This is really bland stuff. There isn't a single distinguishing characteristic to any of the characters in these "stories". I'd heard about this series and thought I'd give it a try. It is nice of audible to provide a three book set, but honestly - how is it that this stuff is so popular? The banter is bone dry and the characters all speak and act as though they stepped out of an episode of Law and Order. Don't bother.
Parmy Olson does an excellent job of wading into the shady world of anon and lulzsec - there are plenty of flaws, however, it is definitely worth the time and far better than I anticipated.
The narrator, Abby Craden, on the other hand, is awful. She finishes every sentence with an affected, snide lilt and she mispronounces words on a regular basis. The worst distraction, however, are the array of dreadful accents she employs to differentiate the characters. It just about ruins the story.
First, it is a reference book, so it is really ill suited to the audio format. Second, and more importantly, the author is a terrible narrator. Generally speaking, authors ought to leave the narration to the professionals. This author/narrator actually mixes in lame impressions (like Yoda - no, seriously) into his performance. I had to turn it off.
Hired a professional narrator, skipped the cutesy examples (it is 2012 - Yoda impressions aren't amusing anymore), thought about the format and how to structure his book in such a way that it would work audiobook.
In every way
Even for a young adult novel, there isn't much here - essentially one very long "Hey, remember that one time when...". Imagine a world where you are are rewarded for your love of trashy popular culture and video games - without so much as a hint of satire or irony. Ready Player One = (((Diamond Age + Charlie and the Chocolate Factory + VH1's I Love the 80's) - humor) - brains). About 70% of the book amounts to little more than detailed descriptions of Pac Man, Blade Runner, Dungeons & Dragons, War Games, Joust, Zork, etc. - no analysis or interpretation, just straight descriptions. The writing is so lazy at times you wonder if the author isn't simply quoting from the back of a video tape or game cartridge. I know the reviews make it look promising, however, unless you are the kind of nerd who wants nothing more than to reminisce about sitting in front of screens, this is a real waste of time.
Then you will probably dig this. If you are looking for your standard "Book 9 in the Adventures of Space Captain Whatever" then skip it. This is what I would call "fatigue lit" - Moody, like the others mentioned, is exhausting and at times waaaaay too clever for his own good. That said, there is far more substance and charming insight to be found here than in, say, William Gibson's last few books combined. Also, the narrator is pitch perfect (including his brief slip around mid way). My advice is to listen to books like this one on double speed - it is too long and exasperating to slog through at standard speed.
Kerr is a wonder - the Bernie Gunther books are in an entirely different league; literate, stylish, historically intriguing. Skip M. Connelly and J.L. Burke - this is the best you will find. I only wish Audible would get around to adding in the "The Quiet Flame" (not to mention all of Jim Thompson's work).
The Bigend trilogy could have been a smarter version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - essentially this is that series if Delillo (circa White Noise) had been at the keyboard. They are both fun and sharp, but what one lacks in sticky insights the other lacks in action, and each (like the reader) suffers a bit. Bigend is a great idea for a character, but there isn't much "there there" - HH's endless soul searching is fatiguing and Milgrim (who ought to be a little more like Bourne, imho) just comes across as muddle minded. All that said, it is filled with good stuff about what would best be characterized as a long rumination on the nerd hive mind. If you are interested in memes, gear/fashion fetish culture and corporate design espionage, this is the only game in town.
I enjoy Palahniuk's work so I should be the target audience for this book. The author has cribbed CP's style but there isn't much else going on here. If you are in the mood to be lectured by another hipster, bad boy savant with substance abuse problems for a few hours, have at it. The book is dull and aimless but the real crime is the pedantic tone which Ray Porter takes every opportunity to underscore with a snide, heavy handed reading. The bulk of the tale is given over to detailed descriptions of how to change your identity; the book might have been salvaged if the protagonist had some original or clever tricks to teach us. If you are looking for something in this vein try CP's Salvation - it is underrated.
Big and challenging and expertly narrated. One of the better books I've downloaded.
I've purchased David's albums and sought out his performances on tv, film and at live venues. I've sympathized with him when he complained that Fox failed to promote Arrested Development and when he complained that Patton Oswalt had unfairly picked on him for taking soulless gigs like Alvin, even as he peddled his relentlessly pedantic anti-corporate point of view. I love and believe everything David does, says...is. No, wait - sorry, not everything. I don't dig it when he sh*ts on his audience, repeatedly, for choosing to listen to, rather than read, his book. Specifically, I despair a bit when a guy who has made his living doing stand up and voice over work in kid flicks like "Kung Fu Panda" and "Alvin and the CGI Money Things" berates his audience for wanting to hear, rather than read, his book. It is an amusing book - some great stuff. What David fails to appreciate, however, (perhaps willfully) is that his delivery brings something unique to his work. Wait, did I say work? Sorry, I meant shtick...or bits. David's bits are so inexorably tied to his delivery, I can't imagine reading his work. Like Sedaris, it loses around, I don't know...half? Let's say half the entertainment value. When Sedaris does his Billy Holiday impression in his story about confronting homosexual bigotry while taking guitar lessons as a teen, the content is elevated by the performance. So too when Cross did his gay black assistant to OJ Simpson bit back on Joe Frank's show (long time ago). Neither would have translated well to the printed page. Hey, did I mention I paid for this audiobook? Yeah, I did. Did I mention that I read more books than the two to which I listen on a monthly basis? I do. Did I mention that many folks listen to books on their commute, trapped in their cars or crammed into subway trains? Have you ever tried to read a hardback on an NYC subway during rush hour? No? Well, try it, I'll wait...Way to lose a fan, jerk.
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