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Bob Nelson

Member Since 2008

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 30 reviews
  • 376 ratings
  • 562 titles in library
  • 50 purchased in 2014
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  • All Clear

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1670)
    Performance
    (1113)
    Story
    (1137)

    Three time-traveling historians are visiting World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Rescued by the second half"
    "Heros!"
    Overall

    Connie Willis is a conceited author. In the Old English sense of "conceit" -- a clever construction. Willis's conceit is to write about "historians" -- time-travelers from the 2060s who go back in time to observe "ordinary people". Her Doomsday Book, about a village during the Black Plague, was one of the most riveting evocations of human emotion I have ever read.
    This time, Willis's "historians" are covering World War II in England.Their observations of ordinary people are of course an excuse for Willis to dress a fascinating parade of characters, dozens of them, all bound up in the everyday heroism of enduring a war: the evacuation at Dunkirk, the children's' evacuation from London, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the V1s and V2s, ...
    Of course, the "historians" get caught up in the movement, and do heroic things themselves. Which should be impossible, because "the theory of time" forbids any time-traveler's meddling with the past. So... is there something wrong with time itself? Willis's characters must battle the Germans while they battle against the fabric of time itself!
    These two books are in fact a single work, so you must read them in order. But DO read them! They are excellent!
    ... and then we must wait another ten years for Willis's next work... :-((((

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3183)
    Performance
    (2815)
    Story
    (2814)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
    "Popcorn!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Android's Dream in three words, what would they be?

    Old-fashioned fun!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Moc... because he's the only character I've ever known who ate a friend...


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

    Nothing... which is just fine with me! I don't like obtrusive readers.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No... but that never happens, so...


    Any additional comments?

    The title kinda gives it away: This book is not very heavy... It's a good-fun romp, and a fine one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Embers at Galdrilene: Dragon's Call, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By A. D. Trosper
    • Narrated By Valerie Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (109)

    The war between the Guardians and the Shadow Riders ended in total devastation. The final battle killed all the dragons and left nothing but fields of ash. A small clutch of dragon eggs was all that remained to provide hope for the future. Five hundred years later, the ability to use magic is a death sentence and dragons are remembered as a curse. But the unhatched dragons sing for their riders...and six lives will be changed forever.

    Ashley Fontainne says: "A Magical Journey"
    "Worst reader I have ever heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I don't know what the story is worth. I stopped listening after a half-hour. That beginning was standard "dragonlore". Neither wonderful nor awful. But the performance was so catastrophic that I will never know.


    If you’ve listened to books by A. D. Trosper before, how does this one compare?

    It was the first. And last.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Valerie Gilbert’s performances?

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO !!!


    What character would you cut from Embers at Galdrilene?

    The reader.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Revise the World

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Brenda W. Clough
    • Narrated By Eric Yves Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    On March 16, 1912, British polar explorer Titus Oates commits suicide by walking out of his tent into an Antarctic blizzard, to save Robert Falcon Scott and the other members of the English exploration team. His body is never found - because he was snatched away into the year 2045 by scientists experimenting with a new faster-than-light drive. Arriving in the future, Oates stubbornly sticks to his old explorer job and sets off on an intergalactic adventure that leads to both knowledge and self-knowledge.

    Bob Nelson says: "A Hero"
    "A Hero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Revise the World again? Why?

    Probably not. I have never listened to the same book twice.


    What other book might you compare Revise the World to and why?

    Connie Willis! And that is a HUGE compliment. Captain Titus Oates is that rarest of literary characters: extraordinary... and credible. He is an alien: an Edwardian gentleman. He is incredible and incomprehensible. And very human.

    The secondary characters are somewhat overwhelmed by "Cap", but they are full enough to give him relief.

    I will be listening to more Clough, in hopes of finding someone as riveting as Titus.


    Which character – as performed by Eric Yves Garcia – was your favorite?

    Duh


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The charge of the light brigade.


    Any additional comments?

    There's a story, of course. A good one. Who cares?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Target: Vicky Peterwald, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Mike Shepherd
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (100)

    Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Victoria Maria Teresa Inez Smythe-Peterwald, daughter of wealth and power, was raised to do little except be attractive and marry well. Then everything changed - her brother, her father’s favorite and the heir apparent, was killed in battle by Lieutenant Kris Longknife, daughter of the Peterwald’s longtime enemies. Vicky vowed revenge, but her skill set was more suitable for seduction than assassination, and she failed. Angry and disappointed, her father decided she needed military training and forced her to join the Navy.

    Bob Nelson says: "Longknife plus sex"
    "Longknife plus sex"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Target?

    The problem with heroines is to keep them reasonable. Authors too often let their characters slide toward Superwoman. Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife is already dangerously close.

    So... Vicky Peterwald is a reload. She's not all that competent. People die around her while she sails on through. (Well... struggles on through...) She's a bitch, to boot.

    But she's working on it.

    That makes her fun. It can't be easy, trying to measure up to Kris. Vicky gets frustrated. She relieves her frustration in a very classic way. Sex.

