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Dr. Curmudgeon

Doctor of misanthropy

Cow Hampshire | Member Since 2008

93
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 478 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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3

  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2006)
    Performance
    (1614)
    Story
    (1629)

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "Yes, it is one of the all-time greats in Sci Fi"
    Overall

    I just never realized that anyone else thought so.

    I have read the original, bad translation two or three times, have seen the original movie about five times, and the "has little to do with the book or original movie" remake more times than I'd like to admit (one).

    It is outstanding that a new read and translation has been done. Listened to an hour so far; love both the translation and the narrator.

    Thank you, Audible, for bringing this one to us.

    69 of 79 people found this review helpful
  • The Dangerous Animals Club

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Stephen Tobolowsky
    • Narrated By Stephen Tobolowsky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (153)

    If you ran into Stephen Tobolowsky on the street, you would not be mistaken: Yes, you’ve seen him before. A childhood dentist? A former geometry teacher? Your local florist? Tobolowsky is a character actor, one of the most prolific screen and stage presences of our time, having appeared in productions that range from Deadwood to Glee, from Mississippi Burning to Groundhog Day. But Stephen Tobolowsky, it turns out, is not just an actor; he is also a dazzlingly talented storyteller and writer.

    Gina says: "Will Rogers, Spalding Gray, Alexandre Dumas HACKS!"
    "I'm a regular Tobo fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've always really loved Tobolowsky as one of the nation's preeminent "It's that guy!" actors. Now I love him as a great storyteller, with a really interesting life.

    I also never had a fan that the group "Radio Head" ultimately owes Tobo for their name. But that's another bit of trivia.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kafka on the Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (24)

    With Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed both here and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement, and whose still-growing popularity suggests that it will be read and admired for decades to come.

    Dr. Curmudgeon says: "What's better than Murakami? More Murakami"
    "What's better than Murakami? More Murakami"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If I've been propelled through life by a continuously variable transmission, reading Murakami is like moving to a stick shift. And this is certainly an prime example of that.

    Murakami makes you shift your perspective. Nothing as trivial as alternate universes (although he did use those in 1Q84), but more of a radical shift in how you perceive and model reality. If there is such a thing.

    Many of Murakami's books take you to places that just require you to relinquish all control of your rationality. This one's a bit easier on you, having more of a standard narrative. It's only in the deeper contemplation of the story that you tend to lose your footing.

    This book is all about deep emotion, how emotion defies all logic and reason, and how it is at the very core of our existence. In this respect, it's a surprisingly uplifting and empowering book, which is, to me, pretty good for what may look like simple storytelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (973)
    Performance
    (548)
    Story
    (551)

    It has been 40 years since the publication of this classic science-fiction novel that changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves. From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man adventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.

    Douglas says: "The Movie Makes More Sense Now"
    "A nice return to a classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We've all seen the movie, and we all more or less know the story. And if you're my age, and have a passing interest in science fiction, you've probably already read the book.

    But, this refreshed the whole story for me. With a few more decades of maturity behind me, it was nice to look at the story afresh and gain a little deeper understanding.

    My only issue with this production is the use of Dick Hill as the lector. It may be my own bias, but I'm far too accustomed to Hill's voice as that of Jack Reacher (Lee Child), and it was difficult for me to reframe his voice in the context of a science fiction classic. Let's face it, when you hear the voice of Jack Reacher saying "I'm sorry Dave, but I can't do that," the whole scene plays differently.

    Not that this is bad. The story's still worthwhile, and as always, a welcome installment of Clarke.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Influx

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    Overall
    (1014)
    Performance
    (952)
    Story
    (947)

    Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: A device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring.

    Sterling Okura says: "Entertaining Physics SciFi"
    "More of a sprint than a marathon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Suarez really never fails to deliver. Here, we have another story by him, unrelated to his previous works, but just as engaging.

    The book takes off running, then gets really fast and wild. Maybe too fast and wild, but whatever the audio equivalent of "page turner," this is it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Civilization: The West and the Rest

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Niall Ferguson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (683)
    Performance
    (572)
    Story
    (564)

    The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations.

    F. Ribeiro says: "Niall Ferguson's Most Enjoyable Book"
    "Food for thought"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Say what you will about Ferguson, but you're never going to get the Cliff's Notes version of history from him. Agree or disagree, he manages to come at his history from a fresh, at least to me, perspective on things.

