Yes. I like Wayne Farrell's rendition of James Wainwright with his scientific mindset and distaste for frippery.
James Wainwright, because us nerds need to stick together.
Since the narrative was through Wainwright's eyes, I will go with him again. Farrell pulls off this character very well.
Two men bound by condescension fight evil with brains & style.
Cal has issues.
Cal was easy to connect with, plenty of fun tech, crazy hive bugs trying to take over the world.
Kafer was great for Cal, cynical and ticked off at the world.
Can the mech withstand the mind-controlling bugs?
In Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, Mechani-Cal (or just Cal) is a beat up down and out supervillain in a beat up mechanical suit. The world has gone buggy, literally. Someone’s science project escaped the test tube and these bugs can now attach themselves to humans and make them part of the world hive. Cal has been living in his mech suit for far too many weeks avoiding being assimilated. the story opens with a quick, dirty fight between Cal and some of the Olympians, guardians of the East coast. He manages to knock a bug off Aphrodite (Stacey) and flies off with her to his secret hideaway dump. Alas, it is a trap. Luckily Cal has an exit strategy and perseverance. After all, he needs allies to rid the world of the mind-control bugs.
This book was a highly entertaining messed up ride. Cal is such the anti-hero and yet not such a bad guy. He’s not afraid to do the tough deeds that need doing, as he sees it. He doesn’t shy away from a task just because society might frown on his resolution to the problem. Constantly doubting the good will of those around him (and usually with good reason), it is almost always Cal against the world. Couple that with his geek tinkering skills of creating mech suits, robots, body armor, and weapons and you have a supervillain who mostly just wants to be left alone. Alas, the world won’t let him curl up in his little cave of anger.
Most of the good guys have nothing but disdain for Cal, even after he saves their asses. But that’s OK because they have silly names, like the Bugler. Yep. The Bugler. This book has me chuckling out loud at the casual way these superhero (and supervillain) names would be tossed into the narrative. Anemone, Hermes, Komodo, etc.
The plot itself is really a series of smaller plots, one flowing into another. Kind of like a series of comics. One emergency ends just in time for another to develop, often popping up in just the right time and place to bite Cal in the ass. Poor dude. His love life is also complicated and I liked that it was all messy and not some cookie-cutter romance. Granted, all the women are hotties and only half the men are.
Bernheimer isn’t afraid to kill characters off and I especially like this. Real life has consequences, and when I read my fiction I like to see that reflected. No, I didn’t cry over any of the deaths and while Cal catches some flak for his actions, I totally cheered him on. In short, this was quite the fun listen, a great escape from average superhero tales. This tale reminded me of James Maxey‘s Nobody Gets the Girl and the webisode silliness known as Dr. Horrible, both of which I am quite fond of.
Only if they have read the previous books, but yes.
The rest of the books in the series.
Yes, they were great.
Wolves of sorrow.
In this book we have plenty of squaring off between our Two Rivers heroes and the Forsaken. I won’t tell you who comes out on top, but it wasn’t a sure thing either way. Nynaeve has some fears she has to face. Meanwhile, Perrin struggles against his blossoming wolfish nature; the Whitecloaks are on the hunt and Perrin is in there sights.
I liked a lot of things about this book, especially Perrin’s inner struggle (though for a teensy bit there I felt it went on for too long). I think Perrin sees things in black and white sometimes; once he goes down a road, there is no turning back. But there is, or at least sideways. Once you pick up an axe to see to some business, doesn’t mean that you can’t put it down again. Through Perrin’s ordeal, we learn a little bit about what the Two Rivers folks are made of and also the guiding principles of the Whitecloaks.
Min has more visions, and this time they concern the White Tower. I won’t spoil anything for you, but it gets real and some of my favorite characters have to make some tough choices. Meanwhile, in other parts of the land, we see Rand becoming a leader not just of men but of nations. It’s a big step for him and he does OK, and doesn’t get his head handed to him.
There’s plenty of Aiel time, and specifically time in the Aiel Waste. We really get to experience their culture, and for some, it is quite a shock. Of course, there are many funny scenes related to the culture shock. I was glad to see that Robert Jordan fleshed out this people.
