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Charles E. Richardson

bink

bink | Member Since 2008

ratings
119
REVIEWS
13
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
40

  • Cyteen

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman, Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (435)
    Performance
    (386)
    Story
    (394)

    The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives – and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all.

    troy says: "This is a Heavy Book (lovely too)"
    "Great Author, Solid Science Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Cyteen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Cyteen won multiple award when it came out because it explored the future of a humanity that could shape itself and how the limits of the universe, time, and distance would change humanity. It is a great and DEEP novel.

    Having said this, I don't consider it her best work. The book lumbers through detail and the first third of the book has not real main character, until the woman who dies at the beginning starts to grow up. To me Cyteen is not as tightly written as Cherryh's later work. But Cyteen does a good job of exploring the effects of genetics, environmental control, and human evolutional limitations.

    This book is not among my top 10 audio books, though it was an thought provoking book. I am glad I listened to it.

    I love C. J. Cherryh books. I wish they had started with any of her other series like the Chanur and Foreigner series. I love her exploration of human/alien relations.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cyteen?

    When you realize the Hindu religion may have been truly started with control of human genetics and rebuild of a life.


    What about Gabra Zackman and Jonathan Davis ’s performance did you like?

    I liked the use of the male voice in a dry archivist manner. Those passages were a more academic exposure to the books underlying theme. However, the author and original editors should have shortened and tightened these passages. BUT Jonathan's voice acting went well with the material.

    Gabra did better with the women's voices. The main male character sounded too whiney in the voice she gave him. It portrayed him more as a childish whiner than as a troubled "special". But I liked her voice very much and would love to here it in other strong female lead sci fi. I loved her portrayal of the main female older self.


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

    No. It was too slow in the first third and too long at 36 hours.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are not one to explore deep subjects, then avoid this book. If you want to hear thoughts on a very deep subject we are just starting into, this is a good listen, not a great one, but solid.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1058)
    Performance
    (996)
    Story
    (999)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Alexis says: "Fun! Things you might want to know:"
    "Scalzi and Wheaton, what else can I say?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Lock In the most enjoyable?

    Scalzi writing and Wheaton's narration. Scalzi can draw characters that are "3D". They even talk in clichés when the characters SHOULD be using those clichés. I do think we connect with writers and Scalzi is one of mine. His characters can be funny, serious, scared, alien, or human and they are always believable to me. Bastard's got my number.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Scalzi makes all his characters interesting. Even the bad guys are interesting. I can't pick one so Sean and Van, the main character and his partner.


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    Wheaton as a narrator is great at an art that is FAR harder than JUST acting. With a slight change in voice he gives me clear cues who is talking and they are consistent. There are few, if any, times I become aware of him as narrator. The story unfolds in my mind with ease. Females sound female without squeaky voices. Older people sound older without just sounding all one age. Men sound like men. Each character is each character. I have bought every Wheaton book, though I did return on because he was only in one story out of many. Audible has several gem narrators and Wheaton is one of that pantheon and I do think narration is a far harder art than acting.


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

    Yes, though it is 10 hours. The other version is 11, can't wait to find out why. I listened as much as I could at a time and finished it in two day.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a combination of two great artists.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Prototype

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Cassandra Ormand
    • Narrated By Robert Armin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Angelique Hunter works for a cutting edge robotics company programming and designing some of the most lifelike robots in the world. Her latest accomplishment is a robot created in her own image. A perfect replica of herself down to the smallest detail. Her only regret is that her invention is being sold exclusively for personal entertainment. Everything changes the day she discovers her skills have been used to build a killing machine.

    Charles E. Richardson says: "Standard Sci-Fi Thriller, poorly written & voiced"
    "Standard Sci-Fi Thriller, poorly written & voiced"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Prototype?

    First, let me say, I allow for authors learning their trade, so I will not be sarcastic here. This book would gain much from any editing, but someone other than the author. The number of redundant statements is voluminous. The author mistook restating things like "if someone walked in now, it was the end..." She restated this in 6 sentences in a 8 sentence paragraph. In fact redundancy was a redundant theme. I think the writer thought that be restating the obvious she could intensify the feelings she was trying to describe, but instead it was distracting.The overall emotionality played out at a 4th grade level, also. The main character was a long-time job-only geek, whose beauty is without equal. She meets a sensitive, emotionally-connected, handsome multibillionaire. They both fall in love in about, oh, 3 hours book time. A sex scene is included, but it turns out to be formulaic. Every character other than the main character was a cardboard cut out. No depth other that stereotypical males. The main character's best friend was killed but had no more important that a balloon popping because she died just as we learned they were best friends. AND then the main character gets all whiney blaming herself for something she had no idea could happen with it did. In other words, the author wanted a brooding, complex character and had no idea how to get there without just saying, "hey, this is an intense, brooding character who takes everything on herself." Oh, turns out her boyfriend of 24 hours is also an intense, brooding male with a heart of gold.The last issue in the writing was the constant use of clichés. Some clichés can add to the sense that characters are real, however combined with overly formal language, or Yoda Speak, the effect is weakened. Using too many clichés too often gets annoying.As I said, a good, tough editor would help immeasurably.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Cassandra Ormand again?

