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Doug D. Eigsti

Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

Colorado Springs, Colorado United States | Member Since 2011

111
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 127 reviews
  • 137 ratings
  • 576 titles in library
  • 117 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
25
FOLLOWERS
7

  • The Prefect

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1215)
    Performance
    (970)
    Story
    (970)

    Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer with the Panoply. His beat is the multifaceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, the teeming hub of a human interstellar empire spanning many worlds. His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the habitats that left 900 people dead, a crime that appalls even a hardened cop like Dreyfus.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Best yet of the Revelation Space series"
    "A Few Good Things"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What is going on here? I don’t know if there is something wrong with me or that Alastair Reynolds is just a very inconsistent writer. I have truly enjoyed some parts of every one of his books, but, except for CHASM CITY, none has kept up the magic all the way through. His other works all seem to get bogged down with convoluted far-future concepts that are so far removed from actual human experience so as to be incomprehensible. You can listen to them just for those gems but there is a lot mush to slog through to get to those precious stones. I began listening to Alastair Reynolds based on the recommendation of several fellow listeners who had touted him as the modern-day master of Space Opera Science Fiction. They recommended the novel CHASM CITY as the best introduction to his Revelation Space series. And they were right. CHASM CITY is fantastic. It is the most accessible of all the novels in the series. It is the best written, has the best characters and the most fantastic “sense of wonder” technology of them all. I have now listened to, REVELATION SPACE, REDEMPTION ARK, ABSOLUTION GAP, and now THE PREFECT.. This novel THE PREFECT does have some nice blending of detective fiction with SF but is misses on so many levels. One of the prime characteristics of the Detective Fiction genre are the gritty hard-edged characters. Listening to this book actually affected my mood. My expectations were so high going in that I really needed this one to be great. After the wonderful introduction to Alastair Reynolds that I had with CHASM CITY; I hung in there through the three central novels of the series, and THE PREFECT, thinking that surely there would be a big, big payoff after so much SF world building background. I mean I hung in there for over 100 hours of John Lee whispering in my ear about indoctrinal viruses, Inhibitor genocide machines, processing Cathedrals, inertial inhibitors, Alternate Universes, longevity treatments, baseline humans, Conjoiner Ultras, Time Travel, Cryo-arithmetic engines, and talking pigs, and I wanted some reward. I got bupkis. I believe I can safely say that the best way to enjoy the Revelation Space series is to start by listening to CHASM CITY and then…stop.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Latter Days at Colditz

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By P.R. Reid
    • Narrated By Terrence Hardiman
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    In 'The Colditz Story', Pat Reid told the story of the escape academy that sprang up inside the most impregnable German POW camp of the Second World War, ending appropriately with his own incredible escape from Colditz. But Reid’s own break-out was by no means the last. In this enthralling sequel, he follows the fortunes of the escape academy right up until the arrival of the allied forces in April 1945. Here are the tales of fantastic bravery and stunning ingenuity every bit as mesmerising as the original.

    Doug D. Eigsti says: ".....Die Gedanken Sind Frei....."
    ".....Die Gedanken Sind Frei....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this follow-up book to THE COLDITZ STORY Paul Reid goes beyond his personal involvement and relates many of the other fascinating escape attempts that took place in Colditz castle as WWII played out. This book is every bit as interesting and exciting as the first one.

    Of great interest to me is the detailed account of the formidable project of constructing a glider as an escape vehicle in a prison especially chosen to discourage escape. I am a fan of the old made for 1971 TV movie “The Escape of the Birdmen” starring Doug MacClure (Alternate titles: “Colditz: Escape of the Birdmen,” “The Birdmen,” and “Operation Braindrain – Codename Chessboard.”) That movie is set in Colditz and seems a lot like Hogan’s Heroes or Stalag 17. But even though the story is told in an engaging light-hearted fashion the true spirit is that they can imprison your body but they can’t hold your mind captive. Well this book is much the same as that movie in that is is an inspiring fun account of the effort men will put out to get free.