Overall, the pacing was great, the plot moved forward, and my favorite characters got plenty of page time. I wanted the bad guys destroyed and I cheered the good guys towards victory. While there was some of that teen angst flirtatious/hate-you behavior that permeates the series, I was able to tune out during those parts and enjoy the rest.
The Narration: As always, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did an excellent job. I quite enjoyed them and they seem to have gotten in sync on the pronunciation of a few names. There are so many, I don’t know how they got them all down the same!
Yes to both. I need to know how WoT ends. Reading and Kramer are a great team and I also enjoy them in The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson.
The circus was great. The battle at the end has a little twist to it that I didn't like, cheapening the series for me. Consequences folks, they can make a story great.
Yes, and they did great.
It would have to be a quality TV show, like by Starz or HBO. And I haven't kept up with today's younger actors, so someone else will have to pick them.
In this installment, Rand is still trying to sway the Aiel to unite under him, hence the trip to their holy city of Rhuidean. Mat is with him, and rash Mat makes some questionable choices (much to my amusement). But out of this we have Rand showing leadership skills, and Mat just beginning to realize his potential.
Additionally, we have Elayne and Nynaeve traveling around. One of them gets a Warder! But I won’t spoil it and say who. There is also a circus involved.
Alas, this book has no Perrin and no Loial, so that makes me a little sad. And there are some lengthy scenes that focus on clothing. Sigh…..But Nynaeve turns one of those scenes around with her defiant chat with the person who founded the fanatical religious order that flies a flag in Rand’s name (without his consent).
If you’ve been following the series, then you know Lanfear. Lanfear makes some crucial decisions, and they have lasting, detrimental affects. I won’t spoil it, but one of the best scenes of the series so far lies at Lanfear’s feet.
Near the end, there is a little plot twist that didn’t sit well with me. It’s probably a minor thing in the bigger scheme of things, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. There’s a bit of a battle at the end and we are lead to believe 2-3 characters die, but then they don’t. I definitely become more invested in a series when characters can be, will be hurt, even killed. Not nearly hurt or nearly killed. Not reversed by some previously unknown mystical mechanics. Anyway, just my 2 cents on that one.
Overall, a fun installment in the series even if I did miss Perrin, wondering how things turned out in Emond’s Field.
The Narration: As always, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did an excellent job. I really like how they attempt to do the Seanchan accent.
The parody, the comedy.
Haha! When they explain the Box to Dahl.
The gurgling aliens.
Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Xenobiology team of the ship Intrepid, and he is very excited about this. It is a prestigious posting. Once on board, he realizes there is a certain feel running through the lower ranks. No one wants to go on away mission as they seem to always result in some lethal outcome; lethal to those ranks dressed in red shirts. As Dahl unfolds this mystery, he finds that luck plays a part and that an officer that has managed to hide himself in the ship’s innards for years may know enough to solve this mystery.
Oh, and there is a box. Whenever one of the senior officers give the science teams some unsolvable conundrum, they feed it into The Box and let it be for a few hours. Sooner or later it spits out some answer and the mission goes on.
This parody on Star Trek was such a delight to listen to. Joking within the lower ranks intersperses the action scenes, and a dash of more serious emotional content is thrown in for roundness. Of course the answer to their conundrum was quite amusing; I won’t spoil it for you but it made total sense and even if you saw it coming it was still worth a chuckle once it was said out loud. The ending was a bit rushed and I think I could have used another chapter or two in order to keep the same pacing and to allow for the same amount of humor. But taken all together, a very enjoyable, humorous read.
The Narration: Wil Wheaton was a lot of fun to listen to and he was a great narrator. He had various voices for the main characters that were distinct. Additionally, his voice was challenged a few times by alien expletives or salutations. He met those challenges quite well.
Yes! One of the best epic SF books I have read in a long time.
Dune + Firefly = Leviathan Wakes
The Narration: Jefferson Mays was a good fit for this book. He was the perfect fit for Holden. I don’t think I can imagine another voice for him after hearing this performance. One little niggling thing: the title was off by a single letter – Leviathan Awakes instead of the correct Leviathan Wakes and I heard it at the start of each downloaded section, so it stuck with me. I am guessing the narrator was handed the typo and Audible/publisher either didn’t catch it or didn’t think it worth the money to record it correctly.
