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Joshua

I'm an aspiring author, a lawyer, a sci-fi fan, a father, and a harsh critic of pretty much everything. I enjoy audiobooks because I read very slowly, and audiobooks allow me to consume novels at a rate that would be impossible for me to achieve with printed text.

Charlotte, NC, United States | Member Since 2011

44
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 48 reviews
  • 81 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
5

  • The Unincorporated Man

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (85)

    The Unincorporated Man is a provocative social/political/economic novel that takes place in the future, after civilization has fallen into complete economic collapse. This reborn civilization is one in which every individual is incorporated at birth and spends many years trying to attain control over his or her own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. Life extension has made life very long indeed.

    Rachelle says: "Hmm"
    "Interesting but unpolished and unconvincing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The authors had a compelling premise here, but spoiled it by imposing a good versus evil showdown on top of what could have been a fascinating moral issue.

    The protagonist wakes up in world where everyone is incorporated at birth, and where they own less than a majority of their own stock. Our hero is startled at the perceived lack of liberty that these people have, though it is pointed out to him again and again that this system eliminated poverty and war, creating an overall quality of life that is much better for everyone on average.

    If the book had taken time to let the readers explore the pros and cons of this new system, and make up their own minds about it's validity and morality, then this could have been a great book. Instead, we are immediately confronted with a too-evil bad guy who ends up representing all of incorporation (metaphorically and literally). Because he is such an evil jerk, we, as readers, are forced to align ourselves against him, in spite of the fact that his arguments are extremely convincing. We are told what to think instead of letting us make up our own minds.

    The writing feels pretty amateurish in that the protagonist is way too smart/prescient at the beginning, though that seems to taper off steeply as the story progresses. There are other places where the writing is half-baked: entire plot lines, which seem vital to the story, are abandoned completely. Also, their is this really contrived will-they/won't-they romance based on a ridiculously unbelievable and artificial taboo. This taboo seems sacrosanct until it is broken, at which point everyone important acts like it is no big deal at all--totally inconsistent.

    The authors did paint an interesting picture of future society and technology, which is largely why I've given them 3 stars instead of just 2.

    Ultimately I'm left unsatisfied with this book, largely because I was very swayed by the pro-incorporation arguments, and the anti-incorporation argument really boiled down to feelings, rather than any articulated points against it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On a Pale Horse: Incarnations of Immortality, Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Piers Anthony
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (957)
    Performance
    (444)
    Story
    (462)

    In this, the first novel of the best-selling Incarnations of Immortality series, Piers Anthony combines a deeply moving examination of the meaning of life and death with a gripping story of romance and loyalty, all set in a world of magic and technical wizardry.

    Jake says: "Full Series Review: 5 Stars"
    "Interesting premise - unmemorable book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book started out strong, took a turn for the weird, and then got lost in weird world were anything can happen, so nothing really matters.

    The problem with a book that delves into the surreal is that it's impossible for you to care about the characters. Logic doesn't apply to them or their situations, and therefore they can never really be in peril. Peril requires concrete consequences-- cause and effect -- some actual rules.

    I enjoyed parts of this book. I wish it had been funnier. I wish it had been scarier. I wish I cared about it more.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • METAtropolis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, and others
    • Narrated By Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, and others
    Overall
    (1704)
    Performance
    (1501)
    Story
    (1532)

    Armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology in this exclusive, original production featuring five sci-fi masters and five all-star narrators.

    Anthony says: "Painful"
    "Zzzzzzzzzzzz..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't give my review too much weight. I only listened to the introduction and the first story.

    The introduction worried me a lot... the premise for this collection of stories was both vague and boring... something about similarities between cities... what? What are you talking about? Is that it?

    And then they started the collection with, what I hope was the worst story of the bunch. It was weird, impossible to relate to, and way too focused on Telling instead of Showing.

    I erased this book from my phone before I even finished the first stupid story. I regret nothing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lucifer's Hammer

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2823)
    Performance
    (1505)
    Story
    (1518)

    The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival--a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known....

    DJM says: "Good story from front to back"
    "Utterly forgettable."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a chore to get through. Maybe when it came out it was an interesting take on a new concept, but it certainly doesn't stand the test of time. It's been done better elsewhere.

    I didn't care about any of the characters. I was frequently bored.

    It doesn't deserve a review longer than this. I'm out.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (792)
    Performance
    (709)
    Story
    (701)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "I could listen to Bill Bryson all day. And I did."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This isn't one of Bryson's best, but even when he's not on his A-game he's still entertaining.

    I learned a lot from this book, and was drawn in by Bryson's masterful storytelling. He got me to care about all sorts of things that I really wouldn't have ever given a thought to. That is his gift.

    if you're a Bryson fan, go for it. This book is fun.

    If you've never given Bryson a try, don't start here... try Lost Continent, A Brief History of Nearly Everything or A Walk in the Woods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2812)
    Performance
    (2667)
    Story
    (2670)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold ""human error"" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Don't let the title fool you - great book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first glance you'd think that "The Martian" is some old book, or something in a retro 1950s sci-fi style. It's not. It's smart. It's modern. It is real SCIENCE fiction. Good stuff.

