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Daniel

Kugelblitz

Schaumburg, IL, United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
48
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
8

  • The Boy Who Would Live Forever

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs)
    • By Frederik Pohl
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    The Boy Who Would Live Forever has a sense of wonder and excitement that will satisfy those who loved Gateway and will delight new listeners as well. In Gateway, long after the alien Heechee abandoned their space-station, Gateway (as humans dubbed it) allowed humans to explore new worlds. The Heechee, alarmed by the alien Kugel whose goal was to destroy all organic lifeforms, had already retreated to the galactic core, where they now lived in peace.

    Daniel says: "Disperate narrative"
    "Disperate narrative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Frederik Pohl and/or Oliver Wyman?

    Of course. This is the only Pohl novel I read or listened to in audiobook form that I did not find extremely interesting. This novel is interesing, but it's not quite up to par with the others Heechee Saga novels.


    If you’ve listened to books by Frederik Pohl before, how does this one compare?

    This novel continues Pohl's narrative style of interspersing first person and sometimes third person narratives within the same structure. I have been on two minds on this style since I first read one of his novels. When he does it, it simply "works". I give him much credit for making a difficult narrative structure work, repeatedly. However, each time I wonder if this novel would only be that much better had he stuck with third person limited.

    The other novels all featured a single main plot line, with a few interesting story arcs gravitating around that main plot line. This novel breaks that by putting together seemingly unrelated sections. This too could result in something interesting with a surprise ending that unifies what before seemed completely unrelated plots. But I don't think that can work here due to the length of the novel, and the only point where it became possible to start merging these plot lines.


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

    Oliver Wyman is an excellent narrator. I have purchased books because the publisher contracted his voice talent.


    Did The Boy Who Would Live Forever inspire you to do anything?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    It's a good novel. Not bad. But not great either. It's not on the order of Gateway, or any of the subsequent novels in that fictional world.

    I often find the mischaracterization of religious folk a bit grating that occurs relatively frequently these days in the SF world. It bugs me when an author creates a character who is nothing more thana caricature cobbled together from slurs, epithets, and base accusations by people who don't like folk of one religious denomination or another. It cheapens the rest of the novel when the author puts so much more work into bring to life his other characters. Here he has a main character who is well-rounded and believable. Then we have a minister who is more or less a caricature. There was nothing real or believable about him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hyperion

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Allyson Johnson, Kevin Pariseau, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3695)
    Performance
    (2244)
    Story
    (2266)

    On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all.

    aaron says: "A LESSON in How to Write Smart, Dark, ADULT SciFi"
    "Masterpiece Novel, Excellent Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Hyperion the most enjoyable?

    The novel is a frame story; structured sort of like Canterbury Tales. The main characters proceed on a pilgrimage towards a deadly encounter with a kind of mythical creature which is alleged to come from the future to judge humanity. They each tell their tale in order to determine why it is that they were all chosen for the pilgrimage and to piece together the plot from their separate viewpoints. Each individual tale is quite compelling. Some emotionally moving, others exciting. The author allows the reader to almost survey various subgenres of SF within a single novel and a large, sophisticated fictional world. I found that aspect of the novel most enjoyable and original.

    Each tale is narrated by a narrator assigned to that character. During the scenes of the frame story, the narrators play their roles in dialog. When the character proceeds to tell his tale, the narration completely becomes the domain of that character's narrator. All of these narrators are extremely talented. I felt they greatly added to this audiobook. They took what really is an amazing novel and elevated it a great deal more.

    The novel has a most excellent balance between plot and character. While it is largely character driven, and the true drama is almost certainly existential and philosophical, the author provides plenty of action to drive the story forward, especially in the more action-oriented characters.