It made me blather on to anyone who would listen to me. I lent my papercopy out to friends and made my spouse listen to the audio.
Holden and crew mine ice on the rings of Saturn and transport it to the Belt. During one of their runs, they find a derelict ship, with a secret, that puts them smack in the middle of a political conundrum. Meanwhile, down and out Detective Miller has been hired by rich parents to find their daughter Julie. Still having a few wits about him and haunted by the image of Julie he tracks her to the derelict ship Holden & crew found.And then it got real. Yeah. the book starts with this sweeping, fantastic colonized solar system with interesting people and complicated politics. But then the fates throw in something unforeseen and it just takes this book to the next level. This was one of my favorite books of the year and it is because of what happens in the second half of the book.i also enjoyed the few nods to other science fiction greats, like a few lines about fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune and a reference to voices in the whirlwind (Walter Jon Williams). Not only that, but sometimes the dynamics and the back and forth dialogue between Holden and his crew were reminiscent of Firefly. While none of these things were so prominent to make me say, ‘oh, try this because it is just like…..’, there were these little hat tips or chin nods to other works and I loved that. Now I wonder if I missed some…. Perhaps this will turn into an annual read.If I have any criticism with this book, it is that there were few female characters. Julie and Naomi (from Holden’s crew) appear more than 2-5 times but are still secondary characters. There are a handful of other ladies that make brief appearances (by turns they are competent and /or ruthless).Now that I got that out of the way, I can continue to gush about this book. I read a lot of epic fantasy because I love the detailed character development, the depth of world building, and the intricate plots. So take those three elements and squish them together with a space opera and you get the magnificence that is Leviathan Wakes. Yeah, it’s that damn good.
The character Marty Singer. He was so easy to connect with.
The pacing was great, with quieter scenes in between the action. Also, there is a pet cat that has no loyalty to Marty (the book is true to life).
Lloyd Sherr was an excellent pick for this book. He owned the role and I can’t imagine another voice for Marty. He also had distinctive voices for the other characters, including the ladies.
This book was a distraction. Don’t tell my man, but dinner was late a few nights because I wanted to listen to this book instead of making a glorious meal (and I do enjoy cooking). Yeah. I liked it that much. Quite frankly, I got attached to Marty Singer. His character made the book for me. He’s got a cat, is a history buff, bit of a wise ass, and has a soft spot for people being stalked by killers. I wanted Marty to kick his cancer in the ass, catch the killer/stalker, and save the day. And he does, but the path is full of twists and turns. Marty had to be nimble to catch his man.
Amanda, a 20-something year old with one degree and working on a second while interning at the university, was the maiden in distress. As Marty was my favorite character, Amanda was my least. I really only have one criticism about this book, and it is how Amanda is portrayed. She lost her mother to a shooting as a kid, grew up in foster care, got a degree, has a job, and is working on a second degree. So why is she portrayed as a 16 year old kid half the time in the book? Other than being the object of desire for the stalker, she doesn’t really bring anything to the story.
OK, enough on that. Enter Julie, the defense attorney who got the cop involved in the shooting of Brenda Lane off. Yeah. Now that the stalker/killer is back and leaving little flowers for Amanda, Marty starts digging through Brenda’s case. Alas, much of the files from the 1990s have been lost or somehow destroyed. So Marty goes to Julie, to see if she has any information on the cop and is willing to share. I really liked Julie’s character because she starts off so very prickly, but then softens, decides to help out, and as a friendship forms between Marty and Julie and Amanda, we learn some of the reasons Julie seems so bitter. She had depth and I liked how that depth was explored.
The pacing was excellent, with plenty of suspense intermixed with reflection, piecing the clues together, and a bit of action. The ending had a few twists I was not expecting (excellent, as I don’t like to guess the ending every book). And the ending also left me hoping Marty’s battle with cancer goes well. Which of course makes we want to read the next in the series.
The variety in the stories. Halfway through, you didn't feel like the next story was just a rehash of one you had already heard.
As this is a short story collection, hard to choose. My top 3 short stories were Adventurers Beware, Charlie Horse, and Lieutenant Armchair. The first - a new twist on the D&D adventure motif, the second - zombies for green energy!, and the third - nitty gritty and there were big, big bugs.