    Terrence Hardiman is a fine narrator, handling multiple character voices in expert fashion.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Colditz Story

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By P.R. Reid
    • Narrated By Tim Woodward
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Colditz - the dreaded POW camp was supposed to be impregnable. It was the German fortress from which there was no escape. It had been escape-proof in the 1914-18 war and was to be again in the Second World War, according to the Germans... This is the true story that has passed into legend: the story of the incredible courage and daredevil ingenuity of those who refused to admit defeat - those who burrowed, leapt and ran their way to freedom.

    lrbell says: "Tremendous narration and gripping true story"
    ".....Stalag 17 Has Nothing on Colditz ....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like stories about the indomitable spirit of man then this should be required listening. Here Reid tells us his personal stories of escape from the Germans from two different prisons. And along the way he relates the many, many, other escape attempts being conducted in Colditz castle. You will be amazed at the ingenuity of the prisoners in their efforts to undermine the vigilance of the German captors. This is a great adventure and one told with the practiced skill of one who knows how to tell a story.

    Don’t miss the sequel: THE LATTER DAYS OF COLDITZ by Paul Reid

    Tim Woodward does accents—British, Dutch, Polish, French and especially German—perfectly. He is so entertaining that I will be seeking out more of his work. When he is speaking German so fluent is he that he sounds like a native German speaker. It is a real joy to listen to such a masterful performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gripping Hand

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (673)
    Performance
    (591)
    Story
    (601)

    Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award-winning authors of such best sellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot, return us to the Mote, and to the universe of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury, of Rod Blaine and Sally Fowler. There, 25 years have passed since humanity quarantined the mysterious aliens known as Moties within the confines of their own solar system. They have spent a quarter century analyzing and agonizing over the deadly threat posed by the only aliens mankind has ever encountered - a race divided into distinct biological forms, each serving a different function: Master, Mediator, Engineer, Warrior.

    James says: "The sequel matches the first book"
    "Sure I’m Paranoid, But Am I Paranoid Enough?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This has long been my favorite Niven and Pournelle novel. It launches so seamlessly from the first book that surely the story must have been in the minds of N&P all along. This is where the story of the Moties truly begins. Their predicament is explored fully and the solution seems at once surprising and inevitable.

    .Again L.J. Ganser does fine work in telling the story. To my ear he does an especially fine job at portraying the female voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mote in God's Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By L J Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3955)
    Performance
    (2387)
    Story
    (2421)

    The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre. No lesser an authority than Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read".

    J. Rhoderick says: "A great read!"
    "Every Problem Has a Solution. That’s Crazy Eddie!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An amazing collaboration. This is a great introduction into the puzzle-solving mind of Larry Niven and the military brain of Jerry Pournelle.

    Larry Niven likes to play with ideas. This book has enough mind-expanding concepts to rank as one of the great hard science fiction novels. He first builds a hypothetical situation, with certain rules and constraints, then lets the story unfold.

    L.J. Ganser is very good depicting the various accents. I especially enjoyed the Scottish characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22975)
    Performance
    (14323)
    Story
    (14471)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "Well Staged Production of a Favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel should be familiar to any well read Science Fiction fan. If you have not read it, skip the movie and listen to this wonderful production. Sure, many of its themes are tried and true but executed here most excellent fashion. Here we have a coming of age story that has become so iconic that it almost becomes the final word on such stories; setting a very high standard for all others that dare to follow. There is a reason why this book has been a perennial bestseller for three decades—it is simply grand.

    Stefan Rudnicki delivers a fine performance with a wide range of character voices. He adds a nice layer of drama to this already fine book. He has proved himself worthy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Nathan Wolfe
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (318)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (279)

    In The Viral Storm, award-winning biologist Nathan Wolfe tells the story of how viruses and human beings have evolved side by side through history; how deadly viruses like HIV, swine flu, and bird flu almost wiped us out in the past; and why modern life has made our species vulnerable to the threat of a global pandemic. Wolfe's research missions to the jungles have earned him the nickname "the Indiana Jones of virus hunters," and here Wolfe takes listeners along on his groundbreaking and often dangerous research trips - to reveal the surprising origins of the most deadly diseases....