    The tale of the priest is theological SF. The tale of the military colonel is told in military SF. The tale of the poet is horror SF. The tale of the detective is pure cyberpunk. The tales of the scholar and consul are forms of time travel SF, but in the case of the consul, includes aspects of spy and mystery novels. All of these tales are seamlessly woven together in a frame plot that I found equally as compelling as the tales it frames. I rarely have encountered a novel structured in this way where the frame was anything more than thin bookends for the individual tale.

    The themes of all these tales are intensely existential and speak to the human condition. They deal in human pain and grief in several contexts and aspects of life. Each of these griefs do in the end weave together to make a kind of sense.

    I highly recommend this to hard SF readers who enjoy complex, intellectual plots and deep characters.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cassandra Project

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jack McDevitt, Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (137)
    Story
    (136)

    Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business...until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future—a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.

    Matthew says: "A lunar winner!"
    "Not as good as the short story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Cassandra Project? What did you like least?

    I liked the conspiracy aspect of the story. What I liked most about the original short story, however, was the reason why the conspiracy persisted. The reason for it in the novel has slightly changed, and I think the epiphany of that reason diminishes the impact of the message which was suppressed. I also didn't much care for a lot of the additional plot items they added. They didn't seem to add to or take from the original.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I already read the short story, so I had a good idea of the ending. The ending of the short story is much more satisfying, I think. The ending to the novel is similar, but it doesn't accentuate the message quite as well.


    What about Brian Holsopple’s performance did you like?

    He was very talented. I will look for other audiobooks he narrates.


    Was The Cassandra Project worth the listening time?

    Neutral. If one has already read the orinal short story, then I am not so sure it's worth the time. If not, then it might be worth a person's time. It's not a bad novel anyway.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Slangman's Fairy Tales: English to Italian, Level 1 - Cinderella

    • UNABRIDGED (6 mins)
    • By David Burke
    • Narrated By David Burke
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Each fairy tale starts in English, then slowly "morphs" into Italian! Learn 20 words in a new language! This audio file contains narration, pronunciations of new words, sound effects, and fully orchestrated original music composed, arranged, and performed by "Slangman" David Burke. By the end of the story, 20+ new words have been learned! Start with Level 1 and continue through Level 3 to gain a strong foothold in a new language. Learning has never been so fun... or so easy!

    Daniel says: "Clever"
    "Clever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Slangman's Fairy Tales: English to Italian, Level 1 - Cinderella to be better than the print version?

    I bought this for myself rather than a child. I wanted to pick up a little bit of Italian and purchased these Slangman audiobooks along with a regular Italian audiobook course. I honestly learned vocabulary and a little bit of syntax a great deal faster with these children's books than with the more expensive audiobook course. If they produced more of these titles, I would definitely purchase them.

    The main advantage here is that you already know the story, and he mixes the Italian vocabulary and usage in with English. As you advance in levels, the stories gradually become more Italian than English. The tracks are pretty short so you can listen through them repeatedly as needed.

    One drawback I find is that the audiobooks do not come with at least text copies of the physical books. You have to look up the words in a dictionary or translator to learn how to read and write them. Each of these books ought to come with some kind of written document which at the very least lists the vocabulary used.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1176)
    Performance
    (529)
    Story
    (535)

    Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

    Scott says: "Scicen Fiction Can Be Literature"
    "Overhyped"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Robert J. Sawyer and/or Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer ?

