I've listened to the Belgariad and found the narration excellent and engaging. Dina Pearlman was aggravating not just because at times it was like Edie McClurg reading a children's book, or the fact that she reads UL like Yule, Mimbre like Mimbray, Taur Urgas as Tower Urgas, or Issa like Eye-Sa--those will make you cringe, but she turned Polgara's story/voice into someone more likely to be President of the PTA than a nearly 4K year old sorceress. All the adult male voices, when not spoken in a horrible Lucky Charms brogue, sound like various poor imitations of Donald Trump or Obama. The god's voices, like Torak, defy description beyond "auditory excrement." Typically, I tell my co-workers and girlfriend about the book I'm listening to--this one I kept to myself, embarrassed like a 14-year-old with a Hustler (satisfying a basic need but tasteless and shame-inducing). As bad as this one is, it is light-years better than the narration of Belgarath the Sorceror--I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes and got a refund from Audible. That one should be used on the folks at Guantanamo Bay.
Ok, I understand that Orson Scott Card is the only sci-fi writer to win both the Nebula and Hugo awards back-to-back. I purchased this title because of the amount of people that have recommended it and the forthcoming movie.
But I don't get the hype. The story is a bit odd considering that there is no character development from beginning to end. It's flat-lined. The only thing that changes is the age and many times the author broad brushes through large swaths of time in only a few sentences. "Valentine's hair grew long over the next year...Ender was now 10 and making battle drums from the skins of his class bullies...."
I find it interesting that this title is included in the Marine Corps' recommended reading for its officers. I'm a veteran so I was also curious about the ethical backdrop and purported validations of violence for conflict resolution and Draconian military training. But the writing failed me in this regard, too. I didn't see what the big deal was personally. In fact, I think they could've done a better job at crushing the spirit out of the little homidical weasle. He's the same character throughout the book...
I guess my real bone to pick is that emotional depth does not develop in direct proportion to intelligence. A six year old or 10 year old is still a child--regardless of their number of kills (just look at the children in Joseph Kony's Lords Resistance Army in Uganda). Just because Ender is a child hyper-genius, surrounded by other hyper-genius children, doesn't mean that they will process their experiences like an adult or have adult insight into their actions or their environment. There is very little, aside from the occasional mention of tears, that separates the children from the adults in the storyline. It's the same voice, which erodes my identification and empathy with the sociopathic, tweening Ender.
The performance is good--but the female narrator reads her sections like she is either stoned or doing a vocal interpretation of a cat stretching. It--gets--a little--dull----an--d----booor--ing....
I saw the movie when I was much younger, back in the early days of Reagan. It wasn't until recently, after exhausting Heinlein's inconsistently brilliant treasure-trove of stagnated pubescence, that I moved on to the next author in the Big Three: Arthur C. Clarke. Brilliant is an understatement.
The writing, the performance--all of it, superb and deeply satisfying. One of the best titles I have in my library. After experiencing 2001, it is easy to see how many other authors have been influenced and have drawn from this title.
The preface is read by Arthur C. Clarke, which is a treat all by itself.
Thoroughly enjoyable and well worth having in my library. Some events in the storyline have flavors of, "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel," and "Time For The Stars."
The performance was great--MacLeod Andrews does an excellent job. I've listened to this title several times in the last week and will keep in rotation with Time Enough For Love. I really enjoy having more back-story on Lazarus Long and the Howard foundation.
Again, this is sci-fi that does what sci-fi does best--hold a mirror to our current world. A great work by Heinlein!
Trite. Un-original. Disappointing. Predictable. If this audiobook was playing over the intercom system on an auto-pilot guided flight with no one aboard, only vapors in the tanks and engines burning out--I would gladly force the yoke forward and rocket myself terra-bound, but I do not believe the final moments would pass quickly enough to end my suffering. Gilbert Gottfried doing a one-man production of "Little Women," is more appealing than the thought of listening to Survivor again.
Same character archetypes as in many other Chuck's books. Same nihilistic ennui and dull, achingly obvious reveals.
Some ideas are best kept scribbled on napkins and not graced with a cover and space on a bookshelf, let alone an audiobook production.
