This was the first book I ever listened to on Audible, and I still recall the magic of the experience, how I was longing to discover more even before it was over, and looking back on it all, I couldn't have picked a more perfect book to start than this. Mr. Sawyer does a wonderful job of combining cutting edge science, likeable and believable characters, and even crafts and alternate world that's totally alien, yet still relatable and easy to comprehend. I also loved the vivid descriptions of Canada (both from our world, and the alternate world of the Neanderthals), that almost made it feel like I was there with the characters, though I suppose Sawyer had an advantage as a native (and proud) Canadian. I loved how Sawyer introduces the book, and gives it the quality of being like an old friend when you've read all the books (like I have), and Jonathan Davis did a superb job narrating. For me, this was the start of a wonderful experience that still continues to this day, I only hope this book will do the same for my fellow listeners.
I bought this book to listen to for a World History class dealing with the 19th and 20th centuries. All too often World History tends to focus on the West at the expense of non-western cultures; Africa being most notable amount those. With this in mind I was more than happy for this breath of fresh air.
This book provides a great view of life in Nigeria both before and during the British colonization. Mr. Achebe shows Nigeria as it was, with both the good and bad aspects. You get a sense of what it was like not only for those whose lives we're impacted negatively by colonization, but also those given opportunity by the British (as you'll see in the book, while not exactly positive by any stretch of the imagination, the process of colonization wasn't quite so black and white).
The narrator did an excellent job; it was like I was sitting around a fire in Nigeria hearing stories told by one of the village elders of days long ago.
If you're looking to learn more about an all too often ignored part if World History, or more about African History in general, this is a great place to start. Also a great place for those interested in non-western authors, especially African Writers.
I'll start off by saying that this is by no means a necessarily bad novel, but nor the great novel so many claim it to be.
I went I to this expecting an epic quest for treasure, but quite frankly it was more like reading about a group of Boy Scouts on a camping trip! No seriously, Gandalf would be the scout master, and Bilbo would be the whinny scout who needs to grow a pair. Tolkien's writing tended to meander and good off on tangents, and many a time I wondered when the hell we were getting to the point.
Frankly, I think that "it was a fine and blustery day in the hundred acre Shire" might have been a more appropriate begging. I was half expecting Pooh and Tigger to jump out at any given point. I'm beginning to understand what Michael Moorecock has against Tolkien.
Tolkien clearly didn't think to highly of his readers, I could practically feel the talking down to; in fact many a sentence felt much like this: "Bilbo was in danger. Can you say danger? Very good!" And what of the narrator? Why, he was absolutely perfect for this novel, which actually counts against it as that only served to highly Tolkien's lackluster writing.
Well, clearly Mr. Tolkien was wise not to quit his day job, but what of the story itself. On the whole I'd say it was nothing special, but nothing average either. I know this is the grandfather of many modern fantasy novels, but even taking that into account I still can't see how this is possibly so highly regard and widely praised. It even boggled the mind to think so e of the knock off are worse than this, but to be fair, like I said, this is just an average/ mediocre novel.
I'm inclined to be done of Tolkien, but to be fair I might give The Fellowship of the Ring a try just to see if Tolkien improved. However, judging from the bits I've seen, it's nothing but a pile of Epic Pooh.
I first learn of Allen Quartermain and his adventures in Africa via the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comic, not the movie). This was every bit the adventure I'd been promised!
You really get a sense of just how exciting it was back in the Victorian era with all of the lost civilizations being discovered and adventures braving the thickest of jungles. The was never a dull moment and all with something new to discover, with that posh Victorian flare I've come to adore.
Obviously, Quartermain is the quintessential Great White Hunter, so their was a bit of big game hunting along the way; thankfully it was mostly brief and did serve to flavor the story. As for the African characters, they were present surprisingly tastefully written given time when the novel was written. Quartermain even comment that some Africans are more respectable than Europeans he has known, and never once uses derogator terms to describe them. The rest of Quartermain's party were also great characters as well. And it had a happy ending and it all worked (mostly) well for everyone.