    Vicky is a work in progress. Just beginning to change. Interesting.

    Let's hope Mike Shepherd avoids Superwoman.


    What other book might you compare Target to and why?

    Vicky Peterwald is an offshoot of Kris Longknife.


    Have you listened to any of Dina Pearlman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Dunno


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. But I never do. It moves right along.


    Any additional comments?

    This doesn't pretend to be great literature. It means to be fun. It is.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11703)
    Performance
    (9094)
    Story
    (9154)

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Lore says: "Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!"
    "I can't believe I ate it all!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brandon Sanderson is a skilled writer. Good plot. Coherent fantasy world. Characters well developed -- I should hope so, in forty hours!

    But... this is one of those grandiose "vast armies clash" books, where the heroes slay their adversaries by thousands... anonymous foot-soldiers of no more significance than dust. Each of those dead was a person. Each could have had a story. By the end of the forty hours, I was sick of the slaughter. So were some of the characters of the book, but Sanderson arrived at their distress through them, not through the dead.

    So if you like "noble" heroes who commit mass slaughter on their way to saving the universe -- that will happen in Book Three -- then "The Way of Kings" will please you. It IS well crafted.

    Personally, I'd prefer a sequel to Lois McMaster Bujold's "Sharing Knife" series. Credible characters doing a bit of good in their world, but not saving the universe.

    "The Way of Kings" has two readers, a woman and a man. Both are quite good... but it was a bit shocking for them to pronounce characters' names differently.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Blackout

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2121)
    Performance
    (1370)
    Story
    (1378)

    In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

    Monica says: "Double review - Blackout and All Clear"
    "The BEST SF writer alive!"
    Overall

    Connie Willis is a conceited author. In the Old English sense of "conceited" -- a clever construction. Willis's conceit is to write about "historians" -- time-travelers from the 2060s who go back in time to observe "ordinary people". Her Doomsday Book, about a village during the Black Plague, was one of the most riveting evocations of human emotion I have ever read.
    This time, Willis's "historians" are covering World War II in England.Their observations of ordinary people are of course an excuse for Willis to dress a fascinating parade of characters, dozens of them, all bound up in the everyday heroism of enduring a war: the evacuation at Dunkirk, the children's' evacuation from London, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the V1s and V2s, ...
    Of course, the "historians" get caught up in the movement, and do heroic things themselves. Which should be impossible, because "the theory of time" forbids any time-traveler's meddling with the past. So... is there something wrong with time itself? Willis's characters must battle the Germans while they battle against the fabric of time itself!
    These two books are in fact a single work, so you must read them in order. But DO read them! They are excellent!
    ... and then we must wait another ten years for Willis's next work... :-((((

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4326)
    Performance
    (3817)
    Story
    (3818)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Re-boot"
    Overall

    In his intro, John Scalzi describes this book as a "re-boot" of H Beam Piper's marvelous classic, "Little Fuzzy". Like a lot of old SF, Piper's book shows its age just about every time it mentions something technological. That may bother some, so Scalzi wrote this modernized version. It will please both those who, like myself, like a good story and are not at all bothered by the anachronisms in "Little Fuzzy"... and by fans of modern, fast-paced smack-down dialog.
    Piper's original is also present -- I haven't listened yet. I'm rarely happu listening to a book I've already read...
    I wonder if Scalzi's version will age as well as Piper's...

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Invasion

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Julian Stockwin
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Napoleon’s forces are poised to invade Britain, and Commander Thomas Kydd’s ship is at the forefront of the fleet defending the English coast. His honour restored after temporary disgrace in the Channel Islands, and reunited with his ship Teazer, Kydd seizes the chance to fight for his country. Then Kydd is abruptly withdrawn from the fleet and sent back to Dover on a secret mission to guard a mysterious American inventor.

    John says: "JohnJye"
    "Almost like home..."
    Overall

    I'm a sucker for Hornblower wannabes, and this was particularly fun because it takes place in the English Channel, quite near to where I live in Calais, France.
    Good story, solid characters, salt wind and booming cannon!
    Recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Omega: Academy Series

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jack McDevitt
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam, Oliver Wyman, Jack McDevitt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (124)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (66)

    A civilization-destroying omega cloud has switched direction, heading straight for a previously unexplored planetary system--and its alien society. And suddenly, a handful of brave humans must try to save an entire world--without revealing their existence.

    By Samantha a series FAN of the vampire earth books says: "Engrossing"
    "Dunno!"
    Overall

    I have a problem with McDevitt. I'm not sure whether I appreciate his work or not. His books loop back and forth through the same territory, both literally and figuratively. His future universe is tired. His characters' centuries-long lives are not easy to fill. Is McDevitt creating something profound, something worthy of our attention... or is he a skilled counterfeiter?
    His characters have depth; his stories are not an Nth rehashing of an old standard... but I have trouble caring...
    I don't know whether I recommend this or not...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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