This story of one of America's first pioneers into space is one that needed to be told. It was not as flashy as John Glen's story. It was not as controversial as Gordon Cooper's. It is also about the working ethics of American Test Pilots.
People who are looking for an in-depth look at Apollo will be a little disappointed. This book is about everything leading up to the Apollo 7 flight, including the fateful decision to enter the Naval Academy instead of West Point or the drawing of lots between a bomber and fighter billets.
That being said it is a wonderful journey through the hardships of the space race. It is a good counterpoint to other books of the era, such as Tom Wolff's 'The Right Stuff'. Worth the listen.
This is a story in which I can loose myself, I want to listen again, crack the bones and suck out the marrow, to find every little touchstone of thought and self within. The sex is only the bit of git around which the oyster builds the beautiful pearl.
This is a HARD story and a POTENT one. It is not a pretty tale, nor a clean one. I cannot stress enough, this is not a story for children or the immature. All that said, it is also a highly satisfying story, while avoiding cliche and the usual sorts of deus-ex machina that is usually employed to bail a writer out of the corners they paint themselves into in blind attempts to show pain and suffering of the main characters.
The story is about growth. About planting seeds and tending them until they germinate and begin to grow, hopefully to thrive. Fertilizing those seeds are harsh trials and terrible -- usually only implied -- details that serve to give depth in what would otherwise be a dull yarn of diplomatic cat&mouse. Thankfully M C A Hogarth spares us this fate.
Admittedly there is cross species BDSM scattered throughout, but the story is not about sex. Those acts are the canvas and paints used brilliantly in lieu of large military conflicts, functioning as weapons-of-choice and battlefield wrapped together. The level of details about the various acts is lacking but in what amounts to an abundance of good taste. It is the means to show the contests and winners in a battle between empire and alliance, against the spirits of the players.
'Even the Wingless' is far more Machiavellian than pornographic. While some of the sexual topics are shared with Anne Rice's 'Claiming of Sleeping Beauty' or E L James's 'Fifty Shades of Grey', it reads as deep as Tolstoy, Milton, or even Dante. If you choose to open yourself to this tale, look for its layers, peel them apart and enjoy them for their well crafted construction, just be prepared to discard the fruit's rind if its taste is not to your liking.
As fantasy worlds go this one is a little off the beaten path. It shows us the hubris of ego and the hubris of dynasty. The edges start out a little familiar. Military life, packing down, ready to stand down.
Then it goes someplace far different. The story takes a glancing blows at several tropes, Military Conquest, Social Assimilation, even Colony At Risk... These and a few more all thrown into the literary blender.
The result is a smooth look at a well constructed world where a hardened, smooth shellac of 'Civilization' hides a gathering of well scabbed over political and religious undercurrents that are anything but civilized.
The book was well written, and the reader performed well. I'll look for more of the series, but hope they fire this production team.
B+ for the Author and Reader.
The technical production of this book is dreadfully poor. Pops, hisses, and clips throughout. (Format 2) Further the volume of the reader is soft enough that when the trumpeting fanfares play at section breaks -- some of which sneak up on you -- it blasts your ears. I could have done a better job with Audiocity.
F+ for production and Audio Level Control.
Still the story's worth the read, if you can muscle past the poor production.
When I first found Callahan's series here on Audible, I fell in love with the series like so many other fans out there. But unlike those that first read the stories in the pages of Analog, I heard them vocalized by Brett Whitener.
Now I don't know about you, but on the few things that annoys me more than anything about audiobooks is when for whatever reason they can't, don't, or won't keep the same talent from book to book.
So when I plugged the new Callahan book into my iPod and started listening I was shocked because it wasn't Brett Whitener. In my haste to grab and listen I just didn't look to see who read this title. The voice was pleasant and seemed to have an intimate knowledge of the work -- which always helps -- and so I decided to listen to the whole thing before passing judgement.
Little things started to stand out. Like the special emphasis placed on "THE MACHINE" or the way the reader paused before delivering the final blow of a particularly horrid pun.
As for the story, the science content was thick in places but not so thick that a sci-fi nut would need a PhD to understand. The characters are witty, finely tuned, and well up to the task of taking from the tragic sacriface of the original tavern through the events that destroyed Mary's Place.
It was in the final moments of the title when Spider himself is speaking the credits does he identify himself, and what a gestalt that was. The creator himself was for whom Brett Whitener stepped aside. Thank you Audible, and thank you Spider. It isn't often that an author can pull off the reading of their own title as you have.
If you enjoy Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, you'll enjoy this, but do yourself a favor and read the titles in cronological order. He's not kidding when he says it takes three books to explain the history of Mike Callahan and his former bar, lucky for us those three books are available in an omnibus edition here on Audible.
While there were a few things left to tidy up, the story line was engaguging and well thought out. It was a joy to listen to, listen as the characters developed, even if several of the characters fit somewhat archtypical roles. I can't wait to see how this series develops.
Report Inappropriate Content