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Darryl

Cedar Rapids, IA, United States | Member Since 2005

416
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 228 reviews
  • 933 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 111 purchased in 2014
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20

  • The Mysterious Island

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By Berny Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (309)
    Performance
    (273)
    Story
    (280)

    Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, The Mysterious Island is considered by many to be Jules Verne’s masterpiece. “Wide-eyed mid-nineteenth-century humanistic optimism in a breezy, blissfully readable translation by Stump” (Kirkus Reviews), here is the enthralling tale of five men and a dog who land in a balloon on a faraway, fantastic island of bewildering goings-on and their struggle to survive....

    Tad Davis says: "Wonderful novel, mediocre translation"
    "Can't recommend it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I grew up reading Verne, 20,000 Leagues being an early favorite, but unfortunately, as important a figure as he may be in literature and scifi history, I don't think his writing holds up. I've revisited Verne a few times over recent years and though I love Nemo etc. I can't enjoy him now. His novels are, and it pains me to say it, better in an abridged version. This one in particular just goes on far too long and slowly and belabors events. And the narrator didn't help either, very slow and monotonous. I finished it, but I cheated and put the playback speed up to 2x.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • BUtterfield 8

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By John O'Hara, Lorin Stein (introduction)
    • Narrated By Gretchen Mol
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    A masterpiece of American fiction and a best seller upon its publication in 1935, BUtterfield 8 lays bare with brash honesty the unspoken and often shocking truths that lurked beneath the surface of a society still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression. One Sunday morning, Gloria wakes up in a stranger's apartment with nothing but a torn evening dress, stockings, and panties. When she steals a fur coat from the wardrobe to wear home, she unleashes a series of events that can only end in tragedy.

    Darryl says: "a little drab for me"
    "a little drab for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As much as I liked Appointment in Samarra, I was let down by this. Overall I tired of the pointless drunken existence of these people.

    On the other hand, I do think that it gives a sense of the times; the "lost generation"; the rote daily existence; those who don't take responsibility for their actions, or at least seek easy solutions; the constant alcoholism; double standards; aimlessness.

    I guess I felt it was rather directionless compared to other "classics" of the period, even his own Samarra. The style is very Hemingway-esque for the most part.

    Elements made me think of, and wish for the audio of, P.J. Wolfson's Three of a Kind (a great noir of the Cain Postman variety) but particularly for Is My Flesh of Brass?, (1934) a great novel concerning unscrupulous doctors and abortion that predates by a year Butterfield (1935).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Skin

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Michel Faber
    • Narrated By Fiona Hardingham
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (90)

    A “fascinating psychological thriller” (Baltimore Sun), this entrancing novel introduces Isserley, a female driver who scouts the Scottish Highlands for male hitchhikers with big muscles. She herself is tiny—like a kid peering up over the steering wheel. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, Isserley listens to her passengers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them should they disappear—and then she strikes. What happens to her victims next is only part of a terrifying reality.

    Tracy says: "weird & creepy, but interesting!"
    "stays with you, then get the film"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    novel: I very much like this one. It has some odd SF/horror elements that made me think of Well's Time Machine, not the time element, but the Morlocks and the Eloi. And then there is a little bit of the Man Who Fell to Earth identity confusion/struggle on the alien's behalf.

    I don't want to give too much away, but there is a "huntress" looking for men. I thought there'd be a little more of the Piers Anthony Firefly idea but it's not really that at all. I do think a couple of the hunt episodes maybe run long, but not horribly. There is a rather horrific scene involving the men but in general I think the ideas are more horrible than any particular scenes. And in an odd way you come to identify with the girl. Much can be said about the ideas of body image and sexual attraction/predation.

    film: If you are interested and want to see a very cool interpretation of this check out the film that just got released on disc/itunes. Artsy, impressionistic, very Kubrick-ian use of image, music, cinematography, and no easy answers and explanations. It is not a strict filming of the novel though but I thought it was fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nightwings

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Robert Silverberg
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    For 1,000 years, mankind has lived under the threat of invasion from an alien race. After the oceans rose and the continents were reshaped, people divided into guilds - Musicians, Scribes, Merchants, Clowns, and more. The Watchers wander the Earth, scouring the skies for signs of enemies from the stars. But during one Watcher's journey to the ancient city of Roum with his companion, a Flier named Avluela, a moment of distraction allows the invaders to advance. When the Watcher finally sounds the alarm, it's too late: the star people are poised to conquer all.

