Colorado Springs, Colorado United States | Member Since 2011
I found this to be a pointless and depressing book. The characters are very human in their frailties and susceptibility to Political Correct thinking. I can see echoes of our own society in this book, but what I see is coming from the statists already in power and not from the religious wing of the populace. Hypocrisy is, of course, a theme in any such work, and, ironically, this one gets quite preachy when it comes to the dangers of religiosity. Several times the subject of the abolishment of abortion is raised as if it were some great symbolic tragedy indicative of the decline of the America that once was. I found the protagonist to be as sort of anti-heroine. She does not inspire us to greatness. But her plight does cause us to reflect on what we might do in similar circumstances. No causes are offered. No solutions. The life of the Handmaid is pointless.
Clare Danes is a fine reader. I found her narration quite droll and sarcastic throughout which fits the text. After a few chapters her voice warms up and some emotion occasionally creeps into the text.
We have no history but we have an appointment with destiny
This is a very engaging dual first-person account of the exploits of Easy Company. Narrator Dick Hill portrays the two paratroopers with Philadelphia accents perfectly and the text is written in a conversational style that lends it an air of authenticity. These two guys pull no punches in relating their saga. On the field of battle they were cold-blooded killers out for revenge and on leave they were hot-blooded party boys chasing women. Apparently the girls in war time will go for any soldier with a paycheck. I wonder what their wives think of their fondly remembered war time tales of fornication and debauchery?
For those whom WWII has a particular fascination this is a refreshingly honest memoir. The veil of secrecy is lifted and all the full war experience is related. I usually gravitate toward grand sweeping histories of the war, telling the wide world-wide impact. This helped me—more than any other historical record—gain a better understanding of what the war was like for the soldiers on the ground, and why they are so reluctant to talk about it.
Dick Hill is fantastic. His South Philly accent is spot on he is so precise that it is easy to distinguish between Wild Bill and Babe even though they are from the same neighborhood and use the same lingo. I really appreciated the way Hill introduced emotion into his performance. It is as if Wild Bill and Babe are doing the reading themselves.
Here we have an example of life imitating art. Having recently finished listening to Jules Verne’s MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, and finding it to be exciting but unrealistically optimistic and gung-ho, I found that this book proved to be so similar as to be remarkable. The difference is that ENDURANCE is a factual account, and one written years after Verne’s fictional story. Both tales feature noble adventurous men lead by audacious swashbuckling visionaries. I recommend listening to these two books together for the comparison value.
Simon Prebble performs an excellent rendition of men pushed to the limits of human ability.
I have rarely encountered a book with sections so disparate in quality. At first the book is dispassionate; a mere assemblage of biographical anecdotes with all the insight and passion of a High School research paper. Then something happens. The people to whom we have been introduced—and who seem like so many stick figures for all the humanity that had been associated with their early exploits—come vibrantly to life. When the air war heats up for these pilots, the writers suddenly gain empathy for them and the scenes in the air take of the feeling of grand drama. The book continues in this fashion, flip-flopping between lackluster factual accounts and gripping high drama; sometimes it is brilliant and engaging then it degenerates into a description of the sad state of Germany under the Nazi regime. Later it again will become immediate, personal and exciting, and even rises into moments of insight and poignancy. One constant theme of the book is the sense of honor that inhabits the pilots on both sides of the conflict embodied in the statement, “A man must only answer to God and our comrades.”
Robertson Dean is wonderful in this non-fiction account. When the account requires drama Dean pulls out his repertoire of character voices and can hold the tension during the battle scenes masterfully.
The early sections of this novel are of one nature and that latter parts are of another. It begins with a character study of some aged people choosing to sign up for military service and going through basic training. These sections are interesting and often humorous, typical of a John Scalzi book; but then the book transitions into rather standard combat Science Fiction fare; taking us through a series of alien bug hunts. By this time some of the fundamental conceits of the book begin to wear on you. I began to think of the unrealistic suppositions such as the idea that the technologically advanced human colonists do not share their advanced, and life-extending, technologies with their ancestors back on earth. Also, since no one on earth knows anything about the colonies how can one of the characters—who admittedly does not have the math for it—understand the theory of Skip Drive? I have listened to three other Scalzi books and liked this one the least. His trademark humor seemed muted here. He is better when he doesn’t take himself too seriously. So, at about the time that my willing suspension of disbelief was wearing thin, the plot twists yet again in a dues ex machine fashion and the sense of wonder returns as an element of time-travel is introduced. This saved the book from an early abandonment for me and made me consider continuing with the sequels.