    This is what Sci-Fi is supposed to be: well researched, interesting, thought-provoking... a story of what could really happen just beyond the horizon.

    The protagonist is an astronaut who is resourceful, smart and funny... everything Sandra Bullock WASN'T in the movie "Gravity". In fact this book ruined that movie for me because it made that movie seem small and stupid.

    I wish all sci-fi were written this well.

    I give this book my highest recommendation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shift Omnibus Edition: Shift 1-3, Silo Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (686)
    Performance
    (633)
    Story
    (636)

    In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened.

    Tango says: "Your ears are in for a real treat"
    "not as good as the first and way too long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You'll spend the entire book waiting for our idiot protagonist to figure out what we, the audience already know before picking up the book. Does that sound fun to you?

    The story isn't boring, exactly... it's just unnecessary. Wool already told us everything we needed to know about the Silos. The backstory answers some questions... but this all could have been done in a more elegant way... preferably in a single chapter instead of this slow, useless tome.

    For the most part the story held my attention, and had it had a satisfying ending, or had the it progressed the plot from Wool in any way I probably could have forgiven the insane redundancies. But it didn't do those things.

    I already own Dust, so I'll see this story out to its conclusion, but had I not purchased it on sale, I certainly would have called it quits right now.

    I listened to this book on 3x speed, and it was still too long. I don't recommend it to anyone who isn't totally in love with hearing about life in the Silos.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rise of Empire: Riyria Revelations, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2994)
    Performance
    (2723)
    Story
    (2738)

    Best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan’s mesmerizing Riyria Revelations series has found a welcome home with fans of magic, clashing swords, and daring heroes. This second volume finds Royce and Hadrian on a quest to enlist the southern Nationalists to aid the ever-weakening kingdom of Melengar. Royce suspects an ancient wizard is manipulating them all, but to find the truth he’ll have to decipher Hadrian’s past—a past Hadrian wants to keep secret.

    Julieann says: "Super!!"
    "Much better than the first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the first book, but it took me about a year to pick up its sequel. I'm glad I did.

    This novel felt much more mature than the first. The story was richer and and the characters more engaging. The plot grew to fill the scope of the world described in the first book. Everything just seemed to work better.

    I immediately dashed into the third book as soon as this one was over. The series as a whole is captivating and has a very satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Off to Be the Wizard

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

    Charles says: "Fantastic"
    "Fun and funny... amateur but enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The opening of the book had me worried... it was sloppily written, in fashion to get the plot moving as quickly as possible. The protagonist isn't well thought out... he's smart enough to be an elite hacker, but his intelligence is otherwise absent from anything he does thereafter... for the entire duration of the story.

    The character discovers that he has the powers of a god, but this is quickly forgotten by both him and apparently the author. Like in the movie "Bruce Almighty", we're supposed to believe that our character is so unimaginative and selfish that the only thing he can think to do with his powers is to improve his own little life in small and insignificant ways.

    But before you can get to frustrated with the story, Meyer throws you backwards in time, and the story takes a turn for the weird(er). Here in the past, Meyer has thought things out a little bit more. If he researched the time period, it doesn't really show... but he has built an amusing cast of characters.

    Here the book starts to take on the flavor of Cline's "Ready Player One", one of my favorite light reads. Meyer's characters are funny, and the humor is geared at an audience who is familiar the life of 1980s computer geeks.

    Everything stays fun and light. I wasn't bored for an instant. Oh, and the narration was hilarious.

    The ending was satisfying within the scope of the story... but then, the scope of the story was very small.

    As a listener, what I really longed for was for our hacker protagonist to play around more with the code he's discovered... outside of this one little pocket of use that he's fixated on in the past. Play with more variables... discover things... surprise me.

    Anyway, Meyers has a lot of promise. I hope that he continues writing... and that next time he takes his writing to the next level.

    Good listen for the price. I recommend it if you liked "Ready Player One".



    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5)

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Minnie Goode
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (915)
    Performance
    (840)
    Story
    (838)

    This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

    Think about this says: "I was consumed by this story!"
    "Narration wasn't bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lot of folks have been beating up on the narrator, and while she wasn't terrific, I think the criticism is undue. She did a fine job... Not the best voices, but at least she differentiated characters. She also had a sense for drama, unlike more famous narrators like John Lee, who speaks every line with equal importance, whether its a description of a tea cup, or the dying words of the protagonist.

    As for the story itself... it's a bit depressing. The setting itself is naturally depressing, so I would have wanted a more hopeful story. Perhaps the rest of the saga is more upbeat? I plan to give it a try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2481)
    Performance
    (2380)
    Story
    (2379)

    In that first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

    D says: "Book !!; no let down- "Words of Radieance" shines"
    "As good as the first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fantastic continuation of the The Way of Kings. It kept me interested and intrigued from begin to end. I believe this is the longest book I've tackled on audible, so it's no small thing that it kept its momentum the entire time.

    The narration was perfect--adding distinction without distraction.

    I listened to the entire Mistborn series and other Sanderson works before this novel was released. I am in awe of how much high quality storytelling he can generate.

    Now begins the long wait for part III.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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