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Robert Eric Koch

Tell us about yourself!

MONTEVALLO, AL, US | Member Since 2010

31
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 31 reviews
  • 31 ratings
  • 217 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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10

  • The Prefect

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1054)
    Performance
    (826)
    Story
    (826)

    Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer with the Panoply. His beat is the multifaceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, the teeming hub of a human interstellar empire spanning many worlds. His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the habitats that left 900 people dead, a crime that appalls even a hardened cop like Dreyfus.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Best yet of the Revelation Space series"
    "A Stellar Prequel to Revelation Space"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    For my money, it doesn't get any better than Alastair Reynolds. He has become the master of hard Science Fiction, particularly his Revelation Space series. This book serves as a prequel to the events of both Chasm City and The Revelation Space Trilogy. The Prefect is, at its heart, a police procedural yet it functions as a vital piece of the overall story that plays out through the four other Revelation Space novels. The book is written as well as any mystery out there and it's easily one of the best Science Fiction novels of 2007. As for the narration - I admit that I strongly disliked John Noble as the narrator at first, particularly his plethora of regional English, Welsh, and Scottish accents but having now listened to a half dozen of his narrations of Reynold's works he's grown on me and I've come to enjoy his narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Speaker for the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By David Birney, Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7139)
    Performance
    (3697)
    Story
    (3744)

    In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. But again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth.

    Joe says: "The Enderverse"
    "Warning! This Book Is Nothing Like Ender's Game!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    In the author’s commentary at the end of the audiobook, Orson Scott Card explains why he feels Speaker for the Dead is the book he really wanted to write when he set out to write Ender’s Game. I can’t imagine how one would set out to write the rich, humanistic tapestry of Speaker For the Dead and end up with Ender’s Game, one of the greatest military SF novels of all time yet so very different in so many ways. If you have not read or heard that the second book in the Ender’s Game series is absolutely nothing like the first book, here is your warning. This novel is set several thousand years after the events in Ender’s Game and Ender himself, thanks to the time deficit of traveling near light speed, has aged but only into his 30’s. There are no battle schools and the only battles fought are idealistic in nature. There is a deep, well written mystery to this novel that will keep you reading long after you realize there are no action or battle sequences to be had. I have known so many readers who were disappointed in this sequel to Ender’s Game but if you stick with it, I think Speaker for the Dead is actually a better, more meaningful book that explores the deeper themes introduced in Ender’s Game.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Abaddon's Gate

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James S.A. Corey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (393)
    Performance
    (369)
    Story
    (366)

    The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus's orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

    Greg says: "The worst part is waiting for book 4"
    "Reads Like A Summer Blockbuster"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Abaddon’s Gate, the third novel in the Expanse, is on par with the lite, somewhat melodramatic tone of this shallow but fun series. The action and characters play out like a Hollywood film and the novel is weakest when it tries to be deep and meaningful, failed attempts at clever commentary on the human condition. There’s a religious element in this entry that, because of the complete absence of religion in the first two books, feels wildly out of place and never quite works. Its strengths are its action sequences, the interaction of its main characters, and the overall world building. By the novel’s end, we finally discover what “The Expanse” really is and are only marginally closer to solving the bigger mysteries of the overall story. Like the first two books, this one introduces new characters who play pivotal roles in the unfolding drama but will disappear by book four. This is a really fun series that may be a little too contemporary for its own good. If you’re looking for deeper meaning in your Science Fiction, stick with Simmons or Reynolds. If you’re just wanting a good, enjoyable, action laden SciFi story without all the baggage of military SF, then I would highly recommend this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4575)
    Performance
    (4285)
    Story
    (4303)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Possibly Sanderson's Best Work Yet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Steelheart to be better than the print version?

    I didn't get a print version - audio only!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Steelheart?

    The epic finish.


    Which character – as performed by Macleod Andrews – was your favorite?

    Prof!


    Any additional comments?

    I admit I was apprehensive and had this not been written by one of my favorite authors it’s unlikely I would have ever given it a chance. Like vampires and zombies, superhero stories are a dime a dozen these days. But Sanderson delivers another knockout, adding depth and world-building along with signature Sanderson characters and action to a bloated and tired sub-genre. This one is definitely worth your time and I can’t imagine this not finding its way into theaters or onto television soon.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4787)
    Performance
    (4472)
    Story
    (4466)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Cristina Hatfield says: "Quite an enjoyable read"
    "A Novel Idea Just Not a Novel Idea"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from John Scalzi and/or Wil Wheaton?

    Not Scalzi's Best Book


    Would you be willing to try another book from John Scalzi? Why or why not?