    L. says: "a bio-geek's wet dream"
    ".....Global Viral Forecasting....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Will mankind succumb to the ever increasing onrush of deadly pathogens? Not if Nathan Wolfe can help it. He has been busy behind the scenes actively delivering preemptive strikes against the microbes that regularly surface and begin to ravage the population. In this fascinating glimpse into the world of the viral experts Wolfe teaches us not only about the serious dangers of the diseases that threaten to break out into global pandemics, but also that there is hope of detecting them early and halting them before they show up on the evening news. Along the way he teaches us about the inner workings of viral variability and even helps dispel a few urban legends concerning HIV and Ebola. I recommend this book for those who enjoy learning about the way the world works.

    Robertson Dean has a wonderful sonorous voice that lends a calming effect when Wolfe is explaining of the mortality rate of Cholera or the Hanta virus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The System of the World: Book Eight of The Baroque Cycle

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Kevin Pariseau, Neal Stephenson
    Overall
    (414)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (269)

    In this concluding volume of Neal Stephenson’s epic work, “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe must escape the noose of Jack Ketch; the rivalry between Newton and Leibniz comes to a head; and Daniel Waterhouse pursues his dream to build the Logic Mill

    Tim says: "Last Nibble"
    "Imp of the Perverse Embodied in Brilliant Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series must be contemplated as a unified whole. This review is for the entire BAROQUE CYCLE.

    Sorry Neal, I was wrong. For me Neal Stephenson was a bit of an acquired taste. My first Stephenson exposure was with SNOWCRASH, a zany over-the-top Sci-Fi farce with quirky characters, tight plotting and fascinating ideas—try an ancient software virus in the human brain. My next Neal Stephenson encounter was THE DIAMOND AGE and this was for years my last. It was not until revisiting SNOWCRASH now as an audiobook (narrated by the superb Jonathan Davis) that I realized that anyone able to reach such dizzying fictional heights once deserves more than one strike. It was after this that I listened to ANATHEM; strike two. But there was one more title that had received acclaim that I first had to tackle before relegating Stephenson to one-hit-wonder status: CRYPTONOMICON. This was a home run; different from SNOWCRASH in almost every way but still wonderful, and really long. From this I learned three things: (1) Stephenson was not easy to pigeon-hole; and (2) He could handle fictional works in the long form; and (3) If you are not preoccupied with plot advancement, the rabbit trails can be quite scenic. So, once I learned that many of the characters in CRYPTONOMICON had ancestors in THE BAROQUE CYCLE, I determined to tackle the whole lot back-to-back, as if it were one giant novel. QUICKSILVER is the first audio installment of THE BAROQUE CYCLE, which is here divided into seven installments. In print form it is broken into eight books published in three hefty volumes.

    I could tell from the comments of other listeners that this huge tome is not for everyone. If you require fast tight plotting, this may not be for you. If you enjoy witty repartee between vagabonds, kings, courtiers and thieves then this may be the mother lode. I liken Neal Stephenson to Gene Wolfe; another writer who can keep my interest just by the brilliance of his prose. It was in the middle of ODALISQUE, book three in the cycle, that I realized I didn’t much care that the plot was just creeping along, and that side trips to follow the numerous cast of characters kept taking me away from the one I liked best. I was enjoying the show and didn’t want it to end. This is truly not seven different novels, but one huge novel tied together by recurring characters and one vast and very satisfying story arc.

    This accomplishment by Neal Stevenson is just the thing that the term magnum opus was coined for. Mr. Stevenson demonstrates his ability to manage a vast narrative alternate history and retains his focus over two-thousand six-hundred eighty-eight hardcover pages, through one-hundred fourteen hours of audiobook narration; yet the feel and texture and pacing is consistent throughout the entire work. Amazing. If you decide to tackle this tome you will be rewarded. It may cause you to rethink the whole audiobook medium.

    I really enjoyed Stephenson’s insights into the politics of the scientific community, revolving around Isaac Newton. The fusing of Natural Philosophy (science), Alchemy, commodity-based monetary theory, rags-to-riches character transformations, and court intrigue make for a fascinating experience. Listening to this series is like taking a time-travel vacation to the eighteenth century. The shabby, muddy, miasmic grunge of the period’s living conditions sometimes remind me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Jabberwocky, with associated punch-lines. This is a very different world from the one we live in but I began to think I might understand it a little better and found that, in some ways, it might not be so bad.

