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serialnumber55

serialnumber55

Alaska | Member Since 2012

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 30 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2014
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  • Soft Apocalypse

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Will McIntosh
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (42)

    What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? Soft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle-class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.

    louise says: "Misleading! JUST a story about a guy's dating life"
    "If only the bamboo were edible!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The end of the world, according to this novel, is not a whimper, but a long series of whimpers punctuated with occasional hope and a final resigned leap. As the ordinary expectations of life slowly drain away into drawn-out misery, revolutionary geniuses construct a scenario that may not be much better. Highly recommended.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1714)
    Performance
    (1578)
    Story
    (1582)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Jefferson says: "Fine Romantic Urban Historical Immigrant Fantasy"
    "Well Written Myth Juggling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Take a Hebrew myth (the Golem) and an Arabic myth (the Jinni) and juxtapose them in New York a century ago. Use excellent English and original phrases, and what you get is a very readable novel. I recommend this highly. The narrator was adept at changing accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By James Howard Kunstler
    • Narrated By Jim Meskimen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (54)

    In the sequel to his best-selling World Made by Hand, James Howard Kunstler expands on his vision of a post-oil society with a new novel about an America in which the electricity has flickered off, the Internet is a distant memory, and the government is little more than a rumor. In the tiny hamlet of Union Grove, New York, travel is horse-drawn and farming is back at the center of life. But it’s no pastoral haven.

    Jennifer says: "Takes A Wierd (in a bad way) Left Turn"
    "Another magic trope"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    As I said in my review of the first book in this series, I like the post-apocalyptic genre. Except I really prefer reality-based speculation. There were inklings in the first book that we might be moving into the realm of fantasy, and sure enough . . . . The Witch really is a witch. Brother Job really does have powers. The Queen-Bee really is a seer - as well as a breeder.

    But for all of that, the book was listenable. Sure, it was an American-style ending (everything turns out ok), except that enough was left to ensure a third book in the series. The narrator does a good job with the various characters in the book.

    But it's a novel about the end of the everyday technological world and a new world that has magic in it. Not really my forte.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World Made by Hand: The World Made by Hand Novels, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By James Howard Kunstler
    • Narrated By Jim Meskimen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (126)
    Story
    (126)

    The electricity has flickered out. The automobile age is over. In Union Grove, a little town in upstate New York, the future is nothing like people thought it would be. Life is hard and close to the bone. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president, and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure.

    David says: "A kind of Amish post-apocalypse"
    "Great start, but then . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Disease and other complications have returned the world to pre-petroleum technology - a traditional setting for this genre. We are in a town that is hobbling along, relying on tradition and custom, rather than any real government or law enforcement. Much of this book, the first in a series (I know there is another one out, but I haven't yet read it), is a great introduction to the protagonist, whose wife has died and whose son left town a few years before. He is in a relatively secret relationship with the wife of his best friend, the local Congregationalist minister (although it is apparently not a secret to the minister - they just never talk about it). A cultish group of men and women have bought the local high school and are fixing it up as a place to live. At times cooperative, they also demonstrate that they are willing to violate others' rights to get them to conform to their expectations and religion. At the same time, a group on the edge of town who supply materials gleaned from garbage dumps and demolition, are also demonstrating their unwillingness to abide by standard modes of behavior; they engage in an apparent murder, coercion, and theft. So with this - and an attractive young widow - as the backdrop, we become engaged in the protagonist's life, a life that is expressed in great detail. But as we get closer to the end of the book, and as we become to suspect that the science fiction in this story may not be limited to just the hypothesized near-future (indeed, it may creep over into fantasy, but we don't ever get to really know in this book), the detail starts to be overlooked. The book rushes to an end. Now I know that the details may come out in the next volume, but the way that the likely war was averted between the town and the inhabitants of the junk yard was just too easy. If the book just ended there, ok. But the protagonist relates a summary of the next few months, and somehow peace happens, his conjugal relationship with the young widow continues, and there is no mention of the reaction of his previous lover, the minister's wife. It just ends too smoothly. I would have preferred a cliff-hanger to the easy gloss that is provided. I happen to relish (and am writing a novel in) this genre, and I really enjoyed this book, up until the last - rushed - part. I have bought the next in the series, but I am a bit worried that the craft of the first three-quarters of the first book will not be achieved in the second. We will see.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2791)
    Performance
    (2649)
    Story
    (2652)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold ""human error"" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Cliffhangers at every turn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Martian?

    Everything in this book is scientifically-based. The protagonist is a feisty, yet brilliant, botanist-engineer who manages to anticipate most situations that would kill him.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The protagonist is foul-mouthed and someone I want with me when I go into space.


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

    Never a dull moment.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Existence

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Brin
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins, Robin Miles, L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (356)
    Performance
    (316)
    Story
    (316)

    Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades’ old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an "alien artifact".

    A. Massey says: "Big ideas, good science fiction, frustrating style"
    "It actually is a part of the uplift series!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    It took a while for me to get into this novel, but I got hooked and am happy I did so. It is a prequel to the uplift series, something I didn't realize. Brin has some interestingly unusual ideas about AI and its proliferation. Recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3692)
    Performance
    (3215)
    Story
    (3187)

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Amanda says: "WOW, WOW, WOW."
    "Murakami Masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This was the first Murakami I ever listened to. Since then, I have bought all of his novels. This was a mixture of American music, Philip K. Dick, Japanese mythology, Orwell, a bit of Lovecraft, and far more than I can expound upon. A superb novel for those whose taste runs into the bizarre.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Zoe's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (678)
    Performance
    (462)
    Story
    (467)

    "I'm Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player in a interstellar chess match to save humanity. Seventeen years old. Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don't know my tale: I'm going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope."

    David says: "A fun listen, and some new information, but..."
    "Another Scalzi Winner"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    OK, Scalzi writes readable (listenable) science fiction, stuff that is happily attended to while walking or sitting. And you, know, most series get really old. "Zoe's Tale" is not destined to be a classic, but it holds up well in his future history. I will always listen to another Scalzi. Not because it is great, but because it is fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Frozen Sky

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Jeff Carlson
    • Narrated By Amy H. Sturgis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (46)

    Something is alive inside Jupiter's ice moon Europa. Robot probes find an ancient tunnel beneath the surface, its walls carved with strange hieroglyphics. Led by elite engineer Alexis Vonderach, a team of scientists descends into the dark...where they confront a savage race older than mankind....

    Trip Williams says: "GREAT story of first contact!"
    "Hard Core Science Fiction on a Frozen Moon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Good science fiction does not bend the laws of the universe to make stories work (except of course for that pesky light speed barrier, which does not bear on the book). This is a solid work of fiction that dealt with the ethical dilemma facing the main character in regard to a newly discovered species. Interplanetary travel, aliens, nano-tech - who could ask for more? Recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By William Hertling
    • Narrated By Rob Granniss
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (114)

    David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence. David and his team are initially thrilled when the project is allocated extra servers and programmers.

    Matthew says: "Short but defintely sweet"
    "Ho-Hum"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The plot is contrived, and the twists and turns are predictable. Not a great contribution to the "super computer takes over the world" genre.


    Would you ever listen to anything by William Hertling again?

    Probably not.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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