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Bookoholics Anon

No Pink Ponies

Listener Since 2009

67
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 31 ratings
  • 605 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
8

  • Shadrach in the Furnace

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robert Silverberg
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    In the 21st century, a battered world is ruled by a crafty old tyrant, Genghis II Mao IV Khan. The Khan is 93 yers old, his life systems sustained by the skill of Mordecai Shadrach, a brilliant young surgeon whose chief function is to replace the Khan’s worn-out organs. Within the vast tower-complex, the most advanced equipment is dedicated to three top-priority projects, each designed to keep the Khan immortal. Most sinister of these is Project Avatar, by which the Khan’s mind and persona are to be transferred to a younger body.

    Kat Hooper says: "Exciting Silverberg story"
    "Excellent science-fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you like science fiction, especially Silverberg, this doesn't disappoint. The scientific background is impeccable.


    What other book might you compare Shadrach in the Furnace to and why?

    It has a flavor of the world of Dune, though it's nothing like it. The blend of an imperial society with a live-giving drug (the vaccine for the organ rot) and the advanced science and enhancement of human capability is reminiscent of the themes in Dune. However, the handling is more inimate and less sweeping--it's all about Shadrach.


    What does Paul Boehmer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The light voicing of different characters is handled masterfully. Nothing overdone. This makes the characters come alive.


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

    The end, where Shadrach returns to Ulan Bator.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked this novel quite a bit--it's not one of Silverberg's top novels but it is amazingly written and though some people do not like the end--l did like it, although Genghis Mao seems to break character a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jung Chang
    • Narrated By Jolene Kim
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (49)

    At the age of 16, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor's numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China - behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.

    Heidi says: "Very Important if flawed history of a leader"
    "Excellent history--different viewpoint"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Empress Dowager Cixi the most enjoyable?

    I've read almost every bio of Cixi there is since high school, when I studied Chinese history. This bio puts a new and modern spin on how Cixi actually tried to modernize China at the turn of the 20th Century--while maintaining order at home and keeping foreign powers at bay. I knew the players well but the new viewpoint on her reign as empress went contrary to many popular opinions that she was reactionary and a deterrent to modernization. Fascinating! And seeing how Japan, Russia, and the Europeans played their part in disrupting the Ching Dynasty and the entire region is likewise a deep look back into a land of mystery to most Americans.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cixi is one of history's most fascinating women. But Prince Chun, her brother-in-law (doubly so, half brother of the Emperor and married to Cixi's sister) is equally fascinating in this book, where he mostly plays the bad guy but one who reforms in the end.


    What does Jolene Kim bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Jolene seems to have good Chinese pronunciation--while I can't be sure, she does seem to do a good job.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Dragon and Phoenix: China's entry into the modern world during the reign of Empress Cixi.


    Any additional comments?

    highly recommended

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Death in Venice: A New Translation by Michael Henry Heim

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Thomas Mann
    • Narrated By Simon Callow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    Published on the eve of World War I, a decade after Buddenbrooks had established Thomas Mann as a literary celebrity, Death in Venice tells the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but aging writer who follows his wanderlust to Venice in search of spiritual fulfillment that instead leads to his erotic doom.

    Lawerence says: "Brilliant gem"
    "A masterpiece from Thomas Mann"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great way to read Thomas Mann, who can be long and wordy.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The descent into lust, madness, obsession and degradation is one of literature's most dramatic scenes. The master artist Aschenbach, restrained, honored, and successful debases himself in a pursuit of beauty. That it is forbidden love makes the debasement more horrifying and sickening. There is always a combination of gorgeousness with absolute ugliness and horror.


    What about Simon Callow’s performance did you like?

    This is a restrained, refined performance.


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

    The end is one of those passagese in literature that you read and re-read. Though it's inevitable, it still is shocking.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Mysterious Island

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By Berny Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (380)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (345)

    Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, The Mysterious Island is considered by many to be Jules Verne’s masterpiece. “Wide-eyed mid-nineteenth-century humanistic optimism in a breezy, blissfully readable translation by Stump” (Kirkus Reviews), here is the enthralling tale of five men and a dog who land in a balloon on a faraway, fantastic island of bewildering goings-on and their struggle to survive....

