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Barry T. Smith

San Jose, CA United States | Member Since 2006

1
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 307 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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  • Star Trek and History

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Nancy Reagin
    • Narrated By Kim McKean
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    For a series set in our future, Star Trek revisits the past constantly. Kirk and Spock battle Nazis, Roman gladiators, and witness the Great Depression. When they're not doubling back on their own earlier timelines, the crew uses the holodeck to spend time in the American Old West or Victorian England. Alien races have their own complex and fascinating histories, too. The Star Trek universe is a sci-fi imagining of a future world that is rooted in our own human history. Gene Roddenberry created a television show with a new world and new rules in order to comment on social and political issues of the 1960s.

    SchaqListener says: "Must suspend disbelief - about awful narration"
    "Brace yourself for massive mispronunciations."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found 'Star Trek and History' a worthwhile read, despite Mrs. McKean's best efforts to throw me off track.
    First, the book. The book itself is a collection of essays from various authors delving into Star Trek storylines pulled from the full spectrum of the series and movies and how those episodes and topics relate to history, current technology and social issues. Overall, the chapters are very interesting and delve deeply enough into their respective areas to make for some lively post reading discussion. In fact, this book would be a great addition to a middle or high school science or social studies curriculum. The topics are board enough and cover enough familiar territory that students would have a wonderful time watching an episode mentioned in a particular chapter and then discussing it in the terms set forth in the book.
    Some chapters are stronger than others. For example, you can hardly go wrong with discussions on how Star Trek's visionary technology has shaped our current lives (flip phones and iPads anyone?) and the impact it has had on our space program. I even found the chapter on cartography quite interesting, especially in the context of stellar cartography and the future of mapping our known galaxy. Other chapters however fall quite flat. Yes, "Facebook as the Borg" makes for a fun Internet meme, but the analogy really does fall apart if you put any real thought behind it.
    My overall impression is that the book is a fun, insightful look at some of the serious (and not so serious) topics tackled by the Star Trek writers.
    Now, the narrations. The only reason Kim McKean did not get 1 star from me on performance is that she spoke English and I was at least able to understand the words that came out of her mouth. Other than that, I felt her reading was stiff and stilted. You can almost hear the end of a line as she scans down to the beginning of the next line ... to ... read ... to ...you ... the ... very ... next ... word ... she ... sees ... on ... the ... page.
    Aside from that, you can sort of get lost in the cadence and get wrapped up in the concepts of the book ... until she mispronounces a word. Repeatedly. Now, this isn't Star Trek's famous techno-babble she is getting hung up on. While she does mispronounce character names (it took me a while to figure out who "Tee Pole" was), she also mispronounces historical figures and some common words. I eventually started to make a list. Words like "Maquis", "Uhura", and "Locutus of Borg" were constantly, jarringly mispronounced. But even non Trek words and names like "Leonidas", "Yamamoto", and "omnipotent" were butchered.
    That being said, as bristled by the narration as I was, I still found the subject matter engaging enough to keep at it and be entertained as well as challenged. It is a worthwhile listen, or better yet, this might be one to get in dead tree form. Then at least you have your own voice in your head to contend with.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Not Taco Bell Material

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Adam Carolla
    • Narrated By Adam Carolla
    Overall
    (921)
    Performance
    (845)
    Story
    (840)

    Funnyman Adam Carolla is known for two things: hilarious rants about things that drive him crazy and personal stories about everything from his hardscrabble childhood to his slacker friends to the hypocrisy of Hollywood. He tackled rants in his first book, and now he tells his best stories and debuts some never-before-heard tales as well. Adam Carolla started broke and blue collar and has now been on the Hollywood scene for over 15 years. Yet he never lost his underdog demeanor.

    Brett says: "Not bad but uneven and not revealing."
    "Review From a Non-Fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I came to this book, not as an Adam Corolla fan, but as a fan of comedy. I generally knew OF him, but never really watched ‘Loveline’ or ‘The Manshow’ beyond a pausing on them while channel surfing. But while searching for "comedy" on Audible here, I came across this book and checked out the sample. I liked what I heard and got the book. I discovered that this book is hazardous to your health because listening to it while driving can cause you to laugh so hard you cry ‘til your vision is blurred.

    I particularly enjoy how he framed the chapters of his life by what his living conditions were at the time. Growing up poor with lazy, hippy parents in ramshackle abodes up to success and home ownership, he lays out his rags to riches story with great humor and no small amount of humility. He details life with his family, crazy stunts and pranks with his friends to celebrity run-ins and tales of being on the road.

    All in all, a super fun book and worth your time if you enjoy heartfelt, humorous and no-holds-barred autobiographies. Consider me a new fan.

    And now I am off to buy his first book and listen to that one too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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