    If you are at all interested in free-market economics, and commodity-based monetary theory then one of the long-term story arcs will be of intense interest to you. Stevenson explores the impact of the foundation of the central Bank of England upon the flow of gold. And his deft insertion of an Alchemical component into the mix creates an enjoyable element of mystery. This is the storyline that required one-hundred hours to tell.

    This is a Science Fiction work because the alternate-history angle with Alchemy infecting the realm of science will appeal to the SF fan. If you were provided with a plot outline or given some character sketches you may think this an historical novel, and it could be read from that perspective. But Science Fiction readers don’t as a rule read historical novels, but they will read this, therefore, whatever qualities it possesses, justify the SF label.

    —PERSISTENT THEMES OF THE BAROQUE CYCLE—
    Predestination versus Free-Will is on everyone’s mind
    The debate between Protestantism versus Catholicism had a huge political impact
    Geocentrism versus Heliocentrism is the only thing everyone can agree upon
    Commodity-based Monetary theory makes the world work
    Court Intrigue and witty conversations provide joy in every circumstance
    Meritocracy rags-to-riches stories abound
    People can endure much if they have hope
    Vagabond underworld versus Persons of Quality show we have much in common
    Alchemy counterpoised with Natural Philosophy revel the nature of science
    Encryption and secret writing have long been employed
    True love makes life worth living
    Courtly liaisons show the shallowness of the ruling class to whom society is entrusted

    Simon Prebble does yeoman’s work on this production. To my ear he nailed every single pronunciation of every word in the course of over one-hundred hours of narration—no mean feat. His character voicings are subtle but immediately recognizable. His talent allows him to even give convincing alternate pronunciations of words to the different characters that are appropriate to their individual personalities. The more foppish English characters habitually emphasize different syllables than the lower class characters. Despite the deep quality of his voice Simon Prebble handles both male and female character voices convincingly. His voice has a limited range but I was constantly amazed at how he could make subtle alterations in inflection, diction and pacing to effectively distinguish the various characters in a conversation. Simon Prebble achieves the desirable state of occupying the place in your head usually reserved for your own internal sub-vocalizations when you are reading a print book to yourself. This is a high achievement indeed and makes this a soothing book experience.

    Narrated by Simon Prebble (Main text)
    Kevin Pariseau (Chapter epigraphs)
    Neal Stephenson (Introduction)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Currency: Book Seven of The Baroque Cycle

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Neal Stephenson, Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (420)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (269)

    Daniel Waterhouse finds himself embroiled in a dark conflict that has been raging in the shadows for decades. It is a secret war between the brilliant, enigmatic Master of the Mint (and closet alchemist) Isaac Newton and his archnemesis, the insidious counterfeiter Jack the Coiner, a.k.a. Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds.

    Rusty Korhonen says: "Very Keen Indeed!"
    "Imp of the Perverse Embodied in Brilliant Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series must be contemplated as a unified whole. This review is for the entire BAROQUE CYCLE.

    Sorry Neal, I was wrong. For me Neal Stephenson was a bit of an acquired taste. My first Stephenson exposure was with SNOWCRASH, a zany over-the-top Sci-Fi farce with quirky characters, tight plotting and fascinating ideas—try an ancient software virus in the human brain. My next Neal Stephenson encounter was THE DIAMOND AGE and this was for years my last. It was not until revisiting SNOWCRASH now as an audiobook (narrated by the superb Jonathan Davis) that I realized that anyone able to reach such dizzying fictional heights once deserves more than one strike. It was after this that I listened to ANATHEM; strike two. But there was one more title that had received acclaim that I first had to tackle before relegating Stephenson to one-hit-wonder status: CRYPTONOMICON. This was a home run; different from SNOWCRASH in almost every way but still wonderful, and really long. From this I learned three things: (1) Stephenson was not easy to pigeon-hole; and (2) He could handle fictional works in the long form; and (3) If you are not preoccupied with plot advancement, the rabbit trails can be quite scenic. So, once I learned that many of the characters in CRYPTONOMICON had ancestors in THE BAROQUE CYCLE, I determined to tackle the whole lot back-to-back, as if it were one giant novel. QUICKSILVER is the first audio installment of THE BAROQUE CYCLE, which is here divided into seven installments. In print form it is broken into eight books published in three hefty volumes.