    Only if it was free and only to see if she has improved her writing. A ten minute free listen on Audible would be enough to check that out. BUT NO, not without that listen. I could not complete the last 2 hours and intend to return it.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Oh, god, yes. First, YOU can NOT emphasize EVERY other WORD. When YOU do EMPHASIZE every OTHER word, THE listerner IS continuously THROWN off THE structure OF the SENTENCE and THE point OF the SENTENCE. This form of reading does not allow for subtle character moves, where the narrator shifts from one character to another with subtle shift of tone and speeds. I had to work hard much of the time to figure out who was saying what in scenes where several characters where involved. The producer of this audio book should be told to listen to some of the better narrators and understand what good readings sound like. Sometimes the changes in character the narrator tried to crate could be hilarious. I had to replay the section after I got over my tendency to laugh. I could hear from time to time that this narrator could be a decent reader, but they need careful guidance from a good producer. The net effect was that I was too aware of the narrator and his quirks and that distracted me from the story.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment, mainly.


    Any additional comments?

    The writer also needs to do some basic research into the sciences. The diabolical, evil mastermind billionaire, which she used in her description, was going to substitute a body for the main character after the main character is thought dead... like DNA or finger prints is not known in the future? A single person's apartment is a wealth of DNA and finger prints. So the diabolical evil genius' plan would fall apart in about 15 minutes. A suspense/crime Sci-Fi writer has to understand all of this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Scrapyard Ship: Scrapyard Ship, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Mark Wayne McGinnis
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    Overall
    (337)
    Performance
    (314)
    Story
    (314)

    Lieutenant Commander Jason Reynolds has had a string of bad luck lately - evident by the uncomfortable house arrest bracelet strapped to his right ankle. Worse yet, he's relegated to his grandfather's old house and rambling scrapyard. To complicate things, the women in his life are pulling from every direction. But it's through a bizarre turn of events that Jason is led to a dried up subterranean aquifer hundreds of feet below ground. Here he discovers an advanced alien spacecraft, one that will propel his life in a new direction.

    Craig says: "Wait! Huh? What?"
    "US Navy SEALs in Space on an Alien Ship"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Scrapyard Ship again? Why?

    Probably not, I think I have heard all the detail and nuance that exists in the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I can't say I learned enough about any character that I have a favorite. The main character the SEAL officer who later becomes a ship commander is annoyingly obtuse sometimes. Other characters don't get as much development as they need. In short he could have added at least 2 hours to shore up the lack of character development. HOWEVER, the characters were believable in most cases and likeable if they weren't acting stupid to bring about a problem too quickly.


    What about L. J. Ganser’s performance did you like?

    He has most of the basics I like. When he is reading his timing seems natural and doesn't see too jerky or so smooth I don't know where the sentences go. He had good character separation, that slight tone change that stands out consistently for a character without too much jarring, with two notable exceptions, the rhino guys and Molly,"the Dad's got to have something to live for" daughter. Both parts he had a good handle on how he wanted to play the character but he overdid the effect. Sometimes he over did them to the point of annoyance. From my point of view a hint of a voice consistent voice change is enough. I am not looking for the different voices of cartoons. But overall I was pleased.


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

    No extreme reactions.


    Any additional comments?

    The author will either mature in his storytelling in that he will give us the background we need to truly relate to the characters, or he will become unreadable. The SEAL officer who is the main character is reacting to a civil medical person from another planet. Okay, interesting, but after a while the relationship hasn't developed or changed and the off-worlder starts to become a whiner and the main character is in waaay too much denial about what is going on. Little things that could have added, when the now ship commander says he is going to meet with his whole staff of mostly aliens, we never learn much about that at all, the main stage setting. We need to know these representatives to finally care if the interplanetary good guys are worth hoping they will survive. Finally, author uses the commander's stupidity several time in both books and it gets old. One more than one occasion the commander Is out acting like a ground pounder instead of captain of the last hope of humanity, oh, like Captain "tear my shirt" Kirk. So he is out in some puzzling situation with a bunch of SEALs with him and they all get so interested in one single thing, none of them notice some evil this way comes, and the team is caught totally off guard. That's not going to happen in a professionally trained unit. Someone will always be monitoring their helmet HUDs, always!