    Tad Davis says: "Wonderful novel, mediocre translation"
    "My favorite Jules Verne novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Mysterious Island to be better than the print version?

    The print version is very long. But some translations are better than others. This one is mediocre.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Mysterious Island?

    The meeting of the colonists with the mysterious benefactor in the caverns of Lincoln Island. One of science fiction's great moments with one of science fiction's great characters.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was good, except I disliked the reader's voice for Pencroft the sailor. It was annoying--the gruffness was a good idea, but the voicing was forced and positively irritating.


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

    This was one of my favorite books as a child. For some reason, however, the characters came alive more in the written version, especially Herbert, who seems less important in the spoken version. The end does make you cry a bit--it is bittersweet.


    Any additional comments?

    I still think this is one of Verne's best novels. In a way, it's a sequel to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" which is perhaps a greater novel than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods Themselves

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (94)

    Only a few know the terrifying truth - an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun... They know the truth - but who will listen? They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy - but who will believe?These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival.

    thomas says: "Asimov's Best Stand Alone Novel"
    "Asimov's most innovative novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Gods Themselves to be better than the print version?

    The audio version may be better than the print version because who doesn't love listening to Scott Brick? The man could read a phone book and I'd be riveted.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Gods Themselves?

    The second section of the book, taking place in a different universe with the triad of Odeen, Dua and Tritt is amazing. Alien marriage, sex, reproduction and maturation is handled deftly and creatively. The characters really shine, especially Dua.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Dua attempts to communicate with humans to warn them. Her message is touching and thrilling.


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

    When the message from the alternate beings is translated--it's thrilling.


    Any additional comments?

    This may be my favorite Asimov novel. No robots--but very different and very creative. As usual, Asimov's female characters are better-drawn than his male characters and again, he has a female character play the heroine.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The World Inside

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Robert Silverberg
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    Welcome to Urban Monad 116. Reaching nearly two miles into the sky, the 1,000 stories of this building are home to over 800,000 people living in peace and harmony. In the year 2381 with a world population of over 75 billion souls, the massive Urbmon system is humanity’s salvation. Life in Urbmon 116 is highly regulated, life is cherished, and the culture of procreation is seen as the highest pinnacle of god’s plan. Conflict is abhorred, and any who disturb the peace face harsh punishment—even being sent “down the chute” to be recycled as fertilizer.

    Kat Hooper says: "Could humans live like this?"
    "Missing the last sentence of the book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Robert Silverberg and/or Paul Boehmer?

    The entire novel is changed by this one sentence or two being missing at the end. Was that an authorized change by Silverberg? Other than that, a good performance of an excellent novella of a very strange dystopia.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Good narration, interesting dystopia


    Which character – as performed by Paul Boehmer – was your favorite?

    Mamelon


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Among Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (764)
    Performance
    (659)
    Story
    (661)

    Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

    Eoin says: "Subtle Character Piece"
    "Less here than meets the eye (or ear)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a diary form of a tale, told in first person by Morwenna, who survived a car accident that cost her her twin sister. But the accident is no ordinary accident; magic is involved--and witches, and...Morwenna's mother, who is apparently trying black magic to become the Dark Queen and be empress of the world--or so we are led to believe. We follow Morwenna as she's reunited with her absent father, goes to a posh but dull boarding school mandated by her three rich (witch?) aunts and she matures as a teen, gets a boyfriend, and battles magic. All through the book there is a running thread of the books Morwenna reads and loves, most of them science fiction. It's fun to hear her (abbreviated) opinion of the classics of sci fi but ultimately, there is less here in this novel than meets the eye and and the ultimate showdown is a bit of a let-down. The rest of the novel maunders on in diary form--interesting enough but not really gripping. Katy Kellgren's Welsh accent gets a bit on my nerves after the first section, but it's well-done and she's a good narrator, though she sounds a bit mature for the role of teenager. I've read worse, but didn't think it deserved a Nebula in the least.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A George Smiley Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By John le Carré
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (503)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (439)

    The man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement-especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla - his Moscow Centre nemesis - and sets a trap to catch the traitor.

    carl801 says: "Le Carre remains the gold standard"
    "Deeply intriguing, well narrated espionage novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Le Carre is the master of espionage novels, but his writing is unusual in "Tinker, Tailor"--the story is told mainly in past tense via interrogations by Smiley, though there are occasional scenes of action. But what you are reading is basically a very complex spy-vs-spy double agent scheme, laid out with exquisite logic. The revelation, however, is not a surprise, though I think it's not meant to be a surprise. We are supposed to get inside Smiley's head and literally BE him as he unravels the intrigue. What's left UNSAID is marvelous--the author trusts the reader always to be one step ahead or at least along side and leaves out the obvious.

