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Strephon

Aires male -- often butts head against reality

Springfield, VA, USA | Member Since 2011

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 21 ratings
  • 201 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015
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  • Kill Decision

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3269)
    Performance
    (2911)
    Story
    (2920)

    Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned - and thanks to her research, automated - drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets.

    Madeleine says: "What's that droning sound?"
    "Lot of science, but it rocks!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    You won't mind that the characterizations are little more than sci-fi shadow puppets or that the sole female character "unexpectedly" can handle a reality TV obstacle course with the best of them. The star of the show is the fast-moving narrative. I was so intrigued with the science and weaponry that I stopped the recording several times to look up references to myrmecology, weaver ants, and the latest technology in weapons, body armor, and pilotless aircraft. I was never bored. In the more fast moving scenes, the narrator's different accents sluice over each into each other, but you'll forgive the untethered tongue for the speed and engagement of the tale. A great listen. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Remaining

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By D. J. Molles
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (2533)
    Performance
    (2356)
    Story
    (2362)

    In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Someday soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission....

    G Wallace says: "Die Hard Meets 28 Days Later"
    "Stick With It, The Listening Rewards Come Later"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up on this book several times. OMG. I could not be less interested in the journal entries of a Special Forces Captain as he awaits a status report on what will be -- and this is hardly a spoiler -- the Zombocalpse. However, once Captain Harden leaves his bunker and starts carrying out his mission, we watch as if through a helmetcam the well-detailed journey.

    Granted, a lot of details have to do with weapons and small-scale combat. This is not a psychological investigation of humanity's encounter with the undead or the various kinds of degradation into which some of our species fall after The End of Civilization As We Know It. There are simply the givens of the new normal in which an archetypal hero fights his way through setbacks, near-mortal wounds, treachery, and mischance to reach his grail.

    The reward for listening to this book is that you will most likely be hooked and want more. Subsequent books are equally full of fast action, dangers, reversals and gritty hope. Expect the usual reductions of undesirables to laughable caricatures: the mealy-mouthed politician, the book-learned professor unsuited to survival outside his ivory tower, the incurious and easily misled dross of humanity, etc... Also expect typical female gender-roles, sadistic crooks, and the usual whiney sell-outs. Only the damaged-but-dogged military men and their gun-trained lieutenants are the natural leaders we can trust in an undead world.

    Although Captain Harden and I would probably not exist in the same universe in real life, I find myself guiltily binge-listening to his progress. If I'm this susceptible to his blood-and-guts-soaked charms, I think anyone will be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Old Man's War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5042)
    Performance
    (3889)
    Story
    (3914)

    John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First, he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce - and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So, we fight, to defend Earth and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

    Michael says: "As good as Heinlein"
    "Good, basic, homespun sci-fi yarn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It takes a while to chew through through the rind of the author's set-up before savoring the tastier plot morsels later on. Once you've shucked the shell of introductory material, there is a fair amount of guesswork -- enough to keep you listening. Also, the narrator is good at distinguishing voices; I was never at a loss for who was speaking. All these positives outweigh the negatives of Norman Rockwell sentiment and corny repartee. Overall, soldiering through "Old Man's War" along with the characters is a worthwhile investment in time. The author succeeds in drawing us into his world and reflecting on his questions about humanity even if the answers are not surprising.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Gordon S. Wood
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    Central to America's idea of itself is the character of Benjamin Franklin. We all know him, or think we do: In recent works and in our inherited conventional wisdom, he remains fixed in place as a genial polymath and self-improver who was so very American that he is known by us all as the first American.

    Tina says: "My 3rd or 4th favorite history/biography book"
    "Franklin Would Have Loved This Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In far less space than the typical doorstop tome, Wood illuminates Franklin's long professional and intellectual trek to become the most "American" of the founders. Anyone who relies on their high school or college understanding of Franklin will profit from Wood's treatment of a man who was truly a lifelong learner, but one careful never to be too far out in front of what the traffic would bear. Insufficiently appreciated in his time, Franklin turns out to be every bit as much responsible for the success of American independence even if his vision of how to frame the Constitution of the new nation did not emerge as the orthodox view. A great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How Jesus Became God

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Bart D. Ehrman
    • Narrated By Professor Bart D. Ehrman
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (162)

    This fundamental historical question and its complex answer speak penetratingly to the spiritual impulses, concerns, and beliefs that have played a seminal role in our world, even as they reveal the foundation of history’s most global religious movement, and fresh insights into the Western world's single most influential human being. Tackling all of these matters and more, Great Courses favorite Professor Ehrman returns with the unprecedented historical inquiry of How Jesus Became God.