    I could tell from the comments of other listeners that this huge tome is not for everyone. If you require fast tight plotting, this may not be for you. If you enjoy witty repartee between vagabonds, kings, courtiers and thieves then this may be the mother lode. I liken Neal Stephenson to Gene Wolfe; another writer who can keep my interest just by the brilliance of his prose. It was in the middle of ODALISQUE, book three in the cycle, that I realized I didn’t much care that the plot was just creeping along, and that side trips to follow the numerous cast of characters kept taking me away from the one I liked best. I was enjoying the show and didn’t want it to end. This is truly not seven different novels, but one huge novel tied together by recurring characters and one vast and very satisfying story arc.

    This accomplishment by Neal Stevenson is just the thing that the term magnum opus was coined for. Mr. Stevenson demonstrates his ability to manage a vast narrative alternate history and retains his focus over two-thousand six-hundred eighty-eight hardcover pages, through one-hundred fourteen hours of audiobook narration; yet the feel and texture and pacing is consistent throughout the entire work. Amazing. If you decide to tackle this tome you will be rewarded. It may cause you to rethink the whole audiobook medium.

    I really enjoyed Stephenson’s insights into the politics of the scientific community, revolving around Isaac Newton. The fusing of Natural Philosophy (science), Alchemy, commodity-based monetary theory, rags-to-riches character transformations, and court intrigue make for a fascinating experience. Listening to this series is like taking a time-travel vacation to the eighteenth century. The shabby, muddy, miasmic grunge of the period’s living conditions sometimes remind me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Jabberwocky, with associated punch-lines. This is a very different world from the one we live in but I began to think I might understand it a little better and found that, in some ways, it might not be so bad.

    If you are at all interested in free-market economics, and commodity-based monetary theory then one of the long-term story arcs will be of intense interest to you. Stevenson explores the impact of the foundation of the central Bank of England upon the flow of gold. And his deft insertion of an Alchemical component into the mix creates an enjoyable element of mystery. This is the storyline that required one-hundred hours to tell.

    This is a Science Fiction work because the alternate-history angle with Alchemy infecting the realm of science will appeal to the SF fan. If you were provided with a plot outline or given some character sketches you may think this an historical novel, and it could be read from that perspective. But Science Fiction readers don’t as a rule read historical novels, but they will read this, therefore, whatever qualities it possesses, justify the SF label.

    —PERSISTENT THEMES OF THE BAROQUE CYCLE—
    Predestination versus Free-Will is on everyone’s mind
    The debate between Protestantism versus Catholicism had a huge political impact
    Geocentrism versus Heliocentrism is the only thing everyone can agree upon
    Commodity-based Monetary theory makes the world work
    Court Intrigue and witty conversations provide joy in every circumstance
    Meritocracy rags-to-riches stories abound
    People can endure much if they have hope
    Vagabond underworld versus Persons of Quality show we have much in common
    Alchemy counterpoised with Natural Philosophy revel the nature of science
    Encryption and secret writing have long been employed
    True love makes life worth living
    Courtly liaisons show the shallowness of the ruling class to whom society is entrusted

    Simon Prebble does yeoman’s work on this production. To my ear he nailed every single pronunciation of every word in the course of over one-hundred hours of narration—no mean feat. His character voicings are subtle but immediately recognizable. His talent allows him to even give convincing alternate pronunciations of words to the different characters that are appropriate to their individual personalities. The more foppish English characters habitually emphasize different syllables than the lower class characters. Despite the deep quality of his voice Simon Prebble handles both male and female character voices convincingly. His voice has a limited range but I was constantly amazed at how he could make subtle alterations in inflection, diction and pacing to effectively distinguish the various characters in a conversation. Simon Prebble achieves the desirable state of occupying the place in your head usually reserved for your own internal sub-vocalizations when you are reading a print book to yourself. This is a high achievement indeed and makes this a soothing book experience.

