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Amy

Tyler, TX, United States | Member Since 2011

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 42 ratings
  • 172 titles in library
  • 46 purchased in 2014
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  • Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Frederik Pohl
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (161)
    Story
    (161)

    Frederik Pohl was on a streak when this Hugo Award-finalist novel was published in 1980. Now back in print after an absence of nearly a decade, this unique science fiction novel is as fresh and entertaining as ever. The story begins when the hero of Gateway finances an expedition to a distant alien spaceship that may end famine forever. On the ship, the explorers find a human boy, and evidence that reveals a powerful alien civilization is thriving on a transport ship headed right for Earth....

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "SHE SURPRIZES ME MOST WHEN I LEAST EXPECT IT"
    "Everyone was right. The first book was better."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So, first off, Oliver Wyman does a fine job with all the characters save two. The teenage boy, Wan, is said in the text to have a high, annoying voice, and when Wyman doe this, he sounds *exactly* like Dean from the Venture Brothers. The 'Oldest One' robot is apparently imagined here as having a deep, sepulchral voice, but the best Oliver can manage is sleepy-sounding. Otherwise, the performance is fine.

    The story is utterly disappointing, and more than a little confusing. Where did the sleep guns come from? Why did we spend so much time on the 'squint' character, if she didn't turn out to be the 'Oldest One' after all? Did Peter go into the dream couch as he was dying on purpose? Why? Why did Henrietta happen to spout a critical plot point that no one knew was important at the time when they talked to her? What was the 'Oldest One's' big plan anyway? If the Heechee took some proto-human hominids from Africa a few million years ago and put them on Heechee heaven and subjected them to an intelligence-seeking breeding program, why are they so far behind naturally-evolved humans in the book? Why is it obvious to every reader that the old ones are human ancestors, but no one in the book realizes that for chapters and chapters?

    In the end, it's a big mess that ends with an un-dramatic thud as the only villain is killed with one lucky shot and everyone goes back home. Then follows almost an hour of exposition by the most-boring-est character as he drones on explaining everything the author didn't bother to include in the actual plot and setting it up for a sequel in a completely desultory way. No thanks.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cat's Cradle

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Tony Roberts
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (737)
    Performance
    (429)
    Story
    (434)

    Cat's Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut's satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet's ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist; a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer; and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat's Cradle is one of this century's most important works...and Vonnegut at his very best.

    Robert says: "KV at his best."
    "Good stuff."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another great classic Vonnegut. Not as strong as 'Breakfast' but plenty good. A few of the vignettes are really striking, particularly the lady Hoosier. I'll remember that one always.

    The narration is fine, in a classic style that suits the books very well.

    At several points in the book, for some reason, the producer chose to include a musical break of bouncy, weird, pseudo-tropical music...it's bizarre beyond description and really inappropriate, and for that reason I think Vonnegut would have approved completely. So roll with it. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gateway

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Frederik Pohl
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Robert J. Sawyer
    Overall
    (837)
    Performance
    (619)
    Story
    (627)

    When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is...in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!

    Ryan says: "A human-focused SF classic"
    "Fun story, good narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is told in flashback during psychotherapy of the protagonist. It includes a few hours of banter between the patient and the AI therapist program to flesh out that aspect of the story. I found this to be a unique and unexpected way to move a narrative along, and I enjoyed it. Pohl does a fine job. It's not the best Sci-Fi book ever, but in a world of horrible ones it is a solid, enjoyable entry, with a memorable main character.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The New Space Opera 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Gardner Dozois (editor), Jonathan Strahan (editor)
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner, Bahni Turpin, Caroline Shaffer, and others
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Following the success of their Locus Award – winning anthology The New Space Opera, editors Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan up the ante with The New Space Opera 2, in which more of the most beloved names in science fiction spin stunning tales of interstellar adventure and wonder.

    John says: "Overall, Meh"
    "Solid stories, some sketchy performances."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know that not every book can justify a top-level, expensive narrator...but someone should have been listening to these performances and making corrections. Sci-Fi is often about technical terms and spacey-sounding names. When the narrators don't have a clue it's embarrassing and off-putting. If you don't recognize a word, people, ask. If it doesn't appear to be English, it probably isn't. At least strive to pronounce the *title* correctly. Sheesh. Short words in all caps are often acronyms. EVA isn't a woman's name in a space story. Try, really try, to determine which character is saying which line of dialogue before applying one of your oh-so-crafty character voices to them. Please.

