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Katya A

new york

ratings
36
REVIEWS
25
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
25

  • vN: The First Machine Dynasty

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Madeline Ashby
    • Narrated By Christina Traister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks them, young Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive. Now she’s on the run, carrying her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive. She’s growing quickly, and learning too. Like the fact that in her, and her alone, the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has stopped working….

    Katya A says: "Not your average 'Pinocchio' AI Sci-Fi"
    "Not your average 'Pinocchio' AI Sci-Fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sci-Fi genre is full of stories about self-aware artificial intelligence and their place in the human world. This book is off the beaten 'But I'm a real boy (girl)' path. Don't expect dwelling on AI vs Humans ethical questions, they are there but not as a centerpiece of the story, it never moralizes and makes you feel like you just sat through a Sunday school lesson about humanity.

    vN is about evolution of artificial 'life', designed as help and entertainment, constrained by Asimov's Laws of Robotics and programmed limits to morality. They reproduce by iteration, which is as much of self-replicating as human children are replicas of their parents. Ultimately, that’s the moral of the story – we are more than we’re made to be and that restrictions, limitations and expectations will not in the end hold us back. The same goes for robots.

    The writing is tight, the characters likable, and the story is compelling. The book is is fairly low on technobabble, and it’s character-driven as well as idea-driven.

    1 of 1 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
    (2910)
    Performance
    (2760)
    Story
    (2762)

    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"
    "The astronaut I want to be"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is both a celebration of man's ingenuity and our desire to survive no matter what the odds. And pure geekery.

    I don't know how scientifically accurate the book is, but to a layman like myself, the problems encountered seem believable, and the solutions very clever.
    Mark Watney (the protagonist) is the kind of hero i enjoy the most - not a superman with unrealistic capabilities, but a very approachable science geek, innovative, funny, brave, resourceful and very, very human.

    As a middle-age designer with back problems, my chances for astronaut career are pretty slim, but this book should be a required reading for middle-school children to inspire next generation of scientists, dreamers and space explorers.

    Loved the humor, the storytelling style and the overall storyline. This is a book I'll be recommending to friends and family.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Seth Mnookin
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (75)

    The Panic Virus is a gripping scientific detective story about how grassroots radicals, snake-oil salesmen, and cynical journalists have perpetrated the biggest health-scare hoax of all time. It explores what happens when the media treats all viewpoints as equally valid, regardless of facts, from parents who are convinced that vaccines caused their children's autism to right-wing radicals who believe that climate change is a myth

    Rachel Dewald says: "Incredible thorough journey"
    "Fascinating and very informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Seth Mnookin presents a thoroughly researched and truly balanced look at the so-called "vaccine controversy". He's obviously pro-science, but he doesn't shy away from pointing out mistakes made in the past by vaccine manufacturers and government while promoting vaccination.

    The book places the current anti-vaccine/ anti-science plague spreading across America in a historical context - success and shortfalls of earlier vaccination attempts ( like variolation of Continental Army in 1777 and flawed polio trials of mid 20th century ) and how fear of vaccinations has been with us though centuries.

    It analyzes cognitive bias (mercury is poison>vaccines have mercury>vaccines are poison), media-fueled fear-mongering, self-interest and willful misrepresentation.

    I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Dirty Job

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Fisher Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4002)
    Performance
    (1305)
    Story
    (1319)

    People start dropping dead around Charlie, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death.

    Janie says: "Great Listen!"
    "A Fidgety Reaper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The formula for this novel is rather simple - take an average,somewhat neurotic but very likable guy, throw him into a boiling world of mythical underworld creatures, ad a dash of spirituality, half of cup of sex jokes and pour humor generously and when almost done sprinkle with some Armageddon -- and you have yourself a delicious and hilarious book

    Dirty Job is for people who love Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy, Good Omens, Agent to the Stars and Discworld series.

    The narration was great and added color and dimensions to the novel. His tone and inflection were spot-on for these characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Chuck Wendig
    • Narrated By Emily Beresford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Miriam is trying. Really, she is. But this whole "settling down thing" that Louis has going for her just isn't working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year round. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis - who's on the road half the time in his truck - is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does. Still, she's keeping her psychic ability - to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them - in check. But even that feels wrong, somehow. Like she's keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.

    Katya A says: "Less interesting sequel to Blackbirds"
    "Less interesting sequel to Blackbirds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's an old Ukranian proverb - 'a pig will find the filth' - that perfectly describes the protagonist of this novel. No matter what is in store for Miriam Black, she will not fail to make the worst possible choice and will go out of the way to alienate very few people that actually care for her and her well-being.
    This self-destructing behavior, usually followed by wails of self-pity, is mildly amusing to make one want to finish first book, but having same theme going for the second one is a little lazy, imho.