    To be honest, I found some of his assertions to be hopelessly... um... unlikely/naive/doctrinaire, but overall, he offered me a new way to look at world history, in particular with respect to the ascendancy of the west, and fresh ideas are always a good thing.

    The entire book seems to build to a rather predictable point, but in the end, it's more of the culmination of his arguments, and probably arguments that should at least be considered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Veronica Mars: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
    • Narrated By Kristen Bell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (360)
    Performance
    (342)
    Story
    (341)

    The first book in an original mystery series featuring 28-year-old Veronica Mars, back in action after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie. With the help of old friends - Logan Echolls, Mac Mackenzie, Wallace Fennel, and even Dick Casablancas - Veronica is ready to take on Neptune's darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts.

    Alison says: "Mars Attacks, succeeds!"
    "So nice to be back!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to say that the plot isn't great and the writing isn't high literature, but:

    It is so nice to be back on Mars. I loved the TV show, liked the movie, but this book, coming right on the heels of the movie, provided me with more overall Veronica Mars goodness than any of the TV episodes or the movie.

    This gives us all the highlights of what we expect from Mars, including a more elaborate story than is practical for a one or two hour video. The icing on the cake is Kristen Bell's narration, which pretty much sells the whole thing.

    I'd love to hear her reading other books, although it might be hard to not hear Veronica's voice...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tales of the City: Tales of the City, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Armistead Maupin
    • Narrated By Frances McDormand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (197)
    Story
    (203)

    For more than three decades Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture...from a groundbreaking newspaper serial, to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales of the City is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.

    Scott says: "Finally... Maupin's Tales Narrated Professionally"
    "Good fun writing about a shallow, depraved era"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had fond memories of watching this on PBS, so I decided to read the book. Or, more properly, anthology.

    I really enjoyed the writing, the characters, and in fact, most things about the book. What I didn't like about the book was 70s era San Francisco. While I admit that I don't have too many fond memories of those times, I'd forgotten just how shallow and self-absorbed it was.

    To be true, nothing in the story seemed at all inconsistent with the age; it was maybe just a little compressed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cyteen

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman, Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (361)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (328)

    The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives – and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all.

    troy says: "This is a Heavy Book (lovely too)"
    "A comfortable universe"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read that some print versions of this book have been released as a trilogy. Were that the case on audio, I probably wouldn't have finished the second and third. And frankly, from the book's description, I almost expected a bodice-ripper with space ships and ray guns. Fortunately, we didn't get one.

    The truth is that this book gets off to a pretty rocky start. The backstory for the universe is delivered in a rush, almost like the opening theme song to a 70s era sitcom, except that it didn't have a melody to engage you. Mostly, it's hard to care because there's little in the beginning to really snare you.

    Likewise, the ending is rather obvious and you'll pretty much know where everything's going to end up very early in the story.

    The book's strong point is its storytelling. It is a comfortable universe that moves at a comfortable pace. While with most audio books, I can get so caught up in the story that I want to hear it all in one sitting - with the requisite let-down that it's over and there's nothing to listen to, this provides a nice place that you can keep going back to over and over.

    The narrative (excepting the beginning and end) moves at a realistic and even pace. You get to see the main characters develop, understand their motivations, and actually care about them. Better still, they aren't one-dimensional cut-outs that you so often get in space opera.

    This may sound like a very lukewarm review, but the overall effect made it one of the better audio books I've "read" all year, and I "read" about a hundred each year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • House of Suns

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (837)
    Performance
    (528)
    Story
    (531)

    Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings.

    Ethan M. says: "Science fiction in Deep time"
    "Pretty straight-up Reynolds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know if I'll ever be able to mentally separate Reynolds' writing from Lee's narration, but I have to say that I quite enjoy the combination.

    This is pretty standard Reynolds fare, with his usual dollop of inventive future visualizations and a unique approach to what he imagines could be our future history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skirmishes: Diving Universe, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    The answers Captain Jonathan "Coop" Cooper and the crew of the Ivoire seek lie in the Boneyards. But an encounter from Coop's recent past shows up to haunt him, an encounter he never told Boss about, an encounter that could threaten her future, his life, and the fragile peace between the Alliance and the Empire.

    Mark says: "Geat Tails"
    "Loving the Diving Universe some more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What's great?

    Another book about Boss and her merry band?
    Narration by Jennifer Van Dyck?
    All of the above?

    Another great book in the series. The only problem is that as soon as you start it, you're going to have to block off a dozen or so hours, because you're not going to want to stop it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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