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Euge

Danbury, CT | Member Since 2008

ratings
59
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • The Forge of God

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Greg Bear
    • Narrated By Stephen Bel Davies
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (101)

    On September 28th, a geologist working in Death Valley finds a mysterious new cinder cone in very well-mapped area. On October 1, the government of Australia announces the discovery of an enormous granite mountain. Like the cinder cone, it wasn't there six months ago.

    Something is happening to planet Earth, and the truth is too terrifying to contemplate

    Linda B says: "Amazing!"
    "Simply not fun. Rarely if ever entertaining."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Greg Bear and/or Stephen Bel Davies?

    I might give Greg Bear another shot someday, but I would definitely not pay for it. Stephen Bel Davies did a decent enough job.


    What could Greg Bear have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    He could've cut out the tons of superfluous point-of-view characters that were only there to fluff things out, and make the story seem more widespread. They rarely added anything to the story, and their undeserved melodrama just dragged things out and muddled things. "Oh look, here's another person that has no idea about what is going on, and is struggling with their emotions."

    The first two acts of the book are a complete waste of time. Incomprehensible aliens mess with humanity's heads for no reason, while the central protagonists heads up a presidential task force that travels all over the world, discovering absolutely nothing.

    There are perhaps two interesting ideas in the book, buried under acres of contrived angst. There is no story arc. No character development. Some decent speculation on how one can blow up the earth, and what that might look like. And hours of boredom.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The one where nothing happened, and people were angsty and uncertain about it. Then something semi interesting popped up, and the story suddenly cutaway to another boring character before you could be entertained.


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

    Disappointment. I thought Bear would be better.


    Any additional comments?

    Save yourself the trouble and read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia instead. You'll get just as much out of it with out wasting hours of your life.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Blackout

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2002)
    Performance
    (1260)
    Story
    (1267)

    In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

    Monica says: "Double review - Blackout and All Clear"
    "Incredibly frustrating."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book(s) is an endless series of of characters looking for each other and just missing, often because they had to be polite and British. It made me want to scream. There's some excuse for this nonsense when they time travel under-cover to the 1940's but when major plot points revolve around the same type of garbage in the supposed future where humans are capable of time travel but cellphones, and e-mail don't exist? ARRGH!!! Paraphrasing: "Oh no, I can't find Polly, because I showed up 2 minutes late! I can download entire languages directly into my brain and travel to the distant past, but alas cell phones don't exist, so let me just write her a note that might save her life that will be blown off the table by the wind just before she notices it."

    This level of frustration is downright abusive. Aside from that, when Mrs Willis isn't beating you over the head with how "everyday people in London were the real heroes", by having her characters repeat that exact phrase over and over again, and you start to figure out which part of the story is happening to whom and when, as the story jumps around without warning and the characters are really easy to confuse, the story becomes fairly engaging. In the end it all sort of gets wrapped up, and there's a tiny bit of pay-off. But really not worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Steven Novella
    Overall
    (795)
    Performance
    (721)
    Story
    (705)

    No skill is more important in today's world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in an effective and responsible way. What's more, at no point in human history have we had access to so much information, with such relative ease, as we do in the 21st century. But because misinformation out there has increased as well, critical thinking is more important than ever. These 24 rewarding lectures equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to become a savvier, sharper critical thinker in your professional and personal life.

    Jason says: "Clear thinking is valuable beyond measure!"
    "Best comprehensive look at the mind."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big fan of non-fiction books about the way our minds work, the way our logic works, etc... Books like "Thinking: Fast and Slow" are fascinating but at times can be overwhelming in their depth and length. This set of lectures is a concise yet all encompassing overview of the whole subject. It's got enough depth to sink your teeth into, without beating over the head with too many example, and it moves from subject to subject at a pace that keeps things interesting. You'll definitely want breaks to process some of the information, as listening to 5-6 lectures straight might make your eyes glaze over. But overall, this is the best of the great courses, in my opinion.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7566)
    Performance
    (7199)
    Story
    (7210)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Very engrossing and enjoyable, but shallow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The main character is great, the performance is great, the challenges that pile on, and the solutions that follow are clever and thought out, but this is mars! There's no sense of the place in the book. Part of it comes form the diary format of the book, there're just descriptions of what happened without any kind of immersion into the events. After the engrossing atmosphere of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy this book just feels like 'fun hi-jinks, wherever, who cares'.

    Enjoyable, but almost instantly forgotten.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (1991)
    Performance
    (1655)
    Story
    (1669)

    2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it. The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.

    Jesse says: "Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy"
    "Unique and fascinating world, terrible characters."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Positives:
    The large over-arching sci-fi concepts in this book are original, thought provoking, and generally interesting to ponder. Narration was solid.

