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Shawn

Barrie, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2014

50
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 42 reviews
  • 59 ratings
  • 347 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
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  • The Hydrogen Sonata

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (295)

    The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture 10,000 years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

    Ethan M. says: "Culture meets Hitchhiker's Guide & Da Vinca Code"
    "Intrigue at the End of Civilization"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    It was an interesting story about the whole subliming business that civilizations keep doing in Sci-Fi novels. There was a lot of intrigue about the secret past of this civilization and trying to determine if it's true, and what it could mean if this was made public. And of course, Culture minds sticking their metaphoric noses in everyone else's business.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dispossessed: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (215)

    Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

    Justin says: "The Anti Atlas Shrugged"
    "Why Politics Ruins Science"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Dispossessed is a well crafted slow moving novel. The overall thrust of the plot is about a theoretical physicist set to change the universe with his research. He is caught between ideological extremes in his home solar system. Coming from a revolutionary society, he is an outcast because his country feels the revolution is over. Moving to a planet with private ownership, he his used and manipulated for their own ends.

    This novel explores anarchy: we see the true anarchist beliefs in the main character. However, we also see that when you take away formal power, informal power threatens your society. I really liked the political discussions in this novel. Niether society was really shown as right, or even wrong, technically.

    This novel also deals with themes of having women subservient or as equals, and having classes of people (workers vs wealthy), and societies in which you do have property vs do not have property, distrust of foreigners, and how all these things affect your thinking. These humans are not from Earth. They have their own history, but all Humans and have just be contacted to other human groups: humans from Earth and humans from the Hain. This novel takes place before the Hainish Cycle novels, but it was my first novel of Ursula K. Le Guin and seemed to explain everything important for this story well.

    If you like slow, thoughtful science fiction that deals with a bit of political and economic theory, this book is for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10690)
    Performance
    (7908)
    Story
    (7953)

    For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison.

    D says: "A GREAT TRILOGY!!!"
    "Not your usual fantasy cliche"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel breaks everything I thought I knew about the fantasy genre. Instead of a story of an evil despot taking over the world like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Sword of Truth and more, this has him win 1000 years ago. The world is under his tyranny. This is what it looks like when your stereotypical evil lord wins.

    So now we need to rebel that he has been in control for a 1000 years. But this novel takes it's narrative from the standard heist movie. A guy with a plan to steal puts together a crack team of different skills to accomplish his goal.

    I really liked that the ending climax was all based on the rules we had learned before. Sometimes in fantasy things just happen at the end, because it's all just made up and the author can do anything. But I think Brandon Sanderson does everything very logically and I find that is just one of the things making this book refreshing.

    I'm certainly looking forward to reading the sequel.

    In the fantasy genre of novels and movies, you have this thing where the male lead and female lead characters always end up with each other, no matter how much they hate each other at the start. It's very cliché. And summarized in the Evil Overlord List where it says the following:

    "98. If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution."

    Brandon Sanderson's books so far have taken as many of the fantasy clichés and turned them on their head. He has the male and female lead bicker constantly. But then, they don't get together. For any normal person this makes sense. But for people who have read a bunch of fantasy, it's actually delightfully jarring. That's just one example. He plays with the clichés and then breaks them. I like genre writing that subverts the genres own tropes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Broken Kingdoms

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By N. K. Jemisin
    • Narrated By Casaundra Freeman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (99)

    The gods have broken free after centuries of slavery, and the world holds its breath, fearing their vengeance. The saga of mortals and immortals continues in The Broken Kingdoms. In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy.

    Laurene says: "Very enjoyable new epic fantasy"
    "Exciting Sequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is full of action, interesting ideas, and further explores the world first shown to us in the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. In that book a lot of things changed, and here is a view from outside of the noble houses.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Soul to Lose

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 48 mins)
    • By Rachel Vincent
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1725)
    Performance
    (1089)
    Story
    (1092)

    It was supposed to be a fun day, shopping at the mall with her best friend. Then the panic attack started and Kaylee Cavanaugh finds herself screaming, unable to stop. Her secret fears are exposed, and it's the worst day of her life....Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit. She tries to convince everyone she's fine--despite the shadows she sees forming around another patient and the urge to scream which comes burbling up again and again.

    brenty says: "A beautifully crafted vignette!"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not my usual. I thought it was interesting, though at times predictable. Certainly created a creepy setting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise of Endymion

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1554)
    Performance
    (991)
    Story
    (999)

    In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing - nothing anywhere in the universe - will ever be the same.

