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Balt M.

Member Since 2012

  • 9 reviews
  • 84 ratings
  • 325 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • The Light of Other Days

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Light of Other Days tells the tale of what happens when a brilliant, driven industrialist harnesses the cutting edge of quantum physics to enable people everywhere, at trivial cost, to see one another at all times: around every corner, through every wall, into everyone's most private, hidden, and even intimate moments. It amounts to the sudden and complete abolition of human privacy - forever.

    Lisa says: "When Seeing All is not Understanding All"
    "Interesting Idea Bathed in Narm."

    Narm: when something that is supposed to be serious, but due to either over-sappiness, poor execution, excessive Melodrama, or the sheer absurdity of the situation, the drama is lost to the point of becoming unintentionally funny. It can be extremely subjective. (via TV Tropes)

    The novel's most attractive point is that it explores how society can be impacted by a machine that can show the present and past *exactly* as it occurred. The novel touches upon how the execution of the legal system would have to be redesigned, how most of human history cannot be reduced to a simple logical narrative, and the implications of immsersive virtual reality technology.

    However, a story is introduced in order to feed these abstract ideas to the audience without putting it to sleep. The plot is a vehicle for exploring these ideas. As a result, I feel that many moments that could have been written into more dramatic forms are wasted. One character suddenly experiences emotions after a device in his brain stops repressing them (How an emotionless child-like rich playboy company manager could *be* a playboy and a company-manager escapes me). Another character is forced by a shrink to admit that her memories cannot be trusted as evidence in court (She wins the case but is kept imprisoned for no apparent reason). The best way I can describe this story whose potentially more dramatic plot points are mishandled is like this: The story is full of narm. It requires you to suspend your disbelief to a higher degree than most stories.

    The central focus of the author is the technology and its impact on society as a whole, not the characters he introduces to explore said technology/impact. As a result, the characters and plot feel like disposable cups (convenient and easily forgotton).

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Guards! Guards!: Discworld #8

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Nigel Planer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    "Where have all the dragons gone?" Explore the crazy, creepy land called Discworld, where you'll discover that the dragons aren't asleep or dead - they're dormant, packed in like huge, scaly sardines.

    Glen Phipps says: "The best satire available"

    I like little dashes of philosophy, theoretical physics, and mystery in my books. This story lacked all three. Mr. Pratchett is very good at holding my attention using these elements with his other books. However, this story did not put out in this area. It was a straightforward presentation of inept guards fighting some wanna-be dragon summoners.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Slumdog Millionaire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Vikas Swarup
    • Narrated By Christopher Simpson

    Vikas Swarup's spectacular debut novel, the inspiration for the award-winning film, opens in a jail cell in Mumbai, where Ram Mohammad Thomas is being held after correctly answering all 12 questions on India's biggest quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? It is hard to believe that a poor orphan who has never gone to school could win such a contest. But through a series of exhilarating tales, Ram explains to his lawyer how episodes in his life gave him the answer to each question.

    J. Wigfall says: "Powerful"
    "Interesting presentation. Engaging mystery."

    I like this kind of book. There's a huge mystery to be solved. Hints and details are given in *unchronological order* (If you like that style of presentation, Google search: "Haruhi novels"). Those hints/details are told with believable amounts of embellishments by the unreliable narrator who is at the center of this huge mystery. (Since I can only listen to audiobooks a chapter at a time, I found myself mulling over possible clues scattered throughout the novel and was rewarded for my analysis efforts in the end). Decent and lovable characters die horrible deaths just as easily as random NPCs from the street. Oh, and the story takes place in India. India! How many books on Audible take place in India? From someone who really knows India? Sure, Vikas Swarup may be yet another US-born Indian, but the details he writes in sounds credible enough.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Douglas Adams
    • Narrated By Martin Freeman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination.

    Alison says: "Missing Adams' classic narration, but still great."
    "A sci-fi space comedy. That isn't in space."

    Oh look, another addition to the witty sci-fi space comedy series. Except it isn't in space. And the babel fish is left in a fishbowl. And its the equivalent to Frodo's return to the Shire (the movie version, mind you) where the world-weary level 57 Arthur Dent has to return to live in the tutorial level and figure out how to get a job, find a date, and stay sane in the tutorial level where everyone is a Level 3 NPC. :: :: ::: ::

    Okay, the first book in this series didn't really have a moral or point. I can see that now that I try and disparage So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish's lack of any real direction. The only real difference, I can see, is that the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had the benefit of novelty. "What? Earth gets destroyed in the first chapter? ZOMG". There really is no barrier that can hold back Arthur Dent from achieving anything he really puts his mind to. He wants to fly? Wee, he can fly. He wants to go see God's last message to his creation? He goes and sees it. ... ... ... ... So what? The only really relevant audience that I can think of who would enjoy this book is either someone who is so desperately bored with their existence that they have to use Adam's book as a crutch for their imagination... or extra-terrestrial grad students trying to complete their thesis on what said desperately bored humans find entertaining.