    Narrated by Simon Prebble (Main text)
    Kevin Pariseau (Chapter epigraphs)
    Neal Stephenson (Introduction)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Solomon’s Gold: Book Six of The Baroque Cycle

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Kevin Pariseau, Neal Stephenson
    Overall
    (457)
    Performance
    (281)
    Story
    (285)

    The year is 1714. Daniel Waterhouse has returned to England, where he joins forces with his friend Isaac Newton to hunt down a criminal gang attempting to blow up Natural Philosophers with "Infernal Devices," or time bombs. Unbeknownst to Daniel, however, Newton has an ulterior motive: to wrest the Solomonic Gold from the control of his arch-enemy, the master counterfeiter Jack the Coiner, a.k.a Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds.

    Andrew Pollack says: "My favorite in the series so far"
    "Imp of the Perverse Embodied in Brilliant Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series must be contemplated as a unified whole. This review is for the entire BAROQUE CYCLE.

    Sorry Neal, I was wrong. For me Neal Stephenson was a bit of an acquired taste. My first Stephenson exposure was with SNOWCRASH, a zany over-the-top Sci-Fi farce with quirky characters, tight plotting and fascinating ideas—try an ancient software virus in the human brain. My next Neal Stephenson encounter was THE DIAMOND AGE and this was for years my last. It was not until revisiting SNOWCRASH now as an audiobook (narrated by the superb Jonathan Davis) that I realized that anyone able to reach such dizzying fictional heights once deserves more than one strike. It was after this that I listened to ANATHEM; strike two. But there was one more title that had received acclaim that I first had to tackle before relegating Stephenson to one-hit-wonder status: CRYPTONOMICON. This was a home run; different from SNOWCRASH in almost every way but still wonderful, and really long. From this I learned three things: (1) Stephenson was not easy to pigeon-hole; and (2) He could handle fictional works in the long form; and (3) If you are not preoccupied with plot advancement, the rabbit trails can be quite scenic. So, once I learned that many of the characters in CRYPTONOMICON had ancestors in THE BAROQUE CYCLE, I determined to tackle the whole lot back-to-back, as if it were one giant novel. QUICKSILVER is the first audio installment of THE BAROQUE CYCLE, which is here divided into seven installments. In print form it is broken into eight books published in three hefty volumes.

    I could tell from the comments of other listeners that this huge tome is not for everyone. If you require fast tight plotting, this may not be for you. If you enjoy witty repartee between vagabonds, kings, courtiers and thieves then this may be the mother lode. I liken Neal Stephenson to Gene Wolfe; another writer who can keep my interest just by the brilliance of his prose. It was in the middle of ODALISQUE, book three in the cycle, that I realized I didn’t much care that the plot was just creeping along, and that side trips to follow the numerous cast of characters kept taking me away from the one I liked best. I was enjoying the show and didn’t want it to end. This is truly not seven different novels, but one huge novel tied together by recurring characters and one vast and very satisfying story arc.

    This accomplishment by Neal Stevenson is just the thing that the term magnum opus was coined for. Mr. Stevenson demonstrates his ability to manage a vast narrative alternate history and retains his focus over two-thousand six-hundred eighty-eight hardcover pages, through one-hundred fourteen hours of audiobook narration; yet the feel and texture and pacing is consistent throughout the entire work. Amazing. If you decide to tackle this tome you will be rewarded. It may cause you to rethink the whole audiobook medium.

    I really enjoyed Stephenson’s insights into the politics of the scientific community, revolving around Isaac Newton. The fusing of Natural Philosophy (science), Alchemy, commodity-based monetary theory, rags-to-riches character transformations, and court intrigue make for a fascinating experience. Listening to this series is like taking a time-travel vacation to the eighteenth century. The shabby, muddy, miasmic grunge of the period’s living conditions sometimes remind me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Jabberwocky, with associated punch-lines. This is a very different world from the one we live in but I began to think I might understand it a little better and found that, in some ways, it might not be so bad.

