Kailua Kona, HI, United States | Member Since 2002
Don't miss out on this book. It should start out with "Y'all ain't gonna believe this s _ _ _!"
What a wild and jaw-dropping read! Ray Kurzwell is a real visionary, and the array of subject matter contained in this book is awesome. I can hardly believe his ideas about the future of mankind and artifical intelligence. Though my back aches and my arthritis is killing me, Kurzwell makes me want to live another seventy-one years just to see if what he says turns out to be true. i can only hope that his vision of the future becomes reality so that my great-grandchildren can witness and benefit from the fantastic future outlined in his book.
Kurzwell's views on robotics and artificial intelligence, cloning, reverse-engineering the human brain (?), nanotechnology, world hunger, immortality, conquest of the Universe, treating diabetes successfully (to mention just a few topics) are logically presented, and carefully explained in layman's terms. I have listened to this book several (like seven or eight) times and it has not lost my interest yet. I love the book. I agree with the reviewer who states that it is a great introduction to the 21st century and the vast changes that are iminently possible for mankind. Wow.
The narrator is exactly as he should be. He speaks slowly enough for me to digest the material. His tone is pleasant, and he speaks as if he knows the material well. I am a stickler for narration. it's something that I often comment on, and frankly I was surprised that so many other reviewers panned his performance.
I enjoyed this book, after all is said and done. The plot was very interesting, the characters unpredictable, and it all came together quite nicely. The interaction between Holloway and Carl left me chuckling, and Isabel's relationship with Holloway was neatly held in abeyance to discover slowly as the plot was revealed. The courtroom scene left me shaking my head at how STUPID a lawyer can be to the point where I just had to suspend my belief and leave it at that. All in all, short and sweet, you might say.
Perhaps due to my age, but I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. Will Wheaton (and don't I remember him as the kid on Sea Quest?) delivered the story at such immense speed, I was more amazed at how he could articulate so well at that amazing rate than I was in the story line. Very early on, I reduced the speed to 75% and, after getting used to the annoying echo, was able to move forward with the book. At that rate, his performance was quite adequate, and the slowdown was hardly noticeable.
The other reviews that I read here are misleading. They represent that both Fuzzy Nation stories--Scalzi's and Piper's-- are contained in this title. They are not. I am not familiar with Piper's original piece, but it doesn't matter. I liked Scalzi's book.
This is not the first Audible book about Genghis Khan I have purchased and read. The other one was very interesting, and I am so glad I bought it first. Keep in mind, I am smiling while I write this because of the irony of the thing. if I had bought this book first, I would never, ever have revisited Genghis again. This book, however accurate it may be, is the bloodiest, most graphic description of horror upon horror inflicted on the world population by a single human being.
I did not realize that Genghis Khan's era was in the 12th-13th centuries. That's fairly recent in human history. Ole Genghis started out in Mongolia and eventually marched himself right across Russia right on to Europe's doorstep. According to Weatherford, he was a despot and enjoyed subjugating Christians, Jews, and anyone else he took a disliking to. Geez, where was the plague when we needed it?
Jack Weatherford tells the story of this cruel and inhumane ruler well -- almost too well, as a matter of fact. I suppose I could have gone on with my peripheral knowledge of the man and left it at that, but now, I think Genghis was much, much worse than Hitler. I am of the mind that every monument to him should be bulldozed, every history book should be expunged and humanity should go onward without being reminded that such a being ever existed.
If you like gore and like to read about human misery, by all means get this book! The narrator is great. He drops all this vileness in your lap like he's describing a picnic in the park. I should like to hear him read something not quite so ghastly. There is a lot of animation in his voice. He's good,
In closing, I can't say I didn't like the book. I learned a lot listening to it. You know, some things are hard to hear, but there is a message in there somewhere. I hope that future generations never fall into the mindless hopelessness of a creature like Genghis. Maybe reading stuff like this will scare us enough to keep that from happening,
Good heavens! Don't believe the other reviewers about the narration. Alan Munro is by far the best of the three, I love his accent. Give me more of him. The narrator for Dr. Moreau and the Invisible Man was the same, but I saw his narrating style as being quaint and adequate for the time period. George Eustice's narration of War of the Worlds was totally within reason, and yes, there were some weird noises in the background. But hey, twenty hours of a great science fiction writer like H. G. Wells, gimme a break! WELL WORTH THE PRICE, PEOPLE! WELL WORTH THE PRICE.
H. G,. Wells is a notable author. I have been familiar with his work since Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. War of the Worlds in 1956 was one of the scariest movies my child's mind ever grasped - scared the hell out of me for weeks! I was not familiar with the Dr. Moreau piece, except in a peripheral sort of way as I am not a fan of horror films, so I can't comment too much on that. As a matter of fact, I glossed it over for the next book. Maybe I'll go back to it one day. Now the Time Machine with Rod (What's his name) was a great flick, and until I read this collection, I was not aware of how closely the film followed the book.