    Richard L. Rubin says: "HUGO AWARD WINNING NOVELLA AND TWO SEQUELS!"
    "good not great "apocalyptic""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    in general i like Silverberg but i think this one fizzles at the end. a friend listened at same time and he felt basically the same as i do on all these points.

    part one is the best section and contains the most interesting characters and aspects. it is the original short story/novella that won a hugo award and that is it's strength: it is an open-ended yet at least unified piece. there in lies the trouble, as he decided to continue or expand the story into a novel.

    part 2 suffers from a slow down of the narrative and moves from the Rome(Roum) of part 1 into a journey to Paris(Perris) and while it has some interesting things, it really suffers from the absence of Avluela the Nightwing of the title, one of the more interesting characters.

    Part 3 heads to Jerusalem(Jorslem) and picks up again with the help of the reappearance of Avluela but the novel ends with some interesting ideas that go undeveloped. The regeneration back to youth is good but I would have liked for that bit to come sooner and get worked with.

    I like a lot of the stuff within the story, the guild structure of the society, the apocalyptic setting, the alien threat, the characters (especially in the first 1/3).

    in fact there is a lot I like about this and if it had a re-worked middle, and a few things developed more at the end, it would have been very good. the main character Tomis, goes through some good development.

    it reminded me of Canticle for Liebowitz, mainly for the setting that i at least envisioned, though it is very different and not of that caliber.

    troublesome middle hinders this one i think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Liberty

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Garrison Keillor
    • Narrated By Garrison Keillor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (126)
    Story
    (128)

    Lake Wobegon is in a frenzy of preparations for the Fourth of July. The town is dizzy with anticipation - until they hear of Clint's ambition to run for Congress. They know about his episodes with vodka sours, his rocky marriage, and his friendship with the 24-year-old who dresses up as the Statue of Liberty for the parade and may be buck naked beneath her robes. In Keillor's words, "It is Lake Wobegon as you imagined it - good loving people who drive each other crazy."

    Christopher says: "Great for a long country drive."
    "funny Lake Wobegon story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    in all honesty i am not a Keillor "fan" as his drawling voice gets on my nerves and so I never got into the show.

    however, I tried this on a friends recommendation who is a fan of the book and GK in general and my trepidation over his voice didn't come into play. I thought he read this very well and the story itself was very funny at times. as I said, i do not listen to the show, so there may be characters and such that will be familiar to fans, i do not know, but it didn't matter to the story for me.

    I enjoyed the odd small town characters and situations, though I think he missed a couple of opportunities for some real wacky incidents in the parade that would have been totally in keeping with the story. but i had fun with it, it did what it was supposed to and i may try another of the Wobegon stories.

    GK does have a great funny short baseball story in the funny shorts collection that he also narrates, so maybe he's better, at least for me, in this format as opposed to the slow paced radio show. though i think his readings of poetry with billy collins is hit and miss.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Garrison Keillor
    • Narrated By Garrison Keillor, Tim Russell, Sue Scott
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    On the 12th floor of the Acme Building, on a cold February day in St. Paul, Guy Noir looks down the barrel of a loaded revolver in the hands of geezer gangster Joey Roast Beef, who is demanding to hear what lucrative scheme Guy is cooking up with stripper-turned-women's-studies-professor Naomi Fallopian. Everyone wants to know, and Guy faces them one by one, as he and Naomi pursue a dream of earning gazillions by selling a surefire method of dramatic weight loss.

    Darryl says: "funny noir spoof"
    "funny noir spoof"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    while I generally tire of Keillor's voice rather quickly, this is more of a radio play, i suppose taken from the Prairie Home broadcasts, and so has sound effects and several other players.

    I thought it was very funny at times, and enjoyed it, though I do think that it goes on just a little too long, which sounds odd given that it is only a few hours long, but I think in many instances certain stories that rely on a joke premise or odd setup, need to get to the "punchline" quickly as length only dilutes the premise and drains away the fun in favor of continuing for another episode, much like TV shows that go on too long after the initial creative surge runs out.

    but, in general i had fun with the first 2/3 for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian Crown Jewels

    • UNABRIDGED (44 mins)
    • By Poul Anderson
    • Narrated By John W. Michaels
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Sherlock Holmes on Mars? When the Martian Crown Jewels disappear, and the universe is in the brink of an interstellar incident, who else better to call then the universally famous three-eyed sleuth Syaloch to solve the crime.

    Darryl says: "ok sherlock pastiche"
    "ok sherlock pastiche"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    a lot of authors can't help trying a Sherlock type story and this is one. As it goes, it is ok, and i think it is considered one of the "classic" SF pastiches, but it may be a little more for devout fans of Sherlock and Poul Anderson.

