A tired narrative coupled with an awful performance begets 20+ hours that's better suited as an interrogation method at Guantanamo. Seriously. First, from the man who brought us brilliant works like, "Stranger In A Strange Land,", "Starship Troopers,", "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress,", "Time Enough For Love," comes this very, very tired story of (4) intrepid, inter-N-space, hyper-sexualized, adolescently-stagnated characters whose quips and sexually amibiguous proclivities really seem like cutting-floor dialogue from Time Enough For Love. The male characters are mostly Lazarus Long and Gallahad, the female characters are Laz/Lor/Dora/Athena. It just gets old and seems to go nowhere. It is hours of tired dialogue that is neither funny or original. It's the same fourth grade voice giggling at the word, "nipple," or "intercourse."
Voice actors. Women should not portray male voices by trying to lower their own--it is horrible, horrible, horrible. It takes an already vapid story and drags it down to the level of a DVD manual being read by a woman with traumatic brain injury. Yeah--I really did just write that. And I mean it. I'd rather clean my ears with a Dremel tool than listen to this again.
And I did listen to the whole thing--I am a masochist and Heinlein fan, so I was like a kid sifting sand in a sandbox hoping the find the occasional treasure, only to realize too late that I was really playing in a litterbox.
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.
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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