    The narration is excellent; Smiley's voice is a sort of Alec Guinness-like suavity, and other accents and voices are subtly but definitely dramatized by the narrator. One other reviewer remarks that this is not suitable for a commute and I rather agree--I found that the noise of the road plus the dense text made this easier to listen to at home. I wish that Jayston would narrate the rest of the Smiley books rather than have them dramatized as his reading is spot-on. Can't recommend it enough.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Variable Star

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson
    • Narrated By Spider Robinson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (406)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (195)

    At his death in 1988, Robert A. Heinlein left a legacy that almost single-handedly defined modern science fiction. But one of Heinlein's masterpieces was never finished. In 1955, he began work on Variable Star, a powerful and passionate tale of two young lovers driven apart by pride, power, and the vastness of interstellar time and space. Now, the Heinlein estate has authorized award-winning author Spider Robinson to expand his outline into a full-length novel. And the result is vintage Heinlein.

    Michael says: "BRVO!"
    "Heinlein theme material, pure Spider Robinson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oh, you look at this and think "GOODY! A Heinlein novel I haven't read, and yay! written from material dating back to his Young Adult novel days, when he really turned out some great stuff such as Citizen of the Galaxy, Tunnel in the Sky and many others." But no, that's not what we have here. In this case, the estate of Virginia Heinlein left some material sketched by Heinlein and Spider Robinson was proposed as the author who could take this buried treasure and develop it into a bestselling sci fi novel. And that's what happened. The story revolves around a typical Heinleinian ingenu-- Joel Johnston young hero, who chucks it all including an alluring marriage proposal to a very rich and pretty girl, and takes off on a one-way, decades-sublight voyage to colonize a new planet. The life in the space vessel, the newly formed society of pioneers and the challenges they face as they traverse space are incredibly well developed and quite exciting. There are many turns of fate that will have you gasping. But...it is not Heinlein, it's definitely Spider Robinson, with his devilish plays on words and a much more modern tone. I couldn't put it down. Annd this is true Space Opera, no fantasy, unicorns or wizards need apply. Robinson does an admirable job reading his own work. As long as you realize what this is, you may enjoy it as much as I did. Just don't expect Robert Heinlein writing from beyond the grave, because as you already knew, that's impossible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Prelude to Foundation

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (393)
    Story
    (396)

    It is the year 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capital of the Galactic Empire, forty billion people have created a civilization of unimaginable technological and cultural complexity. Yet Cleon knows there are those who would see him fall - those whom he would destroy if only he could read the future.

    Svenghali says: "Trantor, capital of a galactic empire!"
    "A worthy prequel and a stellar performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Isaac Asimov revisited his Foundation series with a prequel decades after he wrote, first the Foundation Trilogy in the 50s, then went on to write sequential novels in the 80s and 90s. Though this is the first of the Foundation books set in the Galactic Empire period, it appeared more or less in the middle of the publication timeline. So if you have read the Foundation books, you will enjoy the back story of psychohistorian Hari Selden. While this story in some ways lacks the youthful enthusiasm and drama of the earliest Foundation novels from the 50s, it's still a good story and there is lots of action (that is, Asimov action, which consists of pursuit scenes, mainly and not a lot of shoot-em-up or sex. Well, almost none, in fact.) The reading by Scott Brick is as always, absolutely the best there is. Subtle character voice changes, no weird pretending to yell in a half-loud voice, or other irritating quirks, and that resonant voice we've come to love, nay, be addicted to. I'm only annoyed that due to Brick going out on his own as a voice star, the last Foundation Novel is not read by him, doubtless a contract problem and a shame that the end of the series doesn't have the same reader.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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