    If you are at all interested in free-market economics, and commodity-based monetary theory then one of the long-term story arcs will be of intense interest to you. Stevenson explores the impact of the foundation of the central Bank of England upon the flow of gold. And his deft insertion of an Alchemical component into the mix creates an enjoyable element of mystery. This is the storyline that required one-hundred hours to tell.

    This is a Science Fiction work because the alternate-history angle with Alchemy infecting the realm of science will appeal to the SF fan. If you were provided with a plot outline or given some character sketches you may think this an historical novel, and it could be read from that perspective. But Science Fiction readers don’t as a rule read historical novels, but they will read this, therefore, whatever qualities it possesses, justify the SF label.

    —PERSISTENT THEMES OF THE BAROQUE CYCLE—
    Predestination versus Free-Will is on everyone’s mind
    The debate between Protestantism versus Catholicism had a huge political impact
    Geocentrism versus Heliocentrism is the only thing everyone can agree upon
    Commodity-based Monetary theory makes the world work
    Court Intrigue and witty conversations provide joy in every circumstance
    Meritocracy rags-to-riches stories abound
    People can endure much if they have hope
    Vagabond underworld versus Persons of Quality show we have much in common
    Alchemy counterpoised with Natural Philosophy revel the nature of science
    Encryption and secret writing have long been employed
    True love makes life worth living
    Courtly liaisons show the shallowness of the ruling class to whom society is entrusted

    Simon Prebble does yeoman’s work on this production. To my ear he nailed every single pronunciation of every word in the course of over one-hundred hours of narration—no mean feat. His character voicings are subtle but immediately recognizable. His talent allows him to even give convincing alternate pronunciations of words to the different characters that are appropriate to their individual personalities. The more foppish English characters habitually emphasize different syllables than the lower class characters. Despite the deep quality of his voice Simon Prebble handles both male and female character voices convincingly. His voice has a limited range but I was constantly amazed at how he could make subtle alterations in inflection, diction and pacing to effectively distinguish the various characters in a conversation. Simon Prebble achieves the desirable state of occupying the place in your head usually reserved for your own internal sub-vocalizations when you are reading a print book to yourself. This is a high achievement indeed and makes this a soothing book experience.

    Narrated by Simon Prebble (Main text)
    Kevin Pariseau (Chapter epigraphs)
    Neal Stephenson (Introduction)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Confusion: Books Four & Five of The Baroque Cycle

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Katherine Kellgren, Kevin Pariseau, and others
    Overall
    (544)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (349)

    In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves, including one “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe, devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues that will place the intrepid band at odds with the mighty and the mad, with alchemists, Jesuits, great navies, pirate queens, and vengeful despots across vast oceans and around the globe.

    Mr says: "The Confusion"
    "Imp of the Perverse Embodied in Brilliant Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series must be contemplated as a unified whole. This review is for the entire BAROQUE CYCLE.

    Sorry Neal, I was wrong. For me Neal Stephenson was a bit of an acquired taste. My first Stephenson exposure was with SNOWCRASH, a zany over-the-top Sci-Fi farce with quirky characters, tight plotting and fascinating ideas—try an ancient software virus in the human brain. My next Neal Stephenson encounter was THE DIAMOND AGE and this was for years my last. It was not until revisiting SNOWCRASH now as an audiobook (narrated by the superb Jonathan Davis) that I realized that anyone able to reach such dizzying fictional heights once deserves more than one strike. It was after this that I listened to ANATHEM; strike two. But there was one more title that had received acclaim that I first had to tackle before relegating Stephenson to one-hit-wonder status: CRYPTONOMICON. This was a home run; different from SNOWCRASH in almost every way but still wonderful, and really long. From this I learned three things: (1) Stephenson was not easy to pigeon-hole; and (2) He could handle fictional works in the long form; and (3) If you are not preoccupied with plot advancement, the rabbit trails can be quite scenic. So, once I learned that many of the characters in CRYPTONOMICON had ancestors in THE BAROQUE CYCLE, I determined to tackle the whole lot back-to-back, as if it were one giant novel. QUICKSILVER is the first audio installment of THE BAROQUE CYCLE, which is here divided into seven installments. In print form it is broken into eight books published in three hefty volumes.