Again, hard to choose just one. I liked the ending to Raw and Reel quite a bit. Also Adam on his moon taking his picture. Then Kelley saved by gender bias. Oh,and of course so many bits from the first 5 chapters of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain.
Twisted humor for the twisted soul.
This short story collection is full of werewolves, zombies, Greek idols, giant bugs, and the first kid born on the moon. With plenty of twisted humor. Oh yes. If the average puns and jokes that populate SFF literature merely get a weak grin out of you, then perhaps you need some deeper, darker humor? It can be found here. This collection contains 11 or 12 short stories plus the first 5 chapters of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain and the first few chapters of Prime Suspects. So it’s a great way to see if this author is for you. And it is thoroughly entertaining.
While I won’t go through each and every short story, I will share my thoughts on my favorites.
Raw and Reel – David is a TV producer, and he is filming a questionable show in Mexico. It’s a werewolf hunt. Yeah, werewolves turn up here and there and as long as they cage themselves during the full moon and don’t make a ruckus, no one much cares. But once one goes wild and crazy, then they have to be put down. Well, this particular werewolf may or may not have done the deed, but it looks like he will have to pay the price. And what of David and his sleazy soul? Well, there’s a surprise waiting for him. I liked the twisted nature of this tale from start to finish.
My Son, The Monster – Daedalus and his son Icarus have been imprisoned by Minos. Daedalus is quite the inventor and manages to fashion a way to escape. As the narrative moves forward through the escape scenes, we also get small flashes of Icarus’s past, and it is not pretty. I liked this story for it’s new spin on an old, old tale. The ending was bitter and just.
Charlie Horse – Oh my! Now this was such an excellent story. I am hard pressed to say which is my favorite of the lot, but this might be it. I am not much of zombie person, but this was awesome. Ted and his band, including the new kid Chuck, round up zombies. Yep. They have a few runners to entice the zombies out and get them to congregate in one location, and a nice big tank or caravan or such for holding them while they are transported to market. Most are sold to the zombie-powered turbines, generating green energy. A good zombie can walk in a circle for a few years before giving out, all the time pushing on a spinner connected to a turbine. Nice. I actually laughed out loud at the idea, thoroughly liking the take on zombies as something useful. Of course the stronger and faster ones can end up doing other things, like at the race tracks…….I’ll just let your twisted little minds chew on that.
Reality Bites – Life insurance and vampires. You’ve been declared legally dead, zero heartbeat for the past week, but you can’t claim your life insurance benefits because you’re still ambulatory. Nor can you claim any government paycheck or social security. Sucks. Literally, for you are a vampire. well, Mr. Merril is anyway. As he tries first logic, then pleading, and finally the vampire thrall seduction stare on Fundamental Insurance worker Cheryl, his sad little tale unfolds. But Cheryl is an old hand at the insurance company, and has a few surprises of her own. Yep, it’s a messed up situation captured here for my amusement.
Adventurers Beware – This is one of the stories that vies for my favorite of the litter. You’ve got your adventurers, Lord Byron, Lady Anise, Ragnor, and Nimblefingers. They adventure, whether the locals need some adventurers to swoop in and save them or not. Duncan runs the inn and he and the senior business women and men gather about. How to get rid of Lord Byron and his crew? Mulling it over a nice local beer, they come up with a plan. Adventurers love maps. Listening to this story made me think of my man’s D&D games, and of course the numerous hours I’ve logged playing one dungeon crawl PC game or another. very funny.
The View From My Room - Adam was the first person born on the moon. His parents emigrated there perhaps 20 years ago and now Adam is a teen. He is prepping for his first trip the Earth to see his grandparents in person. Wearing a weighted full-body suit daily for several hours to build his muscles and bone density, he contemplates what it will be like to leave the moon. A crowd on the sparsely populated moon is perhaps 20 people. On Earth, the crowds will be unlike anything he has ever experienced. This was probably the only story in the lot that didn’t ride on twisted or dark humor. It was simply cute watching this teenager prep for his first big trip.
