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Leysin, Switzerland

  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 280 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014

  • World Made by Hand: The World Made by Hand Novels, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By James Howard Kunstler
    • Narrated By Jim Meskimen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The electricity has flickered out. The automobile age is over. In Union Grove, a little town in upstate New York, the future is nothing like people thought it would be. Life is hard and close to the bone. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president, and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure.

    David says: "A kind of Amish post-apocalypse"
    "Pick a world made by a hand other than Kuntzler's!"

    Interesting concept, poor writing, lots of pompous pontification

    I am open to the concept of a collapsing society, and while I am not convinced that this will happen in the next few decades, it is certainly a possibility. I enjoy this genre of fiction, and I have a great deal of respect for McCarthy's The Road for its masterful, poetic writing and profound themes, for Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl for its handling of a multitude of modern dangers and compelling plot, and for Atwood's Oryx and Crake for its bold premise of humanity re-engineered and also for its fluid writing.

    Kuntsler's World Made by Hand, on the other hand, also contains interesting and important ideas, but these are masked by poor, overly explicit presentation of Kuntzler's world view, and by poor writing, wrought with cliches.

    Example one: "with his bare hands" This is how the book's villain is tagged by Kuntzler. The villain is suspected of strangling his first wife "with his bare hands," and that trite phrase is repeated a few times.

    Example two: This same villain was a motorhead before the collapse, someone who loved snowmobiles, four wheelers, and NASCAR, and who didn't seem at peace without the whir of an engine next to him. OK, I'm a backcountry skiier and whitewater kayaker and I have no great love for snowmobiles or jet skis, but I don't look down on people who do like these things. No, I don't want a snowmobiler polluting the atmosphere of a national park with the roar and exhaust of the engine, but I am prepared to compromise with snowmobilers who also pay taxes and thus support national parks. This villain is two dimensional, a bit like the bad guys cruising around on the oil tanker in Waterworld, and all of us, hillbilly, yuppie, hippie, and entrepreneur are party to the imposition of possibly great social and environmental costs to future generations due to our consumption.

    I respect Kuntzler's efforts, but this is an awkward hybrid between an essay and a novel.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Sand: Omnibus Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Karen Chilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    We live across the thousand dunes with grit in our teeth and sand in our homes. No one will come for us. No one will save us. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. No one is looking down on us. Those constellations in the night sky? Those are the backs of gods we see.

    Joy says: "Almost a 5 star"
    "Sand is still stuck in my ears"
    Any additional comments?

    Avoid Hugh Howey's books like the plague!
    First, the whole concept of a group of scavengers searching for the remnants of our fallen industrialized society is copied from Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker.
    Second, even the opening story of betrayal in the wreckage, is copied from Ship Breaker.
    Third, the writing is very weak, as Howey repeats words in a very non-poetic way, especially the word....I'll let you guess....sand. After reading a few pages of reminders that sand gets stuck in people's teeth and ears and neck I was ready for something a little more interesting. But this is just one example of Howey's poor writing.
    Fourth, this book is no more worthy of the term science than it is of the term fiction. The scientific premise is that the primitive people who have survived the collapse of our world somehow have an amazing technology for swimming around in hundreds of meters of sand. It makes no sense whatsoever. Good science fiction tweaks and bends our world, but it usually does't transmute sand into water.
    Fifth, "omnibus edition" is nothing more than a pretentious way to say that Howey has actually finished the book and is now ready to sell is like most other authors sell their books, namely, once they have finished writing them.
    Avoid Sand and avoid Howey's books! If you want a good near-future dystopian science fiction author, check out Paolo Bacigalupi's work (e.g. The Wind Up Girl, Pump Six), or Margaret Atwood's Orxy and Crake, or, of course, Cormack McCarthy's The Road.

    9 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

    Darwin8u says: "My wife says he's that Cold Desert Writer I love."
    "One of the greatest living writers in English."

    This novel is terrible and beautiful, like all of McCarthy's work. His writing will stand the test of time and, unless the world ends up as it has in this book, he will be remembered and read for generations.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "Excellent plausible sci-fi."

    This is an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciate Bacigalupi's effort to project a world some 100 years (more or less) in the future when humanity faces some of the possible consequences of our current free-market fundamentalist hubris and techno-philia.

    When compared to McCarthy's The Road, the writing only earns a B, but McCarthy sets a high bar, as one of the greatest living wordsmiths of English.

    The combination of how different present-day factors might form a future world is the most compelling that I have ever encountered, and I've also read David Brin's Earth and Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, as well as, dystopian classics, including the grandaddy of this genre: Zamyatin's We as well as Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451. In this area, Bacigalupi is setting the standard for other dystopian authors, including McCarthy, and gets an A+ in my book. :)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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