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Douglas

ratings
10
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
5

  • The Gone-Away World

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Nick Harkaway
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (149)
    Story
    (150)

    There couldn't be a fire along the Jorgmund Pipe. It was the last thing the world needed. The Pipe was what kept the Livable Zone safe from the bandits, monsters, and nightmares the Go-Away War had left in its wake. Enter Gonzo Lubitsch and the Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company, a team of troubleshooters who roll into action when things get hot.

    David says: "Awesome style, kickin' story with many tangents"
    "Excuse Me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Gone-Away World? What did you like least?

    What did I like best about this book? Chapter 1. What did I like least? Chapters 2 thru 5. That's when I quit listening. I did skip systematically forward searching for the continuation of the sf aspect but finally gave up . I have no desire to try to be scholarly or word clever, most others who wrote reviews have that covered. I just want to be clear. This is not a science fiction story. It is a slice-of-life character study based in a somewhat alternate history earth foundation similar to Elizabethan England with pig-powered electrical generation and storm-trooper like police forces. The writing is clever, quirky, fun and as boring as it gets. The narrator does a fine job with characterizations and reads in a very consistent monotone which is fine since it seems to be written the same way. For those who love this book; more power to you. If you are looking for a novel that actually bases the story on SCIENCE fiction don't bother with it.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something else.


    What does Kirby Heyborne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    If that ever happens to me I will quit listening to books.


    Could you see The Gone-Away World being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    For God's sake why? The protagonist's character arc is a sine wave and the conflict is driven mostly by his total lack of identity.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Forging Zero: The Legend of ZERO

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Sara King
    • Narrated By Liam Owen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (209)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (197)

    The oldest of the children drafted from humanity's devastated planet, Joe is impressed into service by the alien Congressional Ground Force - and becomes the unwitting centerpiece in a millennia-long alien struggle for independence. Once his training begins, one of the elusive and prophetic Trith appears to give Joe a spine chilling prophecy that the universe has been anticipating for millions of years: Joe will be the one to finally shatter the vast alien government known as Congress. And the Trith cannot lie...but first Joe has to make it through bootcamp.

    Josh says: "Great book that up till recently was Kindle only"
    "Human Psychology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Why is it that some writers of sf seem to believe because the book is dealing with aliens it makes sense to ignore human psychology? There is no situation dealing with interaction between sentient species that can be written without finding metaphor in human behavior.

    This is an interesting story idea, aliens building armies using children captured from the newly discovered and conquered Earth. I still think it holds promise but not without some understanding child psychology (not to mention plain ol' psychology). I don't need to give examples, just listen to five minutes almost anywhere in the first ten chapters.

    On top of this I am really tired of writers who can somehow believe (or write) that a group of alien races, in this case in the thousands, can be so stupid when it comes to dealing with newly discovered races? How did they survive for so long being this stupid?

    I would understand if the book was self published. Maybe it was. I have a hard time believing a working agent or editor would have passed on this without requiring more research and a lot more rewriting.

    I would love to read it again if Ms.King ever chooses to rewrite it.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Redemption of Althalus

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By David Eddings, Leigh Eddings
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    It would be sheer folly to try to conceal the true nature of Althalus, for his flaws are the stuff of legend. He is, as all men know, a thief, a liar, an occasional murderer, an outrageous braggart, and a man devoid of even the slightest hint of honor. Yet of all the men in the world, it is Althalus, unrepentant rogue and scoundrel, who will become the champion of humanity in its desperate struggle against the forces of an ancient god determined to return the universe to nothingness.

    John says: "Too Easy for Althalus"
    "Wake Me When It's Over"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is not particular reason you should pay any attention to my review of this book as I only listened to the first 45 minutes of it before I returned it to audible. I am sure there are those who loved this book, (after all it says it is a No.1 bestseller), but I can only assume they are heavily medicated. An absolute monotone delivery of an absolutely monotone book.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Engines of God

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jack McDevitt
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (260)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (177)

    Humans call them Monument-Makers. An unknown race, they left stunning alien statues scattered on distant planets throughout the galaxy, encoded with strange inscriptions that defy translation. Searching for clues about the Monument-Makers, teams of 23rd century linguists, historians, engineers and archaeologists have been excavating the enigmatic alien ruins on a number of planets, uncovering strange, massive false cities made of solid rock. But their time is running out.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Conceptually intriguing, but uneven writing style"
    "I'm Sorry; What Happened?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    That's the big question in any story as far as I am concerned; what happened? It can be answered after figuring out how, in every circumstance, did the protagonist get out of all that trouble the author put him/her/them in and how did they grow through the story.