Now for the big reveal. All of the film versions that I remember were updated adaptations of the original work. The Invisible Man? I had no idea that the main character was so demoralized by his self-induced fate that he decides to take it out on the entire world. He turned out to be Lex Luthor, for God's sake. Mean just to be mean. What an eye opener. He seemed harmless enough in the Abbott and Costello movie, and I left it at that. But Wells shows through excellent character development how this man (told in first person) begins to deteriorate slowly as he desperately tries to figure out what he did to get in that state in the first place. Wells was a writer of contemporary fiction a la 1890s, and the descriptions he gives of the environment and the people who come across the invisible man are sensible for the 19th century and when placed in that context it was gripping, to say the least.
War of the Worlds is another story that has been corrupted over the last century. Although 1956s version is FAR superior to the more modern costly digital disaster, neither of them puts the story in its time perspective. London - 1895. Horses and carts, No huge buildings, largely an agrarian population, and the ability to stand on a hill and look over the city. The descriptive passages were amazing. I felt the angst of this man as he struggles, along with everyone else, to figure out what the hell is going on. Instantly, the entire city is in turmoil, with no relief in sight. Although we know the ending, the narration of the desperate lengths the main character goes through, the descriptions of the bodies left everywhere, dogs chewing at corpses, people fighting and robbing each other for anything and everything, and this man doesn't know what has happened to his wife. No film version can adequately depict the two weeks that he hid in the collapsed cottage, with the Martians at arm's length just outside the rubble.
Lastly, the Time Machine was perfect. The film version was faithful, but the story fleshes out the character and the environment so much better. Can you imagine? Science fiction in the 19th century?
Let me say this. I have bought some low-budget books in my time that I was immensely gratified to have made such a little dent in my pocketbook. They were garbage. At the same time, I have paid the member price for other books that I would have happily ripped to shreds they were so bad. But once in a while, something comes along that makes it all better. This collection of H. G. Wells classics is one of those.
I now know the difference between a good book and a GREAT one. I have just finished the Forsyte Saga, and my eyes were opened wide. Just prior to that I read a couple of Kate Morton novels which I enjoyed, but let me tell you, sweetie, they just don't stand up in comparison to John Galsworthy's epic masterpiece.
I have owned this book for some time and don't always listen immediately after purchasing them for one reason or another. I give it a try, and then put it down if it's problematic. In this case, I think it was the narrator, Fred Williams. He reads so slowly, however precisely, and I couldn't handle the plodding pace. So, with the new Audible app I sped it up to 1.25% listening speed, And very shortly thereafter I was immersed in 19th century England up to my eyeballs.
What a great story! What compelling characters! I could not get enough of this book. It's over now, and I am sad because I want to know what has happened to everyone. I ran the gamut of emotions listening to this book. When it wasn't possible for me to listen, I was still engrossed. I thought about my own father who was born in 1905 and tried to compare his lifestyle growing up during the Forsyte's timeline. The manners, the morals, the injustices--all so different for my father's generation and for mine. There is simply no comparison to today, a hundred plus years later.
This is a story about a family. Upper middle class, proper and all that, divided so deeply about one way of life (the popular view) and another way (a burgeoning ideal of how life could be) which is rather alien to the establishment. John Galsworthy was born into this upper middle class environment, and gives great detail about how people thought and acted as they did.
Anyway the split in the family grows larger and larger, and then one day, two or three generations down the line, things happen which eventually start the decline of the old view and there it ends, leaving you to guess what happens next.
Such a long, long book, but every single sentence is a keeper. You know what? I eventually put the speed back to 1.00 because I didn't want it to quit. I guess I got used to Fred Williams' narration (or he got better over the course of the book) because I didn't mind at all.
This is a GREAT book, whether you read it, listen to it, or watch it dramatized, and I now know the difference! I actually watched the Netflix version while reading it, and checked out the Gutenberg Project online version of it, looked up the history of the Boer War, and checked out Queen Victoria's funeral. I imagine you will, too, but nothing compares with the book! You have to read this book!
Because this is the first book of a long series, I am hesitant to pan it. So many other reviewers have given it big thumbs up, compared it to Lord of the Rings all that, and I was eager to jump aboard the bandwagon.
Truth is, the story is all that they say it is -- engaging, frightening, charming, mysterious, et cetera ad infinitum. I pressed on, even though it was like fingernails scratching on a chalk board.
WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE GET THEIR NARRATORS FROM? AND WHAT IS THE POINT OF CHANGING READERS IN MIDSTREAM? FIRE THE *&*(* EDITOR! Twenty-nine hours of listening to Michael Kramer and his sing-song delivery drove me INSANE!
It went like this: Da dada de DA _, da dada de DA_, da dada de DA_. Example: He climbed up the WALL and jumped on the ROOF and bent down to LOOK and saw the man THERE. Blah, blah, blah, blah BLAH multiplied 587,993 times. He could have been reading a technical journal, he had about as much feeling in the words. Omg! Read the book, don't listen to this jerk speak it.
Now, after I am finished being pissed off, let me say this. When Kramer is reading dialogue, he is pretty fair. His inflections are right on, his vocal tones very acceptable, and he even does a nice job of voicing the characters. I particularly like the way he read the voice of the ten-foot-guy, (the ogre?) He made him sound sheepish, apologetic even, for the way he looked to humans.
Now let's talk about Kate Reading. She is okay, just. However, I could not see the point of having her read what -- two or three chapters of a 29 hour book? Because it"focused" the female characters for a few moments is not a good reason, people. It was, though, a bit of a relief from the other guy. She should have read the whole book.
So, take it from me. If you can stand that guy sing-speaking the descriptive passages, you will probably love the story. If you think it might be a problem, get the Kindle version.
I listened to the Forgotten Garden by the same author just recently and was spellbound. This book, however, hugely misses the mark. It takes 22 hours to tell what amounts to a short story. I do have to tell you this, though--Kate Morton has a gift for descriptive passages, for the little nuances that put you right in the story, as if you are sitting there, listening in on the conversation. She is amazing. and Caroline Lee is superb! I love her delicious Aussie accent.
Nevertheless, these two ENORMOUS pluses for this book could not pull me back from boredom in many places. The tale is told over and over and over again from many different points of view, all too similar to have been given so much coverage. Another thing, flipping back in forth in the time line was so overdone it was ghastly. At times I didn't know whether it was Meredith or Edith talking, and after a while I lost track. I found myself skipping forward to see if anything was happening, but it didn't seem to matter.
I finally played it at 1.25 speed just to get it over with. I would fall asleep and it would still be droning on without me missing much of the plot.
I finally looked on Wikipedia for a synopsis, and once I got that, I quit. My thoughts were, "all that -- for that?" Kate Morton has a great writing style, but this was strictly soap.
I do know that there are those of you who will definitely enjoy this book, if you take it in small pieces, like the drive to and from work. But for me, being sick in bed for two days from food poisoning, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
I have some of Kate Morton's other books in my Wish List. I think I will give it a rest for a while. The Forgotten Garden was so DAMN good, I was hoping... Oh, well.
I purchased this book in 2004 and forgot I owned or for some reason it didn't capture my attention at the time. This go-around, however, found me much more willing to get into the story. The narrator--yes, she did swallow from time to time, but I did not find it off-putting, and her slow narration was not that bad. Those of you who want to speed things up can always push it up a notch. But the historical fiction was quite good.
We have heard Empress Cixi portrayed as a vile creature, but Anchee Min gives a sympathetic look at the power behind China from 1861 to 1908, unlike many other biographers who paint her as a witch. While in her later years she may have become somewhat of a dragon, it is quite possible that at the age of 17, she could have been forced into a surreal existence in the Forbidden City, something unimaginable in her former life. To survive in that climate, she must have made some desperate choices.
The story was slow, at times. My God, I thought they would never get the Emperor in the ground. I thought it took years for them to do it, and was totally surprised that it only took a matter of 3 months or so.
In reading this book, I got some idea of why China is so alienated from Euro-American society. What the British, French, Russians and Americans did to them for OPIUM is totally disgusting. These people were INVADED by these power hungry money-grabbing vultures. Mmmm, sound familiar?
Well worth the read. I'm glad I searched it out again. I'll probably have a look at The Last Empress, Anchee Min's continuation of Empress Orchid. Oh, there is a 2-hour movie on YouTube about Empress Orchid, which gives you the Chinese perspective of this woman. It's pretty interesting, and has a much faster pace.
I have read a lot of the the Dune books in the past, and never have gotten so bored in so many places. It seemed like forever to get the plots going. However, with that said, I actually think the back story material blended well into the Duniverse -- it was quite interesting to see how the Space Guild was formed, and how Norma discovered that melange could be used to fold space. I definitely think that the back story behind the Bene Jeserrits (excuse me if I misspell some of these terms, because I have never READ one of these books, only listened to to them) was amazing, as well. The story of Ishmael was -- well, lookee there, I kind of forgot that plot, so you know where that's going.
