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thomas

I work full time in Financial Services, teach part time, listen to music (a lot) and love Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction.

charlotte, NC, United States | Member Since 2012

106
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 96 reviews
  • 97 ratings
  • 191 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
20
FOLLOWERS
15

  • Titan: Gaean Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John Varley
    • Narrated By Allyson Johnson
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (141)

    John Varley's monumental trilogy - Titan, Wizard, and Demon - has achieved cult status, hailed as a modern triumph of the imagination by critics and fans. It begins with humankind's exploration of a massive satellite orbiting Saturn. It culminates in a shocking discovery: the satellite is a giant alien being. Her name is Gaea. Her awesome interior is mind-boggling - because it is a mind. A mind that calls out to explorers...and transforms all who enter.

    Ted says: "A good if dated SciFi Story"
    "Surprisingly Terrific"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Titan rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would put it near the top of my second tier. I thought it was really good and I plan on reading the rest of the series.. I purchased it based on recommendation from an audible listener I follow (Michael) and I agree with his overall assessment. Initially I thought it was a bit juvenile but as the story went on I found myself contextualizing it in the era it was written and found it to be charming and entertaining. Not heavy handed or dark, but well plotted, clever and a lot of fun.

    This is my first reading of Varley and overall II thought it was great. You just have to realize that this is classic, Sci Fi from the 1970's and though I wouldn't cal it dated it is emblematic of that classic period in Sci FI. Good stuff.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sciraco is probably the template for many strong female leads. I grew to like her and she really drives the whole story.


    Have you listened to any of Allyson Johnson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    She was stunning in Hyperion, and she is equally good here. the material is less heavy, almost light hearted and she does a great job.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Read the book instead!!!!!!


    Any additional comments?

    Great production, Good story, well worth the credit. Escapist Sci Fi at its best.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Christopher McDougall
    • Narrated By Nicholas Guy Smith
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, where a band of Resistance fighters in World War II plotted the daring abduction of a German general from the heart of the Nazi occupation.

    Jae says: "A world-changing adventure story"
    "McDougall Does it Again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Natural Born Heroes?

    Many readers will come to this book thinking it a "how to" book, similar to Born to Run and the minimalist running movement. It is not and in some ways this is a better book. My favorite authors have a natural curiosity and share that with readers. McDougall clearly is interested in natural health and an non-commercial approach to fitness and play. This comes across in this book as he weaves stories about WW2, diet, exercise and an approach to life that links us back to the Greek Heroic ideal. The writing is very good, his subjects are well researched and overall I thought this was a stronger book than Born to Run but much different in scope and narrative.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Natural Born Heroes?

    I enjoyed his discussion of triathlon athletes and diet. His introduction of the Maffetone Method and the impact it had on legendary athletes was eye opening. I also enjoyed how he linked Spartan Races and the boom in OCR to natural exercise. This is why I think any amateur athlete will enjoy this book. McDougall's enthusiasm and curiosity is something he is sharing with like minded readers. I found many worthwhile ideas, combined into a historical narrative. Well done.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Probably how the people of the small town in Crete reacted to the ultimatum by the Butcher. Sad, funny and heroic at the same time.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A Band of Misfits Outwits the Nazi's


    Any additional comments?

    I have read other comments stating there are too many ideas in this book and that it rambles. I disagree. McDougall has a perspective and it is well researched within a historical narrative. The ideas presented are woven within this narrative giving the book more complexity than many sports or how to books currently available. In this way this is a more complicated approach but the payoff is greater in terms of information and enjoyment. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ultra Mindset

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Travis Macy, John Hanc
    • Narrated By Brian Hutchinson
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Travis Macy has summited glacial peaks in the French Alps, rappelled into limestone caves in China, and raced through parched deserts in Utah. In 2013 he famously won the Leadman Series, a combination of nearly 300 miles of high-altitude trail running and mountain biking over the course of five epic endurance races. Macy achieved all of these victories without elite professional training or even exceptional strength, speed, or flexibility.

    thomas says: "Great Advice"
    "Great Advice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Ultra Mindset rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I thought it was well done, had a ton of good ideas for the average athlete. This is an easy, short listen but well worth the time.


    What other book might you compare The Ultra Mindset to and why?

    My Life on the Run, Eat to Win, Born to Run were similar in tone. What sets this book apart is that all of the ideas can be used by the amateur. Don't be put off my his ultra credentials if you are a weekend runner. The concepts are adaptable and they work.


    What does Brian Hutchinson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I thought he did a good job. He didn't wound too polished, which lent credibility to the reading. This is not a literature book, its more of a memoir and he did a great job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I never listen in one sitting, but this is a short book and got through it pretty quickly. It was enjoyable.


    Any additional comments?

    There are a lot of running books and most are not very good. Many are just a recap of a freakish athlete and their accomplishments. As an amateur athlete who does Spartan Races and marathons I am looking for inspiration and information I can use to further my humble goals. This book provided that without any fame adulation usually associated with this category. I recommend this book to any amateur athlete who wants to improve their performance and mindset. Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • With Musket and Tomahawk Vol I: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Logusz
    • Narrated By Dennis Johnson
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    With Musket and Tomahawk is a vivid account of the American and British struggles in the sprawling wilderness region of the northeast during the Revolutionary War. Combining strategic, tactical, and personal detail, this book describes how the patriots of the recently organized Northern Army defeated England's massive onslaught of 1777, thereby all but ensuring America's independence.