    In this case, in Engines of God, the answer to that main question is; nothing. Nothing happened. The tension built (sort of) again and again and...nothing. At least nothing happened that anyone would care about. Throw an asteroid in the ocean and possibly kill everyone...sorry, shouldn't have done it. Thank God no one died. Throw a really giant snowball at the space station...just getting even. Thank God no one died. And on and on and on and...

    I have never listened to a science fiction story where the intrepid explorers were so freaked out by the idea that someone might die and careers were ended when someone did. I could go on but I won't. It was easily the most boring book I have ever listened to.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Victory Conditions: Vatta's War, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Moon
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway
    Overall
    (378)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (210)

    Now, as Turek readies an all-out attack on the Nexus system - a key conquest that could seal the rest of the galaxy's doom - Ky must rally to the challenge, draw upon every last reserve of her strategic skills, and reach deep if she is to tear from the ashes of tragedy her most decisive victory.

    Jean says: "The last book in the series"
    "Persistantly Frustrating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series has been interesting enough that I have, with thoughtful intent, purchased and listened to it. The story concept is interesting and the military aspect is pretty well thought out. When combat is engaged, both space and personal, it's fun, it's creative and based on the realities of this story universe it's conceivable.

    The problems, like in so much other sf writing, exist in the story telling not in the genre. Two separate issues stand out that dampen my enjoyment of the writing. All too often the amount of detail supplied to set the stage or build a character feels more like it is there just to fill the page. The flavor of the food at dinner or the ice-cream for dessert or the art on the walls or the plants in the garden when given so much focus and detail become important beyond their simple colorful existence. It feels, at the very least, like foreshadowing and yet is never mentioned again. To paraphrase a quote all writers know 'don't talk about the shotgun over the mantel unless someone is going to use it'.

    My biggest issue with the writing drives me to distraction. Everyone knows that tension/conflict drives the story forward. Put the drive characters in trouble then get them out of it. Accelerating and increasing the tension as the story progress builds to the grand solution and defines the plot. In this series, (and too many others), much of the conflict is created because the otherwise often brilliant characters become amazingly stupid. Simple things any reader realizes at the time that the character would say, or remember, or do, or think; they just...don't. I find myself screaming at the characters, 'Did you forget what you just said to the other guy? What, you don't remember you have a gun in your pocket? You don't think the police might want to know that you saw the killer?"

    Many of these things are more frustrating when listening to an audio book of course. When I am reading a book and the writer starts getting bogged down in detail I just scan forward picking up the important stuff and ignore the fluff. Does this pull me out of the story? Yes. But ii is so much more frustrating when listening to a book because you can't scan. You can fast forward but then you miss all the detail.

    Then why do I keep listening to writing that frustrates me? Because I like the story concept and I keep hoping the writing gets better. But most of all; recognizing poor writing in detail makes me a better writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trading in Danger: Vatta's War, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Moon
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (672)
    Performance
    (359)
    Story
    (365)

    The first of the acclaimed Vatta's War books, the exciting military science fiction series that features a swashbuckling spaceship-captain heroine who mixes commerce with combat.

    L'Aura says: "Highly Recommend"
    "Better Than Some (Some spoilers might appear.)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Why is it that so many narrators seem to believe it is their job to translate, for me, the meaning and emotion of the writing that I would have to depend on the author to provide if I were reading the book? Please, somebody, just read the book to me. If I wanted 'a movie in my mind' or 'pictures in my head' there are other companies that not only provide that with multiple narrators as characters, they are reading works designed to be read that way. If the author can’t create those elements in the story I don’t believe the story would be worth reading; or listening to. But that’s just me. Having said that I believe Ms. Holloway does a credible job of reading the book. She is not my favorite but she is a long way from being so bad I won't listen.

    I really like the story line in this series. A young daughter of privilege, in a respected trading family, is kicked out of military school with just one month to go, having already proven to be an excellent student, and is 'gotten out of town' by being sent out with her own ship on a trading mission. By means of a series of mishaps and happenstance the author creates the conflict that allows the protagonist to develop her character and move forward into more conflict that allows her to...I mean that is how it is done, right?