    I do think that it is the type of story that benefits from a more light hearted, and quicker paced narration. This narrator is not very good at all and probably hinders (at least my) enjoyment of the tale.

    It appears this Mike Vendetti has formed his own narrative/audio company and is going through stories that may be in public domain and/or not optioned by bigger companies like Audible etc yet, and that is not necessarily a good thing as he is not a good narrator nor is this guy, in fact they may be same person, their slow ponderous style is so similar.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Roller Coaster

    • UNABRIDGED (17 mins)
    • By Alfred Bester
    • Narrated By John W. Michaels
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    This tale by Alfred Bester has a strong thread of plausibility running through it. Just enough conviction, if in fact, to wake up in the middle of the night with a feeling that someone stole the blankets.

    Darryl says: "Love Bester"
    "Love Bester"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I only encourage you to get this short piece which made me think of the robert Bloch Toy for Juliette story because I want to get Audible to do the classic Bester novels, Demolished Man, and Stars, My Destination.

    By itself it is ok, and I in general don't like this one short piece for $4 type crap that's happening all the time now, (though I wish I could have picked and chose 1 at a time of Ellison and saved $ and time getting 3-4 good ones instead of hours of his drek).

    Anyway, as I say, I only got it to show them an interest in Bester and hope for the 2 great ones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Proteus Operation

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By James P. Hogan
    • Narrated By Paul Christy
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    When malcontents from a utopian 21st century use their time gate to transform Hitler into an invincible conqueror, a band of freedom-fighting Americans launches the Proteus project and builds a second time gate.

    Michael says: "Where we're going, McFly, we WILL need roads!"
    "time travel that doesn't work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like the idea, and I like elements of the story, but it is so poorly written that I had trouble with it. Especially after having just come from To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is so well written.

    And the narrator doesn't do well, mispronouncing words, altering his pronunciation of the same word later; not doing voices well at all, not even trying to give Churchill a distinct voice and yet oddly enough trying to do it for Einstein.

    Aside from that, I didn't believe in the world at all. & here's why. If you compare To Say Nothing wherein the research into the period is so well done but also the characters are living in that world...But in this one, there are times when the description feels like, "oh, yeah, I need to describe that time period, so let me list elements in this picture I'm looking at". The characters don't really interact with the environment in a way that makes you believe in it.

    I really was hoping it would be good with the SF & Time Travel & WWII. Though I did like the multiple worlds/quantum physics aspect very much, but just can't recommend it; not when there is a superior Time Travel with the Willis To Say Nothing....

    I do think it would make an interesting film or mini series with good recreations of the time period etc. And there are a couple of ideas near the end which almost redeem it. With revision and a better narrator it could be good.

    I'm being a little hard on it, and I admit that it suffered mightily due to listening right after To Say Nothing which had pitch perfect narration also. Basically Willis does everything right, and Hogan misses on so many points.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (1824)
    Performance
    (1038)
    Story
    (1039)

    In this Hugo-winner from Connie Willis, when too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history.

    Amazon Customer says: "Sci-fi Comdey of Manners"
    "a lot of fun with time travel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Why did I wait so long to try this? I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. The opening scene is a little confusing because you start "in medias res" as they say, in a scene that it takes you a bit to understand where they are and what they're up to, though you don't even get all those details immediately, some of which you slowly figure out as the story progresses.

    But do not worry, all will be explained at the end, a bit like an Agatha Christie novel. And much like a Christie mystery there are mysterious happenings and information doled out along the way to give you a chance to fill in some of the story.

    This book has a little of everything: SF; mystery; romance; comedy; history. And it's not a zip zip type of time travel, though there is a bit of that. The majority of the story takes place in Victorian England and has some comedy of manners that is very funny at times.

    And I listened to 3 Men in a Boat first just in case it helped, but I don't think it's necessary, just added a bit to recognize a couple items when they popped up. & I have not listened to Doomsday Book which technically comes before this and it did not matter in the slightest to me. But on the strength of this I will be getting more Willis and this series, but I knew this was funny whereas the others may be more serious so wanted to try it first.

    And I gave the book to a friend to read on the plane and she loved it and laughed out loud and she didn't read 3 Men nor others in this series either, so I think you can safely enjoy it.

    It very much reminded me of A Confederacy of Dunces in the comic element and also in the masterful plotting, with so many threads coming together at the finale. & also the Jack Finney Time & Again and Time After Time where the time travel is only part of the story, it really is more about the characters encountered.