    Dave says: "Excellent History"
    "Battle Ready"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about With Musket and Tomahawk Vol I? What did you like least?

    I enjoyed the contrast between the American Militia and the British Regiments. These styles had a significant impact on the war's outcome.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The war had as much to do with the formation of America as it did with the formation of Canada. Fascinating.


    Did Dennis Johnson do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I think he did. History books are a different narration style, in my opinion. Though dramatic they don't have the same weight of a dramatized narrative. I though he did a good job.


    Do you think With Musket and Tomahawk Vol I needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes and there is one. It does not get generally good reviews on Audible but intend on purchasing it anyway.


    Any additional comments?

    The thing I liked about the book is that it focused on the battles and the facts. Less so on on the development of character myth making. This allowed the facts of this fascinating portion of American history to shine. Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Fred Anderson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (128)
    Story
    (128)

    Apart from The Last of the Mohicans, most Americans know little of the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years' War, and yet it remains one of the most fascinating periods in our history. In January 2006, PBS will air The War That Made America, a four-part documentary about this epic conflict. Fred Anderson, the award-winning and critically acclaimed historian, has written the official tie-in to this exciting television event.

    Michael says: "A thorough and absorbing history"
    "Solid Overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The War That Made America? What did you like least?

    Not sure I liked anything the least....this was a solid overview of the French/Indian War. Well researched and providing background on the key players.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    This war set the stage for a country on the brink of the revolution. The ending set that up nicely.


    What aspect of Simon Vance’s performance would you have changed?

    There were a ton of French references in this book, he portrayed them well. I thought he did a very good job.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Sure.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to catch up on this era of history. Hard core history buffs might find it too simplistic but it helped me fill in some gaps on my knowledge of the country during this early era. Well worth the effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revelation Space

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1864)
    Performance
    (1353)
    Story
    (1361)

    Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself. With no other resources at his disposal, Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the cyborg crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. But as he closes in on the secret, a killer closes in on him because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason.

    Mauricio says: "A challenge that's worth the investment"
    "Solid Brit Space Opera"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you are a fan of Dan Simmons or Peter Hamilton I think you will like this book. It is similar in terms of complexity, story development, pace and characters. Very well done.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The sweep of the story, its implications at a galactic level are entertaining. Plus Reynolds has a clear foothold in the science behind the ideas, which makes the book a primer on physics and quantum theory. Very well thought out.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    John Lee always does a fantastic job. His work here is solid and true to the material. I have heard some comments that the production doesn't give much room between sections but you get used to it. With a book this length, with this many story lines, I am sure the decision was made that saying "Section 52" would be tedious. I think they made the right choice.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Revelation Space


    Any additional comments?

    Good solid space opera. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rush: America's Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848-1853

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Edward Dolnick
    • Narrated By Bernard Setaro Clark
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    In the spring of 1848, rumors began to spread that gold had been discovered in a remote spot in the Sacramento Valley. A year later, newspaper headlines declared "Gold Fever!" as hundreds of thousands of men and women borrowed money, quit their jobs, and allowed themselves - for the first time ever - to imagine a future of ease and splendor.

    thomas says: "Wow."
    "Wow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Rush again? Why?

    No but it has peaked my interest on other historical books covering the same era.


    What other book might you compare The Rush to and why?

    Astoria, another book in the Audible Library that describes the population of the American Northwest.


    Which character – as performed by Bernard Setaro Clark – was your favorite?

    Hard to say...he had an over the top narration style that I really enjoyed. He gave characters an inflection and style that made me laugh sometimes. I read books for entertainment and Bernard breathed life into characters that would be unbelievable expect for one thing. They all really existed.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "People Were Tougher Than You in the 1800's"


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in American History.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Peter Stark
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (113)

    At a time when the edge of American settlement barely reached beyond the Appalachian Mountains, two visionaries, President Thomas Jefferson and millionaire John Jacob Astor, foresaw that one day the Pacific would dominate world trade as much as the Atlantic did in their day. Just two years after the Lewis and Clark expedition concluded in 1806, Jefferson and Astor turned their sights westward once again. Thus began one of history's dramatic but largely forgotten turning points in the conquest of the North American continent.

    Mel says: "Where Lewis and Clark Left Off"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Astoria?

    I like history books that are told from a narrative perspective. The riveting story of how the richest man in America and one of our most famous presidents teamed to explore and colonize the Northwest was fascinating. Like America itself the story is big and contains the best and the worst of the American experience.


    What other book might you compare Astoria to and why?

    Gold Rush, another Audible title that works well in the same way. Great narrative, terrific historical perspective and solid narration. There is no ideological bent to these stories, the facts are conveyed and conveyed in an entertaining and thought provoking manner.


    What does Michael Kramer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He did a book job. He was a bit understated, but that did not bother me in the least.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Probably not, but that does not diminish the power of the story or my respect for the people who actually lived it.