    I could tell from the comments of other listeners that this huge tome is not for everyone. If you require fast tight plotting, this may not be for you. If you enjoy witty repartee between vagabonds, kings, courtiers and thieves then this may be the mother lode. I liken Neal Stephenson to Gene Wolfe; another writer who can keep my interest just by the brilliance of his prose. It was in the middle of ODALISQUE, book three in the cycle, that I realized I didn’t much care that the plot was just creeping along, and that side trips to follow the numerous cast of characters kept taking me away from the one I liked best. I was enjoying the show and didn’t want it to end. This is truly not seven different novels, but one huge novel tied together by recurring characters and one vast and very satisfying story arc.

    This accomplishment by Neal Stevenson is just the thing that the term magnum opus was coined for. Mr. Stevenson demonstrates his ability to manage a vast narrative alternate history and retains his focus over two-thousand six-hundred eighty-eight hardcover pages, through one-hundred fourteen hours of audiobook narration; yet the feel and texture and pacing is consistent throughout the entire work. Amazing. If you decide to tackle this tome you will be rewarded. It may cause you to rethink the whole audiobook medium.

    I really enjoyed Stephenson’s insights into the politics of the scientific community, revolving around Isaac Newton. The fusing of Natural Philosophy (science), Alchemy, commodity-based monetary theory, rags-to-riches character transformations, and court intrigue make for a fascinating experience. Listening to this series is like taking a time-travel vacation to the eighteenth century. The shabby, muddy, miasmic grunge of the period’s living conditions sometimes remind me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Jabberwocky, with associated punch-lines. This is a very different world from the one we live in but I began to think I might understand it a little better and found that, in some ways, it might not be so bad.

    If you are at all interested in free-market economics, and commodity-based monetary theory then one of the long-term story arcs will be of intense interest to you. Stevenson explores the impact of the foundation of the central Bank of England upon the flow of gold. And his deft insertion of an Alchemical component into the mix creates an enjoyable element of mystery. This is the storyline that required one-hundred hours to tell.

    This is a Science Fiction work because the alternate-history angle with Alchemy infecting the realm of science will appeal to the SF fan. If you were provided with a plot outline or given some character sketches you may think this an historical novel, and it could be read from that perspective. But Science Fiction readers don’t as a rule read historical novels, but they will read this, therefore, whatever qualities it possesses, justify the SF label.

    —PERSISTENT THEMES OF THE BAROQUE CYCLE—
    Predestination versus Free-Will is on everyone’s mind
    The debate between Protestantism versus Catholicism had a huge political impact
    Geocentrism versus Heliocentrism is the only thing everyone can agree upon
    Commodity-based Monetary theory makes the world work
    Court Intrigue and witty conversations provide joy in every circumstance
    Meritocracy rags-to-riches stories abound
    People can endure much if they have hope
    Vagabond underworld versus Persons of Quality show we have much in common
    Alchemy counterpoised with Natural Philosophy revel the nature of science
    Encryption and secret writing have long been employed
    True love makes life worth living
    Courtly liaisons show the shallowness of the ruling class to whom society is entrusted

    Simon Prebble does yeoman’s work on this production. To my ear he nailed every single pronunciation of every word in the course of over one-hundred hours of narration—no mean feat. His character voicings are subtle but immediately recognizable. His talent allows him to even give convincing alternate pronunciations of words to the different characters that are appropriate to their individual personalities. The more foppish English characters habitually emphasize different syllables than the lower class characters. Despite the deep quality of his voice Simon Prebble handles both male and female character voices convincingly. His voice has a limited range but I was constantly amazed at how he could make subtle alterations in inflection, diction and pacing to effectively distinguish the various characters in a conversation. Simon Prebble achieves the desirable state of occupying the place in your head usually reserved for your own internal sub-vocalizations when you are reading a print book to yourself. This is a high achievement indeed and makes this a soothing book experience.

    Narrated by Simon Prebble (Main text)
    Kevin Pariseau (Chapter epigraphs)
    Katherine Kellgrin (Eliza’s letters)
    Neal Stephenson (Introduction)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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