    Chad says: "Simmons' Magnum Opus"
    "A solid conclusion to the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel concludes with some interesting implicit themes made explicit. It had a touching (but I sometimes think cheap) ending, but was overall good.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Inheritor: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (217)
    Story
    (218)

    Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - the same ship which brought humans to the world of alien atevi nearly 200 years ago, leaving a small and vulnerable colony to struggle for survival in a hostile environment. During these six months, the alien atevi have striven to reconfigure their fledgling space program in a breakneck bid to take their place in the heavens alongside humans. But the return of the Phoenix has added a third party to an already volatile situation....

    AudioAddict says: "Brilliant and Imaginative"
    "Strong conclusion to Sequence 1"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the last book in Sequence 1 of the Inheritor/First Contact series. It's very much a continuation of the first book, but also sets up the plot for Sequence 2.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Invader: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    Overall
    (292)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (261)

    Nearly two centuries after a human colony is abandoned on an alien planet, the two races have reached a tenacious peace agreement. But when the human ship returns unexpectedly, both governments are thrown into chaos.

    AudioAddict says: "The Art of Negotiating with Aliens"
    "Well crafted. More exciting."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great sequel to the first book in the series. I thought the last book had interesting ideas and explored the alien relationships well. I understand why C.J. Cherryh decided to write the first book as she did. However, it just wasn't exciting as we were kept away from the action, except for the end.

    This book takes place right after the first, and there is a lot more politics and a lot more to the plot — solving my only reservations about the last book. It's a slow moving, well crafted exploration of cultures colliding and dealing with the crisis that the return of the starship created. With the foundation of the first book we can really explore these issues more.

    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Writing style
    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Audiobook Narration
    ∗∗∗∗∗/5 Interesting ideas
    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Engaging story
    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Good science/technology

    ∗∗∗∗ ⋅ /5 Overall

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Embassytown

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (377)
    Story
    (380)

    China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war. In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak....

    D says: "must hear to fully appreciate."
    "Slow and Solid First Contact story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a solid, slow pace, well thought out novel. It deals with how language and the brain interact to produce culture, and how alien cultures will have alien languages and will have motivations and desires completely alien to us. It's a first contact novel that takes place hundreds of years later when forces conspire to tilt the careful balance of Embassytown off kilter.

    However, it is both dense with ideas and not an engaging writing style. Very interesting; many ideas that you must pay attention to. However, it's narrative didn't carry me away with it. But China Miéville paid good attention to the society and characters of the Embassytown compared to the rest of the galaxy, as well as the alienness of the Hosts and their unique language.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Nano Flower: The Greg Mandel Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    Overall
    (594)
    Performance
    (521)
    Story
    (522)

    Julia Evans, billionairess owner of Event Horizon, has for 15 years been the power behind England’s economic renaissance – but now she’s in trouble. With her husband missing, and rival companies suddenly claiming to have acquired a technology impossibly superior to anything on Earth, she has no time to take notice of a single flower delivered anonymously. But this flower possesses genes millions of years in advance of any terrestrial DNA.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Sci-fi mastery in full bloom for the nanoflower"
    "The End of Greg Mandel's Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This interesting and action pack conclusion to the Greg Mandel story is clearly some of Peter F. Hamilton's earlier work, not as big picture as his other work. It is a fun conclusion to the career of Greg who has become a much older man than he was in the previous books. It's hard for me to call these a trilogy as there is no story connecting them. But it is the end cap of Greg's career.

    Here we see a peak of Hamilton's galaxy spanning narratives. Without spoiling much it's a first contact novel that deals with multiple human organization (government, corporate) vying for access and control in a short time frame and with almost no one knowing what's going on. Hamilton's prosaic writing I find to be clear, concise, and lets the story speak for itself.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Steven Levy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3260)
    Performance
    (2385)
    Story
    (2394)

    Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes listeners inside Google headquarters - the Googleplex - to explain how Google works.

    Jeff says: "Great for the stories."
    "A great look at how Google thinks"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a good, clear book that showed how the company Google thinks about it's mission, works on the inside, and affects our lives, as the subtitle says. Some bits here and there delve into technical aspects but was simplified well. As a programmer and someone who follows the tech industry this book shed a little light on why Google has done the things it did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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