    In books I like the most the author takes the story in the direction that makes sense and stems from conflict that was created in believable scenarios based on the fictional universe they have created. When I say 'in the direction that makes sense' I really mean in the direction I think it should go. If the author surprises me and goes in a different direction that ends up, (in my opinion), in an even better direction I fall in love with that author and become a fan. Even though I like Ms. Moon's story's I am not a fan. I often disagree with how she creates conflict and how the character makes their forward-moving decisions, though I usually agree with the decisions they make.

    In "Trading In Danger" the author uses exposition in such a way that it kills the momentum of the plot and bogs down the story. There are too many decisions based on the inner thoughts of so many of the characters that I dread those long, critical inner dialogs they have with themselves. The silliest example is that the protagonist 'discovers' that she likes killing even though she is a very nice, moral person. She then goes on to bemoan the issue, in her mind mostly but also with a few others 'like' her throughout the rest of the story.

    But then again; I still want to know what happens next.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Second Ship: The Rho Agenda, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Richard Phillips
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (932)
    Performance
    (842)
    Story
    (856)

    In 1948, an alien starship crash-landed in the New Mexico desert and brought with it the key to mankind’s future. Code-named the Rho Project, the landing was shrouded in secrecy, and only the highest-ranking US government and military personnel knew it existed. Until now....

    Mike From Mesa says: "Terrific story"
    "It's Good Enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Second Ship again? Why?

    Probably not though I am enjoying it okay. I know the three main characters are just 16 or 17 but their relationship with their parents are amazing sweet and sticky. Also, the kids are just so.... sweet. Also, I think Mr Phillips could have done a little more research on the psychopathology of the really nasty antagonist being both a sadist and a masochist and on the reality of this character actually being all he was supposed to have been in the Army.

    Having said all that I think it is a great idea and the story is written more than well enough for me to want to keep listening because I want to know what happens next.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Maybe it's just me but are more and more narrators interpreting and performing the emotional aspects of the story for the reader now? The best part of reading, rather than listening to, a book is interpreting and reacting to the emotional aspect of the story the way I feel it. I hate it when the narrator does it for me and I think they are wrong. Without exception I like the narrators who read the book, with perhaps some characterization and some minor emotion, but don't try to ACT the book. If I wanted a 'movie in my mind' or 'a story in my head' I would listen to the serializations that are written and acted to be just that; but I don't. I am now starting to pay as much attention to the narrator as I do to the author. In this case the narrator is right on the edge. I hope he doesn't crossover that line or I won't listen to any more books he narrates.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Anne Lamott
    • Narrated By Anne Lamott
    Overall
    (244)
    Performance
    (115)
    Story
    (116)

    What does it take to be a writer? What does it mean to live a writer's life? This instruction book gives the answers to these questions, ranging through all aspects of writing - from faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear.

    Colin says: "Wonderfully honest and funny"
    "Why the Hype?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not particularly. When I read a book on writing I am really looking for information on story form, character development, building tension-something like that. This book is a great look into a writer's life (a particular writer) and in that regard probably valuable for people who want to know about Anne Lamott.


    What about Anne Lamott’s performance did you like?

    Sure, she read herself just like she probably is.


    Was Bird by Bird worth the listening time?

    Not for me. I have very little interest into the inner workings of Anne Lamott.


    Any additional comments?

    I felt much of what she was saying was being presented as sage advice or the truth about, well anything, but I don't think that was what it was. I believe it was just one more person's opinion about how to live. Totally valid is that is what you are looking for. It just wasn't what I was looking for.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Crucible of Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Eric Flint, K. D. Wentworth
    • Narrated By Chris Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (71)

    Humanity is first subjugated by haughty alien colonizers calling themselves the Jao when Earth is unexpectedly attacked by the implacable and nearly-unstoppable Ekhat, exterminators of all intelligent life not their own. Now the fragile Human-Jao alliance is put to the test. A devastating encounter with the Ekhat in a distant nebula reveals a powerful alien society that may hold the key to defeating the Ekhat once and for all. There’s one big problem: they utterly loathe humanity's ally, the Jao.

    ShySusan says: "Great character development of the aliens"
    "How can advanced races be so stupit?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Almost every conflict that pushes the plot is based on every race involved being so stupid when it comes to psychology that nothing makes sense. Every race involved is an advanced race used to dealing with other alien races yet they cannot accept that every other race might act and react different than them or each other. Not only do they act this way with new races but even with the race they have been dealing with for decades. It gets very tiring watching every character's inability to realize the other races act differently and never being able to either predict how they will act or understand why anything is done the way it is done.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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