Lieutenant Armchair – So here is the 3rd of my favorites. It’s nitty gritty and dark. Some biological agent escaped the labs a few years back and now Kansas is no more. Large, aggressive bugs (just one result of the agent) cause grief and consternation as they spread and make places uninhabitable to humans. Along the TX-OK border, Chris Gibson and his band of merry bug whackers have been sent out to take out a bee hive. But it’s dirty, dangerous business and their armchair lieutenant, who is safely tucked away back at headquarters, is barking orders that make no sense and may get one of them killed. Later, back at base, Gibson gets to unwind with a beer and gives his shoulder to teary Kelly, who had a bad day. There’s a lovely twist to this story, but I don’t want to ruin it.
This book also includes the first 5 chapters of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, and it works quite well as a short story, or short novella. Mechani-Cal (Cal, for short) is a guy who has been screwed over one too many times. And now is looks like the world will be screwed over by mind-controlling bugs. Luckily, he has been able to lock himself up in his battlesuit and avoid being taken over. Unfortunately, it looks like the superheroes known as the the Olympians have been brainwashed. Battling a few of them, he manages to stun Aphrodite (aka Stacey), whose bug falls off. taking her back to his secret lair, she threatens all sorts of death and anatomical contortions upon him if he doesn’t release her. She needs her bug; it’s an addiction. And it goes from there. And it is pretty cool. Cal has issues, Stacey has issues. But somehow, someway (twisted and full of U-turns) they find a way to work together. I definitely need to read the full-length version.
The Narration: Jeffrey Kafer was once again an excellent narrator. I loved variety of voices he pulled off, from young Adam to battle-scarred Gibson. He even had a variety of female voices for this collection that were believable and not strained. Perfect pick for this book.
James Raven: Perhaps, if he has something that is not so predictable, without the heavy foreshadowing.
Peter Baker: Probably, especially if the lead character is male as his voice is better suited to the masculine voices.
This was my first James Raven book.
I believe this is my first Peter Baker book.
It works fine as a stand alone, but a follow up would explain some things. From Kyron's alien guardian, I had the impression something bigger was looming on the horizon, so I would like that explained.
This space opera is very fast-paced, definitely action driven. With the ease of plot and readily identifiable bad guys, this story felt like an old friend. While predictable, it was easy to fall into and simply enjoy the tale. Kyron is an honorable man, a hard worker, a considerate fellow so of course I wanted things to turn out well for him.
Of course, the other side of the coin is that there wasn’t really anything that wowed me. You can spot all the good guys because they are polite, well spoken, physically fit, and usually blonde or redheads. You can spot all the bad guys because they are rude, uncouth, smell funny, look funny, and are usually bearded and dark haired. Additionally, with the exception of a very minor character that has a tiny part, all the women are mothers or lovers. They have no real role in the story. While Torri, the main love interest, is a ‘brilliant engineer’ we are never shown her brilliance in her chosen field; however, she does look smashing in her lab coat. Yep, the women’s main job in the book is to look great and provide a bit of compassion on cue.
I found this book great for multi-tasking as I didn’t have to give it too much of my mind to follow the storyline. So if you are looking for an audiobook to play while taking on some heavy house chore or cleaning out the garage, this is a good one as it is easy to slip back into the story line after a minor interruption.
The Narration: Peter Baker did a decent job. He had a feminine voice that was used for the few ladies and a handful of male voices and accents used for the guys. I did occasionally have trouble distinguishing the voice for Kyron from some of the other men when there was back-to-back conversation going on. Baker did give a steady pacing and included excitement or worry as the story needed.
Finally meeting Sabetha.
The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron for it's thievery and light-heated side; Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy for it's larger series arcs and duo of goodness.
Chains, hands down.
Yes, but that was impossible. One does need bathroom breaks.
Scott Lynch gave us plenty more on Locke’s background with the flashback scenes and Jean got some extra ‘training’ in Espara that was fun to hear about. I have to say the biggest plus to this book was to finally meet Sabetha and I was very pleased with who she turned out to be. She completed the big picture of the Bastards. Between the two timelines (play in Espara & election in Karthain), there was plenty of pranks, egotistical attitudes, and even some deadly danger. The readers also get more info about the Bondsmagi and the Eldren, two elements I have been greatly curious about since Book 1, The Lies of Locke Lamora.
