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Dana

Troy, Maine, United States | Member Since 2008

78
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 184 ratings
  • 348 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
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  • Red Mars

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1122)
    Performance
    (545)
    Story
    (560)

    Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel, Red Mars is the first book in Kim Stanley Robinson's best-selling trilogy. Red Mars is praised by scientists for its detailed visions of future technology. It is also hailed by authors and critics for its vivid characters and dramatic conflicts.

    For centuries, the red planet has enticed the people of Earth. Now an international group of scientists has colonized Mars. Leaving Earth forever, these 100 people have traveled nine months to reach their new home. This is the remarkable story of the world they create - and the hidden power struggles of those who want to control it.

    Paul says: "If you like books with DETAIL not much Action"
    "very long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a strange book. The writing is very competent. The aim seems to be to give a hyper-realistic account of what the colonization of Mars might be like, and some of the descriptive passages are startlingly evocative despite the audio narrator's relentless efforts to conceal the meaning of the sentences. The passages about science and technology are interesting even though most of them fail to advance the plot an inch. The plot is for all practical purposes nonexistent. There is a determined effort to shape realistic characters, but overall they are little different from soap opera people. There are long summary passages that sound like back story from notebooks. The characters argue and fight about things that might be important, but in their mouths sound trivial. Most action scenes come off as eighth-grade bullies' scuffles. Despite the intent to realism, I found it hard to believe that the first shipload of Martian colonists would be debating whether to completely throw out the colonization plans made on Earth (which by that time would have been decades in preparation) and with no replacement plans of their own, just naive political and social abstractions. Anyone with a disposition to disrupt the plans would have been screened out by NASA years before. The audio narrator is barely listenable; he is one of those readers with no ear for the rhythms and stresses of English, and who seems to believe words have no inherent meaning or feeling and he has to inject it, mostly resulting in relentlessly mis-stressed words and phrases to the disruption of the feeling that does reside there. The story being slow, the characters adolescent, and the reading poor, what allowed me to listen to this for the full 24 hours were that Robinson's workmanlike feel for English is usually strong enough to override the reader's misrepresentation of the sentences, and that occasionally a passage describing Mars arises vividly, worth waiting for over long, long stretches.

    24 of 30 people found this review helpful
  • The Divine Invasion: VALIS, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    God is not dead. He has merely been exiled to an extraterrestrial planet. And it is on this planet that God meets Herb Asher and persuades him to help retake Earth from the demonic Belial. Featuring virtual reality, parallel worlds, and interstellar travel, The Divine Invasion blends philosophy and adventure in a way few authors can achieve.

    Darwin8u says: "Trippy, gnostic exploration of good/evil & God/man"
    "detached from reality"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator of this book has no clue whatsoever about the tone of this writing or even what the story is about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ten Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Katherine Mansfield
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Although Katherine Mansfield was born in New Zealand in 1888, she spent much of her short life in England and on the Continent. As she wrote about the privileged worlds she encountered there, her stories quickly attracted literary attention. Prelude was hand-published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at their Hogarth Press. Readers today still applaud the grace with which Mansfield fuses image, mood and meaning. Here are ten of Katherine Mansfield’s extraordinary tales.

    Dana says: "narrator"
    "narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator is completely numb to the emotional content and the humor of the stories.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • At the Mountains of Madness [Blackstone Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By H. P. Lovecraft
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (831)
    Performance
    (770)
    Story
    (773)

    This Lovecraft classic is a must-have for every fan of classic terror. When a geologist leads an expedition to the Antarctic plateau, his aim is to find rock and plant specimens from deep within the continent. The barren landscape offers no evidence of any life form - until they stumble upon the ruins of a lost civilization. Strange fossils of creatures unknown to man lead the team deeper, where they find carved stones dating back millions of years. But it is their discovery of the terrifying city of the Old Ones that leads them to an encounter with an untold menace.

    Jeffrey says: "Not for everyone"
    "excellent reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is vintage, if lengthy, Lovecraft of course. But the narration is a true masterpiece of the craft. Edward Hermann's sense of diction, stress and the sheer literal meaning of the sentences enhances Lovecraft's heavy prose. Excellent.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Walter M. Miller
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (963)
    Performance
    (845)
    Story
    (854)

    Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of 20th-century literature—a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