    I really don't see what other people do in this novel. The premise itself I found excellent. The author really started well, but the novel really turned into a vehicle to cram the author's social ideas onto the reader. That wouldn't necessarily be so bad if it were not for the fact that the guy posits caricatures of people to criticize them. For instance, he uses an allegedly Catholic character to contrast with his atheist neanderthals, and yet NOTHING that comes out of that character's thoughts and words reflects any reasonable representation of what a lifelong Catholic would think or believe. It was almost like the characters were taken as cartoon characters from one of the vapid New Atheist books. Yes, I realize bitter atheists will thumb down my review because they only vote for their dogma over any criticism, but this book truly was a poor attempt at positing a valid alternate society. For instance, if you read one of Orson Scott Card's novels, even the characters with whose beliefs he would never agree are given a fair place. In short, this is NOT a 21st century Stranger in a Strange Land. To do so it would need accurate human beings with which to contrast the alternate ideas. Instead you get a lot of straw characters that have little to nothing in common with the beliefs of actual people. If it were not for that, I think the novel would have so much more merit.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting aspect of the story is the depth with which the author developed this alternate society. He developed a basic naming language to make it more realistic. He built a solid culture and everything. The least interesting aspect is that he failed to accurate represent homo sapiens.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • John Carter in 'A Princess of Mars': Barsoom Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Edgar Rice Burroughs
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (694)
    Performance
    (648)
    Story
    (653)

    Civil War veteran John Carter is transported to a dying planet, where he must elude capture by giant green barbarians to rescue a Martian princess from certain doom. In this landmark of science fiction, the myths and mystery of the red planet supply a vibrant backdrop for a swashbuckling epic.

    Robert says: "Princess of Mars, Swords & Planets HIGH Adventure!"
    "Scott Brick + Barsoom = Perfection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up John Carter in 'A Princess of Mars' in three words, what would they be?

    Mars, princess, and violence.


    Any additional comments?

    It seems to me as if the Barsoom novels were written for Scott Brick to narrate as John Carter. This guy is well worth the money for an audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forward the Foundation

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Larry McKeever
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (279)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (251)

    A stunning testament to his creative genius. Forward The Foundation is a the saga's dramatic climax - the story Asimov fans have been waiting for. An exciting tale of danger, intrigue, and suspense, Forward The Foundation brings to vivid life Asimov's best loved characters: hero Hari Seldon, who struggles to perfect his revolutionary theory of psychohistory to ensure the survival of humanity; Cleon II, the vain and crafty emperor of the Galactic Empire.

    Christine says: "Love the story. Can't stand the narrator!"
    "This is NOT Scott Brick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The Foundation novels are among the very best novels in science fiction. The audiobook versions read by Scott Brick are fantastic. But this narrator is no Scott Brick. Not even remotely. He is terribly suited for narrating a work of fiction. He has no voices, accents, intonations, style, rhythm, or anything that qualifies him to narrate a novel. He is better suited for narrating nonfiction.

    It's just not worth it. I bought all the Foundation audiobooks because I wanted to listen to these books I love so much, read by a wonderfully talented narrator. But two of these audiobooks are completely useless to me. I find it difficult to believe that anybody actually listened to this to its completion. This is a great book, however.

    I think people deserve a refund for this. We see the that the cover art is identical, and the publisher is the same, so we assume this is the same quality as the other novels. But this edition, as well as Foundation and Earth, are read by the same narrator who is wholly unsuitable to the role.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins
    • Narrated By Paul Costanzo
    Overall
    (2094)
    Performance
    (1773)
    Story
    (1751)

    Listen to this book and send your nonverbal intelligence soaring. Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence officer and a recognized expert on nonverbal behavior, explains how to "speed-read" people: decode sentiments and behaviors, avoid hidden pitfalls, and look for deceptive behaviors. You'll also learn how your body language can influence what your boss, family, friends, and strangers think of you.

    Teddy says: "Barely Made It Through This One"
    "Interesting, but in context"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about What Every BODY Is Saying?

    The perspective of a federal agent.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the true value in something like this comes into play when you listen to or read it along with other sources. I read at the same time another book, written by people with a psychology background. It provides a completely different perspective on the same thing. This book actually has me interested in finding similar books written by case officers and counterintel people. For instance, when Navarro spent great length on his opinion of the merits of observing leg and foot behavior, I was reminded of something an old Stasi agent remarked. The Stasi trained to surveil their targets based upon their gait, not their appearance. A person can easily change their appearance, but it is difficult to change one's gait. Now I am interested in learning what those guys too might have to say about body language.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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