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Paul McMahon

mcmap

Fremantle, Australia

56
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 39 reviews
  • 59 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • The End of the Matter: A Pip & Flinx Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Alan Dean Foster
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (202)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (85)

    Accompanied by his faithful minidrag Pip and a most troublesome alien called Abalamahalamatandra - Ab for short - Flinx set out for Alaspin, the ruggedly primitive homeworld of his flying snake.There he hoped to find the giant man with the gold earring who somehow held the key to Flinx's mysterious past and to the strange powers he possessed. Chasing down his heritage was trouble enough, but Flinx didn't know what real trouble was until he realized that a deadly assassin squad was three steps behind him.

    Paul McMahon says: "the parts seemed more than the whole"
    "the parts seemed more than the whole"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is part of a series. The book fits into a bigger story line, but successfully brings things together in this episode that it doesn't simply feel like a con to sell more books.

    The characters are quite interesting, but not gripping. I was quite interested in their faits, but not enough that I"ll look up the earlier books, or look for more of the series.

    I like Alan Dean Foster as a writer and maybe it is that his works make better reading than listening to. What you can read in a moment of two draws out with narration.

    Stefan Rudnicki does a good job with the pace, tone and accents. One or two slip a little, but enough to be annoying; very occasional.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Martin McDougall
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    Epic, entertaining, blasphemous, this is the most influential and controversial of Science Fiction novels. Stranger in a Strange Land caused uproar when it was first published as it savaged conventional religious, sexual, and social ideals. Many years in the future, Valentine Michael Smith's upbringing is exceptional. Orphan child to two astronauts killed in space, he is raised on Mars. Twenty-five years later he is "rescued" and brought back to Earth. The initial enthusiasm of the administration in Smith's safe return is soon dampened by the realisation that they cannot control him.

    Paul McMahon says: "Still relevant"
    "Still relevant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Worryingly many of the threads of the book are still relevant today; of course, not all. It is remarkable how many things writers of that time, it was published in 1961, got predictions right - video phoning, mobile phones in cars, etc. But some of his notions are really out of date; his writing of women characters is very much the thinking of the 50s; although I can see him struggle with modern concepts of their place in changing times.

    The reader does a good job with a long book. Sometimes the voices lose distinction and it is momentarily hard to work out who is speaking, but that is a minor issue. More difficult is the he uses whispering to indicate some of the "speech" which makes the dialogue un-hearable; good intentions, but doesn't work with an audiobook.

    Some parts can drag on ... mainly because their novelty at the time doesn't translate to our modern times, but it's worth persevering. The original draft was 220,000 words, published in 1991, but the editors got him to cut it down to 160,067 words, 1961. I'm not sure which version this is. Received the Hugo Award for Best Novel (Wikipedia).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Old Friend of the Family: The New Dracula, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Fred Saberhagen
    • Narrated By Robin Bloodworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    The Southerland family left the old world to start anew in America, but little did they know that a blood-feud, older than history itself, would follow them through the generations to come. Kate Southerland, the first born of the latest generation of Southerlands, has been murdered, but she is not dead. Her little brother, Johnny, has also vanished, a severed, bloody finger the only clue. But the Southerlands have no clue what they've fallen into....

    Amanda Pike says: "I'm glad these are finally coming out!"
    "Author and naration find their way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the third book of this series I have tried. One I sent back. The second found some reconciliation between reader and listener. This outing sees the writing find a good rhythm which allows the narrator to bring forth an entertaining interpretation.

    Saberhagen does away with the first person perspective and the story benefits very much. Robin Bloodworth is able to avoid the forced voice of the previous books and set forth the drama more comfortably.

    Three stars because it is a pot boiler that is great for listening to in the car ... enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Affair of the Porcelain Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jess Faraday
    • Narrated By Philip Battley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    London, 1889. For Ira Adler, former rent-boy and present plaything of crime lord Cain Goddard, stealing back the statue from Goddard's blackmailer should have been a doddle. But inside the statue is evidence that could put Goddard away for a long time under the sodomy laws, and everyone's after it, including Ira's bitter ex, Dr. Timothy Lazarus.

    Susie says: "Sherlock Holmes Meets Oscar Wilde"
    "unconvincing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book too demanding of my suspension of disbelief. To sum it up, and this happens within the first hour of the book, so I don't think it is a spoiler ... and you could see it coming from a mile off ... a (early 20s) boy who grew up on the streets has his pocket picked then doesn't notice the loss of considerable weight as he runs back home, several miles. Just silly; and an alternative to the plot twist was so obviously available.

    That sums it up ... too obvious, too contrived - thrust on top of a "topical" story of the rent boy and the crime lord (again, not spoilers as they are stated from the get go).

    It may read better than it narrates. The fist person perspective is always a difficult one to pull off and for my money, Jess Faraday or Philip Battley doesn't achieve it; maybe it's the combination. Though Battley has a good voice for narration.

    The characters weren't unlikeable, but neither did they imbue me with a need to stick around for their story. I dropped in to the tale a few hours in just to see if it got itself organized, but the problems were the same.

    Maybe the author relies on the setting, which is well drawn, to carry the story aloft, but it never got the momentum for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hover Car Racer

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Matthew Reilly
    • Narrated By Sean Mangan
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (39)

    From the best-selling author of Seven Deadly Wonders and Contest comes a thrilling racing adventure. In the world of the near future, the most popular sport is hover car racing. Superfast and dangerous, its heroes are the racers: part fighter pilot, part race-car driver, all superstar. But to get to the Pro Circuit, you must first pass through the International Race School, a brutal cauldron of wild races on even wilder courses, where only the best of the best will survive.

