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Benbarian

Johannesburg, South Africa | Member Since 2015

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 67 ratings
  • 214 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
7
FOLLOWERS
0

  • The Speed of Dark

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Moon
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (228)

    In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

    Andrew says: "Totally Recommended!"
    "Wow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow. What an interesting look into an autistic mind. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but I believe it to be helpful either way. Well written, human characters, mundane, but strangely fascinating. Interesting near future tech. I will give more Moons ago

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Mars: Long Earth, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (178)

    2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his request....

    W. Seligman says: "A disappointment"
    "Thoughtful and insightful if a bit slow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The (probably) last book in the Long Earth series, was even slower than the previous two. The scope was however much larger. As the name implies the traversing of the Long Mars, among other adventures keep the characters we've come to know busy discovering more and more fascinating aspects of this ring of infinite worlds.

    Unfortunately I felt that the separate stories were all a little flat, a little distant, a little shallow. Overall I enjoyed it very much, but there was something missing compared to the first 2 books, and I'm still needing some more conclusive end to the series

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton
    • Narrated By Raymond Todd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (391)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (150)

    One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman's last literary legacy, prepared with his friend and fellow drummer, Ralph Leighton.

    david says: "Richard The Fine Man"
    "Wonderful anecdotes from a brilliant mind "
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A mixed bag of fascinating stories that fill in any of the gaps from Fyenman's life that weren't covered in Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman. Insightful and touching. Albeit very scattered and not particularly chronological

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

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Minnie Goode
    Overall
    (1621)
    Performance
    (1474)
    Story
    (1470)

    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.

    Charles says: "Unique"
    "Very fine post-apocolyptic fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this. It' has been recommended to me on so many different forums and in so many formats. I'm very pleased to have fianlly given it a listen. Great characters. Totaly suspecion of belivve, really took me away. Unexpected plot twists. Humour, sadness, hope. I highly recommend it. The narration was perfect, albeint she had a few slightly over-done character accents. Overal a wonderful story, well produced.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alif the Unseen

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By G. Willow Wilson
    • Narrated By Sanjiv Jhaveri
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (131)

    In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients — dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups — from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif — the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind.

    Virginia says: "Something different"
    "Cute and entertaining eastern tech adventure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Entertaining, if not particularly deep techno adventure.

    Interesting mix of plausible hacktivism and djinn based Middle Eastern superstition. Plausible escapism. Decent characterisation. A fun romp through the Middle East and it's censorship and it's mythology

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (2142)
    Performance
    (1790)
    Story
    (1804)

    2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it. The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.

    Jesse says: "Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy"
    "What sci-fi is made of"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brilliant. Great balance of first contact, far future tech, unique aliens, realistic space science. Space opera as it should be.

    John Lee gives a brilliant performance as usual

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Dennis Olsen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (186)

    It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings.

    HDJ says: "Ignore the teen classification!"
    "The most beautiful book I've ever read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not something I say lightly. But I've never been as deeply touched by a story, by a grouping of words. Simple, beautiful, thought provoking. Zusak is a wordsmith of the highest calibre. Each sentence lingers in my ears, my heart. Mayne tears where shed, mayne giggles escaped my lips, and so much was caught in my throat. Read it, read it again, pass it on, and read it to them.

    Thanks you Mr Zusak. Thank you

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Farside

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ben Bova
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (286)
    Performance
    (259)
    Story
    (261)

    Telescopes on Earth have detected an Earth-sized planet circling a star some 30 light-years away. Now the race is on to get pictures of that distant world that show whether or not the planet is truly like Earth - and if it bears life. Farside observatory will have the largest optical telescope in the solar system and the most sensitive radio telescope, insulated from the interference of Earth’s radio chatter by a thousand kilometers of the moon’s solid body. But building Farside is a complex, dangerous task. And what they ultimately find stuns everyone, and humanity will never be the same.

    Gordon says: "Not super impressed to be honest"
    "Ok. Ok story, ok characters, ok writing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was ok. Kept my ears busy, put pretty pictures of moon bases and telescopes and stuff in my mind's eye. Characters were human. Not much thought went into the idea of living on the moon though, there were all kinds of opportunities for awesome details about the hardships and difficulties of a permanent moon colony, that were conveniently ignored. Having read Red Mars (Kim Stanley Robbinson) this was frustratingly shallow. But it entertained me, and I'll probably read more of Mr Bova's works.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Company: Chronicles of The Black Company, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Glen Cook
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1367)
    Performance
    (1006)
    Story
    (1012)

    Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hardbitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead - until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her....

    Peter says: "Great Story, Narrator Takes Getting Used To"
    "Good ideas, nice world, shallow story, ok writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this because Steven Erikson mentioned it was one of his inspiration. And I can see why, there are many elements that led to Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. The difference is that Erikson is a brilliant story teller. Cook, not so much. It was an entertaining read, with some very interesting military fantasy elements, I think he started a genre here in some ways. But the story is just so shallow, you never really get into the characters. It's written like a first person account that was written in the Annals of the Black Company, so that justifies the lack of detail, but I still missed it, the book would have been so much stronger if it was written with more emphasis on description and maybe some other character's POVs. I might listen to the rest of the series if I've got nothing better to read, but I'm not going to go out of my way I don' think. If you've tried this, you're gong to love Steven Erikson, esp the first few books of his Malazan series

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Skulduggery Pleasant: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Derek Landy
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that, while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn't fiction. Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source, the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.

    GS says: "Dark Magic & a talking skeleton"
    "Not my cup o tea, didn't think it baby young adult"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is certainly entertaining, and the narration is great. But I'd rather read a Pratchett. All the bits of this individually make for entertainment, it's just that all together they don't stand out as anything vaguely new or novel. Everything has been done before, better. Didn't finish it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hydrogen Sonata: Culture, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (69)

    The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture 10,000 years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations: They are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed....

    Benbarian says: "Hmm... Ok.. But not great"
    "Hmm... Ok.. But not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read most of Banks's work by now, and this is a little underwhelming. After the depth and breadth of Surface Detail, this leaves me feeling a little cold. Banks as always paints sweeping vistas of alien awesomeness and really digs in with amazing concepts and high tech culture. But one doesn't ever really like his characters, only the Minds seem to have any depth to them.

    It won't be the last Banks i read, he does keep me hooked enough to continue. But I hope they get better rather than worse from here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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