    Joel D Offenberg says: "A Classic"
    "oh well"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Scooby Do cartoon voices really drain the life out of this groundbreaking but already sort of wooden story.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (18695)
    Performance
    (16641)
    Story
    (16603)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "great story, barely tolerable narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a prototypical Stephen King novel, with page-turning plot craftily told, well-realized characters, few slow patches. One of his better books. The audio narrator, however, is just barely tolerable. He gives a cheery kind of adolescent emphasis randomly to meaningless words and imagery, though he does seem to understand the flow of English diction. I don't know how much these narrators get paid, but for a best-seller like this it must be a fairly decent fee -- you'd think that for the money he could spend some time learning what regional accents that he has to imitate sound like. But in the case of the Maine accent, he has no idea, didn't bother to find out, & beyond the common knowledge that Mainers drop certain r sounds, he just completely, utterly made it up. I've never heard the word "knows" rhyme with "gnaws" in Maine or anywhere else, or heard the name Turcotte pronounced as Turkit; & while a Maine accent can sometimes show a similarity to a Bronx accent, this guy has it trickle off into a sort of vague Irish brogue sometimes. What a mess. Later in the book he gets completely confused between Russian, German and Schwarzenegger-like Austrian accents. I don't know Southern accents well enough to tell if he's pulling off Texan or pulling our legs on that too. It's hard to believe Stephen King himself would have signed off on this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cryptonomicon

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (2248)
    Performance
    (1579)
    Story
    (1601)

    Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

    flaos says: "Finally Audible"
    "good book, sketchy reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Cryptonomicon again? Why?

    This is a great story. But the narration, by the same narrator for Stephenson's Anathem, is largely out to lunch, with sort of bearable goofiness through the narrative parts of the book, but painful in the dialogue. It is really hard to understand what motivates narrators to lay Scooby Doo cartoon voices on perfectly well-realized human characters. You could make a case that Stephenson's Snow Crash is sort of a cartoon-character like book. But Cryptonomicon has much more fully developed and fascinating intellectual and emotional layers and real people in it, and it's too bad the narrator was incapable of recognizing them, or unwilling to. I don't know if I'll listen to it again. I'll want to. But the echo of some the voices will make me hesitate.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Macbeth

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Stephen Dillane, Fiona Shaw, full cast
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (28)

    By the time Shakespeare came to write Macbeth - almost certainly in 1605/1606 - he had already completed three of the great tragedies with which modern audiences are so familiar: Hamlet (1601), Othello (1603), and King Lear (1605). Each of those plays gives us an eponymous hero who is in some significant way flawed, but for whom we also inevitably feel deep sympathy, whatever his errors or crimes. But in MacBeth, Shakespeare has chosen for his tragic hero a man guilty of the most terrible crime imaginable to a Jacobean audience, that of regicide - the murder of a king.

    Marius says: "Fire burn and cauldron bubble - an excellent stew"
    "mixed results"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The dynamics of the sound in this recording are dismal. The performance of Lady MacBeth is superb! The performance of MacBeth himself is extremely uneven, to say it as politely as possible.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Lonelyhearts

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Nathanael West
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser, Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    Miss Lonelyhearts is an unnamed male newspaper columnist writing an advice column, which is viewed by the newspaper as a joke. As "Miss Lonelyhearts" reads letters from desperate New Yorkers, he feels terribly burdened and falls into a cycle of deep depression, accompanied by heavy drinking and occasional barfights. The novel is essentially a black comedy and is characterized by an extremely dark but clever sense of humor and irony.

    Dana says: "mixed up"
    "mixed up"
    Overall

    This has an excruciatingly bad ten or twelve minute critical introduction. After that comes one of the creepiest well-known works of modern American fiction, read in a way that clouds but does not obliterate the tone and madness of the story. It's hard to understand why so many audiobook narrators read in cartoon-character voices. Oh well. The gist of Miss Lonelyhearts is here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Heart of Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    On a becalmed yawl in the Thames estuary, Marlow tells a tale of Africa. His job there is to find the enigmatic Kurtz, but his journey further and further upriver reveals the brutality of the white Imperialists who run the country. Established as one of the great English novels, and a story of mythic power, Heart of Darkness is rich in meaning – allusive, enthralling, and haunting.

    A Dog says: "A Near Perfect Audiobook"
    "subpar"
    Overall

    One of the great works of modern fiction in English, narrated by a reader who does not appear to understand the story. Seems to miss every irony.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sanctuary

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    A powerful novel examining the nature of evil, informed by the works of T. S. Eliot and Freud, mythology, local lore, and hard-boiled detective fiction, Sanctuary is the dark, at times brutal, story of the kidnapping of Mississippi debutante Temple Drake. She introduces her own form of venality into the Memphis underworld where she is being held.

    Dana says: "disappointment"
    "disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another good book really poorly narrated. The half-enervated singsong of the narrator's voice seems intended to reflect the music of Faulkner's prose, but the effect is like singing Emily Dickinson's poems to the tune of The Yellow Rose of Texas - it just doesn't match the emotional tenor of the content. How do you square singsong with a text filled with words like "vicious" in the first half-hour? The effect is stilted and so distant from the actual content of the text that listening is a process of battling to filter out the narrator's voice. I gave up. This is the second $14.95 I've wasted on unlistenable narration in the last few months.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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