All in all one of the best Victorian novels I've read in a while. Discover this gem for yourself!
Although set at a boarding high school this reminded me of my first year of college so very much. From sneaking out late to drink to having to come to terms with personal tragedy. I suppose that just shows what a talent Mr. Green has for understanding youths and their experiences. Here is a novel that is at once entertaining, funny, sad, moving, and just about everything short of the kitchen sink (and maybe even that too).
Jeff Woodman did a topnotch job with the narration, and had just the right kind of voice for the book. I loved all of the characters; Miles the everyman, Alaska the Geniki Girl (what? I'm an anime fan!), the Colonial the...well, the Colonial. Even the Eagle reminded me of my own prefect of discipline from my own high school. And of course, gotta love the Romanian girl and Japanese fox hat guy.
The novel treated it's audience as intelligent and Mr. Green included plenty of smart references for those who can identify them. If I had to find one issue it would have to be that towards the end of the novel Green's, um, spiritual (though not religious) views did get tossed around like a flying anvil. However, this was his first novel and I'm willing to cut him some slack. And what a novel it is.
All in all a great book that I can't do nearly enough justice with this review. Listen today, you'll be glad you did!
I didn't really know much about Tom Corbett before listening to this, but I'm a fan now! It's a real throw back to the Golden Age of Science Fiction complete with roaring rocketships, laser pistols, colonies throughout the solar system, and square-jawed heroes defending the Solar System from threats in outer space. However, like all good adaptations, these tropes are given a 21st century makeover while still retaining the fun of times on by.
All of the voice actors did an excellent jobs performing the story, and a round of applause for the sound engineers and their work on the special effect sounds. This was actually adapted from a series of comics by Bluewater, which is good not only because it lead me to this but...well, let's face it, what where the artist thinking on those comics?!
Maybe it could have been longer, I would have liked that, but it was adapting only about three or so issues. At least a sequel, an original Colonial Radio Theater production I might add, has since been released, with hopefully more to come.
All in all a great escape that feels like listening to a Silver Age comic come to life (in a good way). If you're into science fiction or comics, or looking to be introduce to the Colonial Radio Theater, start with this. You'll be glad you did.
Amongst alternate history fans there has always been debate about the role of plausibility in alternate history fiction. I've always been among those who consider a good story to be far more important than a plausible setting. This is books has become my favorite example to support that position.
Although most people group this among those "Nazis win the war" books, it really focuses more on the Japanese end of things, specifically the Japanese occupied western former US. At this point I should point out that, yes, this probably would have been impossible in real life, but most info on WWII was still classified when this book was written (and Dick did have a thing for Japanese culture, not that I blame him). And of course there's rockets and nuclear power everywhere, but hey, it was the 60s.
The novel follows a group of average people, all of whom lead very different lives, and their daily lives in this alternate world. That might not sound exciting, but it does give a great glimpse into the inner workings of this alternate world and I'm a sucker for explorations of new cultures. That isn't to say there's no plot, for there is; Japan and Germany are teetering closer to war everyday, and some of the characters are seeking the author of "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" a novel about an alternate world where Germany and Japan lose the war (but it's not quite our world, as you'll see). Then there's those characters who discover things of great cosmic significance, but if I tell you more I'll spoil some big twists.
I previously reviewed Fatherland by Robert Jordan, and I must say I prefer this novel much more. I find Dick is a much better writer than Jordan, but then he was one of the founders of New Wave Science Fiction. I can certainly say I understand why Dick is so highly regarded now, and Tom Weiner's narration was spot on.
All in all a great book. To those plausibility hounds reading this I implore you to give it a try. You might be surprised.
If you're looking to get into Iain M. Banks' The Culture series this is the place to start. Yes, I know this is technically the second novel in the series, but the novels can be read in any order with the only connection being the shared setting. Also, the "first" novel doesn't so much introduce you to The Culture as toss you at them.