    Richard says: "Fine scholarship but an off-putting delivery"
    "Compelling Argument, Ehrman Scores Again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bart Ehrman once again applies an erudite scholarship to the early period of Christianity. This time, he traces the development of the belief that Jesus was not only a Messiah, but part of a Triune God. Ehrman uses comparisons to pagan and Jewish attitudes toward divinity and a meticulously researched unfolding of Christian views starting with Paul and ending with the Nicene and post-Nicene creeds. Ehrman's reading of his own text is great fun. Once he warms to his topic one can hear his training in fire-and-brimstone sermonizing that makes otherwise detailed historical analysis actually spellbinding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Coinspinner's Story: The Fifth Book of Lost Swords

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Fred Saberhagen
    • Narrated By Cynthia Barrett
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Prince Murat of Culm possesses Coinspinner, the Sword of Chance which brings untold good fortune to its owner. Can Coinspinner aid Murat in his efforts to acquire Woundhealer, the Sword of healing Murat’s ruler desperately needs? Or through lack of wit and Coinspinner’s propensity to whimsically change owners will Murat find himself caught up in different quest? Prince Adrian, away at a school for magic, is assigned a test of his abilities. More challenges than a school trial await him.

    Strephon says: "O Fortuna, velut luna statu variabiliis"
    "O Fortuna, velut luna statu variabiliis"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No other sword of power fulfills its purpose better than the Sword of Luck. Conceived by the gods to make sport of humanity and forged by Vulcan for their divine entertainment, Coinspinner follows the fickle destiny for which it was created. Yet, with the old Olympians now passed from the scene, perhaps Coinspinner's object lessons are not always guided by the dictum, "Whom gods destroy they first raise up."

    Coinspinner leaves many questions unanswered. I actually listened twice to the ending just to be sure I didn't miss anything. Nope. Regardless of scabbard, whether finely wrought or rough-clothed, Coinspinner's true casing is enigma.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Farslayer's Story: The Fourth Book of Lost Swords

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Fred Saberhagen
    • Narrated By Cynthia Barrett
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Long, long ago, the Gods forged Twelve Swords of Power, each with a unique and deadly quality. They forged too well, for the swords could kill the Gods themselves. Then the swords were lost, scattered across the land; and many are they, both good and evil, who are desperate to find them again. This story is of Farslayer, the sword that can kill from across an entire world. The game is fierce; the prize is the sword.

    Strephon says: "Farslayer Hits the Mark"
    "Farslayer Hits the Mark"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the narrative voice of fables we follow the ill-omened career of Farslayer in a remote part of the world. Mischance follows upon mideeds as forces and eminences vie to possess the Sword of Vengeance. Saberhagen keeps you guessing right up the end who will possess the weapon that does not rest easily in its hilt.

    If you have already been enchanted by the magic of Saberhagen's world, this Fourth Book will place you under its spell in spite of the not always well-voiced characters. This is a recording that would come across better if there were one male and one female reader. But, in the end, an engaging tale that rewards the time spent.

    On to Number Five.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Six

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Larry Correia, Mike Kupari
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1490)
    Performance
    (1391)
    Story
    (1400)

    Michael Valentine, veteran and former member of an elite private military company, has been recruited by the government to conduct a secret counter-terror operation in the Persian Gulf nation of Zubara. The unit is called Dead Six. Their mission is to take the fight to the enemy and not get caught. Lorenzo, assassin and thief extraordinaire, is being blackmailed by the world's most vicious crime lord. His team has to infiltrate the Zubaran terrorist network and pull off an impossible heist or his family will die.

    K says: "Great story, characters, narration, and more"
    "Female? Gay? Forget it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Larry Correia simply can't resist using the word "gay" as a derogatory adjective meaning useless, weak, silly. Women in this book do little more than divine when men need their sexual favors and proffer said intimacacies without prompting. And it's hard to get your arms around the main the characters whose main delight in life is killing. I listened to the first third third of the book and walked out. Sorry, Correia really went off the rails on this one.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7997)
    Performance
    (4957)
    Story
    (4992)

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Really Fast Paced Sci Fi!"
    "Grips You from Beginning to End (?)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You don't really notice the fact that there are almost no women, and for anyone who cares, a few less-than-positive references to gays. The story-telling is so powerful and the wordimagery so accessible to the imagination that I wanted more immediately. The ending, which I won't spoil, does hint at a sequel. I hope there is one. This book is everything sci-fi can and should be: a speculation on the future of the human species that engages us and leaves us thinking rather than just entertained.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hunted: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4902)
    Performance
    (4539)
    Story
    (4536)

    For a 2,000-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt - Artemis and Diana - for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is...run like hell.

    D says: "Another Serving of Hilari-tea"
    "Atticus and Granuaile in "The Amazing Race""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read all of the books in this series and enjoyed them. Both the writing and the performance make the series among the very best of the genre. This one had the ingredients. Fast pace, humorous banter, interesting magical twists (perhaps too many)... but somehow the parts didn't cohere. I think that Hearne has created a series that requires a good recollection of the previous books, which escaped me. I found myself wondering: what was the situation with Bacchus? Wasn't Odin angry because of previous shenanigans played out in the Norse pantheon? When was Lief seduced by the dark side?It was just quite a lot to wade through even before the English Channel. Perhaps a new story line free from previous associations would be a better bet for any novels in this series. And please, no spin-offs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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