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  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Erica says: "Possibly The Best Techno-thriller Ever"
    "Tough to find something good to say about this one"
    What would have made Daemon better?

    A good editor. Far less exposition and geek speak. The book falls into the usual trap that all those other "in the tradition of 'famous author'", in thinking that the liberal insertion of whatever jargon and technical detail into a thin plot makes for a thrilling inside novel. I'm an insider and I found it tedious. To outsiders it must be clutter that is both excruciatingly boring and utterly unhelpful in moving the story along.The plot in the last third of the book simply became absurd, rendering the government investigative team as utter morons, and the resolution completely predictable.Thats perhaps the biggest criticism of the book. There are no surprises, Mr. Suarez telegraphs every plot advancement and resolution; except when it simply jars into a new, different thread.Performance wise, I felt like I was listening to a never ending Michael Bay movie trailer. Note to Mr. Gurner. Subtly and an even measured cadence makes for an enjoyably listen.

    Has Daemon turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, huge fan of Stephenson, this is a pale pale imitation

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

    The idea at the core of the book has potential, although in reality its just another variant of the Skynet plot. I'm not sure it could ever be made workable though

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time-and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By George Musser
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    What is space? It isn't a question that most of us normally stop to ask. Space is the venue of physics; it's where things exist, where they move and take shape. Yet over the past few decades, physicists have discovered a phenomenon that operates outside the confines of space and time. The phenomenon - the ability of one particle to affect another instantly across the vastness of space - appears to be almost magical.

    Michael says: "Rambling but Asks Good Questions"
    "interesting but disjointed."

    It was difficult to find a follow a narrative thread at most times. too broad in scope, often found myself wanting to hear why a particular statement or position was held. a lot of what people say about the matter but not so much why. it has a lot of good moments but in the end, I came away with more questions than answers

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Aeronaut's Windlass: The Cinder Spires, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Since time immemorial the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace. Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy's shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels.

    D says: "A Brave New World"
    "Over way too soon!"

    A great rollicking story in the swashbuckling tradition. only mild criticism is it drops you into the world with little exposition to understand ithe setting. but you figure out most of it as story progresses. highly recommend.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Seveneves: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal, Will Damron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

    Kurt Schwoppe says: "So Much Potential"
    "It was OK, but not his best work by far."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    For a hard core fan, sure but otherwise no.

    Would you recommend Seveneves to your friends? Why or why not?

    Not to introduce them to Stephenson

    What three words best describe Mary Robinette Kowal and Will Damron ’s voice?

    Audible. Clear. Paced
    I admit I prefer men voices, or more specifically, lower register voices for narrative. This is exacerbated when women narrators try to drop in pitch for male dialog..its just never seems to sound anything other than a girl trying to fool the school shes the Dad. I'd rather they just read in normal timbre.

    Any additional comments?

    First off, one needs to keep in mind that is is an impressive and commendable undertaking and achievement. I may not have liked it as much as others, but I am still in awe of the mans imagination and ability to just write, in such volume.The third book is the only one where you see flashes of Stephenson's gift. The first two books have interesting hard spec fic constructs but not much else I found. The story was predictable, with each plot twist either baldly obvious or telegraphed from many paragraphs away; which is puzzling because Stephenson is a master at weaving a complex plot, with many things hidden in plain sight. The third book was olnt a bit better, but it also had some of the manic energy that gleefully (to me anyway) infects his writing. Had the novel ended at book 2, I can't say I would have looked to a sequel. But book three turned that around somewhat. Remember just a humble reader here: criticism is easy, doing is hard. If you haven't read Stephenson, do so, just don't start here. If you want a recommendation , I was introduced to him in Cryptonomicon, i was hooked within 25 pages.

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Simon Winchester
    • Narrated By Simon Winchester
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers, and innovators. Introducing the fascinating people who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the States has succeeded, and to what degree.

    Andy says: "deserves seven stars"
    "Good but not his usual A Game"
    Would you try another book from Simon Winchester and/or Simon Winchester?

    Of course. Overall a great author.

    Any additional comments?

    I did find this book a bit disappointing in that Mr. Winchester seemed to let more of his own personal philosophy, politics and moral judgement leak into this book, a vanity of many authors of history he has up to now, to his credit, refused to indulge in.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Annie Jacobsen
    • Narrated By Annie Jacobsen

    Drawing on exclusive interviews with dozens of Paperclip family members, colleagues, and interrogators, and with access to German archival documents (including papers made available to her by direct descendants of the Third Reich's ranking members), files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and lost dossiers discovered at the National Archives and Harvard University, Annie Jacobsen follows more than a dozen German scientists through their postwar lives and into one of the most complex, nefarious, and jealously guarded government secrets of the 20th century.

    Jean says: "The Osenberg list"
    "To be fair I didn't get past the introduction"
    Would you try another book from Annie Jacobsen and/or Annie Jacobsen?

    Probably not

    What could Annie Jacobsen have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Leave her righteous indignation out of it, or at least save it for her own personal take in a chapter to itself.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Annie Jacobsen’s performances?

    Not really. Her tone was vaguely supercilious.

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


    Any additional comments?

    It became apparent just a few paragraphs into the introduction this was not going to be a dispassionate historical account, but rather, morals and judgement, dispensed in great righteous dollops. What ever happened to articulate factual historical recounting and letting us, the little ole reader, for themselves, decide what moral judgment, if indeed any is even needed. If you've already decided it was pure evil incarnate, I cannot expect to get an accurate narrative of the history.

    6 of 28 people found this review helpful

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