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Simon Fraser

Draws comics

NYC | Member Since 2010

19
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 242 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2015
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  • Surface Detail: A Culture Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (318)
    Story
    (318)

    Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right, she will need the help of the Culture....

    Sarah says: "Excellent story, excellent narration"
    "Very Banksian, Great narration"
    Overall

    I'll refrain from saying too much about the book itself , as I haven't finished it yet. So far it's classic Banks, that is to say as good as modern Sci-Fi gets. I would like to say that the narration by Peter Kenny is remarkable, subtle and controlled where it needs to be and with a formidable control over his vocal range. He does voices and accents , both male and female, young and old with great assurance. As a result , all the characters were clear and easy to distinguish. This is no small thing in a Banks book where there can be a great number of characters, aliens, humans, A.Is all with very different characters and points of view.
    I would seek out Mr Kenny as a narrator now...even if I wasn't sure about the book itself and that's no small thing for me to say.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Americanah

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1097)
    Performance
    (983)
    Story
    (984)

    Anna-Bo-Banana says: "Dazzling, Romantic, and Witty"
    "Nigeria, America and all life in between"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a beautiful, insightful and true book. It's a love story overall, but about all kinds of love. It's about self discovery and acceptance too. It's also very insightful about the issue of race in America, which the author talks about with a frank clarity I really appreciated. I loved this book.

    The narrator adds a tremendous depth with her great understand of idiom and the powerful clarity of the African voices particularly. She is less confident with American accents, but all the other characters are conjured brilliantly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The End of the Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Graham Greene
    • Narrated By Colin Firth
    Overall
    (3205)
    Performance
    (2932)
    Story
    (2911)

    Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house. Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man) turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release.

    Emily - Audible says: "Colin Firth Kills It"
    "A Somewhat Bleak Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is certainly a clever and insightful piece of writing on the emotional dynamics of love and infidelity. It's also rather dismal to live inside the protagonists head for the length of the book. Colin Firth is an inspired choice as reader, he portrays characters of that social class and period with precision and bone dry wit. One can't escape the prevailing sense of doom and sadness though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mindstar Rising: The Greg Mandel Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    Overall
    (1041)
    Performance
    (932)
    Story
    (931)

    It's the 21st century, and global warming is here to stay, so forget the way your country used to look. And get used to the free market, too – the companies possess all the best hardware, and they're calling the shots now. In a world like this, a man open to any offers can make out just fine. A man like Greg Mandel for instance, who's psi-boosted, wired into the latest sensory equipment, carrying state-of-the-art weaponry – and late of the English Army's Mindstar Battalion.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Portrait of a SciFi master as a novice"
    "competent cyber-thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't hate this book, but I found myself reading it just to get through it. The writing is adequate, occasionally clunky, especially when describing women. The book is full of near-future ideas, some of them rather hackneyed, some of them quite interesting. I enjoyed the depiction of England, post environmental shift. The characters are broadly sketched, not particularly interestingly . The reader made a big difference here though, his command of idiom and accent is very impressive. Unlike many male narrators, he also does convincing women. I'd be inclined to listen to other books read by Mr Longworth. I doubt that I'll bother with the rest of the Greg Mandel Trilogy however.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Have Space Suit - Will Travel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Mark Turetsky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (423)
    Performance
    (379)
    Story
    (382)

    First prize in the Skyway Soap slogan contest was an all-expenses-paid trip to the moon. The consolation prize was an authenticspace suit, and when scientifically minded high school senior Kip Russell wonit, he knew for certain he would use it one day to make a sojourn of his own tothe stars. But "one day" comes sooner than he thinks when he tries the suit on in his backyard - and finds himself worlds away, a prisoner aboard a space pirate's ship.

    SGL says: "Classic tale, One of Heinlein's best."
    "Fun Juvenile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like the story, it's typical Heinlein in many ways, albeit aimed at a younger audience. The authors efforts to explain astronomical distance and the mechanical realities of space-suits to a layman is admirable. The 'Gee Whizz' style has dated somewhat though. It's certainly Americana of a certain era. The reader plays into that rather too heavily in my opinion. He's reading for the kids and it's a bit grating after a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Will Fear No Evil

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    Overall
    (397)
    Performance
    (324)
    Story
    (336)

    As startling and provocative as his famous Stranger in a Strange Land, here is Heinlein’s grand masterpiece about a man supremely talented, immensely old, and obscenely wealthy who discovers that money can buy everything.

    Lisa says: "Not Heinlein's best - but still good"
    "I feel so sorry for the narrator of this one."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been working my way through all the Heinlein I can over the last few years. Early period, late period, middle period. The sexual politics of it have always been troublesome, but I'm willing to make some allowances for a 'historical' or idiosyncratic point of view. Heinlein at his best wrote some of the best Science Fiction written.

    I Will Fear No Evil is sadly quite a long way from that. I haven't finished it yet and I'm struggling with whether I can get through it at all. It's making my skin crawl frankly. Heinlein was often guilty of projecting a kind of perfect woman/sex doll/fantasy archetype on his lead female characters. I've kind of skipped over it in the past with a wince. It's impossible to do that here as this is the WHOLE BOOK! The plot is summarised elsewhere so you can work out for yourself whether that is interesting enough as a curiosity to read yourself. I'm not recommending that you do that.

    Anthony Heald is normally a superb narrator. He handles the male voices with great skill and gravitas. Sadly the female voices are more of a challenge and as they dominate the second half of the book that can become quite....difficult to listen to. Imagine an old transvestite telling you about his sexual fantasies and that's pretty much what this sounds like. I mean no disrespect to Heald in saying this, the book does him few favours. He's normally a narrator that I seek out.