William Dufris is very good, as always. He delivers a competent rendering of the various characters in the book. The problem is that when the characters become pedantic and overbearing he faithfully tracks along with them. He is very good at trying to impart emotion into the character voices he does. I like it when the narrator goes over the top in his performance; this is an all too infrequent occurrence in the realm of audiobooks. This is a shame, because it is one of the elements that help to distinguish it as an art form separate and distinct from the literature upon with it depends.
Being a Treker from way back I found many great inside jokes to be appreciated in this book. It is clear that Scalzi is a SF fan. This is a book that many of us fans have always wanted to have; to find someone else who loves the genre as much as we do and can write a pastiche containing many tributes to Star Trek, and to do it with humor. I like the show enough that I even smile when Scalzi points out the flaws in the show.
I found the connections between the Intrepid and the Enterprise to be a useful plot device. And the method that Scalzi uses to make the characters aware of their situation and especially the convoluted manner in which they extract themselves to be quite ingenious. This is a light-hearted book that tries to satisfy the fans and even introduces some serious themes. It is a good time.
The codas elevate a witty pastiche into an introspective piece of speculative fiction that is concerned with the effects of events that would be labeled throw-away in a typical novel. I like novels that make me think, even think about things that are impossible. This is interesting for that reason.
The choice to make Wil Wheaton the narrator of this Star Trek spoof is just another layer of complexity to the punch line. Wheaton clearly is well-versed in Trek and has just the right inflection to pull off all the tongue-in-cheek jokes and yet still remain serious because he knows that there are guys out there like me that eat this stuff up.
This novel is real. Life is hard and this book is hard and discouraging—and real. If you just finished watching Schindler’s List and still feel a little too buoyant, then give this book a try. It will surely succeed in reacquainting you will life’s harsh reality.
This book follows two very different characters. Both are portrayed realistically. I found the depiction of Arthur Opp to be insightfully tragic and well fleshed-out. I feel now as if I have a better understanding of the plight of the morbidly obese: what it must be like to be so corpulent that going out in public is a burden too massive to bear. Arthur Opp is a sympathetic character; a man who has given into his one besetting sin. Not so far from any one of us if we were to cease resisting the temptation to do the same. He is not beyond redemption, but it has taken him many years to get into his present state, and no quick remedy is possible. This was a human being and this was a man with a story.
Kel Keller the high-school Baseball phenom seems to be everything that is wrong with the younger generation: Secret home life with an alcoholic mother. Popular athlete who is encouraged to be the hero by day and subverted by his very popularity into becoming the promiscuous party boy by night—you know, normal high school life. Kel is so out of touch with the reality of his own situation that he can’t bring himself to tell the girl he loves his true feelings but then has casual sex with another girl he hardly knows—and thinks nothing of it! His only regret is that his real love finds out: something that any right thinking person would surely expect, but that never even crosses his mind. His story is a spiral out of control that is, if anything, more sad than Arthur Opp eating his way into oblivion. I found it a very alienating experience getting inside the head of such a youth so intent on being misspent. I hated the scenes with Kel Keller, dreaded them when they appeared, not because they were trite or cliché, but because they seemed so true that it caused me to lose any hope for this present generation. If they are like Kel Keller, then we are doomed.
The narration, by two different performers, is first-rate. It is fitting that the two main characters should have separate narrators since they are so very different people. This contributes to the reality of the story.
Kirby Heyborne is Kel Keller. He gives an authentic portrayal of a confused teenager stumbling through life with no guidance and no moral compass. Kirby Heyborne earns praise for imparting what seem to me to be authentic inflections of a young boy who doesn't know how to think like a man.