Okay, the story of Abelerd Harkonnen was so so so repetitive. He got crap every time his name was mentioned about how he had the nerve to change his surname from Butler back to Harkonnen. In the twenty or so years covered by this time period, no one ever forgave him for doing that. And the reason for that was that human beings were used to having his grandfather as the villian, and wouldn't be likely to change their minds even if the truth were known. The authors make humans to be STUPID - bigtime.
Like when the humans are all riled up and break into the hospital and smash all technological apparatus, no one in the mob says, "hello, if we trash the phones, we won't be able to communicate. If we trash the cars, we'll have to walk, and hey, if we trash the space ships, we won't be able to go between planets.... We will be left with hoes and buckets and dirt..." No the mob just goes wildly on, wrecking the place. Come on, guys! Finally, when Celine the Rabblerouser is on a space ship going to the Battle of Corrin, she "justifies" her being on this technological marvel as a necessary evil, but, she says, " When it's over, we'll get rid of the spaceships, too." I'm sorry, but this crap put me way over the edge of belief.
Here's something else. At the battle site, Erasmus threatens Vor with 2 million humans being used as human shields. They are stuffed into spaceships ringing the planet, and Vor can actually see them all squashed in with their frightened faces smashed to the glaz, they are in there so tight. Erasmus tells Vor if (get this...) he crosses the line, all the human cargo carriers will be triggered to blow up and Vor will be responsible for their deaths. This is my favorite part. Now ensues a terminally LONG discussion between Vor, the commander and Abelerd, his second in command, about how he shouldn't just plow through the line and be done with it. The repartee goes on and on and on. Any commander on the bridge who was worth his salt would have told his subordinate to shut the f--- up and get off the bridge. But Vor, over and over and over again, tries to explain his decision to the younger man. It took so long that it's quite possible that the unlucky slaves in the human cargo carriers died of suffocation or starvation while waiting for them to finish arguing. They were talking about having meetings with the higher ups, etc. and so on. Point two - what were they going to do with 2 million refugees anyway, how were they going to feed them?
It was just all beyond my ability to read any reality into it. I think Brian Herbert and Co. is pulling our chains and laughing all the way to the bank. Frank Herbert created a wonderful piece of fiction, but these guys are f---ing it up bigtime. I think this may be the very LAST Dune book that I purchase.
I had seen this book in a Showtime mini-series portrayal back in 1984. It's offered now on Netflix, and I revisited it again after purchasing the audible book. It is a great story, either way, and I can't say that one was better than the other.
As it is in many book-to-movie transitions, some key elements are left out and the timeline is altered. The book was lovely, just lovely until the rescue of Anjuli from the suttee ritual. The storyline is so much more fleshed out, and I was just swept away to 1860s India. The narrator had much to do with this. His wonderful Indian accent was seamless and so real. He even spoke the women's parts so believably. Charming all the way through.
However, I did find the book rather tedious after the rescue. It seemed to drag on. I think that the mini-series did a better job incorporating all the Afghanistan fighting before the rescue. I have to admit I played it at 2x speed a couple of times, because I really wanted to know what happened, I just didn't want to experience every bloody blow in real time. I will read it again in the future, because the narration was so good, the forbidden romance was so good, and Ash's back story, which was quite skimmed over in the mini-series, was very interesting.
I just purchased this collection of stories, and I am so thrilled, I can't stand it. Listening to Orson Welle's radio programs is astonishing. I had forgotten what listening to radio was like. In the 1940s and early 50s, I used to listen to the radio all the time as a kid. We didn't have TV until 1953, and then it was mostly test patterns with about 4 hours of programming.
But listening to the radio--that was the THING! As I listened to it today, I am amazed at all the special effects that went into the program: the music, the sound effects, the crowd in the background, how wonderful is that? My imagination came to life again. So far I have listened to about ten of the episodes -- the first one, the Christmas Carol is a little gritty, so I moved on. I can go back an listen to it later, Algiers was a great listen, with Paulette Goddard in the lead role. What a young voice she had.
I listen on my iPod late at night after I get in bed. The stories are short enough that I can listen to an entire episode before falling asleep. The actors and actresses are great, too. I'll admit, it's a little hard to hear with the static and all, but that's not in all the programs. And if I remember right, listening over the radio in the 1940s was the same. Reception wasn't that good then, either. So, it's like going back in time for me. I'm delighted.
I have found a new genre now which I hope to mine and get more of the stories that I used to listen to as a kid. Do you remember "Let's Pretend"? It was a Saturday morning series of fairy tales. Ooh, I hope I can find it.
As for the story listings, I googled the book name and found a site that had all the episodes listed in order. So now, I can pick and choose, and I'll be able to go back and listen to my favorites again and again.
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