    I may take a rest from Heinlein for a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sagan Diary

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 35 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Stephanie Wolfe, John Scalzi
    Overall
    (790)
    Performance
    (680)
    Story
    (689)

    Jane Sagan: Soldier. Killer. Lover. Dreamer. In John Scalzi's best-selling Old Man's War series of science-fiction novels, we see this warrior woman as the other characters see her - silent and strong, from the outside. But now The Sagan Diary shows us Sagan from another point of view: her own, as she prepares to leave military life and join her new husband and adopted daughter on a colony world.

    Robert says: "Nothing like Scalzi's old man's war."
    "I can't say I wasn't warned"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Be warned this is more of an exercise in writing than a story. It's the subtext to another work in fact, the 'Old Man's War' series of novels. I'd have to say that even as a fan of those works and as a fan of the writers other works, this is more of an ordeal than a pleasure.
    The Jane Sagan character ( very ) literally speaks her mind for an hour and half. It's heavy and self-absorbed stuff. It adds little or nothing to the main text, it doesn't really add anything interesting to the character. There is none of the writers trade-marked wit and energy. Instead you have a rather humorless character trying to explain her feelings, for what feels like a very long time.
    If you are reading the 'Old Man's War' series, this part of it can be safely ignored.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
    Overall
    (4928)
    Performance
    (2210)
    Story
    (2242)

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Scott says: "Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel"
    "A cubist romance novel."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't read romance literature, which this certain is. I am a big Sci-Fi reader though and I'm particularly interested in time travel, which is a notoriously difficult thing to write. So top marks to the author for really thinking through the emotional aspects of it, if not the scientific. She uses the tool of time travel to fracture and rebuild a linear love story, constructing many poignant, clever and tragic moments by overlapping the characters lives in a telling, if sometimes too artful, sequence. The determinist universe is pretty much a necessity when doing this kind of story and that provides much of the drama, but the authors primary concern isn't the time travelling, it's the 2 central characters and their relationship.
    If I have a criticism it's that the relationship is a bit too fantasized at times, depending a little too heavily on the forced pathos of piecing together a fragmented narrative, rather than on real character based drama.
    I enjoyed the narration, though the female side of the double act ( Ms Strole ), while she has a pleasant and engaging voice, lapses into a slightly sing-song, wishy washy longing. While that may well have been suggested in the writing, I can't help but feel that a slightly edgier performance would have helped give Claire some backbone. Mr Berman was good, he has a fine ear for accent and inflection. He gives the young Henry a cocksure strut and the older one a feeling of weight.

    Criticisms aside, I enjoyed the heck out of this book. It's a page-turner ( or whatever the equivalent of that is in audio terms )

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    Overall
    (3333)
    Performance
    (2107)
    Story
    (2136)

    In what is considered one of Heinlein's most hair-raising, thought-provoking, and outrageous adventures, the master of modern science fiction tells the strange story of an even stranger world. It is 21st-century Luna, a harsh penal colony where a revolt is plotted between a bashful computer and a ragtag collection of maverick humans, a revolt that goes beautifully until the inevitable happens. But that's the problem with the inevitable: it always happens.

    Gerald says: "Very Good Interpretation"
    "Great Sci-Fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read this book several times. It never ceases to impress me. The reading adds a new level to the story and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • West with the Night

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Beryl Markham
    • Narrated By Julie Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (598)
    Performance
    (393)
    Story
    (392)

    West with the Night is the story of a remarkable woman molded and shaped by many things: the African jungle, a certain dog, horses, airplanes, friendships with white men and black. There is no life, no story quite like it.

    Michael Moore says: "Top Notch Writing; Riveting Stories"
    "A story that takes flight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For as cool a character as Markham was this book is laced with supressed emotion, longing, grief, love and wonder. The narrator Julie Harris does a truly stunning job of giving life to the words. I can argue a bit with the technical presentation, it's a bit shaky, there's audio feedback coming through from somewhere, there's the sound of pages turning. Harris herself mispronounces numerous Kenyan place names. This is quibbling however. I loved the book and I loved the narration. At points while I was on my daily commute in the NY subway system I had to stop , take a few moments, let the story take over. This is transporting work and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4135)
    Performance
    (3622)
    Story
    (3659)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Stephenson in fine form"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read almost every Neal Stephenson book I could get hold of. He is one of my favorite modern writers. There is nobody else who can operate at the scale and ambition of Stephenson's best work.

    This is a modern techno-thriller , more in the pattern of Zodiac & Cryptonomicon ( more epic than the first, less ambitious than the 2nd ) Though it lacks the multiple time-periods and the intellectual ambition of some of his recent books, it's a taughtly constructed piece of writing, expertly researched, compellingly written and very entertaining to read.
    The plot does tend to feel contrived at times, especially with how all the principle characters arrive at the endgame simultaneously, but you so want them all to be there, to each have their closure, that it's forgivable.
    I have a feeling that this novel will date horribly , as it's balanced so precisely on this moment in time, the technology , the cultural references. Many of which are ephemeral or at least in transition even now. I'm not sure that's a problem , but I was very aware of how timely this book is as I was listening to it.

    Malcolm Hillgartner is a fine reader, he has an engaging voice and carries off the various characters individual speech/accents mostly quite well. However he gets a bit lost with his Scots accent, it veers wildly between Dublin, Glasgow and Karachi. He avoids trying a Welsh accent, which I think was for the best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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