    A User says: "Racy"
    "For teen boys, but not in a bad way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't get far into this book ... about 3 hours. I understand why others liked it; it is a wholesome story about perseverance and honour. But the story wasn't for me. The characters weren't sufficiently adult for me to care much about them; good characters though they are for others.

    I had trouble with the reader. His voice reminded me of a cartoon character from when I was a kid (1960s); I won't say which one. Although passionate I didn't find he transmitted excitement to me about events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Divine Misfortune

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (414)
    Performance
    (346)
    Story
    (350)

    Teri and Phil had never needed their own personal god. But when Phil is passed up for a promotion - again - it's time to take matters into their own hands. And look online. Choosing a god isn't as simple as you would think. There are too many choices; and they often have very hefty prices for their eternal devotion: blood, money, sacrifices, and vows of chastity. But then they find Luka, raccoon god of prosperity. All he wants is a small cut of their good fortune. Oh - and to crash on their couch for a few days.

    Amazon Customer says: "Office Space rewritten by Disney"
    "Toooo little tooo late"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Martinez's writing generally. It often takes a time to settle in to the story but in the end it pays off; at first a relationship with the characters can be slow to develop. But this one is too little too late.

    I'm up to 6 hours and am disinclined to continue.

    This time round Martinez has failed to make the story paced well enough to keep going; as a result I don't care enough about the characters to finish.

    Some good writing, but too disjointed for too long to develop the theme quickly enough to persevere.

    Fred Berman's reading is very good. In this case it it the writing that lets us down.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Doyle: The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    With a horse between his thighs and a weapon in his grip, the dashing Brigadier Etienne Gerard, Colonel of the Hussars of Conflans, gallops through the Napoleonic campaigns on secret missions for his beloved Emperor and his country. He encounters danger and hair-breadth escapes but never loses his bravado, his eye for a pretty girl, his boastfulness or his enormous vanity.

    Paul McMahon says: "Conan Doyle writing style of 1890 - 1910 ish"
    "Conan Doyle writing style of 1890 - 1910 ish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A gentler, comic, rendition of the Napoleonic Wars from the point of view of a man of those times. "Gerard is modeled on the real-life Baron Jean Baptiste Antoine Marcellin de Marbot, a noted French light cavalry officer during the Napoleonic Wars" (Wikipedia).

    Rupert Degas does a good job of hinting at the hubris of Gerard, who is very loath to mention his qualities, unless given the chance. His accents, oral caricatures, are just right; women histrionic, heroes manly. Yet, he does so leaving dignity to them.

    Writing of its time; simple, lite and enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bill the Vampire

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Rick Gualtieri
    • Narrated By Christopher John Fetherolf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (237)

    There are reasons we fear the night. He isn't one of them. Bill Ryder was a dateless dweeb...then he died. Unfortunately for him that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke to find himself a vampire, one of the legendary predators of the night. Unfortunately for him, he was still at the bottom of the food chain. Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier and a whole lot cooler than he is. Worst yet, they all want him dead...permanently this time.

    Mike Naka says: "imagine howard stern as a vampire"
    "Adolescent fun for some"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I persevered for 2 hours then gave up. I had no interest in what happened to Bill; I would have liked to follow some of the other characters, but Bill was everywhere.

    The story is told from the first person perspective … and Bill is very self absorbed and clichéd in his thoughts … a bad combination.

    The internal monologue is very adolescent ... Women are objects only for lust (and rape through thought control - forced to be obedient, submissive); powerful men (read jocks, I guess) are objects of smugness and envy; other people have no worth at all.

    Loads of self correction, self second guessing; endless asides, “Unfortunately that was probably the wrong time to pat myself on the back …”, at inappropriate moments (from the writing point of view, not the action).

    The narration didn’t help me persevere. Frustratingly, it was probably apt for the character; self important tones; almost all sentences end with an exclamation!

    It probably reads better than it narrates. Some will really like this series, and good luck to them. Give it a try by all means, but be ready to trade it back in.

    Warning to some … quite a bit of swearing … some full on, some this silly TV word, “Frigging”.

    Have a look at Kii’s review.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gil's All Fright Diner

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (323)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (251)

    Duke and Earl are just passing through Rockwood county in their pick-up truck when they stop at the Diner for a quick bite to eat. They aren't planning to stick around-until Loretta, the eatery's owner, offers them $100 to take care of her zombie problem. Given that Duke is a werewolf and Earl's a vampire, this looks right up their alley.But the shambling dead are just the tip of a particularly spiky iceberg.

    colleen says: "I loved it!"
    "characters take time to get used to"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read 3 other Martinez books and have enjoyed them all.

    The characters take a little time to warm up to this time round, but going along for the ride was worth it once I could see where they were coming from.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Tournament

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Matthew Reilly
    • Narrated By Lucy Gaskell
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (57)

    The year is 1546. Europe lives in fear of the powerful Islamic empire to the East. Under its charismatic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, it is an empire on the rise. It has defeated Christian fleets. It has conquered Christian cities. Then the Sultan sends out an invitation to every king in Europe: send forth your champion to compete in a tournament unlike any other. We follow the English delegation, selected by King Henry VIII himself, to the glittering city of Constantinople, where the most amazing tournament ever staged will take place.

    Pint-sized Bookworm says: "Brilliant historical fiction"
    "a departure from his usual style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Matthew Reilly has produced a book quite different form his usual action, action, action style. It is patient and detailed; reflecting the main device, chess. The game is less important than the moves in it.

    Lucy Gaskell does a good job of narration. She matches the mood of the story very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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