    I wouldn't pay full price, but the $7.95 was fine. I don't mind supporting beginning authors who have the basics to be decent writers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rip-Off!

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By John Scalzi, Jack Campbell, Mike Resnick, and others
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, Scott Brick, Christian Rummel, and others
    Overall
    (431)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
    (392)

    In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.

    carmen says: "not just for sci-fi fans"
    "The SciFi is hit-or-miss, mainly miss"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Rip-Off!? What did you like least?

    The Concept. Most of the authors involved are well known and I like their other books. So they pick a first line of some other novel to base their short piece on. Sounded interesting with an interesting group of authors, and the narrators looked good, too. Only about half of the stories are SciFi. Well, written stories, but uninteresting to me. If I wanted to read about 1920's Chicago or prewar Germany, I would look in period fiction. I am not saying this is bad writing, just not Sci-Fi.


    Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

    I won't be buying any more with this format, but these are great authors, so yes. BTW, the listen button just gave too little information on this book to make a decision.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narration was fine, though it was WIL WHEATON that mislead me. ("WIL WHEATON!" shouted like Sheldon on TBBT.) I love his narration and I probably wouldn't have bought it if his name hadn't been on there with Resnick and several others. WIL WHEATON!


    Any additional comments?

    I am a pretty hard core Sci-Fi reader. So these shorts that had fantasy, period fiction, with a touch of real science fiction just didn't do it for me. I can tell you that most of the writing was good, though I didn't make it all the way through the book. So take my rating stars based on your leanings.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Leviathan Wakes

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James S.A. Corey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    Overall
    (1848)
    Performance
    (1648)
    Story
    (1645)

    James S.A. Corey delivers compelling SF that ranks with the best in the field. In Leviathan Wakes, ice miner Jim Holden is making a haul from the rings of Saturn when he and his crew encounter an abandoned ship, the Scopuli. Uncovering a terrifying secret, Jim bears the weight of impending catastrophe. At the same time, a detective has been hired by well-heeled parents to find a missing girl, and the investigator’s search leads him right to the Scopuli.

    Ethan M. says: "Fun hard SF action with a blue collar bent"
    "Wakes up my interest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Leviathan Wakes?

    The main character didn't just run around acting silly in a very bad situation. He thought. He wasn't perfect, but he thought. He added a crew that you grew to like.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Leviathan Wakes?

    When he decides he has to share the information he has with the rest of the solar system.


    Which character – as performed by Jefferson Mays – was your favorite?

    Jim Holden is the main character. If you don't like him you won't like the book.


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

    No extremes. Just good solid story telling with a great performance to boot


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator has the ability to separate his narration from the characters. He has a sense of timing and import. He does not over act. He does not make me aware of him. I can instantly tell the different characters apart and they don't all sound the same. Twenty year olds sound twenty and forty year olds sound forty.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Centurion

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By John Ringo
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (362)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (186)

    In the second decade of the 21st century, the world is struck by two catastrophes: a new mini-ice age and a plague to dwarf all previous experiences. Rising out of the disaster is the character known to history as "Bandit Six", an American Army officer caught up in the struggle to rebuild the world and prevent the fall of his homeland - despite the best efforts of politicians, both elected and military.

    Lindsay says: "Enjoy the story and forget the politics"
    "Ringo Goes Political"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    First, let me say, I have read about everything Ringo has written and I will try his next book. BUT having said that, if you wanted to read a SciFi and not a treatise on how Red states are better than Blue states, don't bother. It's not really SciFi anyway, but I can get into a decent apocalypse/survival book from time-to-time, but the book doesn't really start until Book 2 / chapter 7, up until then it's Ringo's political rantings.


    What was most disappointing about John Ringo’s story?

    About 60% of it is political ramblings. All media is anti army, except Fox. Red States are gooder and Blue states can't find their own asses. (Of course, he ignores the fact that Blue states economically outperform Red states hands down. But hey, why let reality get into an apocalypse/survival book.)


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Ringo has the ability to bring a soldier's life and risks alive and he does this in a scene where two scout strykers hit a pre-battle rant by a local leader. The whole chapter is classic Ringo and one of the reasons I listened to the whole thing even though I kept flipping forward as he started a rant. I was hoping to find more, and there were more small little bits of writing, but not much.


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

    If they left out his ranting scenes, I could appreciate the main character and the men who followed him.


    Any additional comments?