    Of course - Old Man's War is a classic


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    He added a whimsical element to the narration but little more.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Possibly


    Any additional comments?

    I’m a big fan of John Scalzi but I couldn’t help be a tad bit disappointed in Redshirts. The first part of the novel is really just an extended gimmick on the more recognizable elements of Trek lore. It’s a fun, quick read for any Trek fan and would have worked well as a novella or even a short story, flowing very much like an episode of Star Trek, but ultimately too shallow to carry an entire novel and so Scalzi tacks on two extra “codas” that feel themselves like loosely connected short stories or even supplemental material. Had these additional segments not been tacked on, I suppose it would not have qualified for the Hugo Best Novel category, an award which it won earlier in 2013. Wil Wheaton’s narration of the audiobook is a nice touch though there were times when I felt like a professional narrator might have done a better job with the text. Despite the Hugo, this is not one of John Scalzi’s better novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Beevers
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    After billions of years of imprisonment, the vicious Sild have broken out of confinement. From a ruined world at the end of time, they make preparations to conquer the past, with the ultimate goal of rewriting history. But to achieve their aims they will need to enslave an intellect greater than their own... On Earth, UNIT is called in to investigate a mysterious incident on a North Sea drilling platform. The Doctor believes something is afoot, and no sooner has the investigation begun than something even stranger takes hold: the Brigadier is starting to forget about UNIT's highest-profile prisoner.

    Robert Eric Koch says: "Excellent Third Doctor Story"
    "Excellent Third Doctor Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel) again? Why?

    If I have time, certainly. It's very much like one of the better series on TV, one of those things I might enjoy every now and again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characterizations were spot on and in perfect synch with the Third Doctor eps.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Attacking cows.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Tons of nostalgia, remembering my days as a kid, watching Doctor Who on my local PBS station on Saturday nights.


    Any additional comments?

    Here is a book that is not only a stellar Doctor Who novel in its own right, but does a superb job of capturing the atmosphere of the classic BBC series, from the cheesy cheeky characters to the weird alien stuff (like alien possessed attack cows!) to even the bad special effects. I’ve read several Who novels and this is the only one that I feel truly captures the essence of what makes the old series so unique and special, stories that weren’t built on special effects but used stellar writing and a talented cast to rise above the cheap sets, the goofy costumes, and sometime silly “Britishness” of the series (and I mean that in the fondest possible context, I truly do). You can literally picture the knock-off effects and bad costumes in the writing. This is every bit a Third Doctor story, from the Doctor’s exile on earth and his time with UNIT. There are several Third Doctor series on Netflix, I strongly encourage any reader who hasn’t seen the Third Doctor in action to watch a Third Doctor series or two before reading this book. Being able to put faces and personalities with the characters really brings this story to life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The First King of Shannara: The Shannara Series, Prequel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Terry Brooks
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (455)
    Performance
    (173)
    Story
    (178)

    In this prequel to The Sword of Shannara, in which many details of the Four Lands' history are revealed, Druids, horrified by the misuse of magic, have eschewed it in favor of science. But Bremen the Druid studies magic, and becomes an outcast on its account. Bremen discovers that an invincible army of trolls are fast conquering all that lay to their south. Before them come the Nazgul-like Skull Bearers, disfigured and transformed Druids who have fallen prey to the dark arts.

    Lucero Mitchell says: "A True Pleasure"
    "Precitable and Fun, a Typical Brooks Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    All of Terry Brook’s novels, at least the Shannara novels, follow the same basic template. You have a character who finds himself (or herself), typically through circumstances beyond his control, suddenly thrust into a quest with an assortment of companions of varying races to travel to ____ in order to find the mythical _____ so that he or she can usually do something to save the world. As a result, most of Brook’s novels tend to feel similar and are of a similar tone with characters that stray very little from the norm. That said, once you lower your expectations and accept the fact that these stories aren’t likely to stray very far from the template, this extended series can be quite enjoyable, particularly if you enjoy good, escapist, low risk fantasy (the diametric opposite of George RR Martin). As a prequel to Terry Brook’s original Shannara series, this book feels quite at home and does round out the story, the world, and the events of those first three novels. There’s some novelty here, revisiting familiar territory and a few familiar characters, and a decent adventure. As an audiobook, expertly narrated, this presentation is great, escapist fun, well worth a month's credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Joe Abercrombie
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3287)
    Performance
    (2247)
    Story
    (2260)

    Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

    Jefferson says: "Violent, Ironic, and Absorbing Epic Fantasy Noir"
    "Dark and Twisted Fantasy With a Sense of Humor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The Blade Itself is dark, melodramatic, and a great deal of fun. This is not your typical epic, go on a quest and save the world kind of fantasy. Instead we are thrust into a world of morally ambiguous anti-heroes – a disfigured torturer, an arrogant nobleman, and an infamous warrior with a checkered past who all cross paths and eventually find their fates align in the shadow of an impending war. There is intrigue, drama, a great deal of action, lots of twisted humor, and plenty to enjoy in this first entry of Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy. Steven Pacey is one of the top two or three fantasy narrators working today. This is an audiobook series that no true fantasy fan should be without. Even if you've read the series (as I have), get the audiobook and read it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hyperion

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Allyson Johnson, Kevin Pariseau, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3305)
    Performance
    (1887)
    Story
    (1905)

    On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all.

    aaron says: "A LESSON in How to Write Smart, Dark, ADULT SciFi"
    "Incredible Master Work of Science Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Hyperion stands as one of the greatest SF novels of the second half of the 20th century. Part allegory, part mystery, drawing inspiration from every spectrum of fiction from The Canterbury Tales to the poetry of John Keats, this novel elevates Science Fiction to a literary form. Like the aforementioned Canterbury Tales the novel follows a quasi-religious quest to the fabled and mysterious planet of Hyperion where mankind’s first true encounter with an alien race takes place. Each member of the pilgrimage has a story to tell, each a piece to a larger, far more intricate puzzle whose final solution may hold the key to the survival of mankind. Simmon’s future is wholly familiar yet startlingly alien in many ways. His characters are developed through their tales and the mysteries they unfold make this an undeniable page turner. If you enjoy Science Fiction that goes beyond robots and ray guns and endeavors to explore the big and essential questions of life and death and what it means to be human this novel is not be missed. The various narrators really bring this story to live in audio form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Caliban's War: The Expanse, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By James S. A. Corey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (735)
    Performance
    (677)
    Story
    (678)

    James S.A. Corey’s best-selling hit Leviathan Wakes earned Hugo and Locus Award nominations. In Caliban’s War, the second chapter of Corey’s Expanse series, a desperate Earth politician works tirelessly to prevent war from reigniting. Meanwhile, upheaval takes root on Venus and Ganymede. And amidst this tumult, James Holden and his crew on the Rocinante are charged with the impossible task of saving humanity from a terrifying fate.

    Ethan M. says: "No sophmore slump as both plot and writing improve"
    "Great Story But Felt Like FIller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The narrative follows two slowly developing events – a chase to recover the kidnapped child of a Belter botanist and the political posturing of a potty mouthed, grandmotherly UN ambassador who feels her own brand of old-lady wisdom is the only thing holding civilization together. She joins with revenge-seeking marine and eventually finds her way to Holden and his crew, who have teamed up with the botanist on a mission of mercy, where all discover they have a common enemy and a common purpose. Great action sequences follow with happy endings all around. Unlike Leviathan Wakes, which followed similar narratives but felt at every moment of the story, like those narratives paled against larger and far more significant (and alien) problems in the universe, Abaddon’s Gate seems to put those larger, more significant problems in a holding pattern while mankind embarks upon a series of illogical and nonsensical actions that tosses all three factions: Earthers, Martians, and Belters into a pointless war that none can truly win and in the grand scheme of things doesn’t matter anyway. As a result, the novel felt a lot like filler, where nothing of any real importance in the context of the larger story seemed to happen. Despite my problems with the overall story, Abaddon’s Gate is superbly executed with tight, well written action sequences, a level of characterization you don’t often see in space opera, and enough action to move the novel along at a brisk pace. As a stand-alone volume this novel is rather good and certainly enjoyable. In the context of the larger series, this feels like it will be one of the weaker entries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Watership Down

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard Adams
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2480)
    Performance
    (1828)
    Story
    (1841)

    Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos.

    B. Cable says: "Still one of the best!"
    "Defining Example of Young Adult Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Watership Down is a monumental piece of young adult fiction and one of those books you can enjoy again and again. Written for children but never condescending or silly, this novel follows the adventures of a group of rabbits as they struggle to overcome catastrophe. The novel begins with a group of male (buck) rabbits escaping their home and venturing into the wild with hopes of finding a new home in a place far from the natural enemies of rabbits (mainly men). Along the way they overcome numerous obstacles and trials and each of them grow and develop through these various trials. At times allegorical and at other times a high adventure story, there are deep themes at play all through this novel from the dangers of communism to the role of religion and myth. Taking his cues from the ancient beast fable, Richard Adams creates a rich and vibrant world for his characters complete with history and language and occupied by characters so well developed you’ll feel a personal connection to each one of them by the novels conclusion. Highly recommended and an excellent audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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