When I review a book, I compare the book to what else the author has written (and I have read) and other books in the same genre. Was this my favorite Lynch book? No. I felt the first two books in the series had a tighter plot, that every element of the story was relevant to the plot. Also, this book left me with many, many questions, and not just about the big arc of the series, but also about story arc contained within covers of Book 3. Finally, there was a big, BIG reveal that could alter how much I like or dislike the series from here on out. I will have to wait til Book 4 to see how things play out……But, with all that said, when I compare this book to other Epic Fantasy or Thievery books, it is still one of my favorites.
It was great to get to spend some more time with Calo, Galdo, and Chains via the flashbacks. I definitely have an expanded list of people/societies that Locke & Jean need to take down. Plus, there is some new mystery surrounding the Bondsmagi for Lynch to explore in future volumes.
The Narration: Michael Page rocks! I decided I needed to reread the first 2 books before diving into this one, and I did that through the audiobooks. Michael delivered for all three, providing great voices, and never hesitating (or breaking into giggles) over the outrageous swearing.
While I have not read the print, I would say yes because the narrator, Jeffrey Kafer, did such an excellent job.
Blade Runner by PK Dikc, Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, Nightside series by Simon Green.
His sarcasm and how he pulled off the smart-ass jokes.
When you suspect yourself, break out another duplicate to find the culprit.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. In a world where clones are dispensable and are little more than slave labor, David 42 must muddle his way through with less than cutting edge tech. He’s a copy of a younger, still idealistic David Prime, and hence doesn’t have some of the moral flexibility as some of his other ‘brothers’, such as the partyer, the drug addict, or even the religious commune dweller. For every clone working, the Prime gets a piece of their paycheck, allowing him or her to live in luxury. The clones live and mostly work in this section of the city, in low-rent crappy housing and eating at cheap, vomit-inducing diners. The Primes live and play in Prime City, serviced by mask-wearing clones (makes it easier to ID them as ‘servants’). Most clones have to take on second jobs to have the money to upgrade their living arrangements, such as working as a mall cop. Yes, the quality of life for clones is not all that for the vast majority of them.
A great mix of humor, nitty-gritty, and tough cop makes this an exciting mystery adventure. David Bagini was once one of the best detectives in the galaxy. Not only does 42 have to go up against swamp thugs, a therapist, bureaucracy, and a steep learning curve, he also has to be far more clever than all the other Bagini clones; they all know the tricks of the trade – how to catch a murderer, but also how to avoid being caught.
Since clones are dispensable, they tend to have lots of casual sex. With that statement, you might think there was plenty of that in the book. Nope. Well, not in detail. The orgies are referenced just often enough for the reader to understand that is not what David 42 is looking for. Sadly, he is stuck in a society where casual sex is the norm and long-term, in depth relationships is a deviation. Not like the guy needs that added frustration to his already full agenda of catch the murderer(s) of David Prime and quickly before Those On High decide to scrub the entire Bagini line. Every. Last. Bagini. Clone. Yeah, gone for ever.
While the pacing of this adventure was pretty quick. David 42 was a multi-tasker, such as interviewing a potential suspect while taking the time to learn the latest police-issue firearm at the range. I really liked that 42 didn’t simply wake up and know everything; he had to learn, and learn quickly, as he went. The guns, the hoppers (flying vehicles), the scroll (kind of like a PDA but much, much cooler), and even all the things clones do to individualize themselves. There’s tatts, piercings, constantly changing hair colors, etc. David 42 had a whole culture to learn.
Of course, 42 is a nod to Douglas Adams and there are some jokes through the book that fans of Adams will get. Towel!
All that goodness in less that 5 hours of reading time. My one minor criticism, and it is small, is that I would have liked to see a few more female cops. The novel has female lovers, waitresses, therapists, and finally, 1 female cop. Most of the ladies had well rounded characters and individual traits and the main character did not treat them as sex objects. Yet, it is far future SF and do like to think that certain jobs will balance out in the future – like lady cops and house husbands. Still, minor negative comment on an otherwise very worthy novel.
The Narration: Jeffrey Kafer was a treat to listen to, pulling off the sarcasm, the asshole remarks, the tough cop that is secretly lost and trying to bluff his way through this freaking mess. Yeah, Kafer delivered.
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