    Anyway...this is a book of solid, enjoyable sci-fi stories, most of which are narrated well, and a few of which are narrated so horribly that they are all I remember from the experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Welcome to the Monkey House

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By David Strathairn, Maria Tucci, Bill Irwin, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (318)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (123)

    Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut's shorter works. Originally printed in publications as diverse as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Atlantic Monthly, what these superb stories share is Vonnegut's audacious sense of humor and extraordinary range of creative vision.

    Michael says: "Classic Vonnegut"
    "Thought provoking."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Vonnegut, I think, is required reading to understand the 20th century. These are accessible short stories. For the thoughtful reader, they will engender deep thoughts on morality and the value of patriotism. I don't always agree with Vonnegut, but I always enjoy him.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11352)
    Performance
    (10581)
    Story
    (10589)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "Awesome."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think the best plots come from simple questions you can discern from reading the book. Like 'Spin' obviously came from asking 'What if all the stars went out?' A great novel resulted.

    This one obviously came from asking 'What if all the useless cultural crap we carry around in our heads was the most important information we could have?' A fantastic novel has resulted.

    The performance is almost perfect, except for some cringe-worthy mis-pronunciations. Is it REALLY that hard to have someone outside the booth to listen for that?

    An easy 5 stars for me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9536)
    Performance
    (9069)
    Story
    (9085)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Very good."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A bit monotonous...but that's the point of being marooned on Mars, right? A nice, fresh take on narration too. I liked it a lot. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Leviathan Wakes

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James S.A. Corey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    Overall
    (1910)
    Performance
    (1700)
    Story
    (1699)

    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"
    "Yes!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's so hard to find a really good Space Opera. This is one. A really cracking good one. No, it's not absolutely perfect, but it's close. Good characters with human flaws. Good challenge. Good action.

    Also a stellar performance for an American audience.

    If, like me, you are looking for Space Operas that aren't boring slogs, try this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Second Ship: The Rho Agenda, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Richard Phillips
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1524)
    Performance
    (1378)
    Story
    (1397)

    In 1948, an alien starship crash-landed in the New Mexico desert and brought with it the key to mankind’s future. Code-named the Rho Project, the landing was shrouded in secrecy, and only the highest-ranking US government and military personnel knew it existed. Until now....

    Mike From Mesa says: "Terrific story"
    "The meddling kids."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's an OK story of the 'meddling kids' genre. It has the usual gaping plotholes. The kids are smart when that suits the plot, really radically dumb when that suits. Adults are 2-dimensional. Plot elements are taken from Teenwolf, ET, The Navigator, Berzerkers, and tossed in a workmanlike salad.

    I won't read any more in the series, however, because of the dialogue. It's tough to write 'teen' dialogue, and this author fails. They sound flatter than any sitcom.

    There's also a goodly dose of coincedences that will bug you. Finally, I had to sort of marvel at the idea of super-genius teenagers who can calculate the answers to mankind's energy problems, but who pee in the their pants to avoid being sent to the principal's office.

    Weird, and not in a good way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pandora's Star

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4343)
    Performance
    (2644)
    Story
    (2682)

    The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

    Devin says: "Great Epic Scifi"
    "Disappointing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Peter F. Hamilton and/or John Lee?

    No.


    Has Pandora's Star turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Lee?

    I'd have cast anyone with an American accent. If the intended market for this is the USA, casting a Scott as the narrator is risky. Casting a Scott with a truly cringe-worthy 'American' accent is worse. That Scott only using his 'American' accent when a cop is shouting at a suspect is even more cringe-worthy.

    You can also tell when a recording session was starting, because he has a bad habit of letting each sentence trail off in volume, so that it's easy to miss the last word of every sentence until he gets warmed up.

    There are so many readers without these issues. The performance reminds me a lot of various performances of "Hitchhiker's Guide" in which the Brit actors put on their 'American' accent for any character written to be an ass.

    Please, please stop. I'll sign a petition demanding American actors quit faking British accents, if the Brits will please quit reading like this.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Pandora's Star?

    The hyperglider scene. I want that half hour of my life back.


    Any additional comments?

    It starts glacially slow. Really, really slow. New, unconnected characters are introduced for hours while you wait for any threads to connect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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