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Scott

denver, CO, USA | Member Since 2007

58
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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4

  • The Front Runner

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Patricia Nell Warren
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (55)

    In 1975, coach Harlan Brown is hiding from his past at an obscure New York college, after he was fired from Penn State University on suspicion of being gay. A tough, lonely ex-Marine of 39, Harlan has never allowed himself to love another man. Then Billy Sive, a brilliant young runner, shows up on his doorstep. He and his two comrades were just thrown off a major team for admitting they are gay. Harlan agrees to coach the three boys under strict conditions that thwart Billy's growing attraction for his mature but compelling mentor.

    Donald says: "A Surprisingly Great Love Story"
    "Gay Lib Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Front Runner again? Why?

    I seldom listen to a book more than once, and The Front Runner is no exception. The writing style is straightforward narrative. It tells a good story without much in the way of writerly flourishes that demand or reward listening again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I admired the character Billy Sive, though we know him only through Harlan Brown, whose story this is. Billy is as self-actualizing a character as I have ever read about, and his internal clarity and his courage to march to the sound of his own drummer are exhilarating.


    What three words best describe Christian Rummel’s performance?

    Restrained but listenable.


    If you could rename The Front Runner, what would you call it?

    I think the book is aptly titled, both as it describes Billy Sive's style as a competitive runner and as a metaphor for his personality.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a quality about The Front Runner that reminds me of The Harrad Experiment, a heterosexual story of the same era that includes, like TFR, a big measure of 70s utopian wish fulfillment. Both stories are artful enough, and tempered with enough loss and pain to make the willing suspension of disbelief a worthwhile exercise.In this kinder, gentler era, Patricia Nell Warren's portrayal of gay life in the 60s and seventies makes me glad for how far we've come, and resigned to how far we still have to go.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Distrust That Particular Flavor

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By William Gibson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (52)

    A new compilation of essays and articles from novelist William Gibson, offering listeners a privileged view into the mind of a writer whose thinking has shaped our culture.

    Amazon Customer says: "Revelation of a complex mind -- YES"
    "Mostly for Gibson Fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would have enjoyed hearing more.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The Art of Fielding


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Gibson's description of his experience of Tokyo


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. It's episodic non-fiction without a unifying thread that might tie a documentary together.


    Any additional comments?

    Narrator Robertson Dean's voice and style is familiar from Gibson fiction titles he's performed. In general, I think it suits the material well, though in this non-fiction title, it's the writer himself he's portraying, and I think at times Dean comes off as more callow than I like to imagine Gibson being.

    For fans of Gibson's fiction, this collection of short, non-fiction work gives a worthwhile look behind the scenes at the places and impressions that start his creative engine running. As it is more nearly journalism than anything else, it lacks the depth and startling cognitive associations that I much admire in his fiction. If you are new to Gibson, this is not the place to start. Better to listen to Neuromancer from the vanguard of cyberpunk, or Pattern Recognition for an all too plausible GIbsonian near-future.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of the Torturer: The Book of the New Sun, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gene Wolfe
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (742)
    Performance
    (448)
    Story
    (452)

    The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession - showing mercy towards his victim.

    Gene Wolfe's "The Book of the New Sun" is one of speculative fiction's most-honored series. In a 1998 poll, Locus Magazine rated the series behind only "The Lord of the Rings" and The Hobbit as the greatest fantasy work of all time.

    Darwin8u says: "Original, Difficult and Well-Crafted."
    "Breaks the Heart and Lifts it High"
    Overall

    I've been a fan of The Book of the New Sun for 30 years, and was delighted that Audible took a chance and recorded it. Though its large and unfamiliar vocabulary may daunt listeners who have never read the text, those who persevere will know a world and a man unlike any other, and find them worth the knowing.

    This was the first work of fantasy I read where such magic as it contained was the magic of Clarke's 3rd law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." There are no dragons, sorcerers or wands, and the only sword is a blunt ended executioner's tool. The magic is in Wolfe's imagination as he builds a story set on an Earth so far in the future that the sun is dying, men mine the ruins of abandoned cities and their middens for raw materials, and so much has happened to the human race that legend and history have become interchangeable.

    In this world, Wolfe sends Severian, the Torturer, on a hero's journey. As must be so on such a journey, the hero never knows himself as hero. Instead we live with his perils, his self doubt, his cowardice and courage, the terrible brutality and emotional blankness with which he practices his "art," and the discovery and growth that slowly reveal a magnificent heart. Severian is as flawed as the gem called the Claw of the Conciliator, and as real as your highest aspirations. You will not forget him, nor the many characters he meets on his journey from boyhood to a seat of power that proves to be both vast and impotent.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3393)
    Performance
    (1794)
    Story
    (1803)

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "Brilliant and Engrossing"
    Overall

    W.B. Yeats wrote, "Whatever flames upon the night, man's own resinous heart has fed." Bacigalupi's imagined future Thailand, his characters, and his sure and economical prose bring weight and life to that assertion. The characters especially are memorable in a Dickensian way.

    The dystopian future of the story is all too plausible. Coastal cities drowned by melting ice caps. Giant corporations supplanting governments and destroying human freedom in the name of ever growing profits. Warfare of the rich upon the poor, conducted with famine, and genetically engineered insects, parasites and viruses. Bacigalupi makes every challenge real and still leaves room for unexpected hope.

    I was slow to warm to Jonathan Davis' performance, but once well underway, his clear and distinctive voicing, both for narration and for each character made the novel all the more engaging and memorable. In a way I seldom do, I felt I had missed nothing by listening to the book instead of reading it. Kudos to Davis, and brickbats for me who was so slow to notice his mastery.

    43 of 47 people found this review helpful
  • Await Your Reply: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Dan Chaon
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    Three strangers who are trying to find their way in the wake of loss become entwined in an identity theft scheme, which has a resounding impact on them all. A gorgeously written psychological study, and a meditation on identity in the modern world, this is a literary novel with the haunting momentum of a thriller.

    Scott says: "Beautifully Written, Beautifully Read"
    "Beautifully Written, Beautifully Read"
    Overall

    I found the story and characters engrossing, and could not have been more delighted with the way Kirby Heyborne performed it. As he spoke for each of the characters, there were subtle, but noticeable changes in voicing and "melody." His reading supported and enhanced the text for me.

    Chaon makes a main character, who is essentially a sociopath, human, which is to say never fully understandable, but utterly recognizable. The other characters, touched and often injured by this man seem as real as if I had actually met them. A nice blend of interior monologue, exterior interaction and beautiful writing. Reminded me of Michael Cunningham, whose work I also admire. Five stars.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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