This novels gives us a great introduction to The Culture, an intergalactic utopian society that entertains themselves (amongst other means) by helping less developed civilizations overcome various issues. That doesn't really do the novel much justice at all, let's get more specific!
Our protagonist, Jernau Morat Gurgeh, is a member of The Culture with a knack for games; all sorts of games but especially those with high stakes. When Special Circumstances, the part of the culture responsible for helping lesser civilizations, ask for his help on a mission to a planet where games are a way of life he jumps at the chance. But Gurgeh has no clue what he's just gotten into.
Mr. Banks, who has since passed away, was one of the greatest science fiction, or just general, writers of the late 20th/early 21st century. This language of this novel was smart and witty, which Peter Kenny handled with absolute mastery. Like I said, Banks is quite the word crafter and Kenny is quite the narrator.
Here is a series that redefines what science fiction can be, and a great starting place if you want to get into sci-fi. Colorfully imaginative civilizations, engaging characters and prose, there's a lot to love here.
I think I've found a new series be obsessed with, and strongly encourage you to give it a try too!
I encountered this novel when Audible offered it as a free Thanksgiving gift to listeners, and I do love free gifts. Holidays are a bit stressful at my house and this book provided a much needed escape from all of the craziness.
Yes, there is a lot in common with the movie, but also plenty of differences to discover as well. Ms. Hathaway does a marvelous job bring the story to life (then again she is a professional actress). I found the length and pacing to be just right for the story (perhaps Tolkien could have learned a thing or two from L. Frank Baum about that) and I enjoyed how it treated its target audience as intelligent and never acted condescending.
All in all a great holiday escape. Thank you so much audible, I look forward to more great gifts from you for years to come.
Long consider one of the classics of alternate history, Fatherland had been on my too read list for a while. Ultimately, I have mixed feelings about this one.
Off the bat, I'm not exactly a thriller fan, (the books, not the Michael Jackson song), so perhaps that's why this wasn't quite my cup of tea to begin with. The start is a bit slow and having so many names thrown at me at ones made it a bit difficult to remember who was who and why I should care about them. The narration took a little getting used to, but was ultimately good. However, and perhaps this is just a thing with me, I find British narrators narrating books set elsewhere in Europe ruins the illusion a bit, though I've never encounter the same feelings with American narrators (like I said, it's a thing with me).
The novel really gets chugging when our protagonist, Xavier March, meets American journalist Charlie McGuire; she's investigating the same murder as March that might have connections to the disappearance of Europe's Jews and rumors of extermination camps (surprise: it's true, not really a spoiler).
Once the race against the clock to revival the truth before the arrive of President Joseph P. Kennedy got underway I was hooked despite having see the big reveal coming a mile away. I did like the little subtle details the author added to explain and flavor this alternate world of a successful Third Reich. I especially like the explanation of the caste system and how those on the boarder defend it the hardest; really helped me understand similar situations in the real world such as Apartid South Africa.
All in all I was kind of so-so about this one. It had it's dull points, but also plenty of engaging points. At the end of the day it is what it is. Maybe more of a 3.5 if I'm more honest.
In a world saturated with vampires and fantasy, this novel dared to buck the tends of young adult novels and take readers on a sci-fi adventure that's out of this world (literally and metaphorically, of course). As I sci-fi fan I of course was hooked by this novel's primes from the start, and Ms. Revis certainly does an excellent job world building (even if that world is a spaceship the size of Iwo Jima), and I had no problem visualizing every aspect of life on the ship Godspeed. I though Amy was well written, and reacted realistically the situation she was thrown into, and, thankful, didn't just swoon over the love interest all the time unlike certain other books (I'm looking at you Shadow and Bone; and Twilight!). I could relate to Elder's desire to be different in a world that stresses conformity, and the two narrators did an excellent job of bringing the characters and their world to life. All in all, recommended for sci-fi fans, and even for people who aren't (who knows, this might get you into sci-fi if you give it a shot).
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