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Hirsch

Bellingham, WA, United States | Member Since 2008

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 384 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2014
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  • The Map of Time: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Felix J. Palma
    • Narrated By James Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (137)
    Story
    (138)

    Set in Victorian London, with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history? FĂ©lix J. Palma explores this question, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting

    CRISTY says: "Langton couldn't have done a better job narrating"
    "Okay book, but poor Science Fiction"
    Overall

    The book has a number of entertaining conceits: 1) the narrator speaks to you directly, and knows that he is the narrator, and comments on his abilities as an omniscient entity; 2) some of the characters are actual historical persons (e.g., H.G. Wells); the tone of the book seems to be an attempt to mirror that of Sci-Fi of the period. These are, in general, refreshing, and would make the book a very good one except that it suffers from a failure that these cannot (for me at least) overcome:

    Science fiction should start from a speculative premise, but then be plausible from then on. It cannot violate laws of physics or common-sense without some explanation. The Map of Time fails on these grounds. For example: In the "fourth dimension", timepieces stop working and people do not age, but their hearts keep beating (although beards stop growing). No explanation is offered for this selective cessation of biological processes, although the statement is made that this area is outside of time. To any rational reader of SF, this kind of thing is an insult to one's intelligence. A second example: Groups of "time tourists" are taken to the same day and time in the 20th century, and yet they do not run into each other. This is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

    One caveat: I only made it through about 30% of the book before these problems became too much for me, so there is a small possibility that Palma explains these lapses in rationality later in the text, although I doubt it.

    If you are not troubled by these and want a fairly entertaining yarn otherwise, give this a listen. Otherwise, steer clear.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Viriconium

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By M. John Harrison
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (123)

    Available to American readers for the first time, this landmark collection gathers four groundbreaking fantasy classics from the acclaimed author of Light. Set in the imagined city of Viriconium, here are the masterworks that revolutionized a genre and enthralled a generation of readers: The Pastel City, A Storm of Wings, In Viriconium, and Viriconium Nights. Back in print after a long absence, these singular tales of a timeless realm and its enigmatic inhabitants are now reborn and compiled to captivate a whole new generation.

    Max says: "Virocon, Virocon, still the ancient name rings on"
    "Artistic, poetic, but not engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I guess that one cannot expect the books Neil Gaiman likes to resemble the books Neil Gaiman writes. I learned that listening to Viriconium. Where Neil Gaiman's work is intellectually stimulating and deeply engaging, making me care about the characters, as a good story should, Viriconium seems like an objet d'art: beautiful in its way, poetic, but not gripping. Because none of the characters knew what was going on in their world, the reader doesn't know what is going on, and the resolutions that occur shed only a little light on the situation. Everything seems to happen in a kind of a dream or a fog both within the story and to the reader as well. Some may find that a virtue; I found it a bore.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Dome: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Raul Esparza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10462)
    Performance
    (5358)
    Story
    (5397)

    On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

    Russell says: "Glad I Listened to 11-22-63 First"
    "Great book; great narrator"
    Overall

    This book is very good - engaging as are most Steven King books, but not as outlandish in the SF aspect. More prosaic than most in the details.

    I typically don't notice the narration unless it's poor, but I have to say that Raul Esparza was awesome here. It's hard to describe, but the characterizations were distinct without being silly and over-the-top as often occurs. Mostly though, he used really great vocal inflections: I think that they were those that I would have used mentally had I been reading the text.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Duma Key: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By John Slattery
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5149)
    Performance
    (1846)
    Story
    (1835)

    A terrible accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. When his marriage suddenly ends, Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived his injuries. He wants out. His psychologist suggests a new life distant from the Twin Cities, along with something else.

    Amazon Customer says: "Play the Book and Let the Book Play You"
    "Great book; great narrator"
    Overall

    I love nearly all of King's work (esp the Dark Tower series). I want to note in particular how much I enjoyed this narrator. Each character was distinct in accent, tone, and emphasis and yet none seemed at all forced. Really nice work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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