Being able to listen to a classic staple of Science Fiction that I'd missed previously.
The Giants Series by James P. Hogan. Similar plot structure re: humanity's first contact, although Childhood's End is much more focused on a 'repressive' sort of approach.
Soothing, over-exaggerated, focused
My listening strategy has been primarily on commutes, so all the books I've listened to have been piece-wise.
First, the vocal work. John Hodgman has a wonderfully dry wit to his reading, and it really gives another dimension to the story. By itself, the story is fun and silly and yet makes a cogent point about how ridiculous copyright damages have gotten. With John Hodgman narrating, it becomes a romp through a universe that works surprisingly well as a mirror onto our own struggles.
The characters are fun and witty, and almost have a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy feel to them. The story is good, but there's really only one part that caught me unexpectedly; the rest is pretty standard in terms of plot progression.
Not much else to say, really. This is definitely worth a monthly credit.
Similar to other Stephenson books, this one has multiple parallel storylines. Unlike other Stephenson books, these parallel storylines actually start crossing a lot sooner than expected... or else I'm getting better at predicting when they should cross.
At any rate, Stephenson has worked his world-building magic again in this book, leaving tantalizing hints as to the nature of technology and structure of society without delving too far into the weeds. Most of the characters feel like real people with real motivations, and while several scenes may leave you in a state of confusion as to what exactly happened, it generally feels like that was the effect the author was going for, as context is provided later.
Most of the time.
My largest complaint for this story came at the end. I'm not one for putting spoilers into reviews, so I'll leave it that the last 20 or so minutes of the book left me feeling very unfulfilled. The long wind-up to the finale is wonderful; the finale feels rushed. It's especially bad at the end when (in my interpretation, anyway) he essentially unwinds most of the progress that the book had been leading up to.
Neal Stephenson has only become accessible to me as an author since I joined Audible. So it was with similar trepidation to pulling the listen for Cryptonomicon that I approached Reamde.
If you like the pacing and methods Stephenson used in Cryptonomicon, where multiple threads run parallel to each other for about 2/3rds of the book before all intermingling together for the last third, you'll like this book. The characters all feel very real, the situations and backdrops stick in your head... I can recall most of what happened in this book, and I listened to it several months ago.
No complaints to speak of, just a fun book if you can weather the run-time!
I want to make clear that I had no issue with the book itself, nor with the voice acting. Wil Wheaton has a perfect voice to provide for Scalzi's biting wit. The story itself was well-paced and fun, throwing things together in ways that caused me to chuckle several times at unexpected turns. So... voice acting is top notch, story is top notch... loved it.
My main point of criticism comes from... I suppose, Scalzi's writing style. For most audio books, I've been able to train myself out of hearing a lot of the "he intoned... she stated... he exclaimed" phrases that are necessary in a book without voices, but not necessary when it's being read to you. But this book... There are numerous times that I just about gave up due to the number of conversations that utilize "he said" and "she said".
I didn't realize how much I was missing out on classic Sci-Fi until I listened to Foundation. Scott Brick has an odd voice and pronunciation of certain words, but after an hour I was hooked.
Initially I thought I'd be put off by the independent mini-stories comprising the book, but I've since found that each had a satisfying end that made me yearn to hear more when the next story came up. Definitely going to listen to the sequel now!
Tom Parker is very talented, and this talent shows through as he's reading. From very specific terminology (Tanj and Cziltang Brone come to mind) to the personalities of each character, his vocal work imbues the story with a very memorable feeling.
My only complaint isn't with the narration, but rather with the story. I recognize that Niven was working to give a bleak sense of hopelessness in certain places in the story, and he does this almost too well. I generally enjoy my stories to end positively, and while there's some hint of happiness at the end, overall it feels like it ends on a downer note.
Picking up the book always put me off of diving into this story, as the thickness of the book just made me reflect that I couldn't invest the time necessary to get into it. This made it an excellent choice as my first Audible listen, and I didn't regret it.
William Dufris does an amazing job capturing the voice of the different characters... the needed character reminders of "Randy said" or "Shafto commanded" start to become noticeable, due to the fact that they don't seem to be necessary... at no point was I confused as to who was saying something, due to Mr. Dufris spectacular voicing.
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