Keith Szarabajka is Arthur Opp. He gives a sensitive reading of the man who wants to be different but is pulled by his irresistible urges. Keith Szarabajka is so talented that he can give an authentic portrayal of not only an obese middlegaed man but also the young Latina housemaid Yolanda. His portions of the book steal the show, chiefly because he is doing the Arthur Opp sections which are the most engaging portions of the story.
Master criminal Jim Degriz discovers that, even though crime does pay—very lucratively thank you—that his true calling is catching bad guys. This book is sarcastically witty and tongue-in-cheeky fun. It has a tight plot but that is not the attraction. Listen to this for the shear entertainment. I wish the book wasn't so short, but there are many more in this series. I will put them on my list.
Phil Gigante works well with this material. He has a well-honed sense of smug sarcasm, and his character voicings are spot on and supremely entertaining.
Entering into the political arena of the abortion debate, author Neal Shusterman offers a new twist: The opening sequence gives us the background information on this future political landscape where a compromise has been struck between the Pro-lifer and Pro-Choice factions. This compromise defines human life as beginning at conception and makes pre-birth abortion illegal, but provides for a chance to eliminate a child between the ages of 13 and 18 years. This may seem like a preposterous idea divorced from reality, but it does provide for a set of natural enemies between society and those slated for “harvest,” and gives justification for the characters to rebel and fight for their lives.
This artificial tension reminds me of movies like The Hunger Games, Logan’s Run and even The Running Man. I am also reminded of another significant fictional entry into the abortion debate: Philip K. Dick wrote a short story called “The Pre-persons” where an abortion could be performed up until the age of 12 years old. This novel UNWIND represents a serious attempt to use speculative fiction to make a social statement. It is a novel with a strong plot line and a moral conscience.
Luke Daniels presents the text with a solemn voice for the third person narration. He does offer good individual intonations making it easy to distinguish the different characters.
I quickly became enamored with this novel and its protagonist, Keith Stewart. I really enjoyed the honorable sensibilities of a man who pursues his life’s work simply because he loves doing it; no matter that it does not afford him enough money to live on. Nevil Shute builds the people in this book expertly; all seem like they could be real people; their dialog is never out of character. And what is more: he manages to tell a fine story, with a strong and satisfying plot line—more believable than Walter Mitty, and more joyful than Francis Macomber, this is a wonderful story that will inhabit your soul and inspire you to follow your dream.
Frank Muller is a fine narrator, giving each character a unique, and appropriate, voice. His voice seems perfectly well-suited to the modest ideals that this book is all about. He is one of the reasons that this is a great audiobook.
Reminiscent of ROBINSON CRUSOE this is a buoyant tale of adventure that appeals to the young at heart. Set in the time of the American Civil War this is a fine example of 19th century fiction. Despite perilous circumstances—of first imprisonment and then castaway on a desert island, tossed by storm and threatened by pirates—our intrepid, if unwitting, colonists always look on the bright side of life, having boundless energy and unchained optimism. This feature somewhat dates this story before the turn of the previous century. The manner in which the characters take on each new challenge from a scientific posture lends me to categorize this as a Science Fiction story. It is entirely akin to early Sci-Fi tales where the reader could well expect lengthy explanations of imaginary technological advances interspersed throughout. Another element that would not be found in contemporary fiction is the unapologetic male perspective. None of the characters are female, and in fact, there is scant mention of the fairer sex anywhere in the book. I found this to be a story told in a straight-forward fashion that makes it easy to follow. You may let is wash over you like the waves on the beach of Lincoln Island. This novel is a worthy addition to Verne’s earlier work 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. It hearkens back to a more noble age, and gave me a taste of the sense of wonder I had reading as a child when simple exploration was sufficient to enthrall me.
Benard Citero Clark gives a fine reading delivering this matter-of-fact story in a straight-forward fashion. He is capable of delivering unique character voices that add much to the enjoyment of this book. This novel is written from the perspective of a third-person omniscient narrator. Berny Clark has a voice that became transparent and allowed me to fully engage with the text.
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