This recording suffers from quite a few "compression artifacts" and suddenly altering volumes that affect the enjoyment of the audio. The reader is quite good and does a great job of conveying the various characters in the story. At the current price this is a great deal however, although not a very high quality recording. It appears as though these shortcomings are a result of the inferior quality of the original recording, and not that of the digital conversion process. For a new fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's erstwhile sleuth, this is a worthy monetary investment.
This book contains some of the most polished Conan stories ever written.. Such a collection of Howard's unadulterated Conan tales has been a long time in coming. For those new to the exploits of Conan this collection is wonderful place to start.
Todd McLaren is equal to the task of conveying the atmosphere of the Hyborian Age with his range of masculine emotions. He has the requisite deep bass and emotive snarl for these characters. His voice for Conan is dead-on perfect.
Long time fans of Conan will especially enjoy three essays by Patrice Louinet that are included at the end of the book. These essays provide an important literary analysis of Howard and his work. Howard is finally getting the credit that fans have long known he deserves.
Having never heard of Seth Andrews before, I was pulled in by his broadcast quality voice and his open, supportive approach to his subject. Too often atheists are abrasive and derisive about believers. Mr. Andrews is respectful, cordial, and has a wonderful voice. His history in radio production comes through in the quality of this work.
Like Mr. Andrews I am not a scientist. This work was extremely accessible to me; it was easy to wrap my head around the logic he presents. While there are certainly arguments to support his thesis, this work is more of a memoir about Andrews' own journey from Christianity to Atheism.
Along the way he also introduces and plugs his own on-line presence. Even this is done respectfully; he does not make the mistake of turning into an advertisement. He lets the reader know that becoming an Atheist is not easy, but there is a community of unbelievers who have been there as well.
What impressed me most about this work is the lack of profanity, and the respect that Andrews gives to Christians; he does not vilify and belittle them. I found that very refreshing.
This work has a vivid tactile feel to it; the humidity, smells, crowds, dampness, dirt, and squalor of the setting gets under your fingernails. My subconscious had an active couple of weeks while I was listening to this work. All of the scenes in the book look like a Thai version of Blade Runner. This work was written to be filmed. Bravo to Mr. Bacigalupi for creating such an imaginative addition to the bio-punk genre.
Narrator Jonathan Davis has a soothing baritone that lends itself well to the intensity of the story. His pronunciation of the few difficult Thai words ("Somdet Chaopraya") sound excellent to my untrained Western ears. There is an incongruity between his Western baritone and the Asiatic characters he is representing, however. Despite this he does a wonderful job of differentiating between the various characters using only the subtle qualities of a trained voice actor. I never had trouble identifying the characters that were speaking.
The plot introduces a consistent world-view based upon limited resources, nationalism, flawed economics, and stone age mysticism. Very heady stuff. His "kinksprings" fascinated me. Just hearing the words "algae bath" makes me sick to my stomach now. The ending was a real pleasure. If you like science fiction then I recommend you give this work a try.
Be sure to read the two previous novels in the John Carter series (A Princess of Mars, and Gods of Mars) before this one. A lack of context for this work will leave you wondering what all the fuss is about. This tale provides an exhilarating conclusion to the cliff hangar ending in Gods of Mars. Exhibiting his creative genius, Edgar Rice Burroughs uses this tale as an expansion of the entire Barsoomian fantasy setting. There is hidden treasure within the books' social commentary about religion and race relations. Impress people at your next literary cocktail party by comparing and contrasting the Therns with any organized religion you care to pick on.
John Bolen narrates this work with both skill and, more importantly, with respect. Subject matter that seems campy and stilted by comparison with modern fiction is delivered professionally. Mr. Bolen performs a subtle Southern accent very well, imparting just the right amount of geography to John Carter. He speaks with a slow cadence that I find reverential, which is perfectly suited to this science fiction classic.
Highly recommended for fans of classic science fiction.
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