    0 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "Good book. Terminally annoying voice inflection."

    Okay, I must admit: This was a pain to listen to. Of the two dozen audible books i already have, this is the only book I wasn't able to finish. The author speaks every. single. word. with intense "emotional" inflection. Usually, such vocal inflection is reserved for a few lines spoken by some old Oracle character when he/she is in a trance, prophesying, and speaking in fortune cookies. Usually those Oracle characters get very few lines, and that inflection is utilized to add emphasis and aid the reader/listener in remembering those important details in later chapters. ... ... ... This book's reader utilizes that wispy, sing-song voice for every. single. page. Every. single. character. Every. single. description. ... ... ... A friend of mine (who abhors audiobooks) recommended this book to me. She enjoyed it and shared with me no complaint. I'm sure the book is interesting when read without Mr. Davis's annoying voice, but please, unless you're a voice-recognition program 10,000 years in the future, recovering human books by audio transcription of someone's preserved iPod, and this audio file is the only remaining method for recovering Bacigalupi's work..... yes, unless you're that program, don't suffer yourself to listen to this audiobook.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle

    Oaths sworn . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide. Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.

    Edmund says: "Good but not complete."
    "Ho hum fantasy."

    This sounds like the sort of fantasy story I would come up with. Mind you, I have had increasingly less time to really think through my more fantastic ideas and, even though I like trying to delve into writing about politics, I'm not really that good at it.

    Brisingr further fleshes out Paolini's world, but in a logical plausible narrative that is careful not to confuse you. It's like the book takes you by the hand and carefully explains the justifications for certain characters' actions.

    Personally, I like being given mysteries that are logically solvable if you do enough concentrated thinking on your own. Brisingr doesn't bother provide sufficient information to solve such mysteries (how Galbatorix got his power, what happened to all the dragons, what was Brom really up to, etc.) The book simply tells you what happened through some lawful good character. All you are expected to do is remember who killed who, who is still alive, and that no one can kill Eragon. Ho hum.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (63 hrs)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.

    Mica says: "Hurt version decidedly superior"
    "Professional job. Good rendition."

    Basically, this book is a huge thought experiment.

    If you begin reading this book knowing that the author is determined to cause all intelligent/capable people to abandon society no matter the consequences, then the highly implausible events that this book describes make some logical sense. But if you don't have the patience to wade through the hundreds of pages for the author to carry out this painful lobotomy of competent minds from the various industries of the world (and describing its effects on society), then this book isn't for you.

    Scott Brick's narration is skillfully executed and memorable.

    6 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • El Codigo Da Vinci [The Da Vinci Code]

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Raul Amundaray

    Mientras se encontraba en un viaje de negocios en Paris, Robert Langdon, experto en simbologia de la universidad de Harvard, recibe una llamada urgente a media noche. Jacques Sauniere, el ultimo Gran Maestre de una sociedad secreta que se remonta a la fundacion de los Templarios, ha sido asesinado en el museo del Louvre. Sauniere antes de morir transmite a su nieta Sofia una misteriosa clave.

    Balt M. says: "Chistoso pero no suena muy profesional"
    "Chistoso pero no suena muy profesional"

    Baj? ?ste libro porque quiero mejorar mi espa?ol. He escuchado muchos otros libros de Audible, pero la calidad de los dem?s titulos siempre ha sido mucho mejor que ?ste. No estoy hablando del estilo del narrador (aunque, s?, la m?sica del fondo suena como una telenovela de radio chistoso de los a?os 1940). El audio tiene errores que interrupen el flujo de la narraci?n. Es como si la computadora grabando los CDs originales en el formato de Audible no ten?a la suficiente velocidad para hacer la tarea bien.

    I downloaded this book to improve my spanish. I've listened to many other books from Audible, but the quality of those were much higher the quality of this one. I'm not talking about the narrator's style (even though, yes, the background music sounds like something from a cheesy 1940s radio drama). The audio itself contains errors that interrupt the flow of the narration. It's as if the computer that recorded the original CDs into Audible's format weren't fast enough to do a quality job.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Outliers: The Story of Success

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.

    S Prabhu says: "Excellent book; well adapted for the audio format"
    "Thought provoking"

    This book provides a lot of food for thought. Outliers is written so even my parents can understand and appreciate the principles surrounding hard work and opportunity it discusses.

    I found it hard to get my father to listen to any audiobook for any decent amount of time. Outliers had both him and my brother spellbound.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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