    So if you want a mystery type novel built around time travel and victorian manners comedy here it is. If you want zipping around and hardware better go to Well's Time Machine and others. Not saying those are bad, I love Wells, but they are a different breed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shatterday & Other Stories: The Voice from the Edge, Volume 5

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Harlan Ellison
    • Narrated By Harlan Ellison, Max Caufield, John Rubenstein, and others
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    In a prolific career spanning more than 50 years, Harlan Ellison has been the acclaimed master of speculative fiction. Shatterday & Other Stories presents, for the first time in audio, 11 of Ellison’s visionary stories.

    Darryl says: "sorry, can't go on"
    "sorry, can't go on"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    it was my honest intention to get through all 5 sets of stories but I don't think I can make it. I got done with Adrift off the Islets... (another supposed award winner) and saw that I still have 3&1/2 hours to go. enough is enough.

    my honest opinion is that Ellison's boorishness and brow beating have worn down those who should stand up to him. I find little of interest in his style and stories. after 50 + stories I have found 3 or 4 that I would recommend to friends. that is not a good percentage.

    in his arrogance he is proud to tell you that a couple of these stories are as they were after first draft, no changes. Well, either he's lying or he doesn't respect the craft enough to rewrite. I suspect it's a little of both; I'm sure he thinks his every word and sentence are golden perfection. I guess he doesn't need to rewrite; he's better than Hemingway and Shakespeare and Melville and Nabokov then.

    as far as I've gotten in this set, the best story is Shatterday. Now, here's an interesting tidbit. As litigious as Ellison is, filing lawsuits against anyone and everyone he feels is in any way stepping on his ideas, I wonder if he filed suit against himself on behalf of Walter Tevis, (author of Man Who Fell to Earth, a brilliant novel), whose story The Other End of The Line begins, opening paragraphs, with a man, George Bledsoe, mistakenly calling his own phone number and having it answered by himself. In Tevis' story there is a time displacement, but the opening is so strikingly similar that I was shocked and immediately thought Ellison cribbed it. (Tevis by the way is a far superior writer whose masterful Mockingbird deserves to be narrated here, as well as his non-SF novels.)

    & why not acknowledge Tevis given Harlan's penchant for name dropping to make sure you know all the important people he's met etc., and read, let's not forget how badly he wants you to know how well read he is, and how intelligent and how many multisyllabic words he can use blah blah blah.

    I have 5 books of Ellisons gathered over the years because he's "important" but it's time to get rid of them. Pain God; Strange Wine; Stalking the Nightmare; Deathbird; & Essential Ellison contain a majority of the stories in these 5 audios and I've read a handful outside the audios but again, not worth continuing.

    & I see that Ellison is hit or miss with people as well, not just me. many are put off by his arrogance. some think he's a terrible narrator, others think he's great. some think his stories are terrible, others think they're great. obviously you have to find out for yourself. I can no longer overlook his slapdash style which i'm sure is considered by some to be experimental and cutting edge. I find it to be sloppy and uncontrolled. Perhaps I'm being harsh due to my disappointment and thinking of so many (like Tevis) who get passed by in favor of the loudmouth in the room. perhaps, but let's at least stop calling Ellison a masterful writer and his stories masterpieces; he does have a couple that are well written which stand out and that I will suggest to friends, & I admit Harlequin contains enough to be taught in class and discussed, but a handful is not enough.

    I have read a ton of SF over the years and have sentimental favorites, but even I can admit that not everything Clarke & Bradbury wrote is brilliant. And oddly enough at least 2 of Bradbury's absolute masterpieces have nothing to do with fantasy or SF. Ellison should shut his mouth for a bit and concentrate and trust his writing and not throw in the kitchen sink when it doesn't belong.

    I do think Ellison is more dark fantasy than SF and that element also I think bothers me; not because it's dark or fantasy, but because there is an element of "and then magic happened" that destroys the reality of a given story, or violates the internal logic of a story, and when there are no "rules" governing a narrative anything can happen, and does, and so how do i invest myself in a story or a character, how can you ground yourself in a surrealist landscape that shifts without notice? Alice in Wonderland's surrealism works for me, as did Berry's Manual of Detection, Ellison's doesn't.

    And what are you going to do with a sentence like,

    "Crickets gossiped shamelessly, close beside his head."

    I'm sure he thinks it's precious and brilliant, I find it foolish. At the risk of sounding like Ellison, "you pays your money, you takes your chance."

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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