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Michael

Highlands Ranch, CO, United States | Member Since 2011

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 46 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Mindstar Rising: The Greg Mandel Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    Overall
    (831)
    Performance
    (747)
    Story
    (741)

    It's the 21st century, and global warming is here to stay, so forget the way your country used to look. And get used to the free market, too – the companies possess all the best hardware, and they're calling the shots now. In a world like this, a man open to any offers can make out just fine. A man like Greg Mandel for instance, who's psi-boosted, wired into the latest sensory equipment, carrying state-of-the-art weaponry – and late of the English Army's Mindstar Battalion.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Portrait of a SciFi master as a novice"
    "Near future scifi/spy intruige"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. I've been a fan of Peter F. Hamilton after going through his later works, and wanted more of his style - which is deceptively subtle, fast paced, and very engaging.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Greg Mandell - He's a few years removed from military service and while still retaining his edge, more human. He appreciates the way of soldiers without being reduced to a simpleton military mindset. Adding psi empathic abilities to a solider makes for really good reading.


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

    I had to look this book up again just to make sure Toby Longworth was the only narrator - he's simply fantastic! He gives each character not only a distinct voice, but also personality. He is smashing! One of the best readers I've ever come-across.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    You can't hide the truth from him...


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Black: Odyssey One

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Evan Currie
    • Narrated By Benjamin L. Darcie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1504)
    Performance
    (1388)
    Story
    (1393)

    Captain Eric Weston and his crew encounter horrors, wonders, monsters, and people; all of which will test their resolve, challenge their abilities, and put in sharp relief what is necessary to be a hero. A first-rate military-science-fiction epic that combines old-school space opera and modern storytelling, Into the Black: Odyssey One is a riveting, exhilarating adventure with vivid details, rich mythology, and relentless pacing.

    C. Hartmann says: "Great, Solid Military SciFi / Evolving Space Opera"
    "Treats you like you're an idiot."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The problem with numeric scores is that if a book finds a target audience, they tend to come out and rate the book a "5", even when the book is half-baked with little substance (see the Twilight series for more on this).

    "Into the Black: Odyssey One" is the top-ramen of the sci-fi genre. It's "The Last Airbender" of military sci-fi. It's pointless, boring, and treats you like your an idiot. You'll be treated to thin caricatures, devoid of substance or motivation. There are better ways to spend fourteen listening hours.

    If you want an entertaining military sci-fi human-vs-bugs romp, just read Heinlein's "Starship Troopers". It's just as shallow, but a hell of a lot more entertaining.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zoe's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (848)
    Performance
    (616)
    Story
    (621)

    "I'm Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player in a interstellar chess match to save humanity. Seventeen years old. Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don't know my tale: I'm going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope."

    David says: "A fun listen, and some new information, but..."
    "Bait and switch. Skip it unless you're a teenager."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a tough review to write. I greatly enjoyed the first three books in the "Old Man's War" series, and picked this up without hesitation - as it was listed next in line. However, this is not a book targeted at adults even though it's mistakingly placed in Contemporary SciFi. This is pure bait and switch to sell a few more copies to unsuspecting customers.

    1. "Zoe's Tale" is Young Adult Science Fiction.
    2. "Zoe's Tale" is an almost verbatim retelling of "The Last Colony", except it's the "Twilight" version.

    I'm quite miffed at Audible & the publisher for not prominently calling this out, and classifying the book correctly.

    It's strange that Scalzi chose to re-write "The Last Colony" entirely from a teenagers point of view. I had expected Zoe to START OUT as a teenager, then slowly grow into a woman as the story moved forward. However, what I got was Scalzi channeling giggling girls, fart jokes, and teenage crushes. Really? Had I not been on some very long airline flights, this book would have been returned for refund posthaste.

    It's clear that there was a kernel of a story hidden in "The Last Colony", where Zoe impressed General Gau, and somehow wrangled an impressive piece of technology from The Consu. However, Scalzi does very little with those events, and thus you'll spend the entire book building up to a rather flat third act.

    The one shining star in this whole mess was the narrator: Tavia Gilbert. She grew on me quickly, and her voice acting was very well done.

    So - would I recommend this book to a teenager? No.
    Why? Because, they'd be dropped into a series 2/3'ds of the way through, with no other books voiced for them before or after.

    Scalzi is a good writer, but your credits would be better spent on his other work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pushing Ice

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (2000)
    Performance
    (1663)
    Story
    (1678)

    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"
    "Epic in scope, space, and time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Pushing Ice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top of the sci-fi stack. I listened to the first Revelation Space book, and it just didn't grab me - so I avoided Alistair Reynolds for quite a while. This book, however, thrilled me from start to finish.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Pushing Ice?

    About 6 or 7 hours in I realized that the book wasn't even halfway over yet. This was significant because more had happened in less than half a book, than happens in so many other books. Densely packed, and wonderful for it!


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've listened to a ton of John Lee; he may not do nuanced differences in character voices - but he does imbue them with a lot of personality. If John Lee reads a book, I'm 80% sold... he's that good.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Only hoping that Alistair Reynolds has more like this up his sleeve. This was epic in scope, and exactly what I crave in good sci-fi. Coupled with John Lee - you get a perfect audio book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hunter's Run

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (90)

    Like so many others, Ramón Espejo ran from the poverty and hopelessness of the Third World to the promise of a new world, joining a host of like-minded workers and dreamers aboard one of the great starships of the mysterious, repulsive Enye. But the life he found on the far-off planet of São Paulo was no better than the one he had abandoned.

    Richard says: "Different but good"
    "A fast, compelling sci-fi read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Hunter's Run in three words, what would they be?

    Who am I?


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    You'll spend the most time with Ramone in this story, though with a twist. Still - he really grew on me as the story unfolded.


    Which character – as performed by Marc Vietor – was your favorite?

    The interesting thing about Ramone is that he is a feisty personality... a jerk, full of hubris and venom. A second rate reader would have made that all sound insincere... hallow and plasticy.

    However, Mark Vietor simply becomes Ramone Espejo; a seamless and nuanced performance that entertains through the entire book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    At just oner 10 hours, this is a little too long to hit in one sitting. Still - I burned through this in a week - and was looking for excuses to get in my car just to listen (as it's the primary place I listen to audiobooks).


    Any additional comments?

    I came into this with zero expectations, having no experience with the author or reader. I really love sci-fi, and was pleasantly surprised at how well the story was crafted, and the excellent performance that Mark Vietor gave. Quite pleased with all aspects.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spin

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Robert Charles Wilson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (3299)
    Performance
    (1081)
    Story
    (1085)

    One night when he was 10, Tyler stood in his backyard and watched the stars go out. They flared into brilliance, then disappeared, replaced by an empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.

    Robert says: "A Classic"
    "Science Fiction for people who don't like sci-fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story about many things: longing for love, a lover had, a lover lost. Politics, business, and a power struggle between father and son. There are science fiction elements sprinkled into the long, winding tale - but a sci-fi tale it's not.

    Like the main character who is afraid of confrontation (won't go after the girl, won't stand up for himself, won't look into the box), Wilson sparingly teases you with interesting sci-fi concepts, only to beat a hasty retreat back to his comfort zone. This relegates the majority of the book to the minutiae of daily life and exquisitely boring relationships.

    This is science-fiction for people who don't like science-fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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