    Any additional comments?

    An Audible subscription is a great way to fill in science and history information that you may not have paid attention to in school, or needed for your career. I prefer these types of books Great Courses books. This is not a lecture but a narrative that fills in the gaps you may have had about the early 1800's and how America fought for legitimacy. Good stuff, highly recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Dick Couch
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (357)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (311)

    With a postscript describing SEAL efforts in Afghanistan, The Warrior Elite takes you into the toughest, longest, and most relentless military training in the world. What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? What makes talented, intelligent young men volunteer for physical punishment, cold water, and days without sleep?

    Steven says: "Riveting and Relevant"
    "Very Well Done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Warrior Elite the most enjoyable?

    I am an amateur Obstacle Course Athlete and Martial Artist. I recently participated in the Battlefrog Series Obstacle Course Races organized by the Navy Seals. I highly recommend this race series. I purchased this book to get insight into Seal training and to prep for my race mentally. To say that these men are fitter than any pro or amateur athlete I am aware of would be an understatement. This book is a daily diary of the Navy Seal training, and the regiment dwarfs any NFL training camp or fighting routine. If you are interested in understanding what it really takes to being shape, both mentally and physically this book will provide some context. I enjoyed it tremendously.


    What other book might you compare The Warrior Elite to and why?

    Running with the Kenyans, Life on the Run, Inside Seal Team Six.

    Military personnel will enjoy this book and it is accessible to non-military (like myself), who are just interested in how Seal train and become Seals. Eye opening.


    Have you listened to any of Arthur Morey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He did a good job. With this type of material it is possible to sound condescending or fawning in praise. He did neither. He delivered the facts so taht the listening can absorb and understand the materiel in a clear manner.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    What these men endure is very impressive. As a civilian I came away with respect but also some life lessons. Everyone can give their best and dedicate themselves to their goals. This book may not be template for the average athlete but it is very inspirational.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are interested in this material, I highly recommend the Battlefrog Race Series organized by navy Seals. It is a way to interact with these men and gain insight into what we could all be if we applied the navy Seal attitude in our personal lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    Overall
    (1232)
    Performance
    (683)
    Story
    (693)

    In this riveting, accessible work of science, Charles Mann takes us on an enthralling journey of scientific exploration. We learn that the Indian development of modern corn was one of the most complex feats of genetic engineering ever performed. That the Great Plains are a third smaller today than they were in 1700 because the Indians who maintained them by burning died. And that the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact.

    Case says: "Hotly debated new theories, but NOT revisionism"
    "History 101"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to 1491 the most enjoyable?

    Mann is not a historian, as a result this book is accessible for the layman. His journalistic approach to explaining the history of the Americas is understandable and fascinating. His approach is offer a survey of different options on the subject and as a result it is devoid of agenda or revisionism. I enjoyed it immensely.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of 1491?

    The entire book laid waste to fallacies about what I was taught in High School about Indian life prior to English settlement. This is not an idealized view of Indian life, rather a thorough explanation of how people developed on a continent that was free of outside influence for millions of years. Fascinating.


    What about Peter Johnson’s performance did you like?

    He could be a bit dry at times but that could be a result of the material. Since there is not real plot in this book, major portions are multi subject lectures on a topic. Not a criticism but a challenge for a narrator. I thought he did a very good job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I rarely do that, but I did find I was listening to it when I normally would have turned it off. I think this is a good indication that it held my interest and proves how well it was done.


    Any additional comments?

    I prefer these types of book to the Great Course series. I find the book format on history and other foundational subjects is better done using this approach. i recommend this book to anyone interested in supplementing their current knowledge of history. Very well done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Conquistadors

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Michael Wood
    • Narrated By John Telfer
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    Following in the footsteps of the greatest Spanish adventurers, Michael Wood retraces the path of the conquistadors from Amazonia to Lake Titicaca, and from the deserts of North Mexico to the heights of Machu Picchu. As he travels the same routes as Hernán Cortés, Francisco, and Gonzalo Pizarro, Wood describes the dramatic events that accompanied the epic sixteenth-century Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires.

    John says: "Good starter on Conquistadors"
    "Aptly Titled"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Conquistadors again? Why?

    Maybe not again, but it has inspired me to learn more about the Inca's Aztecs and Mesa-American cultures. Fascinating.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    In the later part of the book the author describes the yearlong trek of several ship wrecked Conquistadors that were the archetype of "going native". I found this particularly interesting and provided a lot of insight into the daily lives of native people.


    What does John Telfer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I thought he did a great job, and he added to the story in many ways. His British accent was well suited to the primary material and his Spanish affectations were helpful in distinguishing Incas rules in particular. Well done.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I am not really a movie fan. This book is broken into 3 primary stories, all of which are well known through historical documentation. the author travels to these areas and brings the stories to life through his first person account of the terrain and people he encounters. I have a novice interest in anthropology and this provided a great introduction and overview into this subject.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is not revisionist history, nor does it attempt to rationalize European colonialism. It is a fair account of a difficult period in world history, but one that had some level of inevitability. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding more about how the Americas were formed. Very well done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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