collection, and he did fine. On this one, the voices for the characters are goofy even more often than in the narration of Peter F Hamilton's "Pandora's Star" and "Judas Unchained". In many scenes, there's just not enough vocal differentiation between characters to follow the scene clearly.

    The biggest problem: Some "genius" editor decided that there would be NO pause, NONE at all, when the book changes scenes. Since there are multiple plot threads and not quite enough vocal variety between some characters, and the scene changes rather frequently, this editing decision is really disruptive to the listening experience. I was so confused about which characters were where and doing what that I had to start over after getting about five hours in, and it was only the second time through that I began to recognize that there were even scene changes!! There's less of a pause between scene changes than pauses between the end of one sentence and the beginning of another. Nerd that I am I timed it! If the aforementioned genius editor hadn't decided to cut 5 minutes from the total length of the book in this manner, I might have bought the other four books from Audible. No chance now, unless some reviewer of the other books can tell me whether there are pauses at scene changes.



    43 of 49 people found this review helpful

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