    I also listened to the whole thing, minus the ranty parts, was the narrator. I am looking for more of his books. I have done this with three other narrators. This would have been a solid one or two if it hadn't been for the narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Where the Ships Die

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By William C. Dietz
    • Narrated By Bill Quinn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Somewhere, deep in the vast blackness of space, a wormhole waits to be found. Dorn Voss needs to find it. But, the stakes are high and he isn’t the only one looking. Natural occurring wormholes are the lone means of intergalactic travel in the universe. Whoever controls them gains riches and power unimaginable. The coordinates of one such wormhole, the Mescalaro Gap, are lost, hidden behind conspiracy and murder. With a prize so great, many a man or alien would do anything to find those coordinates and control the universe.

    Charles E. Richardson says: "8th Grade Writing by an Accomplished Writer"
    "8th Grade Writing by an Accomplished Writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from William C. Dietz and/or Bill Quinn?

    I would try another Dietz book, but no fiction by Quinn ever again.


    What could William C. Dietz have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Dietz's writing in this resembles his other books sometimes, but most times you get the idea that he wrote this when he was in 8th grade. The descriptions of the main characters are stereotyped shells as opposed to his characters in the Legion of the Damned series. It was almost as if this book was written as a satire of his other books or novice author wrote it in Dietz's "style" and they slapped the Dietz name on it.I have read or listened to almost all of William C. Dietz books and I had to stop listening to this on about half way through. I bought this on the strength of his name alone. I wish I had read the Amazon book reviews on the written version first.I am as disappointed as a long term reader can be.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bill Quinn?

    Almost anyone else, but Donald Coren was fine in Dietz's other books. I least I could track the plot and not have to stop and start the player all the time.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It completed my library of Dietz books. I just wish he hadn't wrote it, or if he was going to in any case, had written it with his normal care.It also taught me to read other site's reviews of the written form of the book even if the author is one of your favorites.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoy William C. Dietz, don't buy this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Foreigner: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Daniel Thomas May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (431)
    Performance
    (385)
    Story
    (393)

    The first book in C.J.Cherryh's eponymous series, Foreigner begins an epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft who crash-land on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient alien race. From its beginnings as a human-alien story of first contact, the Foreigner series has become a true science fiction odyssey, following a civilization from the age of steam through early space flight to confrontations with other alien species in distant sectors of space. It is the masterwork of a truly remarkable author.

    Tango says: "A Sci-Fi Neville Chamberlain"
    "The Start of a Great Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Foreigner to be better than the print version?

    Yes, because hearing the narrator pronounce the names of the alien language is helpful. I also find that Cherryh can bog down just a bit in detail in the written word, but for some reason it isn't as distracting in the audio edition. Mind you, this is somewhat necessary during the first book since she is introducing a whole new world with the idea of what a alien-on-alien translation would be like.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Foreigner?

    When Bren realizes he has to split from his humankind in order to protect those same people. Sometimes he gets a bit pedantic or monotonous when Cherryh is getting just a bit lost in detail. This can be distracting. I get the feeling he want to get on to the next bit.


    What aspect of Daniel Thomas May’s performance would you have changed?

    Sometimes he leaves me breathless running through passages, especially near the beginning when we are hearing new Atevi words for the first time.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Shortly after an attempted assassination of Bren, the main human character through out the series, realizes how alone he is and starts to hold on to Banachi and Jago. You can feel the building, well Bren and Cherryh would say NOT, trust-thing.


    Any additional comments?

    You have to listen carefully to the beginning of the book. There is a lot of history that is used later in this book and the following books. If you can keep it all balanced, it is a rich environment with building, believable relationships.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Echo: An Alex Benedict Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jack McDevitt
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    Eccentric Sunset Tuttle spent his life searching in vain for forms of alien life. Thirty years after his death, a stone tablet inscribed with cryptic, indecipherable symbols is found in the possession of Tuttle's onetime lover, and antiquities dealer Alex Benedict is anxious to discover what secret the tablet holds. It could be proof that Tuttle had found what he was looking for.

    Terry says: "Great Story But A Male Narrator?"
    "Good Mystery Novel in the Future"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    FIRST, make sure you don't already have this one with Boehmer as the narrator. Apparently they have decided to confuse us all. They will even let you repurchase this one as if you don't have it. I almost did.

    Second, The whole Chase and Alex figure out a mystery 15000 years if the future thing works well because McDevitt is consistent (Well, Chase seems to be getting whinier, bad Jack.), creates a consistent world we get familiar with and we see changing, and makes an interesting mystery.

    Unlike Firebird, you can read this one mostly as a standalone, though there will be a few references that don't make sense, but otherwise it is just fine standalone. THOUGH I RECOMMEND starting from the first one "Talent for War" The whole series clicks for me, and the first book will tell you if it clicks for you.

    I also like this who academy series also, and I would tell you to start with "The Engines of God" It is set far in the future several thousand years before Benedict.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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