I have most of Heinlein's work in print or audiobook. This is the worst one for so many different reasons.
Allah have mercy. I feel like I've done an N-space jump into universe of arrested pubescent development. "Stranger In A Strange Land," is brilliant because it rode high on the crest of the 60s counter-cultural movement, challenging nearly every moral bedrock of Western society. It is superb and does what Sci-Fi does best. This work isn't even an echo in an out-house of the mind that created "Stranger," or "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress." The story is as juicy as a packing peanut.
The dialogue in this book is pointless, too. I feel like I'm being treated to the discarded remnants on the cutting floor of "Time Enough For Love." The characters in this book are the same as Laz/Lor/Athena/Gallahad without the hook-laden narrative of Lazarus Long or great storyline.
I'm a loyal masochist so I suffered through the whole recording the same way I listened to Robert Plant's solo work simply because I'm a Led-head and thought, "At some point, this will get good." I had hope, so much hope. Now I just have scars.
It's a good thing I don't have a yard arm and a length of rope or I may be swinging in the breeze. I'm having a hard time describing this performance without using expletives. Horrible is a compliment. Female narrators should not try to imitate male voices by lowering theirs. [Under any circumstances]. Seriously. There should be a law. This was like listening to a woman with traumatic brain injury but without the benefit of being a public service announcement. Someone should be held accountable.
I now have a soundtrack for the waiting room in Hades...
The full cast production is excellent. Gaiman's book is a great read, but just as enjoyable as an audiobook. One of the best aspects to this production is Neil Gaiman reading the "coming to America," vignettes about how some gods arrived in North America. A good voice actor can do wonders to a narrative, but a talented and engaged author reading their own work can bring a knowing nuance and inflection where others do not.
That said, all of the voice actors in this production are excellent. This is one of my "go-to" recordings during my work day (the other being "Dune"). I've listened to it countless times over--in its entirety or piecemeal. It doesn't go stale.
It's worth sacrificing a credit to it...
1. Not A Prequel--love of god, can we at least separate the literary masterpieces from the mass market movie productions? The Hobbit was written first, whether or not Peter Jackson filmed it last.
2. Finally! Someone does an unabridged audiobook version!
3. It's Tolkien and brilliant.
4. The reading is great, but only one nit-pick: some characters and scenes should be read a little darker and not so upbeat. For example, the songs of the Dwarfs--these should be dark and foreboding, but the way that they're read/sung in this recording makes me think of lawn ornament Gnomes digging in the garden. Minor nit-pick. Overall, a very long awaited and welcome recording! Thanks!
One of my favorite books; one of my least favorite audio books. I listen to audio books nearly every working day of my week. I know this book backwards & forwards, but about an hour into it, I found myself thinking about my grocery list or the airspeed velocity of a swallow. It was horrible. I could not handle the narration-- I would get lost in the dialogue knowing who spoke or if it was the narrator. If you want juicy (though Post-Revolutionary) Russian literature, try Bulgakov's, The Master & Margarita. Excellent narration, though British--but entertaining and allows you to keep track of the different characters during a dialogue. Or just read the hard-bound; it's one the world's best works of fiction.
The more audio books I listen to, the more I am able to quickly recognize quality. The narration of this book is painful. Johnson plows over lines and swallows the delivery--almost like a priest telling a joke about a midget, a stripper, and a can of Spam. The narration could be excused if the text itself wasn't a disjointed, grabasstic historical montage in need of Ritalin and an outline. Hard to follow. Hard to swallow. I've heard better theories on bar stools delivered through the pickled ponderings of a sauced sages.
I remember buying Pawn of Prophecy when I was 10 years old in early 80s and having to wait as Eddings published each one. I loved the books as a kid and now Cameron Beierle brings the entire series back to life in excellent fashion. They are a breath of fresh mental air in my computer-geek, cubicle-bound, recycled HVAC, monotone-walled work day. I've been sharing my Eddings paperbacks with my young nephews and have introduced them to the audio books recently. Excellent enjoyment and a great way to expand a young person's imagination/creativity. Looking forward to downloading the rest of the Malloreon series. Highly recommended!
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