    Negatives:
    The characters populating the book are simply not human. They over-react to relatively minor sleights with murder, hold grudges indefinitely, have absolute respect for authority so long as their not one of the 3 characters vying for it, and are completely nonplussed by 13 years of solitary confinement, and other mind blowing events. I spent a good portion of the book just wishing I could choke the stupid out of them. Also, there seemed to be a strange form of reverse sexism, where the power struggles happened exclusively between women, while the men were mostly just complete tools. A few plot holes that I had trouble ignoring.

    Overall:
    Great premise. Decently captivating story. Frustrating characters and dialog. Reynolds should team up with a writer that can create compelling people to populate his otherwise very interesting universe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Century Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (543)
    Performance
    (420)
    Story
    (417)

    Three hundred years from now, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable due to the technological catastrophe known as the Nanocaust. Archaeologist Verity Auger specializes in the exploration of its surviving landscape. Now, her expertise is required for a far greater purpose. Something astonishing has been discovered at the far end of a wormhole: mid-twentieth-century Earth, preserved like a fly in amber.

    DAVID says: "One of John Lee's best performances"
    "Just doesn't work."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Century Rain?

    The book tried to be genre hybrid between noir mystery and space opera, and failed at both genres. The two ideas worked against each other, with the mystery thread never picking up any steam because the sci-fi part stormed in; and the sci-fi section wasn't fleshed out to any satisfying level because too much time had to be spent on gum-shoe cliches. All of the action scenes were so cliche and predictable that they held absolutely zero tension, and the characters were nowhere near established or sympathetic enough to justify the melodrama.


    What was most disappointing about Alastair Reynolds’s story?

    There never seemed to be a clear antagonist. There was a bunch of random unpleasantness that killed of the dispensable characters, but there was never any real build up or show down. I just never got sucked in, or really cared much for the characters. There were a few good broad ideas in the book, like the concept that WWII never happening might have a great retarding effect on technological development, or the possible applications of nano-tech. But the ideas didn't feel fully worked out, the world didn't feel at all believable or alive. And the biggest sci-fi questions and their implications just got brushed under the carpet.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    I guess all the french and german ones. Dude can do a solid foreign accent.


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

    The basic founding concepts of the century rain universe are original and interesting. I just wish that they were explored in a better book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Footfall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (1001)
    Performance
    (618)
    Story
    (614)

    They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star. The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.

    Flatlander says: "Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle at Their Best"
    "Not very plausible and light on description."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book lacked descriptive depth. It didn't paint a picture so much as a rough diagram with labels like "Insert alien space ship here". The giant cast of characters was reminiscent of Greg Bear's books, and similarly bogged the story down way more than it added a sense of a broader universe. I found the aliens to be novel but entirely implausible, I don't see how a clumsy race that's incapable of fine motor control can develop any kind of technology.

    And the final space battle that some of the other reviewers seem to be so fond of is mostly conveyed verbally, without any objective description, through the intercom and goes something like this: "Fire cannons. Accelerate. Boom! oh no we're hit. We need more steam!" Very underwhelming.

    Oh and I found the pivotal roll that a group science fiction authors play in the story to be incredibly masturbatory.

    Overall the book has several interesting ideas that are introduced, but overall, it's not really worth the credit unless you have nothing better to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cryptonomicon

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (2107)
    Performance
    (1451)
    Story
    (1471)

    Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

    flaos says: "Finally Audible"
    "Amazing ride that needed another chapter."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was completely captivated by this book. I typically listen at 2X naration speed while driving or doing menial tasks, 3X for really boring or light books like "The Lost Fleet" series by Jack Campbell, or "The Inheritance Cycle" by Chris Paolini. And at 2X, this book demanded my attention; I missed several highway exits and would find myself frozen in concentration over the sink with a dirty dish in my hand throughout.

    This book is delightfully meaty. The writing has the same kind of witty character driven attitude and linguistic texture that Stephenson did so well with in Snow Crash. The story arcs are huge, and I got a real kick out of watching them intersect. The math description only added to the experience by making me feel more involved. The funny bits made me look like a chortling, head-phoned maniac in the grocery store. And the book just kept being great over the whole 40 plus hours. And then it just sort of ended. Poof. Done. Just as in Snow Crash. A bunch of questions left un-answered, a bundle of loose strings left untied. Basically a chapter's worth of closure and epilogue just went missing. So yeah... could have been better there at the end, but still entirely worth it. I don't regret a minute of it, just wish Stephenson could have pushed his publishing deadline back a bit or something and really wrapped this baby up.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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