    Characters are rather bland and, in best traditions of B-movies and soap operas, have the need to explain their motives in long sentences. I'm no prude, but it felt that Mr. Wending used some profanity generator that inserted them into text almost at random.
    Also, for those for forgot the theme of the first book - "fate is a bitch." It is repeated over and over again, just in case someone didn't get it yet.

    The most interesting part about the first book - Observers, or Fate enforcers, or whatever they were called in the first book are completely absent form the second.

    overall rating: meh

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4810)
    Performance
    (4495)
    Story
    (4489)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Cristina Hatfield says: "Quite an enjoyable read"
    "Bedtime story for a Trekkie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big fan of Scalzi's writing style and i know enough Star Trek Mythos to appreciate sharp ironic humor of the story. But some of the joke were little too 'on the nose' and no low-hanging fruit was left uncollected. Still, the story was very entertaining, narration by Wil Wheaton was great, like always, and i would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light beach read. If they read other novels by Jon Scalzi, that is. Not the best novel by him but better than most other Star Trek fanfic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Walk

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (588)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (391)

    On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.

    Bill says: "The Amazing, Darker Side of Stephen King"
    "Compelling and thought-provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Matuculous and extensive in his writing style, King does a great job illustrating protagonist's progression from somewhat naive and uncomplicated teenager to cynical and bitter young man, his slow departure into madness, and completely believable re-evaluation of self, the walk and his friends.

    I wish there were more details on the 'universe' this book is set in. What caused this tradition? What kind of world they live in? I prefer well-developed backdrops in fiction, but lack of commentary did not take away from the book. All you see as a reader is a road, seemingly endless, bleak and full of ache.

    I have read some criticisms of the ending, but the ending was intelligent. It is ambiguous, and seemingly purposefully so. If you want to settle into a happy ending where the knots are fitfully tied, perhaps romance novels would be more suiting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Half Way Home

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Max Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (54)

    Less than 60 kids awaken on a distant planet. The colony ship they arrived on is aflame. The rest of their contingent is dead. They've only received half their training, and they are being asked to conquer an entire planet. Before they can, however, they must first survive each other.

    Think about this says: "A good read, but not great"
    "Horrible narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Who the hell decided that this whiny, emasculated Woody Allen wannabe is a good choice for a Sci-Fi book?? What a turn-off!!
    Should have listened to a sample before purchasing... :-/

    still really interested in the novel itself, going to read it instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Human Division

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (478)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (438)

    The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance - an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn't obvious or easy.

    linda says: "A Middling Position"
    "Not as good as the original OMW series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As always, Scalzi is very good at wry, cynical dialogue and his space-battle scenes are both exciting and horrific, but he seems to have concentrated more on the novelty of the episodic format here than on a coherent story. I get the feeling (or at least hope) that this book is mostly a transportation step towards an even better story to come.

    To my taste, the book has too much politics and conspiracy and too little technobabble. I like my space opera technobabble-heavy.
    Still, as usual, a great gallery of well-defined and convincing characters are given extra depth and plausibility by William Dufris great narration.

    Worth the listen if you don't expect much from it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • FREE: The Future of a Radical Price

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Chris Anderson
    • Narrated By Chris Anderson
    Overall
    (2228)
    Performance
    (1005)
    Story
    (997)

    The New York Times best-selling author heralds the future of business in Free. In his revolutionary best seller, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson demonstrated how the online marketplace creates niche markets, allowing products and consumers to connect in a way that has never been possible before. Now, in Free, he makes the compelling case that, in many instances, businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them.

    Christopher says: "A fascinating listen"
    "For the fans of Freakonomics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Subjects of business and economics normally bore me to death but i couldn't put this book down-
    Great theory.
    Well supported points.
    A lot of examples among different industries.
    Interesting and useful ideas, easy to understand.

    I learnt a lot from it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fall of Hyperion

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1946)
    Performance
    (1064)
    Story
    (1084)

    In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. Onthe world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing - nothing anywhere in the universe - will ever be the same.

    Darwin8u says: "Hyperion is FALLEN, am I too to fall?"
    "Good conclusion to Hyperion, but could be tighter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall gripping and enjoyable, it moved pretty well despite being on the long side. There are many threads to the story and Simmons does a pretty good job tying them up, although there are some loose ends that don't get totally resolved - maybe that's what the next novel is for?

    While some parts of the book dragged a bit but overall there was enough of a compelling plot to keep the reader very interested.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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